Journalists demonstrate in solidarity with arrested Kurdish colleagues

Journalists in Istanbul protested the arrest of the Kurdish colleagues in Diyarbakir, insisting that “We will not remain silent.”

The Mesopotamia Women Journalists Platform (MKGP) and the Dicle Fırat Journalists Association (DFG) made a press statement in Beyoğlu, Istanbul to protest the arrest of 16 journalists in Amed (Diyarbakir). The Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK), Media and Legal Studies Association (MLSA) executives, many journalists as well as members of the Democratic Regions Party (DBP), the Peoples' Democratic Congress (HDK), the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Istanbul Deputy Musa Piroğlu and the members of party’s provincial organization and the Anatolia Association for Solidarity with Those Who Lost Their Relatives (ANYAKAYDER) attended the press statement.

Slogans such as “Free press, free country", "Free press cannot be silenced", "Detentions, arrests, oppression cannot intimidate us", "We don’t remain silent, we are not afraid, we do not obey" were frequently chanted during the protest.

MKGP member Diren Yurtsever read out the press statement in Turkish, while Durket Süren read out the Kurdish version.

The statement said that the AKP-MHP government aims to intimidate the society through war, repression and state violence. “The government, which considers everybody who voices criticism against the deepening economic crisis, its crimes, war policies and corruption as an enemy, is currently losing ground. The government also aims to suppress the press which it cannot control, specifically the free press,” Yurtsever said.


The statement noted that 20 Kurdish free press workers were detained on June 8, their offices were raided, and their equipment was confiscated by the police.

“After 8 days of detention, 16 of our colleagues were imprisoned unjustly and unlawfully. Moreover, the pro-government media has targeted our friends with fake news. Our friends were arrested because they are journalists. The aim is to ensure that the voices of the Kurdish people, all those oppressed, marginalized, the faiths and peoples, women, children, ecologists and young people will not be heard. We will continue to be their voice and the voice of the society and the truth.

We have been saying that these oppressions will not be limited to the free press only. The censorship law that is planned to be introduced is the continuation of this operation, and it will continue. The only way to prevent this is to organize a common struggle and opposition beyond solidarity. We will continue to fight until our friends are released and the press is free. We will not remain silent.”


DİSK member Candan Yıldız pointed out that the arrest of the journalists is not only the problem of the Kurds. “Just as the arrest of the journalists is not only a matter of the Kurdish people, the censorship law is not only a problem of journalists, either. I emphasize the phrase ‘Kurdish journalists’ because Kurdish journalists are arrested for speaking the truth. Journalists in the region have been systematically oppressed by the state authorities for many years. They were killed in the '90s, now they are systematically arrested. We stand by our Kurdish journalist colleagues,” Yıldız said.


HDP Deputy Musa Piroğlu remarked that if citizens remain silent towards the oppression and arrests of the Kurdish people, the government crackdown is very likely to spread all over the country. “When the government appointed trustees to our municipalities and everybody remained silent, the government appointed a trustee to Boğaziçi University. Our co-chairs were arrested, their immunity was lifted, and when citizens remained silent, the CHP was banned from politics. If the press is silenced, it means that people are silenced and blindfolded. The struggle of the free press has never stopped. You cannot reduce us to silence, you cannot make us kneel down,” Piroğlu said.

“We will not allow the free press to be silenced and we will continue our struggle until we get our friends back,” Nişmiye Güler, a member of the Mesopotamia Women Journalists Platform, said.