French public figures "adopt" jailed Turkish journalists

Fourteen French public figures have each “adopted” a journalist in Turkey and have written open letters to them in jail, Cumhuriyet newspaper said.

The letter-writers, who are mostly journalists but also include a novelist, a filmmaker and a cartoonist, poured out their feelings in the hope of raising awareness about the plight of their adoptees.

“You are not alone Ahmet,” journalist and writer Sorj Chalandon wrote to investigative journalist Ahmet Şık, who has been detained since Dec. 2016 on terror charges for tweets he wrote.

“Your family, your close friends, your friends in Turkey and all over the world, all of us are watching out for your freedom which is being held hostage; we are the birds flying above you and the blowing wind,” he said.

Award-winning investigative documentarist Marie-Monique Robin wrote inviting jailed Meltem Oktay, a journalist for the closed-down Kurdish-movement news agency DİHA, to visit her in Paris once she is released.

“I hope one day you will visit me. I will show you my garden,” she said.

“When you come I will show you my office too. It is like a cave: everywhere piles of books up to the ceiling.”

Patrick de Saint-Exupery, the editor of a news magazine, wrote to İnan Kızılkaya, the former editor of now-closed Turkish-language pro-Kurdish newspaper Özgür Gündem.

“I cannot understand what has happened to you,” de Saint-Exupery said. “Or rather, I understand too well. You’re a journalist and you wanted to do your job.”

“Inan, I’m thinking of you,” he continued. “I’m thinking of these words you shouted in the courtroom: ‘A journalist cannot close his eyes to reality, to events, to tragedies, just because someone is going to be upset or react’. Your words are my words, our words.”