The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) protested against the latest worsening of conditions for journalists working in Turkey.
On 12 June, Syrian journalist and reporter Ahmed al-Qader was attacked for the second time in only three months, in the Turkish town of Urfa. It was reported that al-Qader was shot three times by gunmen that rode a motorbike. Their identities are yet to be revealed.The journalist is hospitalized and in stable condition.
Earlier in June, journalists held a protest in front of a courthouse in Istanbul against the imprisonment of dozens of their colleagues. The latest addition were tens of Kurdish editor-in-chiefs and journalists put ‘under watch’ for their potentially critical reporting, several of them in connection to the Turkish daily Ozgur Gundem (Free Agenda).
In a separate development, authorities dismissed Professor Zeynep Sayın Balikcioglu from Bilgi University after allegedly insulting the President during one of her lectures’. A statement issued by the University said that all ties were severed with Balikcioglu because she insulted national values and the President, by mentioning and defaming Turkishness in her lecture and suggesting to students that they could read the Bible and Torah.
‘Crackdowns on journalists and free-thinkers in Turkey have reached a critical and dangerous level’ SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said. ‘We send our support to journalists, media workers, academics and public intellectuals in Turkey that face grave punishments for their freedom of thought and expression. We call on authorities to release all journalists currently imprisoned as a result of their journalistic work, and we hope that the university will allow Professor Zeynep Sayin Balikciouglu to regain her position in that institution’, Vujovic added.
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe and its press freedom work is supported by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) project, as part of a grant by the European Commission.