Sal, Ağu

We, as women press workers, salute the hundreds of thousands of women that will be hitting the streets today in Turkey and around the world to march against male violence, inequality and all manners of discrimination. On 8 March International Women’s Day, we note once more our desire to see a world in which women are not murdered; in which women are not subjected to discrimination on the street, at home and at work – in short, everywhere; in which men do not speak on behalf of women; in which only we make decisions about our lives and bodies; in which peace, and not war, reigns; and in which the one who is right is always victorious.

We will continue to fight for a life in which imprisoned women journalists will be released, in which newspapers and TV stations will not be closed with the “extraordinary powers” endowed to the present government, in which women journalists and press workers are not left unemployed and in which there is no discrimination in the workplace.

We stand as one with all women – especially with those in more than 30 countries who have exercised their power over production to declare an International Day of Strike to oppose violence against women and the policies of “one-man regimes” that ignore women; with public workers who are resisting after losing their jobs through state of emergency decrees and with the women metal workers who lost their lives in a tragic bus accident in Bursa on 7 March.

Long Live 8 March, Long Live Women’s Solidarity

This soil has been witness to numerous tragic incidents resulting in the deaths of hundreds in recent years. Now, distressing allegations are emerging from Nisêbîn (Nusaybin). We can only learn about what is occurring in Nusaybin with the help of journalists.

Notice, however, that we are not calling for Nusaybin to be opened to journalists – that’s because there are almost no channels left to record the truth and share it with society. The pens and the cameras of the government can enter Nusaybin, and they will no doubt inform us about how residents there could not be happier with their state of affairs.

We know that this is not the truth, but we are deeply worried about the truth that will soon emerge. The reports of torture and extrajudicial execution are serious, and we are worried that a new black stain is about to go down in history.

We call on everyone, regardless of their political worldview, to defend the right to know the truth.

Defend press freedom, for Nusaybin and for Turkey.

Don’t bury your head in the sand and believe official statements. Together, let’s defend our right to know the truth.

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.

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