Police officers are seen in Diyarbakir, Turkey, on April 9, 2020. Police in Diyarbakir recently detained at least nine journalists. (Reuters/Sertac Kayar)

At least 9 journalists detained in Turkish city of Diyarbakır

Istanbul, June 8, 2022 – In response to multiple news reports that Turkish authorities detained several journalists in the southeastern city of Diyarbakır on Wednesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement of condemnation:

“Turkish authorities’ arbitrary detention of at least nine journalists today marks another dark day for the press in the country,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, in New York. “Authorities should be ashamed of their raids on newsrooms and journalists’ homes. The journalists targeted for detention should be released immediately and without charge.”

Those news reports stated that at least 21 people had been arrested since the early morning of Wednesday, June 8; CPJ was able to confirm that at least nine are presently working as journalists.

Police in Diyarbakır raided the newsroom of the pro-Kurdish website Jin News, confiscated computer hard drives, and also detained Jin News manager Safiye Alagaş and editor Gülşen Koçuk after raiding their homes and confiscating their phones and other equipment, according to those reports, which said authorities did not provide information to the journalists’ lawyers about the operations or the investigation.

Diyarbakır police also detained pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya News Agency editors Aziz Oruç and Mehmet Ali Ertaş, former Mezopotamya editor Ömer Çelik, freelance journalists Lezgin Akdeniz, Kadir Bayram, and Serdar Altan, and Mehmet Şahin, a columnist with the Kurdish-language weekly Xwebûn, those reports said.

CPJ emailed the Diyarbakır chief prosecutor’s office for comment, but did not receive any reply.