Journalists from prison: "We cannot be silenced"

Journalists detained during the political police operation earlier this week said: "The tradition of the free press cannot be silenced by these illegal practices."

Twenty-one journalists, including Dicle Fırat Journalists Association (DFG) co-chair Serdar Altan, Xwebûn Newspaper Editor-in-Chief Mehmet Ali Ertaş, JINNEWS News Director Safiye Alagaş, JINNEWS editor Gülşen Koçuk, Mesopotamia Agency (MA) editor Aziz Oruç and Ömer Çelik, have been taken into on 8 June.

Dicle Fırat Journalists Association (DFG) co-chair Serdar Altan and JINNEWS editor Gülşen Koçuk sent messages through their lawyers.

In the message, Serdar Altan said: "The government is trying to stay alive by covering up facts and hiding the truth from the public. That's why it targets journalists and media workers. The AKP-MHP government carries out these operations against journalists to hide its unlawfulness and inhumane practices from the public. Journalists are detained but the free press tradition cannot be silenced with these illegal practices. The tradition of the free press has always told the truth and will continue to tell it. Journalism is not a crime."

Jinnews editor Gülşen Koçuk said: “I would like to state that we are still standing, even though the government and judicial authorities are targeting the tradition of free press. We draw strength from facts. The AKP-MHP government cannot prevent us from practicing our profession with its attitudes and practices. We are journalists. Our profession cannot be determined by the government and the judiciary. They cannot decide whether we are journalists or not. They said that we are not journalists, but we are and will continue to do our job. Kurdish women's journalism has broken new ground. Jinnews is an influential agency engaged in women's journalism in Turkey and the Middle East. Since the day Kurdish women's journalism was organized, the government has been putting pressure on women journalists. This is one of the reasons for this operation. I would like to reiterate that we believe in our work.”