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Journalists start Twitter campaign in Turkey

JOURNALISTS in Turkey have launched a social-media campaign to raise awareness of the detention of 28 media workers, including eight held this month.

In a video circulating on Twitter, the group calls on the public to remember those behind bars and vows to uphold the people’s right to “learn the truth.”

The Have You Heard campaign was sparked by the detention of scores of journalists in Turkey, even those from liberal and conservative media organisations.

A number were targeted after reporting on the funeral of a Turkish intelligence officer killed in Libya, where Ankara has been accused of mobilising thousands of jihadists in support of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord.

While the film states that there are 91 journalists in prison, other sources suggest that about 200 journalists are behind bars in Turkey — many of them on trumped-up terrorism charges.

Hundreds of media organisations were shut down by presidential decree following a failed coup attempt in July 2016 and more than 10,000 journalists have been blacklisted.

The group’s video lists Baris Terkoglu, Baris Pehlivan, Hulya Kilinc, Mehmet Ferhat Celik, Aydin Keser, Murat Agirel, Alptekin Dursunoglu and Rawin Sterk. It says: “Have you heard? Eight more journalists have joined dozens in prisons. Iron gate, blind window … They have been closed to the faces of journalists again.”

The campaign vows to “break down those iron gates for all imprisoned journalists, regardless of the institutions where they work and the political stances they take.”

“Our loyalty is solely to the truth and to our profession, which is based on conveying the truth to the public. We will not bow to anyone. We will not stay silent,” it promised.

But a number of journalists have warned that international solidarity and concrete, practical action are needed as well.

“We have seen too many Twitter campaigns. What we need is concrete political demands and meaningful solidarity. You don’t get that by clicking a button,” one Kurdish journalist told the Morning Star.

In Britain, trade unionists and others have been urged to take solidarity action in workplaces after a planned protest outside the Turkish embassy was cancelled over coronavirus fears.

Journalists for Democracy in Turkey & Kurdistan has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, urging him to scrap arms sales to Ankara and to demand the immediate release of journalists and other political prisoners.

The group is also calling for workers to twin with their counterparts in Turkey in an act of solidarity.

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