Led by the IPI mission meeting was held in Botan International

On October 5, a mission with representatives of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT), and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) met at Botan International in Diyarbakır. Özgür Öğret from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Özge Çakır-Somlyai from the Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT) and Erol Önderoğlu from Reporters […]

Led by the IPI mission meeting was held in Botan International
Led by the IPI mission meeting was held in Botan International
  • Yayınlanma9 October 2023 06:55
  • Güncelleme10 October 2023 14:36

On October 5, a mission with representatives of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT), and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) met at Botan International in Diyarbakır.

Özgür Öğret from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Özge Çakır-Somlyai from the Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT) and Erol Önderoğlu from Reporters Without Borders (RSF) evaluated their notes from the meetings in Ankara.

Journalists and representatives from various media outlets such as BBC Türkçe, Voice of America, Amed Radyo TV, Media and Law Studies Association, and Xwebûn attended the meeting.

Safeguarding of journalists

The meeting started with the speeches of Erol Önderoğlu. He mentioned the pressure on journalism when they talked about their meetings both in Ankara and in Europe. He referred to the example of Bilal Gündem who had been threatened after posting a video on social media.

Supreme Court turns a deaf ear 

Due to the increasing number of petitions, not all courts are able to complete their work in a timely manner. The Supreme Court describes its shortcomings as a logistical problem

“Turkey is a museum for the violation of press freedom”

Özgür Öğret mentioned the violation of press freedom in Turkey. He said, “Unfortunately, we can say that all the problems of free press are present in our country.” Öğret determined that Hakan Çavuşoğlu stated at a meeting that they would not prevent the free press, but this did not happen in reality.

Press card

In Turkey, the press card is still a problem. When the journalists in the case of Merdan Yanardağ wanted to enter, they were asked for a Turkuaz card. The Turkuaz card is not issued to people who are oppositional and critical of the government. Öğret stated, “The main problem is not that the case is a bureaucratic error, but that it was committed intentionally.”

In this context, Özge Çakır-Somlyai referred to the problem of press cards that occurs with male journalists, while female journalists are targeted more due to the lack of a press card. She added that male police officers, who consider themselves physically stronger, can put more pressure on female journalists.

“Our problems cannot be solved”

Öğret stated that he has been advocating for free journalism for 15 years and not a single problem has been solved. He pointed out that one of the chronic problems of journalism is the safety of journalists in the field. But he added, “Even if they are beaten and gassed, the work of journalists is hindered. The police keep the journalists away from the operation sites or do not allow them to take photos”

The delegation of the European Union turns a deaf ear

Özge Çakır-Somlyai said that journalists cannot do their work because access to news and information has been blocked, affecting public opinion. She said that in their meeting with the Journalists’ Association, they raised this problem they wanted to prevent. She was not sure if their concerns had reached the delegation of the European Union.

The issue of not getting a visa

Because of the conditions in the country, it isn’t easy to maintain journalistic work. The issue of not getting a visa leaves journalists without experience. Çakır-Somlyai said journalists do not get a visa when they travel abroad to work, travel, or attend a conference. They only get it when the conference is over. She also explained that getting a visa has become more difficult compared to previous years.

Translated by Yonca Sarsılmaz