New York, September 15, 2017–The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on Turkish authorities to immediately release photojournalist Çağdaş Erdoğan, and drop the anti-state charges against him. An Istanbul court on September 13 formally charged Erdoğan with terrorism, according to the volunteer journalist collective 140journos.
Police detained Erdoğan on September 2 in Istanbul while he was photographing a National Intelligence Agency building, according to the English-language website Turkey Purge, which reports on arrests in Turkey. Authorities accused Erdoğan of being a member of the banned Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), the journalist’s friend told CPJ today in an email. Turkey classifies the PKK as a terrorist organization.
“Photographing a building is not even a crime much less an act of terrorism,” said CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney. “Çağdaş Erdoğan is being punished for being a journalist whose work the authorities don’t want published. These preposterous charges should be dropped, and he should be freed immediately along with the scores of other journalists in Turkish jails.”
Valentina Abenavoli, who published Erdoğan’s first book, said Turkish authorities arrested the photographer because he documented conflict in the country’s Kurdish regions, according to Deutschewelle. Erdoğan’s work has appeared in The New York Times, the Guardian, BBC, Buzzfeed, and other outlets.