Conflict & Justice

Turkish police arrest dozens, including journalists


Agence France-Presse photographer Mustafa Ozer (L) is escorted by a plainclothes policeman as he leaves his house in Istanbul, on December 20, 2011. Police detained at least 38 people, most of them journalists, in dawn raids across Turkey as part of an investigation into alleged links between Kurdish activists and armed separatist militants, security officials and media said.



Turkish police arrested around 40 people on Tuesday, many of them journalists, in raids that targeted suspected Kurdish rebels accused of terrorism charges, according to media reports.

Turkish officials said they suspect the detained dozens were members of the “press and propaganda wing,” the state-run Anatolian Agency reported. More than 10 journalists from the pro-Kurdish Dicle news agency were arrested, including an Agence France Presse photographer.

The Paris-based AFP confirmed to media that one of its photographers were among the arrested.

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The recent arrests have been part of a two-year-old police investigation that has detained hundreds of people, including elected mayors, charged with ties to the Kurdistan Workers Party. The PKK is an internationally recognized terrorist organization.

Turkey’s latest crackdown against the press has renewed concerns from human rights and pro-democracy groups.

"The Kurdish issue will not be solved by attempts to suppress dissident views in the name of combating terrorism. The authorities must stop trying to criminalize journalism, including political committed journalism,” the Associated Press quoted the press advocacy group Reporters Without Borders saying.

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Reporters Without Borders ranked Turkey in the bottom 40 countries of the world when it comes to press freedoms.

Turkey has 70 some reporters in jail, one of the highest number of imprisoned journalists in the world, Reuters reported

The European Union, which Turkey has been seeking to join, could view the arrests as a reason to deny membership.

Turkey’s battle with the PKK has claimed more than 30,000 mostly-Kurdish lives since the insurgency began in the 1980s.