Amnesty: Arrests in Turkey continue pattern of criminalizing dissent

Police officers entered the building to detain Ekrem Dumanlı and were met by staff from the newspaper who held posters that read 'Free media can not be silenced!' (Photo: Today's Zaman)

Police officers entered the building to detain Ekrem Dumanlı and were met by staff from the newspaper who held posters that read ‘Free media can not be silenced!’ (Photo: Today’s Zaman)

In a public statement issued today, Amnesty International urged “Turkish authorities  to release journalists detained in a wave of arrests yesterday, unless they have credible evidence that they have committed a recognisably criminal offence.”

The statement noted with concern that the arrests had targeted “senior journalists in a section of the media that has played a leading role in covering allegations of corruption by government officials, [raising] serious questions about the authorities’ motivation for their detention.”

According to Amnesty, Sunday’s arrests point to an on-going effort in Turkey to “criminalize dissent.”

Turkey, the statement noted, has a sorry record of employing “broadly phrased anti-terrorism legislation” against political opponents and “there is good reason to believe that is what is happening here.”

Howard Eissenstat
St. Lawrence University

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