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Turkish journalists protests detention of prominent editors

Turkish journalists hold a banner reading “Journalism is not a crime, we will not remain silent” during a demonstration in support of jailed journalists Can Dundar and Erdem Gul, in Ankara, January 10, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Journalists in Turkey have staged a protest rally in the capital, Ankara, to denounce the arrest and detention of two prominent editors.

Protesters marking the Working Journalists’ Day on Sunday held banners and chanted slogans during the demonstration in support of jailed journalists Can Dundar and Erdem Gul.

Dundar and Gul, the editor-in-chief and Ankara bureau chief of the opposition Cumhuriyet daily, have been held for more than a month on charges of spying after publishing a report about Turkey’s alleged arms supplies bound for militants in Syria.

The protesters called for freedom of press, with their banners reading, “Journalism is not a crime” and “Free media cannot be silenced.”

“I would say, this is a mourning day for us but I don’t want to be that pessimistic. We are going through tough times but nothing lasts forever. I hope we will have newspapers and TV channels that report proper news, as soon as possible,” said Ayse Yilmaz, an editor of Cumhuriyet, who participated in the rally.

There has been growing concern about deteriorating press freedom in Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and, in particular, over the numbers of journalists facing legal proceedings on accusations of insulting or criticizing top officials.

“Unfortunately..., more than 30 journalists are in jail after complaints only because they wrote the truth. Therefore, I am very saddened today as we mark the Working Journalists’ Day,” said Ismet Demirdogen, another journalist at the rally.

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