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22
Çrş, May

Ayşegül Başar, a member of DİSK Basın-İş, as well as the Halkevleri (People’s Houses), was detained this morning in a police raid for participating in a call for secularism in a teahouse in Istanbul’s Okmeydanı neighborhood in response to the massacre at the Reina night club in the first hours of the new year. Başar, who is being held captive at the Kulaksız Police Station, will be held for at least five days, according to the prosecutor, while police are still searching for two other people that spoke at the teahouse.

At a time when those who are responsble for the massacre at Reina have still not been apprehended, the fact that a young colleague of ours has been detained for issuing a call for secularism in her own neighborhood shows the degree of absurdity of the police forces and the Interior Ministry’s actions. The detention of Ayşegül Başar and her friends is no different than the government’s attempts to silence the truth in complete disregard for freedom of the press and expression and its countless legal and police operations against journalists due to their stories. It is unacceptable that the government, which does little but condemn massacres while maintaing its silence, would stoop to detaining a journalist while attempting to portray calls for secularism as a crime.

Our sincere condolences to the families and friends of all those who lost their lives in the massacre at Reina. We demand that our member Ayşegül Başar be released at once and that the Interior Ministry and police forces begin displaying an effort to shed light on those who were responsible for this massacre rather than on those who reacted against this slaughter.

Journalists in Turkey awoke on the morning of 25 December to more bad news from their colleagues. Tunca Öğreten, who was most recently an editor at the Diken news site, Dicle News Agency (DİHA) News Editor Ömer Çelik, DİHA reporter Metin Yoksu and BirGün accountant Mahir Kanaat were all detained in morning police raids at their homes. According to DİHA, Çelik and his family in Amed (Diyarbakır) were also subjected to violence and insults during the police raid on their house.

Both at home and in its neighborhood, Turkey has become trapped in a cauldron of fire. At a time when funerals are being held with every passing day in the four corners of the country for the nation’s youth following their deaths in either war or other attacks, the government is doing everything in its power to conceal through censorship and oppression both the pain and those responsible for this pain. The detention and arrest of journalists has effectively become a run-of-the-mill event. In addition to this pressure, authorities have also dramatically slowed down the speed of the internet in another fit of censorship.

We duly call on those that intimate every day that journalists or the craft of journalism is a crime in an effort to conceal their own crimes: Do whatever is in your power, but know that you will not succeed in concealing the truth; do whatever is in your power, but know that you cannot silence the free press.

A number of television stations, including Jiyan TV, Zarok TV, Hayatın Sesi TV, TV 10 and Van TV, were forcibly taken off the air on the evening of 28 September by satellite provider Türksat, which cited an order from the Prime Ministry’s Office.

The fact that the closed stations broadcast in Kurdish or provide an alternative to the dominant media speaks volumes about the reason for the censorship. The state, which is mobilizing every resource at its disposal thanks to the state of emergency to silence the media and the voices of every oppositional person and institution, must cease its present course of action. From now on, however, every step designed to choke and punish the opposition is destined to fail thanks to the networks of solidarity that have been formed, while any attempt to impose censorship in this era of communication will do nothing but showcase the impotence of the powers-that-be.

We will stand shoulder to shoulder with all of the closed TV stations. As DİSK Basın-İş, we call on all our members, as well as our comrades, both unionized and non-unionized, to switch to and help grow the alternative media networks that have been closed, particularly Hayatın Sesi TV. As for the government, we recommend that it cease its policies of pressure and coercion and return from such a path that is devoid of logic.

Israeli authorities have extended the administrative detention of Palestinian journalist Omar Nazzal by three months, who was due for release. Nazzal was arrested in April at the border between the West Bank and Jordan, from where he had been due to fly to a European Federation of Journalists gathering in Bosnia.


The Israeli court placed Nazzal under administrative detention for four months. Administrative detention that allows a person to be interned without charge or evidence is one of the most criticised measures of Israel.


Indeed, at the moment, more than 100 prisoners are on hunger strike in Israeli prisons against administrative detention. One of them, Bilal Kayed is on the 70. day of the strike.
Nazzal, 54, has allegedly served in a top position at Falestine al-Youm television in Ramallah which has been recently closed down. But Nazzal had left the broadcaster several months before his arrest.
Nazzal whose detention is extended by three months today has been on hunger strike since 4th of August in protest against his detention, and international organisations have called for his release.

Throughout history, the state has also busied itself declaring someone or other as a brigand, bandit, anarchist, marauder or terrorist. It’s killed some of them and imprisoned the others. Sometimes those at the head of the state shed “tears” while reading poems for those declared to be terrorists; at other times, they invite crowds to jeer the mothers of the ostensible terrorists.

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