Journalists' associations call for international campaign for the release of Dicle Müftüoğlu

Kurdish journalist Dicle Müftüoğlu has been imprisoned in Ankara for ten months because of her work. Journalists' associations from Turkey are calling for an international campaign for her release.

Six journalists' associations in Turkey have called on international organizations to work for the release of Kurdish journalist Dicle Müftüoğlu. The editor of the Mezopotamya news agency (MA) and co-chair of the journalists' association Dicle-Firat (DFG) has been in prison in the Sincan women's jail in Ankara since May last year, accused of founding and leading a terrorist organization. Her defense sid that the allegations are related to her work for the free Kurdish press, and reminded that she was detained in a wave of arrests just before the elections in May 2023.

In addition to the DFG, the Contemporary Journalists' Association (ÇGD), the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA), the Mesopotamian Journalists' Association (MKG), the DİSK BASIN-İŞ union and the Journalists' Union of Turkey (TGS) appealed to media and human rights organizations to launch an international campaign for the release of Dicle Müftüoğlu before the next main hearing due on 29 February.

Accused of journalistic activity

The call said: “Award-winning Kurdish journalist Dicle Müftüoğlu is known for her valuable work in the field of journalism as co-chair of the Dicle-Firat Journalists Association (DFG) and editor of the Mesopotamia Agency (MA). On 3 May 2023, World Press Freedom Day, she was arrested and imprisoned.” Dicle Müftüoğlu is accused of “membership in an illegal organization” and “founding and directing” it. However, there is not a single accusation against the journalist.

Attack on freedom of the press and basic democratic values

The call continued: “The repression against Kurdish journalists in Turkey is publicly known. Müftüoğlu is just one of those repressed journalists who are repeatedly arrested. However, it appears that the lengthy pretrial detention has turned into an indeterminate sentence. Dicle Müftüoğlu will appear in court for the third time on 29 February. She has always protected and defended the principles and ethics of journalism in the exercise of her profession. Despite the difficulties and challenges of journalism, she has selflessly fulfilled her mission to inform people. For this work she was awarded the 'Most Resilient Journalist' prize by the Netherlands-based organization Free Press Unlimited.

The arrest of Dicle Müftüoğlu for her journalistic work is a serious attack not only on her, but also on freedom of the press and the fundamental values of democracy. In this context, we call for the protection of the rights of Müftüoğlu and all journalists. We call on international organizations to launch an international campaign for the release of Dicle Müftüoğlu before the hearing scheduled for 29 February.

Journalism is an essential part of democracy and protecting journalists means protecting freedom of expression and democracy. We want that to be recognized. Dicle Müftüoğlu’s case and the cases of other journalists who find themselves in similar situations must be taken into account.”

Attached to the appeal are reports from defense attorney Resul Temir and the MLSA Legal Department. The MLSA report can be found here