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 “Frederike Geerdink: Reporting under siege in Turkey”

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

Free Media Union reports on chemical weapons attacks in Rojava

The Free Media Union, an independent body of Rojava-based journalists and activists, has released new report documenting the extreme violence and torture against Kurdish civilians in Kobane and surrounding areas. The reports also look into allegations of the use of chemical weapons against Kurdish fighters by ISIS. The report includes graphic and disturbing images.

Free Media Union: ISIS violations and chemical weapons on civilians in Kobani canton (pdf)

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.

Continue reading “Freelance journalist working in Kurdistan responds to RSF allegations against PYD”

Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers defends Turkish colleague

 

The Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers has written an open letter to the President of Turkey expressing grave concern over charges against their colleague Ramazan Demir, a lawyer and member of the Istanbul Bar who is facing disciplinary charges for allegedly “offending the dignity of a public authority in the performance of its duties” while defending his client in court during the KCK trial of 44 journalists in Istanbul. 

To: President of Turkey, Mr. Abdullah Gül, Cumhurbaskanligi 06100 Ankara, Turkey; Email: cumhurbaskanligi@tccb.gov.tr

27 November 2013

Letter of Concern regarding Av. Ramazan Demir/Istanbul Bar

 

Dear Mr. President,

On behalf of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers I am writing to express our serious concern about the charges against our colleague Advocate Ramazan Demir. We know Adv. Demir as a highly responsible lawyer and we are greatly concerned to hear of these attacks on his professional integrity.

Continue reading “Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers defends Turkish colleague”

Petitions for Turkey’s oppressed lawyers and journalists

This week we received information about two important petitions that need your support.

The first is a Change.org petition for Selçuk Kozağaçlı and his colleagues at the Progressive Lawyers’ Association in Turkey who have been in detention without bail since their arrest in January this year:

AVUKATIM/MESLEKTAŞIM DERHÂL SERBEST BIRAKILSIN! RELEASE MY LAWYER/COLLEAGUE RİGHT NOW!
Read more about the arrests here

The second calls for justice for journalists in Turkey and is one the European Federation of Journalists’ (EFJ) many efforts in the last two years to oppose government repression of journalists and media workers in Turkey:

Justice for Journalists in Turkey
Journalists are not terrorists. The justice system in Turkey has failed its journalists.
To find out more about theEFJ’s Set Journalists Free in Turkey campaign, go to their website.

Please sign the petitions and share widely!

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”