Letter to Turkey's Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ

November 13, 2014 3:47 PM ET

November 4, 2014

Mr. Bekir Bozdağ

Minister of Justice

Republic of Turkey Ministry of Justice

06669 Kizilay/Ankara

Turkey

Via Facsimile: +90-0312-419-33-70

Via E-mail: [email protected]

Via Turkish Embassy in Washington, DC

Dear Justice Minister Bozdağ,

We are writing to follow up on our October 2 meeting at the Justice Ministry and to thank you for hosting our delegation. We are also grateful that you took the time to discuss our concerns about Turkey's press freedom record--specifically, the continued imprisonment of journalists in the country and the need for wholesale judicial reform that would improve working conditions for the press.

As agreed, we are sending this letter to follow up on three specific points of action:

  • Beginning in January, we would like to begin a comprehensive, independent review of the cases of the seven journalists remaining in prison in Turkey. As discussed, we will contract a qualified Turkish lawyer to carry out such a review. We appreciate your offer to facilitate the process by making available all relevant legal materials.

  • New legislation passed earlier this year has been criticized for giving broad powers to Turkey's intelligence agencies to collect personal data, including from Internet service providers and telecommunications companies, without a court order. We would appreciate an update on the legal reform process--particularly of the penal, anti-terror, media, and defamation legislation--as well as of laws pertaining to the Internet and the work of the State Intelligence Services and the National Intelligence Agency.

  • We would also like to request an update on the status of investigation into cases of police misconduct against journalists covering street protests. (We will later submit to you separate cases of such abuse as documented by CPJ.)

Thank you very much again for your time and consideration. We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Joel Simon

CPJ Executive Director

CC List:

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Turkey

Ahmet Davutoğlu, Prime Minister of Turkey

Serdar Kılıç, Turkey's Ambassador to the United States

Sandra Mims Rowe, Chairman of the Board, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

Anne Garrels, CPJ board member

David Schlesinger, CPJ board member

Jacob Weisberg, CPJ board member

Andrew Alexander, CPJ board member

Steven Isenberg, CPJ board member

Mhamed Krichen, CPJ board member

Nina Ognianova, CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator

Alison Bethel McKenzie, Executive Director of the International Press Institute

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