Azadiya Welat

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New York, March 27, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release this week of at least eight imprisoned journalists in Turkey, but calls on Turkish authorities to scrap the charges against them and release all of the journalists jailed in the country. 

Worldwide tally reaches highest point since CPJ began surveys in 1990. Governments use charges of terrorism, other anti-state offenses to silence critical voices. Turkey is the world's worst jailer. A CPJ special report

Worldwide tally reaches highest point since CPJ began surveys in 1990. Governments use charges of terrorism, other anti-state offenses to silence critical voices. Turkey is the world’s worst jailer. A CPJ special report

At least 49 journalists remain jailed in Turkey. (AFP)

1. Summary

The Committee to Protect Journalists prepared this report to highlight the widespread criminal prosecution and jailing of journalists in Turkey, along with the government’s use of various forms of pressure to engender self-censorship in the press. CPJ’s analysis found highly repressive laws, particularly in the penal code and anti-terror law; a criminal procedure code that greatly favors the state; and a harsh anti-press tone set at the highest levels of government. Turkey’s press freedom situation has reached a crisis point. 

2. Assault on the Press

Nuray Mert, one of Turkey’s most prominent political columnists and commentators, had a long history as a government critic, but in the view of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, her comments last year opposing administration policies toward ethnic Kurds went too far. Erdoğan lashed out with a personal attack that implied Mert was traitorous, setting off a torrent of public vitriol—including threats to her safety—and prompting her politically sensitive bosses to cancel her television show and newspaper column. 

Sidebar: Letters From Prison

Here are excerpts from letters written by four journalists who have been imprisoned in Turkey. They were first published by the independent online news portal Bianet in January and February 2012.

As in dozens of other cases, prosecutors have charged these individuals with grave anti-state crimes. These first-person accounts provide a different kind of insight. In their own words, these journalists describe their backgrounds, explain their perspectives, and detail their treatment by the Turkish judicial system.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, buoyed by a landslide election victory, has led an attack on press freedom. (AP/Boris Grdanoski)

With the aid of anachronistic legislation and a rigid judiciary, Turkish officials and politicians have curbed free expression by subjecting journalists to endless court proceedings and legal costs. The EU and the U.S. are no help. By Robert Mahoney

>> Türkçe

New York, January 10, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists is outraged by the conviction and outlandish sentencing of Emine Demir, the former editorial manager of the Kurdish-language daily Azadiya WelatDemir was given 138 years in prison in connection with dozens of articles in the paper. CPJ called today for Turkish authorities to overturn the sentence on appeal and end the persecution of journalists working for Azadiya Welat, the only Kurdish daily in Turkey.

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