Reporters Without Borders lauds the German president’s meeting yesterday in Berlin with exiled Turkish journalist Can Dündar, the former editor-in-chief of independent newspaper Cumhuriyet. “This meeting was an important show of solidarity with the many journalists being persecuted in Turkey because of their struggle for independent reporting”, said RSF Germany’s executive director Christian Mihr. “It’s an important message if European top politicians visibly side with journalists under pressure. Now authorities should make this support tangible, for example by providing unbureaucratic ways to issue emergency visa for journalists under immediate threat.”
Dündar was sentenced in Turkey last May for alleged divulging of state secrets and is facing another trial for a charge of “helping a terrorist organization”, all for revealing details about Turkish arms deliveries to Islamist groups in Syria. RSF has been supporting Dündar intensely for about a year, including through advocacy and creating publicity for his case, and is currently financing him in his German exile as well as providing support in bureaucratic matters vis-à-vis German authorities.
Last Saturday a Turkish court remanded current Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu and eight of his staff in custody. They had been arrested on Monday last week.
In the meeting with German president Gauck, Dündar and Mihr also raised the case of RSF’s representative in Turkey, Erol Önderoglu, whose trial started in Istanbul on Tuesday.
Turkey is ranked 151 of 180 in RSF’s annual World Press Freedom Index. For more information on the situation of journalist in the media, please visit https://rsf.org/en/turkey or check RSF’s recent report on the effects of the ongoing state of emergency on press freedom (http://t1p.de/r6z3).