Saturday, November 28, 2020

Turkey arrests yet another journalist on terrorism charges

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Journalist Aziz Oruç, who was detained by police in the eastern province of Ağrı on Dec. 11, has been arrested on terrorism charges, according to Turkish media reports.

Following eight days in police custody, Oruç appeared in court and was sent to pretrial detention on charges of membership in a terrorist organization, namely the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

After the court announced its decision, the journalist was briefly allowed to see his family.

Oruç had been living in Iraqi Kurdistan due to a number of cases filed against him in Turkey. He was detained at the Armenian border after crossing Iran to make his way to Europe. He was reportedly subjected to physical violence at the hands of the Armenian police and was subsequently handed over to Iranian authorities.

He was reportedly subjected to torture during the two days he remained in police custody in Iran, from where he was sent across the Turkish border on the evening of Dec. 10, barefoot and in torn clothing. 

He was detained by Turkish police in Ağrı’s Doğubeyazıt district. The Interior Ministry announced his detention, saying, “A terrorist has been captured.”

“As a journalist I have tried to be the voice of the public for years. For days I have been kept in isolation in Armenia, Iran and Turkey. I need your solidarity now. Hope to see you in a free future,” Oruç said in a message he conveyed through his lawyers.

In recent reports drafted by leading journalism organizations such as the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters without Borders, Turkey has been named a top jailer of journalists. It is estimated that there are around 200 journalists behind bars in Turkey.

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