World Association of News Publishers

Protest Campaign - Turkey, 9 March 2011

Protest Campaign - Turkey, 9 March 2011

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Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Prime Minister of Turkey
Ankara, Turkey

9 March 2011


Dear Prime Minister,

We are writing on behalf of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum, which represent 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries, to express our serious concern at the intensifying crackdown on journalists in the alleged Ergenekon plot.

According to reports, ten journalists and writers, including Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener, were arrested last week after police raided their homes. Three other journalists were arrested two weeks ago. All of them are accused of being involved in the alleged Ergenekon plot to overthrow the government.

Mr Şık and Mr Şener were formally arrested on 6 March, three days after their detention, on charges of "being a member of the Ergenekon organization". Prosecutors had initially demanded that the pair also face charges of “inciting hatred and animosity among the public”, but the court dismissed this charge. Mr Şık and Mr Şener were transferred to Istanbul’s Metris Prison.

Five other journalists – Doğan Yurdakul, Coşkun Musluk, Sait Çakır, Yalçın Küçük and Müyesser Yıldız – also appeared in court on 6 March with a police request that they be formally arrested in connection with the alleged plot. On the same day, three suspects who had been detained during raids last month on the critical web portal Oda TV were released.

We are seriously concerned that 63 journalists are reportedly under arrest in Turkey, many of whom have been charged in connection with the Ergenekon investigation.

We respectfully remind you that the jailing of Mr Şık, Mr Şener and others for carrying out their duties as journalists and writers violates numerous international conventions, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 of the Declaration states: 'Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media, regardless of frontiers.'

We call on you to take all necessary steps to ensure that Mr Şık, Mr Şener and all others held for exercising their right to freedom of expression are immediately released and that all charges against them are dropped. We ask you to do everything possible to ensure that in future your country fully respects international standards of press freedom.

We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely,

Gavin O’Reilly
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

Erik Bjerager
World Editors Forum




WAN-IFRA is the global organisation for the world’s newspapers and news publishers, with formal representative status at the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. The organization groups 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries.


Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2011-03-14 16:54

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In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...