Turkey releases five more journalists

New York, May 12, 2014–The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release from jail today of five Turkish journalists–Nurettin Fırat, Yüksel Genç, Turabi Kişin, Ertuş Bozkurt, and Ramazan Pekgöz. The journalists were arrested in December 2011 as part of the Turkish government’s crackdown on pro-Kurdish news outlets and were accused of membership or participation in the banned Union of Communities in Kurdistan party, or KCK. The journalists are under a travel ban and still face charges, according to reports.

“Turkey is taking the right steps toward bringing its press freedom record in line with democratic standards, but more needs to be done,” said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. “Turkish authorities should remove the travel bans imposed on the journalists, drop all criminal charges, and release all other journalists behind bars in the country.”

With these and other recent releases, Turkey is holding at least 11 journalists in jail. When CPJ conducted its most recent prison census in December 2013, the country was holding at least 40 journalists behind bars.