The daily Özgür Gündem and Dicle News Agency, and as well as in the Istanbul offices of Etik News Agency, Gün Printing Office and Democratic Modernity magazine have been raided according to the ANF News agency (20.12.11).  The raids have been carried out in the context of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) operation, an umbrella organisation is accused of being affiliated with the PKK. So far, eight journalists are formally charged. Since the raids started hundreds of journalists in Istanbul and many other parts of Turkey and Europe have taken to the streets in order to show their protest. The operations which seem to be instructed by the Istanbul 12th High Criminal Court has alarmed human rights organisations, journalist associations and press freedom activists all over the world.
The recent operations are just another example of Turkey’s failed policy towards its own citizens and will only make it harder to develop a new and just democratic constitution for Turkey. In its 2011 Resolution following the 8th International Conference on EU Turkey and the Kurds in the European Parliament the EUTCC deplores the high number of journalists who are still in prison in Turkey and the recent decision of the Constitutional Court on 2 May 2011 to amend the Press Law to allow prosecutors to file criminal cases against journalists years after their articles were published. According to an OSCE commission report, in April 2011 Turkey had the highest number journalists in prison in Turkey at 57. Today the CNN International edition states that Turkey follows China as the country where the highest number of journalists is in prison (21.12.11).

The EUTCC calls upon the public and civil society in Turkey, and the international community, to strongly condemn the operations against the free Kurdish press, and the detention of media workers. The EUTCC urges all democratic forces to support and promote the peace-making process in Turkey. We regret the weak attitude of the EU and the member states with regards to the Kurdish question, the continued criminalization of the Kurds and Kurdish organisations, and their silence regarding Turkey’s negative attitude to the Kurds.

The EUTCC calls on Turkish authorities to immediately stop the operations towards Kurdish media and media members, which only serves to closing the door on criticism and dissent. If Turkey seeks a democratic future for the country and all its citizens, this is definitely not the way to handle it. 
  Kariane Westrheim   Michael Gunter   Hans Brancheidt   Judge Essa Moosa  
  Chair of EUTCC   Secretary general   Board of Directors   Board of Directors 

For information contact:
Kariane Westrheim, [email protected], +47 976 42 088
Kariane Westrheim, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Education
Faculty of Psychology
University of Bergen
Christiesgt 13
5020 Bergen, Norway
Office   +47 55 58 87 97
Mobile +47 976 42 088