Target: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Goal: Release unjustly detained members of the media
Recent raids by Turkish police have led to the arrests of at least 20 members of a local media outlet, which owns TV stations and newspapers throughout the country. The media outlet is thought to have ties with the presidential opposition party. Those arrested are being accused by the Turkish government of attempting to form a coup and seize control of the state. Turkey is one of the lowest ranking countries in the press freedom index, according to Reporters Without Borders.
The arrests happened almost one year after massive corruption allegations against the current president—then prime minister—were brought to light, forcing four ministers to resign. Many of the allegations against the party were leveled by Fethullah Gulen, who is currently in self-imposed exile and is believed to have ties with the media outlet. The media outlet also collected and exposed documents and recordings to the public, incriminating Erdogan and his party.
The raids and arrests are in clear violation of freedom of expression in Turkey. No evidence of the so-called “parallel state” President Erdogan claims is attempting to take control of the nation has been presented, but those arrested in the raids were instrumental in bringing to public light the government’s mass corruption in 2013, leading many to believe that these arrests are little more than an attempt to quiet dissent and deter opposition.
It is unlikely that the 20 media representatives are being detained for anything more than making the public aware of the leading party’s abuses and injustices, but if there is evidence that those detained have been planning to overturn the government, the public must be shown whatever proof is available. Without presenting evidence against the detainees, the Turkish government is arbitrarily detaining these prisoners in direct violation of international human rights law.
Sign this petition demanding the release of all journalists and media arrested for exposing corruption in the Turkish government.
Dear President Erdogan,
The recent raids and arrests of 20 members of a media outlet believed to have links to the opposition are a clear disruption of freedom of press. You have said that they were arrested for attempting to form a “parallel state” and overthrow the government, but no proof has been presented to support that belief. In 2013, however, the newspapers and TV stations those you arrested work for did run pieces exposing corruption in your political party.
These arrests are a violation of free speech and human rights laws. It seems clear that these arrests were meant only to quiet and frighten your opposition from speaking out against real political injustices.
I urge you to immediately release the detained members of the media.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Nérostrateur via Wikimedia Commons