Reporters Without Borders calls on EU to press Erdogan to free Cumhuriyet journalists

The statement said RSF urges European Council President Donald Tusk and the leaders of the individual EU countries to use the summit to insist on the release of journalists and, more broadly, respect for media freedom as prior conditions for better bilateral relations.

“Cumhuriyet is one of the spearheads of independent journalism in Turkey and Can Dundar is an information hero of which Turkey should be proud,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.

“RSF awarded Cumhuriyet its 2015 Press Freedom Prize in the media category in Strasbourg on 17 November. Attacked by President Erdogan in person, Dundar delivered a powerful, profound and courageous address. He is one of the democracy watchdogs that the Turkish authorities are muzzling with increasing violence.”

RSF also launched a petition for the immediate release of the two journalists.

Cumhuriyet’s Dundar and the paper’s Ankara representative Erdem Gul were arrested late on Thursday on charges of being members of a terror organization, espionage and revealing confidential documents — charges that could see them spend life in prison. Dundar and Gul were arrested as part of a terrorism investigation which was launched after Cumhuriyet published photos in May of weapons which it said were transferred to Syria in trucks operated by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT).

Dundar and Gul were taken to Silivri Prison after the court’s decision. “Don’t worry, these are medals of honor for us,” Dundar was quoted by Cumhuriyet’s website as saying on Thursday night.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN

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