Turkey has put on trial dozens of journalists on charges of supporting the armed group Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and terrorism. A total of 44 Kurdish journalists appeared before a court in the city of Istanbul on Monday. Thirty six of them had been in pre-trial detention since December.
Turkish prosecutors want jail sentences ranging from seven and a half to 22 and a half years for the journalists.Human rights groups have criticized the trial, saying the move is an attempt to intimidate the press and punish pro-Kurdish activists. Rights groups have often slammed the Turkish government for prosecuting pro-Kurdish politicians, activists and journalists. Reports say more than 100 Kurdish journalists are currently in Turkish prisons. This is while about 800 reporters also face various charges in the country and several others have been fired from their jobs because of government pressure on media outlets. The trial shows that there seems to be no end in sight to the tension simmering between Ankara and its Kurdish dominated southeast. The Turkish army announced on Monday that at least 461 people had been killed in clashes between government forces and the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party since the beginning of this year. DB/HJL