Kurdish PEN Center condemns arrests of journalists and artists in North Kurdistan

The Kurdish PEN Center issued a statement to condemn the arrests of journalists and artists in North Kurdistan.

The Kurdish Intellectual and Writer Union (Kurdish PEN Center) issued a statement regarding the political attacks against reporters and journalists in North Kurdistan.

The statement said that there are constant attacks and pressures against free press activities in North Kurdistan, resulting in daily arrests of journalists.

The Kurdish Pen Center said that within the scope of the investigation launched by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor's Office in 21 provinces, 216 people were taken into custody. 144 of them are artists, journalists, lawyers, politicians and 48 have been sent to prison so far.

The Kurdish Pen Center condemned the arrest of journalists Mehmetşah Oruç, Beritan Canözer, Abdurrahman Gök and Remzi Akkaya on charges of being 'members of a terrorist organization'. The statement also condemned the new arrests, carried out on Saturday. Among those taken into custody were Dicle Firat Journalist Association (DFG) co-chair Dicle Müftüoğlu and Mesopotamia Agency editor Sedat Yılmaz. “With the May 14 elections approaching – said the statement - the AKP-MHP government is increasing it pressure and attacks.”

The statement added: “The current system has been trying for years to prevent journalists from carrying out their work. Recently, the disinformation law, or, to be more precise, the censorship law, was enacted, in another attempt to silence journalists and prevent them from doing their job. We, as Kurdish PEN, say that we will protect the work and struggle of free press journalists.”