Turkish deputy PM against pre-trial detention of journalists
AA photoTurkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş has said his government has repeatedly voiced its objection to the pre-trial detention of journalists in the country.
However, arrest decisions are made by the judiciary, not by the government, Kurtulmuş told members of parliament’s planning and budget commission in the early morning of Jan. 27 during ongoing debates over the 2016 budget.
“I would like to say that what is principal is trial without detention due to journalism activities,” Kurtulmuş said.
Hours after these remarks were delivered Turkish prosecutors demanded aggravated life sentences for daily Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar and Ankara Bureau Chief Erdem Gül, who were arrested on Nov. 26, 2015, over the publication of footage purporting to show Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT) helping send weapons to Syria.
Meanwhile, Kurtulmuş also said that 67 journalists were currently under arrest in Turkey, while noting only five of them had “yellow press cards.”
“Only one of them has been convicted and not because of journalism but because of a petty offence. Thirty-seven of those 67 journalists have been detained over petty offences,” he said.
A yellow press card is granted by the Press Card Commission based on criteria set by the Directorate General of Press and Information (BYEGM) under the Turkish Prime Ministry.