The IPI global network of journalists, editors, and publishers is deeply concerned by the detention of at least 19 journalists for spreading “terrorist propaganda” in Diyarbakır on June 8. We call on authorities to immediately disclose the full details of these charges and to release the journalists being held in custody.  

Police forces this morning carried out an operation involving raids on private homes and media houses, detaining at least 19 journalists, according to reports. The journalists are reported to have been charged with “spreading terrorist propaganda” although the details of these charges are not being released by authorities. 

Among those detained are Dicle Fırat Journalists Association (DFG) Co-Chair Serdar Altan; Mesopotamia News Agency (MA) editor Aziz Oruç; and journalists Ömer Çelik, Suat Doğuhan, Ramazan Geciken, Berivan Karatorak, Esmer Tunç, and Mehmet Şahin. 

“IPI is extremely concerned by the detention of 19 journalists in Diyarbakır this morning through simultaneous police raids”, Turkey Programme Coordinator Renan Akyavaş said. “There is currently no detailed information on the investigation, yet what we have learned so far suggests that these arrests represent the continuation of the ongoing judicial harassment towards journalists reporting from the southeast region of Turkey.”

In addition to raids of journalists’ private homes, the office of JIN News in Yenişehir was also raided, according to local reports. Police seized computers and hard drives without a warrant. 

The case was later placed under restriction by the authorities, which limits the amount of public information available. A request by the journalists’ lawyers to lift this restriction on the investigation was rejected by authorities on grounds that the “search and detention activities are ongoing”.

It is reported that the number of journalists in detention is likely to increase. In the meantime, protests have erupted in Diyarbakır in response to the unjust detention. In a press release organized today by DFG and Mesopotamia Women Journalists Platform (MKGP), DFG Co-Chair Dicle Müftüoğlu declared that the journalists had been detained over their critical reporting and that the charges were arbitrary and baseless.