Yesterday evening thousands gathered at Taksim Square in Istanbul to protest detention of over 20 journalists the same day by Turkish law enforcement on charges of having ties with KCK, a pro-Kurdish organization.
People took no time to get organized through social media to gather in Istanbul after the detentions. The crowd marched towards Galatasaray Square chanting and shouting slogans for press freedom and freedom of speech, accusing the government arresting journalist based on their views, not on actual ties to any underground organization. Many journalists and politicians were among the crowd.
At Galatasaray Square, Journalists’ Union Training Secretary Alper Turgut reading a press release said the journalists in Turkey are facing another political operation carried out by law enforcement forces:
The government wants us to see this attack on opposition and opposition media as part of the process of law. They want us to be silent against seizure of our right to information and freedom of speech. They want to silence us. They tell us if we are not silent, it will be out turn next.
Also in Ankara, people let by journalists, politicians and members of the parliament including CHP and BDP MPs gathered to protest the same.
Turkey is only second in the world in the number of journalists in jail after China. Turkish government cracking down the opposition by arresting the opponent opinion leaders on charges such as links to so-called terrorist organizations.
With recent arrests number of non-convicted journalists in jail well exceeds 70 excluding ones in jail for unpolitical felonies.
During the last waves of KCK arrests hundreds of local politicians from Kurdish BDP as well as several lawyers were detained then arrested.