The colleagues of journalists Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener are going to voice their demands for the "release of the arrested journalists", "press freedom" and "essential freedoms" on 1 May when they will accompany the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK).
Journalists Şık and Şener were taken into custody on 3 March this year and arrested three days later in the scope of the Ergenekon investigation, a probe into a clandestine ultra-nationalist organization charged with plotting to overthrow the government.
On Tuesday (26 April), a group of approximately 200 people expressed their protest in a walk from Sultanahmet to Beyazit in the historic part of Istanbul. They chanted slogans like "Everybody needs a free press", "A free press cannot be silenced", "We will touch even if we get burned" or "Ahmet and Nedim will come out and write again".
A banner featuring "Don't touch my news" was carried in front of the demonstration that was supported by the Freedom for Journalists Platform (GÖP), the Turkish Journalists Union (TGS), the Turkish Journalists Association (TGC) and DİSK members of the Masdaf and Casper companies.
The group was also joined by students from the Istanbul University when it passed by the university's main campus. Radikal newspaper writer Özgür Mumcu read out a joint press release on behalf of the group.
Mumcu stated that it was not important whether the political party in power, the Fettullah Gülen movement, the military or the deep state were responsible for the silencing of journalists. He emphasized that they were against anybody who violated the freedom of the press.
Şener and Şık in prison for 52 days
Mumcu pointed out that the people who held the power in the early 20th century silenced dissident journalists by killing them. "Today, unpublished books are being seized; 'journalistic activities' are being associated with terrorism; journalists are being arrested without saying what they are accused of", he criticized.
Mumcu highlighted the fact that journalists Şık and Şener have been imprisoned for one month and 22 days. "It is not just a matter of press freedom; it is the right of the people to know what is going on. A regime that does not inform the people is not democratic", he indicated.
Press Labour Law not applied
Mumcu claimed that the press is going through one of the most difficult periods ever. "There is monopolization and all sorts of going along with the power on one hand. On the other hand, there is unionization, a violation of fundamental rights and a failure in applying the Press Labour Law", he warned.
He drew attention to the fact that more than 57 journalists are currently imprisoned and that more than 4,000 trials are pending against journalists.
Strongest impetus since 1980
"Turkey cannot become more democratic, freer or distribute welfare more evenly with a fettered press. Journalists will be part of the 1 May demonstrations with an impetus that has not been seen since 12 September 1980 [military coup]", Mumcu announced.
DİSK Secretary General Tayfun Görgün declared, "The problems of the people who stand up against all kinds of oppression and for the people's right to be informed, of the people who struggle with their heart and soul, these problems are also the problems of the working class".
The Students Youth Union Genç-Sen, the Youth Opposition, the Turkish Communist Part y (TKP), the Youth Organization and the journalism students of Istanbul University announced to be on Taksim Square on 1 May. (NV/BB)