Turkey must lift ban on pro-Kurdish daily

New York, March 26, 2012–The Committee to Protect Journalists is outraged by the one-month suspension of pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem, and calls on the Turkish government to allow the newspaper to function. 

“We are appalled by the police raid and court suspension of Özgür Gündem and call on Turkish authorities to return confiscated copies and allow the daily to resume its work immediately,” said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova. “The government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claims commitment to reform yet continues to use trumped-up charges to silence press outlets that cover sensitive issues. To be meaningful, pledges must be consistent with actions.”

On Saturday, an Istanbul court ordered Özgür Gündem‘s closure after local police raided its office on Friday and confiscated copies of the next edition. The court found the paper to be spreading “terrorist propaganda.” In December, Istanbul police raided the daily’s headquarters and arrested nine of its journalists for alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). All nine remain imprisoned.