365 Turkish intellectuals sign petition ahead of Cumhuriyet journalists’ trial
More than 300 Turkish intellectuals, including academics, authors, journalists and doctors declared on Oct. 29 that they have signed a petition demanding the release of jailed daily Cumhuriyet journalists, who will appear before a judge for a fourth hearing on Oct. 31.
“The text presented as ‘an indictment’ is far from demonstrating concrete evidence and violates the principles of crime and punishment, as it undermines the concept of ‘legal security’ in the country,” the statement regarding the arrest of four daily Cumhuriyet journalists read, addressed by Istanbul Bar Association Chair Mehmet Durakoğlu.
“We demand the freedom and release of all journalists, including daily Cumhuriyet employees, who have been subjected to illegal prosecution processes on the basis of doing their jobs—which is journalism,” Durakoğlu said.
In a press conference in Istanbul, the intellectuals declared they stand together for the release of editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu, reporter Ahmet Şık, Akın Atalay and Emre İper –who have been jailed for 365 days in the case.
The union includes famous names, such as singer Sezen Aksu, photographer Ara Güler and actress Müjde Ar, as well as renowned journalists, such as Fehim Taştekin, İsmail Saymaz and Nevşin Mengü.
In the last hearing on Sept. 25, the court ordered the release of prominent journalist Kadri Gürsel but ruled for the continued arrest of four others, including reporter Ahmet Şık and editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu.
Around 200 people marched in Istanbul on Oct. 28 in solidarity with many jailed journalists across Turkey.
The group gathered at the Mehmet Ayvalıtaş Park in the Kadıköy district of Istanbul and opened placards reading “Gazetecilere Özgürlük” (Freedom for Journalists).
The march and press conference came days before the fourth hearing into the Cumhuriyet journalists, which will be held at Istanbul’s Çağlayan courthouse.