Press organizations: Stand up against the crackdown on media

Press organizations condemned the closure of TV channels and radio stations, and called upon viewers and listeners to stand up against the closure of the press.

Journalist Union of Turkey (TGS), Journalists’ Association of Turkey (TGC) and Basın-İş held a press conference on the increasing pressures on the press and the closure of TV channels and radio stations. The Turkey representative of Journalists Without Borders (RSF) Erol Önderoğlu, the employees of the radio stations and TV channels that were shut down, and other journalists participated in the press conference.

İMC TV Broadcast Coordinator Eyüp Burç stated that the closures aim to decrease democratic groups and reduce their voices, and signify the reversal of the rights that were given to Kurdish people.

Hayatın Sesi TV Program Coordinator Arif Koşar stated that undemocratic implementations were taking place as if the coup attempt on July 15 had succeeded, and emphasized that it was nonsense for the government that is supposedly anti-coup to close down TV channels. Koşar called for a reversal of this policy, and expressed his concern over the possible raiding of Hayatın Sesi TV’s offices. Koşar said their TV channel was created with the small donations of many people, and the existence of TV channels such as Hayatın Sesi was crucial for press freedoms in Turkey.

Civil Disobedience

Özgür Radio employee Sinan Gerçek condemned the closure of their radio station, which was established in 1995 and had been closed down 5 times in its history. Gerçek emphasized that they return to broadcasting stronger than before after each closure, and said that they were planning civil disobedience protests that include radio employees and listeners. Gerçek called upon listeners to stand up for their radio stations if they do not want a one-voiced country.

Basın-İş Union President Faruk Eren stated that the pressures on journalists have reached unbearable levels, and said that the closure decision must be reversed.

TGS President Uğur Güç highlighted that nearly 3 thousand journalists would be unemployed with the closures, and called upon the Cabinet that is scheduled to meet today to reverse its closure decision. Güç also called upon people to call the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) number 444 1 178 and protest the pressures on the press in order to protect the freedom of obtaining information.

TGC President Turgay Olcayto reiterated their desire for the opening of the closed radio stations and TV channels, and emphasized the importance of getting rid of Turkey’s image as a one-voiced country. Olcayto added that journalism is not a crime anywhere.

Lastly, TV 10 Executive Editor Veli Büyükşahin stated that the closures aim to reshape the press and the anti-democratic institution of RTÜK has bypassed itself in the current situation.