CPJ: Stop accusing journalists of 'terrorism'

Turkish authorities must stop charging members of the press with terrorism and release all jailed journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.

On February 8, the Ankara chief prosecutor’s office indicted 10 Kurdish journalists, nine of whom have been under pretrial arrest since late October, on the charge of membership in a terrorist organization. The indictment was made available to the journalists’ lawyers and CPJ on Friday, February 17, after it was approved by the court.

“Turkish authorities’ recent indictment of 10 journalists on terrorism charges is the latest in a long string of prosecutions of members of the press in retaliation for their reporting,” said CPJ Program Director Carlos Martinez de la Serna, in New York. “The authorities should drop the charges, release all journalists imprisoned for their work, and put an end to equating journalism with terrorism.”

Those indicted were: pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya News Agency editor Diren Yurtsever; Mezopotamya reporters Berivan Altan, Ceylan Şahinli, Deniz Nazlım, Emrullah Acar, Hakan Yalçın, Salman Güzelyüz, and Zemo Ağgöz Yiğitsoy, freelance journalist Öznur Değer; pro-Kurdish news website JİNNEWS reporter Ümmü Habibe Eren; and former Mezopotamya reporting intern Mehmet Günhan. They were charged with being members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), according to those reports and the indictment, which was reviewed by CPJ.