2015 Turkey Progress Report finally published by the EU

After much controversy during the last several weeks in which the EU, and British Prime Minister David Cameron, were accused of delaying the publication of their annual Progress Report for Turkey’s EU accession process so that deals could be made over the refugee crisis, the report has finally been made public.

The report makes sharp criticisms of Turkey for ‘backsliding’ in respect to fundamental rights and the rule of law, in particular freedom of press, expression and assembly. It also calls for an immediate resumption of the peace process following a serious deterioration of its security situation.

You can download the report in full here (pdf): Turkey Progress Report 2015

Frederike Geerdink: Reporting under siege in Turkey

22 October 2015

Last night, the Kurdish Community Centre in north London hosted an event with Frederike Geerdink, who is in London for a series of events promoting her new book on the Roboski massacre, The Boys Are Dead, which tells the story of her investigations into the atrocity on 28 December 2011 which killed 34 people.

frederike KCC event

Courtesy Ari Murad

Frederike gave a captivating account of her encounters with the Turkish authorities, which she said began the day she first visited Roboski in the weeks after the massacre took place.

She also described how state and private media in Turkey uncritically parroted the government narrative that the people killed were ‘terrorist helpers’ hiding PKK members among them as they crossed the border from Iraq, not civilians, and that the military was acting on sound intelligence. International media at the time insisted that the attack was an unfortunate accident and repeated that the government would carry out a full investigation.

Frederike was determined to uncover the truth behind the incident, however, and travelled to Roboski to hear from the villagers themselves and investigate the area. She discovered that neither the claims of sound intelligence (increased walkie talkie activity was the only evidence offered) nor that it was actually an accident on the part of the military were true. Continue reading

EDM tabled in UK parliament expresses ‘concern’ about state censorship and arrests in Turkey

An early day motion (EDM) has been tabled in the UK parliament calling for the release of Turkish journalists arrested in the latest police crackdown on the press. You can encourage your MP to sign the EDM by writing to them with your own message, or you can use our model letter which you can download here.

Early Day Motion 719: Restrictions On Press Freedom In Turkey

That this House is concerned about widespread reports of state censorship, and the firing, imprisonment and wiretapping of journalists in Turkey; notes that about 20 journalists were arrested in a series of dawn raids in Turkey in mid-December 2014; further notes that one of the journalists arrested in December, television presenter Sedef Kabas, is facing a prison sentence of up to five years for a tweet about a corruption probe involving high profile names; welcomes the statement by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and the EU Commissioner for Enlargement Negotiations that the latest crackdown is against the European values and standards Turkey aspires to be part of; calls on Turkish authorities to remove the travel bans imposed on the journalists, drop all criminal charges against them and release all other journalists behind bars in the country; and further calls on Ministers in the UK Government to raise these concerns with their counterparts in Turkey.

Sponsors: Clwyd, Ann/ Osborne, Sandra / Corbyn, Jeremy / Farrelly, Paul / Durkan, Mark / Russell, Bob    /   House of Commons: 21.01.2015

Freelance journalist working in Kurdistan responds to RSF allegations against PYD

Reporters Without Borders (RSF), one of the world’s leading media freedom organisations, reported last week that it has recorded a ‘growing number of abuses’ by the PYD against reporters and journalists working in Rojava. They allege that the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the local security forces (Asayish) have been perpetrating ‘abuses on a large scale’, claiming ‘the PYD and its henchmen have no qualms about arresting or even abducting news and information providers whom they see as too critical in order to silence them and intimidate the others.’

Peace in Kurdistan Campaign received a copy of a letter written to RSF by freelance journalist Karlos Zurutuza, who has worked in Kurdistan for many years, responding to the RSF. Given that the picture drawn in the reports entirely contradicts his experience in the region, he felt obliged to write to the organisation and make his experience public. He makes clear that during the six recent trips he has made to Kurdish-controlled regions of Syria, he has found no evidence of the censorship or harassment detailed in the RSF reports, and has been able to work in Rojava without obstacles from authorities. Karloz requested we publicise his letter to offer readers and the public his personal experience of journalistic work on the ground in Rojava, which is a clear challenge to the claims.  We reproduce his letter below.*

*Editors Note: Karlos Zurutuza originally named fellow journalist Mr Massoud Hamid as author of the RSF report. This version of the  letter was circulated and published before he knew of this mistake, and has now been replaced with an amended version (below). He has written a public apology to Mr Hamid for the error, which we also publish below. Nonetheless, Mr Zurutuza stands by his statements on his experiences as a journalist in Rojava.

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EFJ writes to EU commissioner condemning Turkey media arrests

The President of the European Federation of Journalists, which for over a year has been running the Set journalists free in Turkey campaign, recently sent a letter to the Commissioner for EU Enlargement, Stefan Fule, with an urgent call for action to end media clampdowns in Turkey.

You can read the letter below, and here is a response written by Stefan Fule, available to download (pdf).

TO:
Commissioner Štefan Füle
DG Enlargement
European Commission

Re: Urgent Call for Action to End Media Clampdown in Turkey

18 June 2013

Dear Commissioner Füle,

We are writing as Presidents of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the world’s largest organisation representing more than 600.000 journalists and its regional group, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) to bring to your attention the serious developments for our colleagues in Turkey.

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Set journalists free in Turkey: EFJ campaign update

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) launched an international campaign to set free all journalists in Turkey. Here is the latest update.

Latest News

  • 10 July 2013 – The Gezi protests have shown the rampant institutional bias in Turkey’s media which now leaves little room for facts, by Burcu Baykurt in LSE
  • 10 July 2013 – Female journalist Zeynep Kuray not to get Alpi Award in Italy because of judicial travel ban, ANSA
  • 10 July 2013 – Turkey: End police violence against journalists. (DE, FR, TR), by Sedat Erdin in Hürriyet
  • 8 July 2013 – 13 reporters have been injured and 2 arrested, Bianet in Turkish
  • 8 July 2013 – Turkey police arrest 59 protesters (12 journalists), Voice of Russia
  • 8 July 2013 – Council of Europe: Turkey: police violence must not go unpunished, Council of Europe
  • 5 July 2013 – Plus de 60 journalistes emprisonnés, par Patrick Kamenka dans Humanité Dimanche (PDF)
  • 4 July 2013 – Journalistes derrière les barreaux, par François Janne d’Othée dans Afrique Asie (PDF)
  • 4 July 2013 – The Government of Poland and the MFA are concerned about the violence that occurred in Istanbul, Anna Sochanska in a letter to the President of EFJ
  • 2 July 2013 – Turkeyh : Press freedom fight continues as media crackdown escalates, in EFJ Focus newsletter

Continue reading

Set journalists free in Turkey: EFJ campaign update

Below is an update from the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) international campaign to set free all journalists in Turkey.

Latest News

  • 02 July 2013 – List of international and Turkish journalists and photographers injured during the Gezi Park events in Istanbul (soon available in English / in Turkish)
  • 30 June 2013 – Ground Zero – Turkey : Journalist Tim Pool’s first assignment was to do a live stream of the protests against the construction of a mall in Gezi Park (video)
  • 28 June 2013 – Lettre d’AVOCATS.BE à M. Erdogan, Premier ministre de la République de Turquie, au sujet de la situation des avocats en Turquie, in full here (Fr) (PDF)
  • 26 June 2013 – UK Parliament, Early Day Motion : Attacks On Media Freedoms In Turkey, by MP Jeremy  Corbyn e.a.
  • 25 June 2013 – Beviser plantet mod journalist (in Danish), by Esben Ørberg
  • 17 June 2013 – Der Deutsche Journalisten-Verband hat gegen die Medienhetze des türkischen Ministerpräsidenten Recep Tayyip Erdogan protestiert, in full here
  • 17 June 2013 Journalists Call for International Action to End Crackdown on Media in Turkey – Join the Action Now!
  • Continue reading

Set journalists free in Turkey: EFJ campaign update

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) pursues its international campaign to Set Free Journalists in Turkey.

Please find below the latest  news on the matter; note also that today the latest hearing in the KCK case in Istanbul takes place. EFJ is there observing the trial. You can find in-depth information following the link of 19 April. This Friday, a press conference at AJP in Brussels with observers who have been to Istanbul will report on the case.

·         19 April 2013 – KCK Press case: Set our colleagues free, says EFJ, EFJ website
·         18 April 2013 – European Parliament approves 2012 Turkey progress report, EP website
·         15 April 2013 – Tweeting Turkish pianist given sentence for blasphemy, Can Sezer/Ece Toksabay
·         8 April 2013 – Turkey peace talks positive; press freedom still in peril, Özgür Öğret
·         27 March 2013 – “Decriminalize dissent” – Amnesty International report
·         26 March 2013 – After 743 in prison still no freedom for Yalçin Küçük, EFJ website

Continue reading

Set journalists free in Turkey: EFJ campaign update

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) pursues its international campaign to Set Free Journalists in Turkey.

Please find below the latest  news on the matter; including in-depth eye-witness accounts of last Thursday’s (21 March) Odatv hearing in Istanbul.

26 March 2013 – After 743 in prison still no freedom for Yalçin Küçük, EFJ website

19 March 2013 – New OdaTV trial hearing on Thursday 21 March, EFJ website

18 March 2013 – Magazine staff arrested in Turkey, Elif Akgül, Bianet

13 March 2013 – Journalist prosecuted twice under Article 301 for comment on Armenia, Bianet

Continue reading

Set journalists free in Turkey: EFJ campaign update

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) pursues its international campaign to Set Free all Journalists in Turkey.

Please find below the latest  news on the matter.

1 March 2013 – Union thanks chancellor for having stood up for Turkish imprisoned journalists, DJV website (in DE)
·         26 Feb 2013 – Özlem Agus has been released from prison after 10 months, Bianet (in TR and here in EN)
·         25 Feb 2013 – French Senator Billout speaks at OSCE session on Turkish press freedom, Billout website (in FR)
·         22 Feb 2013 – German union demands ahead of Turkey visit for chancellor to stand up for journalists, DJV website (in DE)
·         21 Feb 2013 – EFJ fears fight against free unions in Turkey growing issue after raids of Workers union, EFJ website

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