Turkey continues crackdown on journalists, intellectuals

Turkish authorities have arrested at least eight journalists this week in a renewed crackdown on the media.

Barış Pehlivan, editor-in-chief for critical news outlet OdaTV, was arrested on Friday over a report covering the funeral of a Turkish intelligence officer who died in Libya. OdaTV news director Barış Terkoğlu and journalist Hülya Kılınç had been arrested over the same report on Wednesday.

Press freedom in Turkey has seen a sharp decline in recent years under the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and the country has become the world’s biggest jailer of professional journalists, with year-long pre-trial detentions and long jail sentences being common occurrences.

Pro-Kurdish news site Rudaw’s reporter Rawin Sterk and cameraman Mehmet Şirin Akgün were detained for “filming in a military field” for their coverage of the thousands of refugees at the Greek border in Turkey’s westernmost Edirne province. Akgün was later released, while Sterk's detention was extended twice as he was relocated to Ankara.

Sterk on Friday was charged with terrorist propaganda in favour of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), with the court citing his social media posts as evidence.

Meanwhile, Yeni Yaşam newspaper’s managing editor Ferhat Çelik, editor in chief Aydın Keser and editor Semiha Alankuş were summoned to court on Friday, but were released later in the day on parole.

Actor Turgay Yıldız, known for his political satire videos, was also called in for questioning.