Turkish opposition parties condemn arrest of journalists

Two Turkish opposition parties have condemned the detention of the editor-in-chief and more than a dozen journalists from Turkish daily ‘Cumhuriyet’ early on 31st October, saying the Turkish government has crossed another line in suppressing dissident voices.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu visited Cumhuriyet’s Ankara Bureau and met with bureau chief Erdem Gul and reporters to express his support and solidarity with the newspaper, which is targeted over alleged “links with terror organisations”. “Together, we will struggle against this”, Kilicdaroglu told Gul during the visit.

In a statement issued after his visit to ‘Cumhuriyet’, the CHP head slammed the government for “turning the July 15 coup attempt into an opportunity to crack down on intellectuals, writers and journalists”.

They are trying to change the constitutional order through state of emergency decree laws. A big responsibility is on the shoulders of the Constitutional Court. If it had accepted our appeal [for the annulment of decree laws breaching the constitution], none of this would have happened,” Kilicdaroglu said.

Describing ‘Cumhuriyet’ as one of Turkey’s most important newspapers, he called on all intellectuals, journalists, writers to defend the newspapers against oppressors. “Don’t forget that if you keep silent now, you will be next”, Kilicdaroglu argued.

Meawhile, Selahattin Demirtas, co-leader of the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), criticised the detention of the ‘Cumhuriyet’ journalists, saying the move was part of ongoing pressure against all dissidents in Turkey, following the arrest of the HDP co-mayors Gultan Kisanak and Firat Anli in Diyarbakir and former MP Ayla Akat Ata.

There is no fair trial. If there was, we would think our friends would be acquitted. But this is a political operation. The operation against ‘Cumhuriyet’ newspaper is part of this pressure,” Demirtas said.

I agree [with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan] that the ‘world is bigger than five’. But Turkey is also bigger than Erdogan and the AKP. He should not forget this,” he said, referring to the president’s condemnation of the five-member U.N. Security Council.


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