“In Turkey, the crackdown on media has taken a turn for the worse following the July 15 coup attempt, with mass arrests of journalists and mass closures of media outlets. We urgently request your assistance in restoring the rule of law, media freedoms and freedom of expression in Turkey, as well as securing the release of several unjustly imprisoned journalists.
In the past month alone, Turkish authorities have shut down more than 131 media outlets – including newspapers, TV stations, magazines and radio stations – while 115 reporters have been arrested on charges of “membership of a terror group.” This devastating development comes as thousands of reporters have lost their jobs due to government seizures of media outlets, and because many journalists have been detained or imprisoned for refusing to print pro-government propaganda.
These journalists and more continue to face diminishing freedoms and rights in Turkey. But now, several reporters with serious health issues face major health risks as they remain unlawfully imprisoned.
Emre Soncan, a Turkish journalist covering defense and government issues, has a critical kidney disease that requires frequent doctor visits and constant supervision of his condition. Mr. Soncan is one of the 151 journalists recently arrested by Turkish authorities.
We believe that these journalists were wrongly arrested and that free speech and freedom of expression must not be punished in Turkey.
We call on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to halt his authoritarian crackdown on fundamental freedoms and the media and to uphold the principles of democracy and rule of law.
We also call for the immediate release of Emre Soncan to avoid further harm to his fragile health, and for the release of his fellow colleagues who have been unjustly imprisoned.”