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Turkish police arrest six Kurdish journalists

Photos of the SIx Journalists Arrested by Turkish police in Western Turkey Photo Credit: Turkish Minute

Turkish special operations police on Tuesday morning detained six journalists, most of whom work for pro-Kurdish media outlets, in simultaneous raids in the western province of İzmir, the private DHA news agency reported.

The detained journalists were identified as Gazete Duvar reporter Cihan Başakçıoğlu, Mezopotamya news agency (MA) reporters Semra Turan, Delal Akyüz and Tolga Güney, JINNEWS reporter Melike Aydın and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party) press worker Fatma Funda Akbulut.

The journalists were taken to the İzmir Police Department’s counterterrorism unit for questioning. They have been been denied access to their lawyers for 24 hours and not informed of the reason for their detention.

According to DHA, the journalists were detained because they were allegedly involved in spreading “terrorist organization propaganda” on “banned” news websites.

The İstanbul-based Media and Law Studies Association has announced on X that it is trying to provide judicial assistance to the detained journalists.

Kurdish journalists in Turkey frequently face legal harassment, stand trial and are given jail sentences for covering issues related to Kurds and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging a bloody campaign in Turkey’s southeast since 1984 and is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.

Rights groups routinely accuse Turkey of undermining media freedom by arresting journalists and shutting down critical media outlets, especially since President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan survived a failed coup in July 2016.

Turkey is ranked 165th in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2023 World Press Freedom Index, among 180 countries, not far from North Korea, which occupies the bottom of the list.

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