Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been clamping down methodically on the media in Turkey for years, first as prime minister and now as president. The persecution of journalists across the political spectrum is growing in ferocity and includes arrests, threats and intimidation – all actions unworthy of a democracy.

His victims include Can Dündar, the editor-in-chief of the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, and Dündar’s Ankara bureau chief, Erdem Gül, who were jailed on the evening of 26 November for publishing evidence in May 2015 of arms deliveries by the Turkish intelligence services to Islamist groups in Syria.

Both are exemplars of journalism, the search for truth and the defence of freedoms. Cumhuriyet was awarded the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Press Freedom Prize in the media category in 2015.

“Dündar will pay for this” President Erdogan said in a public statement, referring to the story on arms deliveries. But Cumhuriyet’s journalists just did their job, publishing information in the public interest. At a time when jihadism is at the centre of everyone’s concerns, it is unacceptable that political prosecutions are used to suppress investigative reporting.

As a result of an energetic campaign both in Turkey and internationally, Dündar and Gül were freed on 25 February, after the Constitutional Court ruled that their provisional detention violated their fundamental rights. The campaign has borne fruit but it cannot stop here. They are still facing possible life sentences (with no provision for a pardon) on charges of spying and complicity in terrorism.

The trial will begin on 25 March. RSF will be there, at the side of these two information heroes.

Together, public figures, citizens, media freedom NGOs and unions, let us send a strong message to President Erdogan. Let us call on him to drop all charges against Dündar and Gül.

Let us call on institutions and governments to accept their duty to respond to the Erdogan regime’s increasingly authoritarian excesses.

Let us urge the Turkish authorities to free all journalists who are detained in connection with their reporting or the opinions they have expressed, and let us take a stand against the flagrant degradation of media freedom in Turkey.

Together, we can save independent journalism in Turkey!


Non-governmental organization

Reporters sans frontières (RSF)
Comité de protection des journalistes (CPJ)
PEN International
International Press Institute (IPI)
Association mondiale des journaux (WAN­IFRA)
Index on Censorship
World Press Freedom Comittee (WPFC)
Fédération internationale des journalistes (FIJ)
Fédération européenne des journalistes (FEJ)
Ethical Journalism Network (EJN)
Global Editors Network (GEN)
Association des journalistes de Turquie (TGC)
Union des journalistes de Turquie (TGS)
DISK Basin­İş
Association des journalistes européens (AEJ)


Günter Wallraff, journaliste, Allemagne
Noam Chomsky, linguiste, Etats­-Unis
Edgar Morin, sociologue, France
Carl Bernstein, journaliste, Etats­-Unis
Zülfü Livaneli, écrivain, Turquie
Ali Dilem, caricaturiste, Algérie
Thomas Piketty, économiste, France
Claudia Roth, femme politique, Allemagne
Paul Steiger, journaliste, Etats­-Unis
Kamel Labidi, journaliste, Tunisie
John R McArthur, dirigeant de médias, Etats-­Unis
Fazil Say, pianiste, Turquie
Peter Price, dirigeant de médias, Etats-­Unis
Edwy Plenel, dirigeant de médias, France
Jim Hoagland, journaliste, Etats-­Unis
Ahmet İnsel, politologue, Turquie
Eric Chol, directeur de rédaction, France
Nedim Gürsel, écrivain, Turquie
Cem Özdemir, co­président du Parti Vert, Allemagne
Hakan Günday, écrivain, Turquie
Mikis Theodorakis, compositeur, Grèce
Dmitry Mouratov, journaliste, Russie
Per Westberg, écrivain, Suède
Louise Belfrage, journaliste, Suède
Ali Anouzla, journaliste, Maroc
John Hughes, journaliste, Etats-­Unis
Omar Bellouchet, journaliste, Algérie
Jack Lang, ancien ministre, France
Omar Brouksy, journaliste, Maroc
Pierre Haski, journaliste, France
James Schwab, dirigeant de médias, Etats-­Unis
Jay Weissberg, critique de cinéma, Etats-­Unis
Harald Stanghelle, directeur de rédaction, Norvège
Jean Daniel, journaliste, France
Khadija Ryadi, militante des droits de l’homme, Maroc
Mokhtar Trifi, militant des droits de l’homme, Tunisie
Maati Monjib, historien, Maroc
Nadia Salah, directrice de rédaction, Maroc
Gilles Raymond, dirigeant de médias, France
Bertrand Pecquerie, dirigeant d’organisation, France
James Schwab, dirigeant de médias, Etats-Unis
John Hughes, journaliste, Etats-­Unis
Margie Orford, Président de PEN Afrique du Sud
Mandla Langa, Vice-Président Exécutif de PEN Afrique du Sud
Raymond Louw, Vice-Président de PEN Afrique du Sud