Turkey arrests Journalists in Alleged Terror Plot
According to the Freedom for Journalists Platform, about 38 journalists were taken under custody under the claims of being "members of the 'press and propaganda wing' of a banned Kurdish separatist group" accused of terrorism. The Platform states that Turkey follows China in having the highest number of journalists in prison. Also, according to press freedom index of the Reporters without Borders, Turkey has dropped from 102 to 138 since 2008, following the 2006 changes to the infamous Turkish Anti-Terror law that expanded the definition of terrorism to threaten freedom of expression and association.
December 20, 2011
Istanbul (CNN) -- Turkish police detained dozens of people in a wave of raids targeting suspected members of the "press and propaganda wing" of a banned Kurdish separatist group accused of committing acts of terrorism, the semi-official Anatolian Agency reported Tuesday.
In a move that alarmed human rights organizations, journalists' associations and press freedom activists, police swept up a number of journalists in the raids. "Thirty-eight colleagues have been detained," announced the Freedom for Journalists Platform, an umbrella group that represents dozens of Turkish journalist associations and unions.
"Detentions, arrests and trials of journalists revive crimes of thought in this country. Turkey follows China as the country where the highest number of journalists are in prison," the Platform concluded.
A growing number of writers and academics have been detained in conjunction with several sprawling investigations into alleged coup plots and terrorism plots. Many of these suspects spend months in detention without charge awaiting trial.
Last October, police detained outspoken publisher and freedom of expression activist Ragip Zarakolu as well as Busra Ersanli, a political science professor at Marmara University, as part of an operation against suspects accused of links to Kurdish terrorist groups.
Meanwhile, in November, prominent investigative journalists Nedim Sener and Ahmet Sik appeared in court for the first time some nine months after they were arrested in conjunction with an alleged plot to overthrow the Turkish government. Their trial was adjourned until December 26 after defense attorneys argued the presiding judge, Resul Cakir, could not rule impartially since he was a plaintiff in a separate case against one of the defendants.
Sener is a recipient of the World Press Freedom Hero award from the International Press Institute for his investigative book about the 2007 assassination of Turkish-Armenian newspaper editor Hrant Dink and alleged involvement of state security officials.
Sener predicted he would be targeted as part of a growing government crackdown on voices of dissent in an interview with CNN several months before his arrest.
To read the rest of the article by CNN reporters Ivan Watson and Yeşim Cömert, please see the link below: