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OSCE Representative condemns continued arrests of journalists in Turkey, calls on authorities to restore media pluralism

turkey mapVIENNA, November 01, 2016 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović Monday condemned the arrest of the editor-in-chief of the Turkish daily newspaper Cumhuriyet, Murat Sabuncu, and three of its columnists, Güray Öz, Aydın Engin and Kadri Gürsel, the latter is also a member of the board of the International Press Institute.

“This latest wave of arrests of members of the media is yet another blow to media freedom in Turkey,” Mijatović said. “The authorities should restore media freedom and safeguard a vibrant and pluralistic media landscape in the country, not take measures against it.”

Law enforcement officials today also raided several other Cumhuriyet journalists’ homes, including Hikmet Çetinkaya and Musa Kart, and Akın Atalay, the newspaper’s chairperson of the board. The raids were initiated following an İstanbul court decision to issue detention warrants for 13 of the newspaper’s journalists, including Can Dündar, Cumhuriyet’s former editor-in-chief.

Reportedly, since the attempted coup in Turkey in July which the Representative publicly condemned (www.osce.org/fom/256836), more than 125 media outlets have been closed and 120 journalists detained.

“Anti-terrorism legislation and other legislation currently used to restrict media freedom go far beyond what may be justifiable under a state of emergency, and this worrying trend needs to be reversed immediately,” Mijatović said, recalling that journalists must be able to do their work in a free and safe manner, without fear of being harassed, intimidated, threatened or detained.

The Representative reiterated her Office’s readiness in assisting the authorities in improving media freedom in the country and in implementing Turkey’s media freedom commitments.

Gunnar Vrang, Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media

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