VAN - Released MA reporter Hakan Yalçın pointed out that the government targets the Free Press before every election and emphasized that they will continue to write the truth against oppression.
Under the AKP rule, which abolished the freedom of the press in Turkey, 34 journalists were arrested due to their professional activities in the investigations carried out against the Free Press in the last year. As part of the investigation carried out by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor's Office a year ago, 16 journalists were arrested by the court on June 16, 2022. These crackdowns were followed by the arrest of 9 out of 11 journalists detained as part of an investigation carried out by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office. The last link of the repression was the arrest of 5 journalists, who were also detained in Amed-based operations on April 25, and the arrest of two journalists in Ankara-based operations on April 28.
Diren Yurtsever, Editor-in-Chief of the Mesopotamia Agency (MA), reporters Selman Güzelyüz, Deniz Nazlım, Berivan Altan, Emrullah Acar, Hakan Yalçın, Ceylan Şahinli and JINNEWS reporters Habibe Eren and Öznur Değer was arrested within the scope of the investigation carried out by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office within the scope of these pressures on the Free Press. The journalists, who were accused of their news stories, their travels and money transfers in this context, were released in the first hearing of the case on May 16.
As part of the file, Hakan Yalçın, who was detained in Wan, where he continued his professional activities on October 25, and was released at the first hearing of the case, talked about the pressures against journalists, the detention and arrest process, and the violations of rights in the prison where he was held in a cell.
Stating that he was exposed to rights violations from Van, where he was detained, until he was taken to Ankara, Yalçın said: "When he was handed over to the Ankara police, we were exposed to serious physical attacks and sexist insults there. My hands were cuffed behind my back and they held a gun to my head. We saw that day that there is a management and state understanding that sees all kinds of rights in itself. We journalists were accused of being "a member of a terrorist organization" for exposing the dirty policies of the state. We were subjected to a lot of unlawfulness and after that we were already arrested. We were held in single cells in the newly opened Sincan No. 1 High Security Prison. They left us in a place where isolation is completely isolated and deprived of human contact. They take a journalist from his home one night, take him to court, arrest him, and then put him in a 12-metre cell."
THE JOURNALIST WAS JUDGED DUE TO 149 THE NEWS
Stating that they were exposed to rights violations during the 7-month detention process, Yalçın said: “We know that we are exposed to such practices in line with the instructions. The whole public saw the indictment they issued later. I was on trial for 149 news stories. We wrote about this news, the democratic solution methods of the Kurdish question, the isolation developed in Imrali, the rights violations experienced by the Kurds, and how the law enforcement intervened in the most democratic actions and activities against the oppressed in this country. We were prosecuted and thrown into prison because we wrote this reality as it is.”
THE AIM OF THE ARREST IS TO PREVENT JOURNALISM
Referring to the prison conditions they were held in, Yalçın said: “There is an understanding of isolating the person, rejecting the thoughts of the person and leaving him to die. Even when you first enter prisons, you can understand that captivity situation. Personalized treatment, the hostile approach of the guards working there, constant searches in the cell where you are alone, threats and insults… These behaviors were purely aimed at scaring us, intimidating us and preventing us from continuing our journalism profession. There is not only us but also our friend in prison. This government does not want things to be heard or seen.”
'WE WILL COUNTINUE TO WRITE TRUTH'
Stating that they will continue their journalistic activities against oppression, Yalçın said: “It is very important for our friends to own our pen, microphone or camera. It is a pride that they are exposed to all kinds of pressure on a daily basis and continue to struggle despite it. One of the reasons why we remained resilient in prisons was that our friends outside continued the tradition of the Free Press. We are at the beginning of our duty, and we will continue to be at the beginning of our duty today as it was yesterday. We will continue to report all violations of rights in this country and to expose these dirty policies. We write the truth and we will continue to write it.”