Press Freedom

Message from the journalists in police custody in Diyarbakır: “We will continue to report and be in solidarity with our colleagues”


Many journalists, including Dicle Fırat Journalists Association (DFG) Co-Chair Serdar Altan, Jin News Director Safiye Alagaş, and Mesopotamia Agency (MA) editor Aziz Oruç were detained in a raid on their homes at night on June 8th.

The detained journalists conveyed their messages through the lawyers of the MLSA Legal Team. “We don’t know what we are accused of. What we know is the custody order was made and the period was extended up to four days. We ask the police why we were detained, but they don’t know either. They just say ‘There is an order…’” says the MA editor Aziz Oruç. He continued: “Of course, the fact that the hard drives in the news organizations we work for were removed from the computers, explains why all the people in custody are journalists: Our journalistic activities are being investigated. I’ve been doing street interviews for a long time. All of these interviews are being published. They cannot find any criminal element in these publications. Maybe that’s why they’re going to seize the hard drives and try to get something out of them. A futile effort… This is futile both in terms of this custody and trying to silence journalists…”

Co-Chair of DFG Serdar Altan started his speech by saying “The agenda has started to become dynamic again” and emphasized “The economic crisis is getting deeper, some military operations are being planned, the election process is being started… Journalists are following and reporting on these. This may be the reason for our custody. Journalist Dicle Müftüoğlu was detained last week. She was held in custody for four days. The reason for her custody was that she was in solidarity with other journalist colleagues. They took us right after they released Müftüoğlu. Who knows what they will accuse us of. But we are journalists. We will continue to report and be in solidarity with our colleagues.”

Journalist Ömer Çelik, who said that the custody decisions were made with political motives, said “They are trying to criminalize journalism. They are trying to make journalism an unpredictable field of work where danger can be encountered at any time. We don’t know for how long we have been in custody or what we are exactly accused of. I think they don’t know either. That’s why they are trying to find something by extending the custody period. The only thing they can find is our news articles…”