CPJ calls for release of Kurdish journalist in Turkey

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called for the urgent release of Mehmet Aslan, a journalist for the pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya News Agency who had been arrested in Istanbul on Tuesday, for undetermined reasons.

“Turkish authorities should cease harassing staffers of the agency and allow them to do their jobs,” said CPJ.

Turkish police forces detained Mehmet Aslan in a house raid in İstanbul on early Tuesday, Mezopotamya reported. Aslan was detained as part of an investigation launched by the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Antalya in the South of Turkey and following the search in Aslan’s house which lasted almost two hours, the police confiscated digital materials, and several books and magazines, it said.

Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator in New York, also underlined that the nature of the investigation or whether any charges had been filed in his case have not been specified.

In his written statement, Said also said that CPJ emailed the Antalya Chief Public Prosecutor's Office in regard of Aslan’s arrest but did not receive any feedback.

A CPJ research reveals that three other employees of Mezopotamya News Agency have been arrested since Oct.2020.

According to a CPJ statement, Aslan covered news including the rights of Kurdish prisoners, prisoner hunger strikes and torture allegations in Turkey.

In Turkey, at least 37 journalist were jailed in 2020.