RSF launches appeal for arrested Cumhuriyet journalists

RSF launches appeal for arrested Cumhuriyet journalists

RSF launches appeal for arrested Cumhuriyet journalists

A man stays in front of a poster of Can Dundar (L), Cumhuriyet Daily's editor in chief, and Erdem Gul (R), the newspaper's Ankara bureau chief, at the newspapers headquarters on November 27, 2015 in Istanbul during a demonstration after the arrest of the Editor in Chief. AFP photo

The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has launched an international appeal for the release of arrested Cumhuriyet journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, as well as many other reporters who remain detained in Turkey.

The signatories of the petition, drafted in cooperation with the Turkish Journalists Association (TGC), accused the Turkish authorities of “persecuting journalists of all colors in an increasingly ferocious manner,” and called for the immediate release of Dündar and Gül and many other journalists.

“First as prime minister and now as president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been waging a methodical crackdown on the media in Turkey for years. Erdoğan is persecuting journalists of all colors in an increasingly ferocious manner in the name of combatting terrorism and defending state security. The Erdoğan regime’s arrests, threats and intimidation are unworthy of a democracy,” the appeal states.

“We appeal to the Turkish authorities to free Can Dündar and Erdem Gül without delay, to drop all charges against them, and to free all other journalists who are currently detained in connection with their journalism or the opinions they have expressed,” it concludes.

RSF secretary general Christophe Delorie urged for a restoration of the “conditions of pluralism” in Turkey, speaking in a Dec. 1 press conference in Istanbul. 

“The judicial system seems to prosecute journalists more often than the accomplices of Daesh [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant]. Turkey is a great country, with democratic institutions and a very open civil society. We appeal to the government, as a matter of honor, to restore all the conditions of pluralism, starting with freedom for journalists,” Delorie said.

Meanwhile, TGC head Turgay Olcayto emphasized solidarity, saying the problems of the Turkish media could become the problems of Western journalists in the future.

“With globalization, the Turkish media’s problems could one day become the problems of Western journalists. It is vital that we join forces to defend free journalism before it is too late,” Olcayto said.

Among the initial signatories of the petition are U.S. linguist Noam Chomsky, Turkish pianist Fazıl Say, German politician Cem Özdemir, and French economist Thomas Piketty.