After being jailed for 92 days, two Turkish journalists charged with revealing state secrets (for a report alleging that President Erdoğan’s government had tried to ship arms to Islamist forces in Syria in early 2014) have been released. For now at least.
Turkey’s constitutional court ruled that the rights of Erdem Gül and Can Dündar had been violated. It also said that their “freedom of expression and freedom of press” had been violated.
Upon his release, Gül criticised the politicised nature of his arrest, saying:
Our job, by nature, is auditing of those in power
But the charges against the journalists have not been dropped, as journalist Frederike Geerdink has said:
For this reason, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) have argued:
We must all continue to campaign on their behalf. We will not rest until the absurd charges against them have been dropped
According to literary freedom group Pen International, there is still a “dire situation for freedom of expression in Turkey”. And this is why St. Lawrence University’s Howard Eissenstat has insisted:
The release of Can Dündar and Erdem Gül should be celebrated. But we mustn’t lose sight of the larger reality. Attacks on the press freedom continue apace in Turkey.
Geerdink gives some examples:
In particular, she says, Kurdish journalists have suffered significant persecution:
In other words, until every journalist imprisoned in Turkey is freed, there is no cause for celebration.
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