Swedish writers call for release of jailed journalist Ayşe Düzkan
The heads of Sweden’s writers associations have penned a letter to Turkish Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül, calling for the release of jailed journalist Ayşe Düzkan, the symbolic editor-in-chief of now defunct pro-Kurdish newspaper, independent news site Diken reported on Saturday.
Düzkan, who was jailed in January, is one of five journalists who had taken part in a campaign to release other arrested journalists working at Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Özgür Gündem newspaper in 2016. All five staff were found guilty of conducting terrorist propaganda and Düzkan was sentenced to 18 months in jail.
The letter co-penned by the chairs of Swedish Writer’s Union Grethe Rottböll, Swedish PEN Jesper Bengtsson, and publisher Eva Gedin urged Turkish authorities to release Ayşe Düzkan immediately and unconditionally calling on ‘’Turkish authorities to end the prosecution and detention of journalists simply on the basis of the content of their writing’’ or alleged affiliation.
Özgür Gündem was among 15 Kurdish media organisations officially closed down and seized under a state of emergency decree following a failed coup attempt in 2016 aimed at toppling the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Turkey placed 157th out of 180 countries on World Press Freedom Index ranking in 2018 by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and remains to be the "world’s biggest jailer of professional journalists" according to the same report.