Turkish journalists detained in dawn raids after Press Freedom Day
Three Turkish journalists were detained by the police in several cities of Turkey in early morning dawn raids at their homes, raising concerns yet again among media advocates about the state of journalism and free expression in the country.
Just a day after the observance of Press Freedom Day, Firat Can Arslan, Delal Akyuz and Sibel Yukler were taken into custody because they posted news stories about the transfer of the prosecutor and judge who prepared the indictment against previously arrested journalists, who were kept in prison for 400 days.
As part of an investigation launched by the Diyarbakir Prosecutor's Office, police conducted a raid at the residence of Mezopotamya Agency correspondent Delal Akyuz in Izmir. During the search, despite the requirement to wear protective shoe covers, some police officers did not comply with the rule. When objected to, one of the officers claimed that wearing shoe covers was not necessary, saying, "It's fine, you can clean it up."
Akyuz was taken to the Izmir Provincial Police Department in Cankaya after being detained.
As of now, there is no information available about whether Akyuz will be taken to Diyarbakır.
Journalist Fırat Can Arslan from Mezopotamya Agency was also detained in a raid at his home in capital Ankara. Arslan was taken to Ankara Police Department.
During the raid, Arslan's phone and computer were seized.
Journalist Sibel Yükler, an editor at T24, was also taken into custody in a similar manner with a raid at her home in Ankara. She was reported to be taken to Ankara Police Department.
According to the news from Mezopotamya Agency, Delal Akyuz was detained for retweeting a news article on her Twitter account, and it was alleged that her post "targeted individuals who had participated in counter-terrorism operations."
The mentioned post was about the news of a prosecutor and a judge in the trial of 18 journalists who were detained in Diyarbakır and released after 13 months, and the reshuffling of their positions in the judicial system.
It is presumed that Sibel Yükler and Fırat Can Arslan were also detained under the same grounds.
The first trial of the journalists, who were arrested on June 16, 2022, took place on July 11.
The detained journalists faced charges of "membership in a terrorist organization."
During the trial, it was revealed that the spouse of the investigating prosecutor was a member of the court panel. The journalists' lawyers filed a motion to disqualify the judge, but the request was not accepted.
The detentions were protested by journalism and human rights organizations.
The Progressive Journalists' Union (Disk Basın İş) tweeted, "You cannot fight for truth this way. Release our colleagues immediately."