Why this story matters:
-- by Ans Boersma
Turkey jails more journalists than any other country in Europe. Murat Sabuncu, Cumhuriyet’s editor in chief and Ahmet Sık, an investigative journalist, are among 17 of the newspaper’s staff who are accused of supporting terror organizations.
"I prefer you to be angry because anger will keep us standing. Today is not a day for us to be happy", Şık spoke right after he got released, referring to his colleagues still in prison. He criticized the Turkish government directly by adding:
"This mafia sultanate will end, I guarantee you that."
The Cumhuriyet case is closely followed by European press freedom institutions as a symbol of the crackdown on freedom of expression in Turkey. Amnesty International said the ruling to release the journalists offered a "glimmer of hope".
Details from the story:
- After being in prison for more than 1 year, Ahmet Sik and Murat Sabuncu recently visited the newspaper Cumhuriyet, where they were welcomed by their colleagues.
- The journalists expressed their concerns about the constitutional state of Turkey and the lack of independent media.
- Ahmet Sik encouraged Turkish people to speak out. “I believe silence has a voice. I want to hear that voice.”
- “This process proves how dangerous it is to have a government which holds all the power and showed us the importance of a media organisation which is independent and equal to each and every person.’’
- The head of the campaign for the release of Ahmet Sık is his wife, Yonca Şık. "I am a feminist. I have a job I would like to talk about. Instead, I talk about my husband all day, which is strange for me,” she said in a personal interview earlier this year.
** Ans Boersma is a Dutch journalist, currently working in Turkey as an economic correspondent. She also writes about migration, women’s movements and civil society.**