32 jailed journalists must be freed: CHP head

32 jailed journalists must be freed: CHP head

32 jailed journalists must be freed: CHP head

CİHAN photo

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has called for the release of dozens of journalists being held in prison in Turkey, the state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.

“There are 32 journalists in Turkish prisons. We do not find this to be right. We want these 32 journalists to be freed,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on Dec. 13 during his visit to the Silivri Prison to express solidarity with the recently imprisoned journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül.

Daily Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief Dündar and Cumhuriyet’s Ankara Bureau Chief Gül were arrested and imprisoned over their coverage of National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks purportedly carrying weapons to those fighting in Syria.

After meeting with Dündar and Gül in jail, Kılıçdaroğlu said they seemed to be in faring well despite their imprisonment.

“But it actually doesn’t matter whether [Dündar and Gül] are in prison or not, because Turkey has been turned into an open-air prison anyway. Human rights are being violated,” the CHP head said.

Kılıçdaroğlu repeated his call on Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to make sure that any journalists on trial are tried without arrest, while stressing that it is not right anyway to imprison journalists for their reporting.

“I’ve said many times that this is a true shame for a democratic society. I feel a great sorrow to cite that shame here outside Silivri Prison,” he added.

Among those who also visited Dündar and Gül in support were CHP Deputy Group Chair Levent Gök, CHP Secretary General Gürsel Tekin, and CHP Istanbul Provincial Head Murat Karayalçın.

Dündar and Gül were imprisoned on Nov. 26 on charges of aiding an armed terrorist organization and political or military espionage over their articles on the interception of trucks belonging to the MİT. The reports claimed that the trucks intercepted in January 2014 were shipping weapons to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The imprisonment of the two prominent journalists created an outcry inside and outside Turkey, with leading international press organizations submitting an alert on the state of freedom of media in Turkey to the Council of Europe on Nov. 26.