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Journalists demand release of Ayse Guney as women's organisations targeted again by Turkish state

JOURNALISTS in Turkey are demanding the immediate release of Jin News editor Ayse Guney, who was detained today during operations that targeted women in the largely. Kurdish south-east of the country.

She was held after a police raid of her home in the early hours, as scores of prominent female politicians and activists were taken into custody, including Free Women’s Movement (TJA) chair Ayse Gokkan.

The arrests followed operations in Diyarbakir, the latest move against women’s organisations in the Kurdish city by the Turkish state.

Ms Guney is the spokeswoman for the Mesopotamian Women Journalists’ Platform, which is among those demanding her immediate release.

In a statement the group warned that “the pressure on the free press in Turkey is intensified with each new day. Journalists are taken into custody by being targets of almost every political operation.”

Ms Guney is an editor for Jin News, an all-women’s media organisation set up by artist and journalist Zehra Dogan on International Women’s Day in 2012.

The agency was established to ensure that women’s issues in Turkey received coverage and to challenge the male-dominated media and its language. 

But its stance means that Jin has been a frequent target of the state, suffering closures, police raids and the jailing of reporters.

Today the trial of Jin reporter Kibriye Evren was adjourned;  prosecutors are seeking a sentence of up to 20 years in prison on trumped-up terrorism charges.

The Mesopotamian Women Journalists’ Platform said the detention of Ms Guney “further proves that women journalists are being targeted. Journalism was not a crime yesterday, it is not a crime today and it will not be a crime tomorrow.

“We, who carry on the legacy of women journalists who have written the truth, will not submit to pressures and we will never refrain from speaking our mind.

“While exposing male-state violence, we will not step back from our principle of making the voice of women struggling against this systematic and politicised violence heard.”

The organisation said that it refused to remain silent and demanded the immediate release of Ms Guney.

Kurdish women have seen an escalation of attacks targeting individuals and organisations by the Turkish state recently.

TJA activist and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) supporter Rojbin Cetin was subjected to horrific torture during an interrogation in her own home, mauled by dogs in a three-and-a-half-hour ordeal.

Beyond Turkey’s borders, three Kurdish women were killed in a targeted attack by a Turkish drone in the Syrian city of Kobane earlier this month.

And Austrian authorities said they suspected Turkish state involvement in a violent attack on Kurdish women protesting against femicide in Vienna last month.

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