Added time: 06 January 2014, Monday 17:12
International Campaing for Kurdish Journalist
Turkey has been named the world's number one jailer of journalists for the second consecutive year, followed closely by Iran and China.
The number of journalists behind bars in Turkey is 40; down from the 61 recorded in October 2012, and less than the 49 on Dec. 1, 2012, according to the New York based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
An international campaign will be launched to collect signatures for Kurdish journalists imprisoned in Turkey for the past two years.
The President of the European Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, has given his support to the campaign. In a text released to announce the start of the campaign the trial against the journalists is called "the biggest journalism trial in history."
The journalists were arrested on December 20th, 2011 in a major police operation against Kurdish media organizations, including Azadiya Welat, Özgür Gündem, DİHA, ANF, Fırat Dağıtım and Demokratik Modernite.
They were accused of being connected to the "KCK Press Committee," as a part of the KCK cases that have targeted all levels of Kurdish political and civil society.
On September 10th, 2012 the trial began for 46 journalists indicted journalists, 36 of whom were in prison at the time. Today 19 Kurdish journalists remain in prison.
Sedat Yılmaz, a founding member of the Turkish Journalists Union (TGS) and the editor of Özgür Gündem, explained the reasons for the campaign, saying "we have started a campaign so that we do not allow our friends - who are paying the price for Turkey's anti-democratic structure and backward, racist sense of freedom of expression - to be forgotten.
The case against our friends now on trial continues. The secret of the dead-end and the fight that Turkey finds itself in today is hidden in the trial. Turkey is experiencing these crises as a result of the state that a remedy to the Kurdish issue has taken."
Yılmaz stressed that the campaign was designed to raise public support and awareness for the journalists and their struggle.