Can Dündar, the editor of the leading Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, and his Ankara bureau chief, Erdem Gül, have been imprisoned since 26 November. From their prison cell in Silivri, they wrote a letter to the EU leaders on the eve of an important EU / Turkey summit, due to take place in Brussels on 29 November.
To the leaders of the European Union,
We as journalists who believe that Turkey is part of the European family and should be a full member of the Union, write you this letter from Silivri Prison.
Freedom of thought and expression are the indispensable values of our civilization. We have been arrested and held in custody pending our trial for exercising these freedoms and defending the public’s right for information.
The Prime Minister of Turkey, whom you will meet this weekend, and the regime he represents are well known for policies and practices that have flouted human rights and freedom of the press.
Your governments are negotiating with Ankara in connection with the refugee crisis, a crisis that has concerned and touched all our hearts.
We sincerely hope that the meeting produces a lasting solution to this problem.
We would also hope that your desire to end the crisis will not stand in the way of your sensitivity towards human rights, freedom of press and expression as fundamental values of the Western world.
We would respectfully remind you that our common values can only be protected by a common stance and solidarity, and this solidarity is now both more vital and urgent than ever.
On behalf of imprisoned journalists
Can Dündar and Erdem Gül