US Senator McCain criticizes conviction of WSJ reporter over ‘PKK propaganda’
U.S. Senator John McCain has criticized a Turkish court’s conviction of Wall Street Journal reporter Ayla Albayrak to two years and one month in prison on charges of carrying out propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“I’m deeply disturbed by reports that a Turkish court has sentenced Wall Street Journal reporter Ayla Albayrak to more than two years in prison based on false charges. The real reason for Ms. Albayrak’s conviction is that she had the courage and skill to objectively report about the diverse political viewpoints in Turkey and around the region,” McCain said in a statement on Oct. 11.
“Ms. Albayrak’s sentencing adds to a troubling crackdown on the free press by President Erdogan’s government in Turkey, where independent media outlets have been closed and countless journalists have been jailed,” he added.
The U.S. senator also called on Washington to urge the Turkish government “to reverse this baseless conviction” and “release all journalists wrongly imprisoned, and stand up for human rights in Turkey and around the world.”
Albayrak, who holds dual Turkish and Finnish citizenship, was sentenced over a 2015 story about ongoing clashes between Turkish security forces and PKK militants in the country’s southeast.
She is currently in the U.S and will appeal against the conviction, her paper had stated.