Action for jailed journalists in Istanbul

An action was held in support of ETHA news agency journalists in prison.

Free press employees organised an action in support of Etkin News Agency (ETHA) journalists Isminaz Temel and Havva Cuştan before their hearing on 16 July.

The action was held in front of Bakırköy Women's Closed Prison where ETHA editor Isminaz Temel and ETHA correspondent Havva Cuştan are jailed.

A banner was opened saying "Isminaz and Havva will get out and write again". HDP deputy Hüda Kaya and former CHP deputy, journalist Barış Yarkadaş, attended the action together with press organizations and members.

It was Barış Yarkadaş who spoke first. He reminded that journalists Temel and Çuştan are being held in prison for 9 months for the news they have written.

Yarkadaş pointed out that the last few days have been marked by intolerance and violation of freedom of expression as well as of the right to life.

He said: "Four students were taken into custody and arrested on the grounds that they opened banners at the METU on Tuesday".

Yarkadaş recalled that theatre actor, Orhan Aydin has also been taken into custody for sharing a post on social media saying "Long live life, long live theatre".

Likewise, he said, "the concert of Pianist Fazil Say was canceled without any justification".

And in Çorlu, "24 people lost their lives in a train accident. In the past, those who caused the death of 301 miners in Soma were punished with only 15 years imprison. In fact, justice has collapsed in Soma today" he added.

Yarkadaş pointed out that there are close to 180 journalists in Turkish jails and that the former CHP deputy Eren Erdem has been kept under isolation in Silivri Prison because he wanted people to have the right to receive news as did the 180 jailed journalists.

Turkey Journalists' Union (TGS) Women's and LGBTI Commission member Gülfem Karatas said: "We will fight until the last journalist is released from prison".

DİSK Press-İş member Aylın Kaplan said: "They will not be able to destroy facts by breaking our pens and arresting our journalist friends. Journalism is not a crime".

ETHA employee, Ebru Yiğit, stated that all kinds of pressure, censorship, detention and arrest attacks on the free press were not attacks on individual journalists.

"This pressure, censorship and arrests will not prevent us from writing facts and reaching the public," said Yiğit, noting that this attack was an attack on the free press tradition which goes a long way back from Metin Göktepe to Ape Musa [Musa Anter].

After the speeches, a call was made on the public to attend the hearing of journalists Temel and Cuştan at Istanbul 27th Heavy Penal Court in Çağlayan on Monday, July 16.

The action ended with the release in the air of white and purple balloons.