The International and European Federation of Journalists, (IFJ and EFJ), together with their affiliate Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS), demanded today the European Union’s leaders to react to the media oppression imposed by the Turkish authorities. The press briefing, organised by both Federations at the Press Club Brussels, followed the seizure of one of Turkey’s leading newspapers, Zaman, on 4 March in Istanbul, and had two of the newspaper’s leading journalists as participants.
Today’s “When is the EU-Turkey summit on press freedom?” press briefing speakers were Sevgi Akarcesme, Editor of Today’s Zaman newspaper, Selçuk Gültasli, Zaman’s Brussels Bureau Chief, and Oliver Money-Kyrle, Assistant General Secretary of International Federation of Journalists.
Sevgi Akarcesme, Editor of Today’s Zaman, witnessed the takeover of Today’s Zaman in Istanbul and told that the journalists have no authority over the newspaper anymore. “It was a traumatic experience. Turkey is a hell for journalists at the moment.”
She described how the Turkish people are living in the darkness. “Due to the silence of the Turkish media, the world knows better what is going on in Turkey than the Turkish people do. Majority of the people are not even aware of the oppression of the media.”
Selçuk Gültasli, Zaman’s Brussels Bureau Chief, said he is disappointed with the EU’s reaction. “The EU has never been so hopeless with Turkey.”
The IFJ and the EFJ strongly condemned the political seizure of Zaman and the attack against press freedom.
Oliver Money-Kyrle, IFJ Assistant General Secretary, said that “the EU should not compromise fundamental human rights just because of the refugee crisis. A concrete plan of actions for EU leaders negotiating with Turkey’s leadership should start with the release of jailed journalists, stopping the seizure of Zaman media group, ending the prosecution and oppression against media professionals and respect the basic standards for a fair, balanced and independant media coverage.”