Eleven journalists detained in seven cities

The operation against journalists of the news agency Mezopotamya and the women's news agency JinNews is becoming more serious, with eleven journalists now reported to have been detained on Tuesday.

Eleven journalists were detained in simultaneous raids in Ankara, Istanbul, Van, Amed (tr. Diyarbakır), Urfa, Mersin and Mardin. Those detained are the editor-in-chief of the Mezopotamya News Agency (MA), Diren Yurtsever, MA correspondents Deniz Nazlım, Selman Güzelyüz, Zemo Ağgöz, Berivan Altan, Hakan Yalçın, Emrullah Acar and Ceylan Şahinli, and JinNews correspondents Habibe Eren and Öznur Değer.


A secrecy order has been imposed on the investigation file. It remains unclear what the journalists are accused of. The investigation is being conducted by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office. All those detained in today’s operation are to be taken to Ankara. In addition, JinNews reporter Derya Ren was arrested at her home in Amed as part of another case.


The detentions were accompanied by assaults and threats. Pictures of journalists murdered in the 1990s were confiscated from the editorial office of the Mezopotamya news agency in Ankara. The picture of the Kurdish journalist and Jineolojî researcher Nagihan Akarsel, who was murdered by the Turkish secret service MIT in Sulaymaniyah on 4 October, was even torn up by the police.

Special police units smashed the doors of the journalists' homes with battering rams and pointed assault rifles at them. Journalist Berivan Altan and her colleagues who were detained with her had their hands tied behind their backs and had to wait for a long time lying on their stomachs. It was reported that the police officers sat on the journalists, pushed them to the ground, insulted them and called them names. One police officer threatened Berivan Altan, saying, "I know what I will do to you, you will see when we leave here." Others were insulted and asked if they were Turks under threat of weapons.


Journalists' associations protest against the attack on press freedom. The Dicle Fırat Journalists' Association (DFG) said: "The detained journalists from MA and JinNews are members of our association. They were detained in a raid on their homes in the morning. The MA's office in Ankara was also searched as part of the operation. We condemn this operation aimed at silencing journalists. The free press will not be deterred by these attacks."

The Basın-Iş press union, which is organised in the DISK trade union federation, said: "Journalism is not a crime, release our colleagues immediately!”

The Mezopotamya Women Journalists' Platform (MKGP) said: "The intimidation policy against the press is an attempt to suppress women journalists. We said it yesterday and we say it today: you cannot silence journalism. This policy of repression and intimidation will not achieve its goal. We will not stop writing the truth. Take your hands off the journalists. The judiciary and arrests will not make the women journalists take even one step back."

The Union of Journalists in Turkey also expressed solidarity with those taken into custody.