Turkey: US Secretary of State must call for the release of more than 120 jailed journalists

As US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visits Turkey to meet with President Erdoğan and others in Ankara today, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia, Gauri van Gulik said:

Mr Tillerson cannot ignore the fact that Turkey is the world’s biggest jailer of journalists
Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International

“During his visit, Secretary of State Tillerson cannot ignore the fact that Turkey is the world’s biggest jailer of journalists. Nor should he overlook the plight of the more than 100,000 public sector employees, dismissed after the coup and the estimated half-a-million people displaced amid military operations and curfews in the south-east.”

“He should urge President Erdoğan to release journalists currently being held on pre-trial detention and call for an end to the ongoing crackdown against perceived government critics. Failure to do so sends the wrong message about the need to respect human rights and is a missed opportunity to remind the Turkish authorities that journalism is not a crime.”

The Secretary of State should not overlook the plight of the more than 100,000 public sector employees, dismissed after the coup and the estimated half-a-million people displaced amid military operations and curfews in the south-east
Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International

Background

More than 120 journalists have been imprisoned in Turkey awaiting trial following the attempted coup in July 2016 which triggered a wide-ranging government crackdown. This has been coupled with the closure of more than 160 media outlets.

Amnesty International and other NGOs have recently launched a joint campaign urging journalists around the world to add their voices to the call for the release of journalists from detention in Turkey. The #FreeTurkeyMedia campaign will culminate on 3 May, World Press Freedom Day, and has already attracted the support of leading journalists including Peter Greste.

For more information about Amnesty International’s action visit https://www.amnesty.org/en/get-involved/take-action/action-free-turkey-media/