"Freedom for Journalists" was the demand of the protestors on 3 March who marked the first anniversary of the arrest of journalists Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener with a demonstration.
Şık and Şener were taken into custody and arrested three days later, on 3 March 2011, under allegations of membership of the Ergenekon terrorist organization, a clandestine network charged with the attempt to topple the government.
The demonstration in Taksim (Istanbul) on Saturday morning (3 March) was organized by ANGA, the organization founded by the "Journalist Friends of Ahmet and Nedim".
The protestors gathered at 11.00 hrs to walk towards Galatasaray along the popular Istiklal Avenue. They chanted the slogans "We do touch even if we get burnt" and "Ahmet and Nedim will come out and write again". The demonstration was supported by the Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP), the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), the Community Centres organization and the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP).
A press release was read on behalf of ANGA at the end of the protest march on Galatasaray square. "Exactly one year ago two journalists, Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener, were put behind bars because they tried to tell you the truth", the announcement started.
One year after Şık coined the phrase "Those who touch get burned", oppression has even increased, ANGA claimed.
"In the meantime, the number of journalists thrown into prison by the state and the religious community doubled. They continued the operation to silence them not only by imprisoning them but also by laying them off".
"Those who replaced the ones who shot journalists in the past again attacked journalists first".
ANGA emphasized that the evidence shown as reasons for the imprisonment of journalists solely consisted of journalistic activities and books. "To the contrary, we experienced that what was written in a yet unpublished book that was accounted for as evidence was the truth", it was said.
"By putting people to prison, the new rulers who seized the state are trying to achieve what they were not able to achieve with their old tactics by killing Uğur Mumcu, Musa Anter, İzzet Kezer or Hrant Dink".
The press release also mentioned the news by Zeynep Kuray, herself imprisoned at the Bakırköy (Istanbul) Women Prison, regarding the employment of women in prison without wages. It was said in this context that journalists could not be silenced by being put behind bars.
"Regardless whether they are inside or outside prison, we as journalists will continue to write, tell and explain the truth".
The press release was finished with the words "Even if we get burned we will touch".
Subsequent to the press release, the ANGA members joined the weekly meeting of the Saturday Mothers/People held on the Galatasaray Square at noon every Saturday.
After that, they participated in a protest march starting from the square that was related to journalists Tuncay Özkan and Mustafa Balbay who have now stayed together in a prison cell designed for a single person for a whole year. (AS)