The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, journalists, and media executives, welcomes the release of Kurdish journalist Nedim Türfent today after he spent 6.5 years in prison for reporting on Turkish security forces’ ill-treatment of Kurdish workers in 2016. Turkey must compensate Türfent for the severe injustice in this case and must stop jailing journalists for doing their jobs.
Türfent was detained on May 12, 2016, in the eastern city of Van. On December 15, 2017, he was sentenced to eight years and nine months in prison for “membership of a terrorist organization” and “spreading terrorist propaganda”. His detention and trial were marred by egregious violations of due process – Türfent was denied the right to appear personally in court – as well as allegations that witness statements were extracted under torture.
He was released on November 29, 2022, from the Elazığ Karakoçan prison where he was transferred from Van in August.
“Despite our appeals from across the globe for his release over these many long years, Nedim was deprived of his freedom until this day. Despite our relief at his release, it does not undo the deep injustice in this case and cannot restore the time that he has lost”, IPI Turkey Programme Coordinator Renan Akyavaş said.
“This is undoubtedly a good day for Nedim, as he can finally be with his family, friends and colleagues. But who will compensate him for the severe violations of his rights? Who will right the tremendous injustice done in this case?”
In recent years, IPI organized joint global campaigns with PEN International and the Turkey-based Media and Law Association (MLSA) for Türfent’s release.
His case highlights Turkey’s continued repression of the media as well as the specific situation of Kurdish journalists in the country, who have often borne the brunt of this crackdown. This year alone, 26 Kurdish journalists have been detained in the country – 15 journalists were arrested in June in Diyarbakır, 11 journalists were arrested in simultaneous house raids in October – all on anti-terror charges.