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MEPs call on Turkey to free journalists

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MEPs call on Turkey to free journalists

Turkey - EU

(STRASBOURG) - The European Parliament called on Turkish authorities in a resolution adopted on Thursday to free journalists being held "without compelling evidence of criminal activity.

Since the failed coup on 15 July, the Turkish government has arrested at least 99 journalists and writers, revoked the press credentials of at least 330 journalists, and closed the offices of more than 100 media outlets, leaving over 2,300 media workers without jobs.

Journalists should not be detained on the basis of the content of their journalism or alleged affiliations", said MEPs, who called on the "Turkish authorities to release the journalists and media workers being held without compelling evidence of criminal activity" following the coup attempt of 15 July which led to

  • at least 99 journalists and writers being arrested, denied the right of access to a lawyer and kept in inhumane conditions in which they are threatened and mistreated, according to the European Federation of Journalists and the Turkish Journalists' Association;
  • the closing of the offices of more than 100 broadcasters, newspapers, magazines, publishers and distribution companies, leaving over 2,300 journalists and media workers without jobs,
  • and the revocation of at least 330 journalists' press credentials, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The resolution strongly condemned the attempted coup and supported "the legitimate institutions of Turkey and their right to respond" to the failed military take-over, but stressed that this event cannot be used as an excuse to further stifle legitimate and peaceful opposition and to prevent journalists from exercising their freedom of expression.

"A free and pluralistic press is an essential component of any democracy" and open society, they recalled.

Turkey's government should "narrow the scope of the emergency measures, so that they can no longer be used to curtail freedom of expression" and not use the "broadly defined Turkish anti-terrorism legislation" to punish journalists, stressed MEPs.

They called on the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the EU Member States to continue monitoring closely the practical implications of the state of emergency declared following the coup attempt and prolonged by 90 days from 19 October.

Further information, European Parliament

Adopted text (2016/2935(RSP)) on the situation of journalists in Turkey (27.10.2016)

Procedure file

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