Journalists potential prisoners, BDP says

Journalists potential prisoners, BDP says

ISTANBUL - Doğan News Agency
Journalists potential prisoners, BDP says

BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş attends a trial in Istanbul’s Silivri where journalists are being tried for their alleged terror links in KCK case. AA photo

There are 62 journalists behind bars in Turkey currently but all journalists in Turkey are potential prisoners, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has said after attending a court case against journalists with alleged links to outlawed groups.

At the trial taking place in in Istanbul’s Silivri district, 44 members of the press are being tried for their alleged links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Demirtaş slammed the court board accusing them of “playing a political theatre.” 

“There is a political show of an already given verdict in this court and they call it free judiciary. The evidence is nonsense. The right to defense is being limited by the court board. The interviews done with me are counted as a crime in the indictment. They ask one of the journalists why he would have interviewed me, and they put this into the indictment as evidence,” Demirtaş told the reporters while leaving the courthouse on Dec 6.

“Prime Minister and the government officials insistently say those people are not jailed because of journalistic activities whenever they go abroad. But we know that in any country of the world even if it’s a dictatorship or kingdom there would not be a law saying journalism is a crime. If you want to arrest a journalist you will find a good excuse for that. For every one of the journalists imprisoned in Turkey there are excuses in the hands of the police,” Demirtaş said.

Demirtaş also said he hoped everyone in the case would be freed but only Nilgün Yıldız a reporter from the Dicle News Agency (DİHA) was released in the trial and the case was postponed to Jan. 13, 2014. Nineteen other journalists were maintained under arrest.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ) report’s figures, there are 60 journalists behind bars in Turkey, about 70 percent of whom are Kurdish journalists charged with aiding terrorism by covering the views and activities of the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK).