CPJ calls for charges to be dropped against Turkish editor

New York, October 14, 2015–The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release from prison of Bülent Keneş, editor-in-chief of the English-language daily Today’s Zaman, who was arrested on Friday on charges of insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Twitter. The daily reported today that the İstanbul 7th Penal Court of Peace ordered Keneş to be released pending trial, but barred him from traveling abroad. Keneş will have to register every Sunday with the local police station.

“Turkish leaders must learn to tolerate the public criticism that comes with the highest of political offices,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. “While we are relieved that Bülent Keneş is no longer in jail, we call on authorities to drop the charges against him, restore his freedom of movement, and allow him to work without restriction.”

Keneş was initially placed in İstanbul’s Metris Prison after his arrest on Friday, then moved to the city’s high-security Silivri Prison on Monday, according to news reports. In its September report “Balancing Act: Press freedom at risk as EU struggles to match action with values,” CPJ highlights Turkey’s poor press freedom record and calls on the European Union to make press freedom a focal point in its accession negotiations with the country.

  • For data and analysis on Turkey, visit CPJ’s Turkey page.