Take Action! - Massive Crackdown On Media After July Coup Attempt (Turkey: UA 253/16)

Urgent Action
December 16, 2016
Nine journalists and board members of the opposition daily Cumhuriyet were imprisoned pending trial on 4 November. At least 112 journalists and other media workers have been remanded in pre-trial detention since the 15 July coup attempt and the declaration of the state of emergency on 21 July. A total of 169 media outlets have been shut down during the same period by executive decree.
Nine journalists and board members with the Turkish opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet were imprisoned on 4 November pending their trial. This brings the total number of imprisoned journalists and media personnel to 112 since the 15 July coup attempt. As with other journalists and media workers within dozens of opposition media outlets, they are facing trumped up terrorism charges.
Some of the 112 journalists and media personnel have been held in pre-trial detention – which is routinely applied, arbitrary and punitive in nature – for more than three months. The imprisoned journalists work for opposition media outlets across the political spectrum, ranging from publications linked to Fethullah Gülen, a US-based cleric whom the government accuses of masterminding the coup attempt, to Kurdish, secular or leftist publications. Journalists stand accused of links to the “Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organisation” as referred to by the government, the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), or both. All imprisoned journalists should be immediately released from arbitrary pre-trial detention and have the charges against them dropped unless the authorities can present credible evidence of internationally recognisable criminal offences.
On 27 July 131 media outlets accused of links to Fethullah Gülen were closed down by executive decree no. 668 on the grounds that they “threaten national security or had links to terrorist organizations”. Another 23 mainly opposition Kurdish and leftist media outlets were closed down on 28 September and a further 15 on 29 October (this last group by executive decree no. 675). Closed media include the Taraf daily that exposed human rights abuses, especially by the military, Nokta magazine that specialized in in-depth investigative reporting, Azadiya Welat, the only national Kurdish language newspaper in Turkey and the JINHA Kurdish women’s news agency.
Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:
  • Calling on the authorities to immediately release journalists held in arbitrary pre-trial detention and drop charges unless the authorities can present credible evidence of internationally recognisable criminal offences;
  • Urging them to cease the use of trumped up terrorism charges to harass and imprison journalists;
  • Calling on them to revoke executive decree no. 668 and 675, and reinstate media outlets arbitrarily closed down.

Contact these two officials by 27 January, 2017:

Prime Minister
Mr Binali Yıldırım
Vekaletler Caddesi
Başbakanlık Merkez Bina
P.K. 06573
Kızılay / Ankara, Turkey
Fax: +90 312 403 62 82
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister
Ambassador Serdar Kılıç
Embassy of the Republic of Turkey
2525 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 1 202 612 6700 I Fax: 1 202 612 6744
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
Here’s why it is so important to report your actions: we record the number of actions taken on each case and use that information in our advocacy. Either email uan@aiusa.org with “UA 253/16” in the subject line or click this link.
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