IFJ to Turkey: Stop threats and violence against journalists and academics

The International and European Federations of Journalists, (IFJ) and (EFJ), strongly condemn physical attacks against IMC TV reporter and cameraman Refik Tekin and other press correspondents who were reporting from Cizre (Southeast of Turkey) on 20 January about the ongoing state of emergency.

According to local reports, 10 people including journalist Refik Tekin have been gunned by unidentified special operations police forces and members of gendarmerie special operations active in Cizre. Tekin, who was reporting the situation from the ground for the last 38 days along with other colleagues, is now suffering from bullet in his left leg.

The IFJ and EFJ wish quick recovery for affected journalists and media workers and will report those new violations to the Opens external link in new Council of Europe’s platform for the protection and safety of journalists and to the Opens external link in new Mapping Media Freedom project.

The ongoing intensive fighting in Turkey’s Kurdish regions between Turkish military, police forces and the PKK supporters, plus the regular terrorist attacks claimed by the so-called Islamic State militants, make the area extremely dangerous for journalists and media workers.

Many voices in Turkey have been recently raised to put an end to the use of violence and to critisize the permanent state of emergency imposed by Turkish authorities. The European Union’s External Action Service (EEAS) recently addressed the “extremely worrying development” in Turkey regarding the legal steps taken against the 1.128 university professors and over 355 researchers who signed a declaration calling to end the state violence in the Kurdish regions and prepare negotiation conditions.

The IFJ and EFJ consider this case as an application of the “academic freedom” principle which states that scholars must have freedom to teach or share opinions and ideas without being targeted with legal procedures, job loss or jail sentences.

Both federations express their support to Turkish academics under prosecution and remind the Turkish authorities that freedom of expression has an essential role to play in every democratic society, helping to foster the development of an open, tolerant society in which human rights – including press freedom – must be respected.

The authorities are asked to immediately drop all the charges against those intellectuals. The Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS), an IFJ and EFJ affiliate, has expressed “solidarity with colleagues working in the region to inform us.”

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