171 journalists behind bars in Turkey: Main opposition CHP report
ANKARAThere are currently 171 Turkish journalists in jail in the country, according a report prepared by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) following a workshop last week.
The final report of the “Arrested Journalists and Shuttered Media Outlets Workshop,” which took place during the party’s “Justice Congress” in the Aegean province of Çanakkale between Aug. 26 and Aug. 30, urged an end to the arrest of journalists as well as the debate on implementing single-type uniforms in prisons.
The report stated that 171 journalists are currently in prison and 187 media outlets have been shut down in recent years across Turkey, particularly since the July 2016 coup attempt.
The workshop was moderated by CHP deputy Utku Çakırözer, who has a professional background in journalism.
“The shame of arrested journalists [in Turkey] must end. Journalists should not be jailed for their opinions, writings and criticisms,” Çakırözer said.
“If we cannot maintain media freedom and justice while talking about rights, law and justice, we will never reach the point we want to reach in democracy,” he added.
The workshop also saw the participation of Turkish Association of Journalists (TGC) head Turgay Olcayto, Turkish Press Council head Pınar Türenç, Association of European Journalists Vice Chair Doğan Tılıç, the wife of jailed journalist Murat Aksoy, Şehriban Aksoy, journalists Erdem Gül, Işıl Kurt and Eyüp Burç, and lawyers Bülent Utku, Figen Çalıkuşu, Engin Cinmen, Mehmet Ali Devecioğlu and Celal Ülgen.
Olcayto particularly drew attention to concerns over the possible single-type uniform implementation in prisons, which has been suggested by the government for all suspects arrested on “terrorism” charges.
The CHP’s four-day congress, which came after the party’s 450-day “Justice March” from the capital Ankara to Istanbul, brought together more than 700 speakers in eight main panels on justice in courts, everyday life, education, religion, the media, elections, and the economy.
The party had launched its march from Ankara to Istanbul after CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu was sentenced to 25 years in prison on June 14 on charges of providing daily Cumhuriyet with video footage purporting to show weapons-loaded National Intelligence Agency (MİT) trucks heading to Syria.