IFJ-EFJ call for the release of 6 journalists in custody for 17 days
The International and European Federations of Journalists called for the release of six journalists kept in custody since December 25 for publishing articles about the leaked emails of Berat Albayrak provided to the media by Redhack hacker group.
The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) said they are deeply concerned by the ongoing detention without any official explanation of journalists and media workers Tunca Öğreten (freelance), Mahir Kanaat (accountant for BirGün daily), Ömer Celik (DIHA news director), Metin Yoksa (DIHA correspondent) Eray Saygin and Derya Okatan (journalist at ETHA) in Turkey.
The IFJ-EFJ recalled that all these journalists were detained as part of a Turkish police operation on 25 December at 04:30 from their homes in Istanbul, Ankara and Diyarbakir. Derya Okatan has been on hunger strike against the “state of emergency rulings” since 25 December and Ömer Celik was beaten during his arrest.
Under the state of emergency, Turkish authorities have extended the detention period from 4 to 30 days and lawyers have had no access to the journalists for more than 5 days.
IFJ-EFJ remarked that no official reason has been given for these arrests and the journalists are being badly treated in detention. Citing media reports, IFJ-EFJ said all of them are being unofficially detained and punished because they have published articles about the leaked emails of Berat Albayrak (Turkish Minister of Energy and President Erdogan’s son in law) provided to the media by Redhack hacker group.
IFJ President, Philippe Leruth, said: “This new attack on media freedom is Turkey is extremely worrying as it indicates that the authorities are willing to silence any critical voices, invoking the reaction against the authors of last July's attempted coup. Our colleagues and all detained journalists in Turkey should be released immediately."
The IFJ-EFJ asked the Turkish Minister of Justice, Bekir Bozdağ, to respond to these reports and to immediately release all the arrested colleagues, stressing that these new media freedom violations will be reported to the Council of Europe’s platform for the safety and protection of journalists and to the Mapping Media Freedom platform.
The Federations said they also remain vigilant in following up the arrest on 29 December of investigative journalist Ahmet Şık over several tweets and his articles for daily Cumhuriyet.