Times are changing and everything is changing. The one that does not change is the oppression, violence and restriction on freedom meted out to journalists in Turkey.
The most tragicomic example of this is undoubtedly Ahmet Şık.
Ahmet Şık, who was imprisoned in 2011 under conspiracies by the police, public prosecutors and judges under the control of the Gulenists, has been in jail for one hundred days.
Why has he been jailed?
Because he is a journalist and he persisted in conducting journalism to certain people’s displeasure and in seeking out the truth.
Do not imagine that we his journalist colleagues are saying this. No, on the contrary, not we, but the Cumhuriyet indictment that appeared last week says this.
All the accusations have to do with journalistic activity. To the extent that the word ‘news’ appears 664 times in the indictment.
News reports compiled by journalists for whom independence is their watchword are unfortunately today accepted as being ‘evidence of crime’ by the Republic of Turkey’s Republic prosecutors and courts. Evidence of crime!
The natural consequence of this is that not only Ahmet Şık, but Kadri Gürsel, Murat Sabuncu, Güray Öz, Tunca Öğreten, Deniz Yücel, Musa Kart, İnan Kızılkaya and tens more journalists are in detention.
We are here in Tünel today on the one hundredth day that Ahmet Şık has spent in detention for the purpose of crying out once more our demand of ‘freedom for all the detained journalists’ who have been put in jail for conducting journalism, without favouring one over the other.
Basically, the message given to all of us, all journalists, by detaining our colleagues, holding them in solitary confinement and preventing them from receiving and writing letters is clear:
Do not see, do not hear and do not speak.
They want us to act like the three monkeys.
But, let everyone know that three monkeys will not emerge from the tradition of those like Sabahattin Alile, Uğur Mumcu, Ape Musa, Metin Göktepe, Hrant Dink and Yaşar Kemal.
We will see, hear, speak, write, think and defend until the last the right of our people to obtain news.
And, more important than everything, we will not forget.
It was only yesterday that President Erdoğan was saying that Turkey, like Portugal, would have a per capita income of 22,000 euro.
Societies that lack a free press, do not debate the actions of officials and do not criticise cannot develop economically. There is no example in the world of a country that has both imprisoned journalists and attained economic well-being.
Today, just as yesterday, we also want justice.
Today, just as yesterday, we also call for the release of journalists.
Finally stop giving rise to pangs of conscience.
‘Down with despotism, long live freedom.’
Journalists on the outside.
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