If the journalists had chance to ask questions after the joint press statement of US President Trump and Turkish President Erdogan last week, probably the main issue would be the press freedom both in Turkey and the USA. According to the Journalists’ Union of Turkey, 158 journalists are imprisoned in the country, which is a higher amount than any other place on the planet. Two managers and one reporter of Sozcu, a dissident paper with high circulation, were detained and the number became 161. Financial manager of the newspaper is also under custody.

Grant holder of the paper Mr. Burak Akbay, internet edition corporate manager Ms. Melda Olgun and Izmir correspondent Mr. Gokmen Ulu are being accused of “helping the armed terrorist organisation and catalyzing the attack on the president” by Istanbul Chief Prosecutor as well as financial manager of the newspaper, Ms. Yonca Kaleli.

No press freedom, no democracy

Chairman of the Journalists’ Union of Turkey (TGS), Mr. Gokhan Durmus, made a special statement for BlastingNews about police raid on Sozcu, saying, “This is the last edge of onrush targeting the dissident media corporations in Turkey. Newspapers, TV channels and all media organs who are against Ak Party rule had been punished for years.

Sozcu incident is the newest ring of this chain. We hope it will be the last. There will be no democracy in Turkey unless the freedom of press prevails. As the Journalists’ Union of Turkey, we struggle for press freedom in our country. Without freedom of media, Turkey will be on headlines with violations of human rights and media rights.” After the warrant for custody released, Mr.

Akbay, now detained, made a statement on sozcu.com.tr saying, “I am on target because I’m a member of such a team devoted to deliver the truth to the society.” Renowned columnist of the paper, Yilmaz Ozdil said “The timing of this operation even shows its real aim.”

Timing of the raid

Prosecutor issued the warrant on 19th of May, the day that Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey started the independence struggle of the nation in 1919.

Sozcu is known to be the voice of Kemalist-secularist opposition in Turkey against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AK Party. Mr. Can Dundar, editor in chief of Cumhuriyet, another dissident newspaper stayed in jail for two years after his newspaper published photos and videos of Turkish Intelligence Agency vehicles carrying weapons to ISIL on Turkish-Syrian border.