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Several of the worldand’s leading journalistic bodies, including Pen International (PEN), have criticized the imprisonment of 28 journalists in Turkey at a meeting held to commemorate the Day of the Imprisoned Writer, an annual international day intended to support writers who are currently imprisoned.
The meeting, held by the Turkey branch of PEN, the Turkish Publishers Association (TYB), the PEN International Writers in Prison Committee and the Writersand’ Union of Turkey (TYS) on Sunday, underlined that Turkey is experiencing hardship regarding freedom of speech and press freedoms.
The Day of the Imprisoned Writer was started in 1981 by the PEN International Writers in Prison Committee and is observed each year on Nov. 15.
The participants of the meeting announced that Turkey has 28 journalists currently in prison, one of the highest figures in the world.
Ali Konar, Erdal Sandusem, Erol Zavar, Ferhat andciftandci, Gurbet andcakar, Hamit Dilbahar, Hatice Duman, Kamuran Sunbat, Kenan Karavil, Mikail Barut, Mikdat Algandul, Mustafa GandOk, Tahsin Saialtici, Nuri Yeiil, Sami Tunca, Sevcan Atak, Seyithan Akyanduz, iahabattin Demir, Yilmaz Kahraman, andOzgandur Amed, Muhammed ismael Rosool, Cevheri Ganduven, Murat andcapan, idris Yilmaz and Vildan Atmaca are among those imprisoned in Turkey.
Also, Hidayet Karaca, the CEO of Samanyolu Broadcasting Group, has been in jail since Dec. 14, 2014 after he was detained along with 30 other suspects, including Zaman daily former Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanli, as part of a crackdown on dissenting media by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).
Another journalist, Mehmet Baransu from the Taraf daily, was arrested in March on charges of publishing classified documents from a 2004 National Security Council (MGK) meeting. He faces a prison term of 52 years.
Gandultekin Avci, a columnist for the Bugandun daily and a former public prosecutor, was arrested in September on charges of being part of a coup attempt and a member of a terrorist organization based on articles he wrote about the Iran-backed Tawhid-Salam spy ring.
Seven of Avciand’s columns were submitted as evidence for his alleged crimes. Tawhid-Salam is an Iran-backed terrorist organization and has been recognized by the Supreme Court of Appeals as such on three separate occasions — in 2002, 2006 and 2014.
The president of TYS, Metin Celandacircl Zeynioilu, on Saturday decried the removal of channels and radio stations owned by the Samanyolu Broadcasting Corporation from the state-owned Turkish Satellite Communications Company (Tandurksat) infrastructure.
and”In the past, if a journalist was detained or if a channel was blacked out, there would be an outcry,and” Zeynioilu said. and”Now, the ipek Media Group is overrun by trustees and the Samanyolu Broadcasting Group is being taken off air, but we canand’t do anything.and”
and”In Turkey, we have become used to it,and” Zeynioilu added.
On Oct. 27, an Ankara court ordered the takeover of Koza ipek Holding, which owns the ipek Media Group, appointing trustees to run its five critical media outlets — Bugandun TV, Kanaltandurk, the Bugandun daily, the Millet daily and the Kanaltandurk radio station.
The channels and dailies were turned into a government mouthpiece just a short while after their seizure, with the trustees sacking 82 journalists and appointing new pro-government replacements.
The Bugandun TV, Kanaltandurk, Shaber and Samanyolu channels have become targets of the government crackdown because they are considered to be sympathetic to the Gandulen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, which is a grassroots social initiative inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gandulen.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses the movement of instigating massive corruption probes that went public on Dec. 17 and 25, 2013 and which implicated ministers in his government and even some of his family members as part of a plot to overthrow the government.


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