Newspaper banned for one month in Turkey
ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
This photo shows the first page of March 24 edition of daily Özgür Gündem.An Istanbul court has ordered the closure of daily Özgür Gündem for a month on allegations that it “promotes a terrorist organization.”
Police raided the daily’s Istanbul headquarters late March 24 and seized the newspaper’s addition for yesterday, according to the daily’s website.
The daily, which closely monitors and reports developments related to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has 11 journalists behind bars due to their alleged links to the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the alleged urban wing of the PKK.
Özgür Gündem’s editor-in-chief, Eren Keskin, said the ban was the government’s first step in its “new strategy” on the Kurdish issue.
Keskin also said the daily was the “only source for the Kurdish movement and people” and that the “ban proves there is an intention to cut off communication among Kurds.”
Ercan İpekçi, the head of the Turkish Journalists Union (TGS), also said the government was reducing freedom of expression in Turkey despite international reaction against the government on the matter.
İpekçi also said Turkey was being driven into darkness.
Özgür Gündem returned to newsstands in 2011, 17 years after it was forced to close following the murders of 76 employees and countless trials due to its coverage of the Kurdish issue.
The daily was originally founded in 1992 when the clashes between the PKK and the Turkish military were at its bloodiest in East and Southeast Anatolia. Hundreds of people became victims of unsolved murders, and staff at Özgür Gündem became targets themselves for their outspoken coverage of the issue.