November 26, 2015 - Updated on March 8, 2016

Will RSF Press Freedom Prize recipient be jailed tonight in Istanbul?

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the “political persecution” of two senior editors of the Istanbul daily Cumhuriyet, who are facing the possibility of being jailed this evening, and urges the judge hearing the case to dismiss the charges against them. Cumhuriyet was awarded this year’s RSF Press Freedom Prize in the media category just a week ago. RSF was stunned to learn that the Istanbul prosecutor’s officer today requested that Cumhuriyet editor Can Dündar and his Ankara representative Erdem Gül should be placed in pre-trial detention on charges of membership of a terrorist organization, espionage and divulging state secrets. As soon as the prosecutor had presented his request, the two journalists were taken before a judge, who is expected to rule on the request this evening. Dündar and Gül were placed under investigation in connection with an article in May about allegations that Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) had been delivering arms to rebels in Syria. The newspaper produced a video and photos to support the claim. “A week ago, Can Dündar was with us in Strasbourg to receive the 2015 RSF and TV5 Monde Press Freedom Prize,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “President Erdogan personally filed a complaint against Dündar and publicly vowed that he would ‘not get away with it.’ If these two journalists are imprisoned, it will be additional evidence that the Turkish authorities are ready to use methods worthy of a bygone age in order to suppress independent journalism in Turkey.” “Such government meddling in the judicial system is incompatible with a commitment to democratic values and a desire to join the European Union, which Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has just reaffirmed in strong terms,” RSF Turkey representative Erol Önderoglu added “There will be no mistaking the significance. A decision by the judge to grant the request by the prosecutor’s office will send an extremely grave signal about media freedom in Turkey.”