Today, Tuesday, May 3 is the International Day of Press Freedom. In an international context where this freedom is regressing as recently reported by Reporters Without Borders, FEMEN rings the alarm bell. Attacks on press freedom are increasing in Turkey and the international community should be concerned. Despite the efforts of Erdogan to try to silence them, some freethinking Turkish journalists resist it and continue to denounce injustice, repression and corruption in Turkey.
On Thursday, April 25, the two journalists Ceyda Karan and Hikmet Cetinkaya from the newspaper Cumhuriyet Gazetesi were sentenced to two years of jail for “incitement to hatred” because they published and translated Charlie Hebdo’s magazine “post-terrorist attacks”. Cumhuriyet were the only one in the arab-muslim world to publish it, even though they knew that they will have to face not only the repression from the state but also death threats from Islamists civilians.
The same day, their editor Can Dündar was sentenced to pay a fine for “insulting” President Erdogan after revealing several corruption scandals from 2013. Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, his office manager, may face life imprisonment in another ongoing trial where they are accused of espionage, disclosure of state and “tentative de coup d’État” for revealing that the Turkish secret services have delivered weapons to Syrian Islamist rebels 2014.
Here are some recent events, but this type of censorship is common in Turkey. On February 26, it was the Kurdish television channel TV BMI that was suspended during their live broadcast. Erdogan has a particular hate for both the free press and the Kurdish community that he is often bombing in Syria, so it made a lot of sense for him to stop this channel.
FEMEN strongly support those Turkish journalists. By their acts, they demonstrated an exceptional political braveness, but they also just simply perform their duty to inform. Without freedom of press, it is impossible to understand the world around us. Without freedom of press, activists like us can’t continue to trace down the unacceptable acts of the patriarchs of this world.
The Turkish government is incomparable with the braveness of the Turkish people who despite the police and judicial repression, continue to demonstrate peacefully to win their freedom. FEMEN continue to support the progressive Turkish and rebels in their struggle. Erdogan will fall.
“If revealing the truth is a crime, then we will continue to commit it” /Can Dündar