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YALÇIN BAYER >Messages of justice from journalists in jail

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Our colleague Utku Çakırözer, one of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) parliamentarians who used to be a journalist, has visited some journalists currently jailed in Silivri prison during Eid el-Fitr. He visited Murat Sabuncu, Kadri Gürsel, Anmet Şık, Musa Kart, Hakan Kara, Güray Öz, Turhan Günay, Akın Atalay, Bülent Utku, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Önder Çelik and Emre İper from daily Cumhuriyet, Gökmen Ulu from daily Sözcü as well as columnists Şahin Alpay, Ahmet Turan Alkan and Atilla Taş.

Çakırözer said all the journalists he met supported and were moved by the “justice march” started by CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. Journalists from daily Cumhuriyet are currently busy focusing on the defense they will give in their first hearing on July 24. “We will reject all baseless accusations before the judge,” they all said resolutely, adding that “everyone will clearly see that we have been illegally and unfairly incarcerated for months.”

Some of the messages they have sent us are below:

Bülent Utku: “I am calling on Nuriye [Gülmen] and Semih [Özakça], who are on a hunger strike: Please review your decision and end your hunger strike. Sözcü and Cumhuriyet are two media organs that have spent their lives fighting the Fethullahist Teror Organization [FETÖ]. We stood by our nation during the coup attempt. I am one of the first people who ensured President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s message that night would be heard in the world.” 

Şahin Alpay: “I had 11 chronic diseases. Lately, I had two small surgeries on my left foot. I am deprived of my liberty because of a couple of articles I wrote. We have waited for months for the indictment. Now that the indictment is out, we have been waiting for months to appear before the judge.”

Hunger strikers’ health condition ‘beyond critical stage’


Together with Zeynep Altıok, CHP’s deputy head responsible for human rights, Çakırözer at Eid el-Fitr also visited Gülmen and Özakça, on the 111th day of their hunger strike, in Ankara’s Sincan prison. 

Dismissed after the July 15, 2016, coup attempt, the health condition of the two hunger striking educators, who are demanding to be returned to their jobs, has passed a critical threshold. 

Çakırözer shared his observations with daily Hürriyet.

“Nuriye Gülmen was brought to the meeting room on a wheel chair, holding a small plate of Eid sweets in her hands. She brought them for us. She can no longer walk. She is in her bed all time, except her meetings. She only drinks sugared water and takes vitamin B1. But as her body is not sufficiently nourished, her muscles are melting to her bones. ‘I can feel that my cells are melting down one by one,’ she told me in our meeting.

Gülmen lost 14 kilos; she is 45 kilos now, whereas Semih Özakça lost 23, going down to 63 kilos. They both are determined to stick to their decision, refusing to accept the public’s call to stop their hunger strike. ‘We will continue our hunger strike until the injustice we have been subjected to is realized and we are reinstated to our jobs,’ Gülmen said. The justice march is very important, according to Semih, who said ‘this is a march endorsing everyone’s understanding of justice. We are thankful to Kılıçdaroğlu and everybody else walking,’” Çakırözer said.

June/29/2017

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