Target: Binali Yildirim, Prime Minister of Turkey
Goal: Release all detained journalists pending trial and drop charges in cases lacking concrete evidence.
In Turkey, nine journalists and board members from an opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet have been arrested. Since the declaration of a state of emergency earlier this year in the wake of an attempted coup, over 100 journalists and media professionals have been arrested and 169 outlets have been shuttered. The media outlets that were shut down span the political spectrum, though many have previously been critical of president Erdogan’s government or specific policies, have dedicated reporting to coverage of human rights abuses, or are Kurdish language outlets.
Most arrested have either been accused of supporting the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a group considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. and Turkey, or the ‘Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization,’ an organization allegedly linked to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, which the Turkish government claim masterminded the attempted coup. This is all despite the fact that prosecutors seem to lack credible evidence to back up many of these charges. Sign our petition to demand freedom for all journalists in pretrial detention and demand that prosecutors either produce credible evidence or drop charges.
Dear Prime Minister Yildirim,
I was shocked to hear of continued arrests of journalists under charges of association with either the PKK or the Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization, most recently shown in the arrest of nine Cumhuriyet journalists and board members. Since the attempted coup, 169 media organizations have been closed, and over 112 journalists arrested on similar charges. However, in many of those cases, there seems to be no credible evidence to support charges. Nevertheless, these journalists — a protected profession under international law — have been subjected to pretrial detention periods in excess of three months. I urge you to do everything in your power to ensure all journalists in pretrial detention are released and all charges not backed by credible evidence are dismissed.
Secondly, I believe that decrees number 668 and 675 must be repealed for the health of Turkish democracy. While I understand your nation faces threats both internal and external, those two laws make it far too easy to use unfounded charges to stifle freedom of the press. While, currently, you may not feel their impact, there is no telling how such arbitrary and vague laws could be used in the future. I urge you to do everything in your power to repeal them.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Clarita