Sixteen Kurdish journalists who were in taken into police custody last week have been formally arrested on early Thursday, Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) said.
Dicle Fırat Journalists’ Association co-chair Serdar Altan, JinNews Director Safiye Alagaş and Mezopotamya news agency (MA) editor Aziz Oruç are among the arrested journalists, it said.
Twenty journalists were detained in dawn raids in their homes and workplaces on June 8 in southeastern Diyarbakır province and held in police custody without being formally accused.
Four of them were released on condition of judicial control on Thursday, while the rest were arrested after being questioned about their journalistic activities, MLSA said.
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 one of the world’s top jailers of journalists, along with China and Saudi Arabia.
The other journalists who were arrested are Abdurrahman Öncü, Elif Üngür, İbrahim Koyuncu, Lezgin Akdeniz, Mazlum Doğan Güler, Mehmet Ali Ertaş, Mehmet Şahin, Neşe Toprak, Ömer Çelik, Ramazan Geciken, Remziye Temel, Suat Doğuhan and Zeynel Abidin Bulut, MLSA said.
Turkey has been ranked “not free” by Freedom House, an organisation researching democracy and human rights, for six consecutive years and places 153rd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2021 World Press Freedom Index.