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Officials from Turkey and Europe, right and press organizations have reacted against the arrest of Turkey Human Rights Foundation (TİHV) Chair Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Turkey Representative and bianet rapporteur Erol Önderoğlu, and journalist author Ahmet Nesin.
EU: “It goes against freedom of the press”
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission in the Juncker Commission, Federica Mogherini and European Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn have released a joint statement as to the arrest of three Editors-in-Chief of Özgür Gündem daily.
The statement drawing attention to “presumption of innocence” has stated that “The EU has repeatedly stressed that Turkey must aspire to the highest possible democratic standards and practices”.
“The arrest of the President of Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT), Prof. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, and of two journalists, Erol Önderoğlu (from Reporters Without Borders) and Ahmet Nesin, today goes against Turkey's commitment to respect the fundamental rights, including freedom of media. Any alleged wrongdoing or crime should be subject to due process, and respect to the principle of presumption of innocence should be guaranteed.
“The EU has repeatedly stressed that Turkey, as a candidate country, must aspire to the highest possible democratic standards and practices. Any country negotiating its EU accession must guarantee human rights, in line with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Free, diverse and independent media are essential in any democratic society”.
HRW: The investigation must be dropped
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has stated that key figures in the field of human rights have been arrested and that demanded that the charges be dropped immediately.
HRW Europe and Central Asia Director Hugh Williamson has made the following statement:
“An academic and two journalists who have played a key role in Turkey’s human rights movement have been jailed pending investigation into spurious allegations of spreading terrorist propaganda.
“They should be released immediately and the investigation dropped.
“The decision to demand the detention of Önderoğlu, Fincancı, and Nesin is a shocking new indication that the Turkish authorities have no hesitation about targeting well-known rights defenders and journalists who have played a key role in documenting the sharp deterioration in human rights in the country”.
PEN: They must be immediately released
PEN Turkey Administrative Board has made following statement as to the arrests:
“In terms of freedom of expression and thought, this arrest is terrifying. If journalism profession and solidarity is considered a crime in this country, then it means that country has turned its face to darkness, not light.
“We condemn this situation which has no place in consciences and law and that ask for the arrestees to be released immediately”.
EuroMed: Put an end to harassment
Europe-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EuroMed) in its statement asked for the following demands to be met:
- Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Erol Önderoğlu and Ahmet Nesin, in all circumstances;
- Release them immediately and unconditionally, and drop all charges against them and all those who served as editors-in-chief of the newspaper Özgür Gündem, since their arbitrary detention prevents their freedom of expression and their human rights activities held in solidarity of freedom of press;
- Put an end to all acts of harassment, intimidation against all human rights defenders and journalists, including those at judicial level;
- Put an end to the crackdown on human rights defenders in line with Turkey’s international commitments;
- Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. (AS/TK)
This publication has been produced within the partnership with Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso for the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), co-funded by the European Commission. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of IPS Communication Foundation and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.
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