- Government of Turkey, Mr. Hasan DoganPresidency
- Mr. Bekir BozdagJUSTICE MINISTRY
- Mr. Abdulkerim TasChief of Staff, Prime Ministers Office
- Mr. Mevlut CavusogluFOREIGN MINISTRY
Call on Turkish government to release Cumhuriyet journalists
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On 31 October 2016 Turkish police launched a mass operation against the newspaper Cumhuriyet, one of the last remaining sources of independent news and information in Turkey.
Police arrested at least 13 journalists at the newspaper, including Editor-in-Chief and IPI Member Murat Sabuncu and columnist Kadri Gürsel, who is also a member of the Executive Board of the International Press Institute (IPI) and who chairs IPI’s Turkey National Committee. Gürsel is a widely respected journalist and press freedom advocate.
Sabuncu, Gürsel and their colleagues are currently being held in police detention. Under Turkey’s emergency powers, those detained may be denied access to their lawyers for up to five days and held for up to one month without an official indictment.
Cumhuriyet is a newspaper known for its critical stance towards the government and Cumhuriyet’s journalists are behind bars simply for doing their job: fearless, independent journalism.
Help us call for their immediate release by signing this petition to the Turkish government.
#freeturkeyjournalists #freekadri #freemurat
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IPI Members have already mobilised and are posting their videos to ask for the release of Kadri, Murat and their colleagues at Cumhuriyet. Watch the videos on our Facebook page and join us on social media by posting your video or photo with the hashtags #freeturkeyjournalists #freekadri #freemurat to support Cumhuriyet’s journalists and call for their release!
Read more about the situation in Turkey:
More on IPI:
Government of Turkey, Mr. Hasan Dogan
- JUSTICE MINISTRY
Mr. Bekir Bozdag
- Chief of Staff, Prime Ministers Office
Mr. Abdulkerim Tas
- FOREIGN MINISTRY
Mr. Mevlut Cavusoglu
We the undersigned call on the government of Turkey to immediately release all detained journalists and staff working for the daily newspaper Cumhuriyet.
On Oct. 31, 2016, Turkish authorities launched a mass operation against Cumhuriyet, detaining Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu and a dozen other managers and journalists, including virtually all members of the newspaper’s executive board. Officials also detained Kadri Gürsel, a columnist and editorial adviser who also sits on the global Executive Board of the International Press Institute (IPI) and acts as IPI’s lead representative in Turkey.
The additional journalists detained are: Güray Öz (Cumhuriyet board executive and columnist); Aydın Engin (former editor-in-chief); Hikmet Çetinkaya (columnist); Eser Sevinç, Hakan Kara, Musa Kart, Bülent Utku, Mustafa Kemal Güngör and Önder Çelik (all board members of the Cumhuriyet Foundation); Turhan Günay (editor-in-chief of the newspaper’s book supplement); and Bülent Yener (accountant).
Prosecutors have accused Cumhuriyet of criminally conspiring with the outlawed Gülenist movement and to the Kurdish militant group PKK. But we believe that Cumhuriyet is instead being punished for continuing to produce critical, independent journalism. Indeed, this newspaper represents one of the last opposition voices in Turkey.
Turkey’s state of emergency is a response to July’s failed coup attempt and is intended to allow authorities to bring those responsible to justice. But we fear that this state of emergency is also being abused to crackdown on all dissenting voices within the country. Indeed, over 150 media outlets have been shut down since July and more than 130 journalists currently sit behind bars, many of which, like the detained Cumhuriyet journalists, have no apparent connection to the alleged coup plotters.
Gürsel and others are currently being denied access to their lawyers. Under the emergency powers, detainees may be denied access to legal counsel for five days and held without legal review for up to 30 days.
Please release Mr. Sabuncu, Mr. Gürsel and all of their colleagues at Cumhuriyet. Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.
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