A campaign has been started in the United Kingdom for Evrensel writer Yusuf Karataş, who was arrested on charges for the ‘administration of a terrorist organisation.’
The charges were made on the grounds that he attended the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) meetings and the seasonal agriculture workers convention.
Solidarity with the People Of Turkey (SPOT) held meetings primarily with trade unions, MPs and politicians to draw attention to Yusuf Karataş’s unlawful arrest and to demand that he is freed immediately.
In the statement made by SPOT, it was expressed that the charge made on Karataş for attending the meetings, which the AKP authorities have also participated in many times, is the last wave of attacks on all oppositions. It was also mentioned that they would be taking the case to the UK Foreign Ministry.
Asking for support primarily from the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the two biggest trade unions in the country, UNITE and UNISON, SPOT also called on hundreds of Members of Parliament to back the campaign for the release of Yusuf Karataş and other detained journalists.
Officials from SPOT and the trade unions will meet with the Foreign Ministry and the Turkish Embassy in London in the coming days to put an end to the pressure placed on journalists in Turkey.
FULL STATEMENT OF SPOT
FREEDOM FOR YUSUF KARATAS
"Press freedom and democracy are under attack in Turkey. The situation has intensified since last years failed coup attempt.
A third of the worlds total jailed journalists are in Turkish prisons and many newspapers and media outlets have been closed down by the government.
Legitimate organisations including the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) - which operated freely when peace negotiations with Kurdish representatives were taking place - are now deemed terrorist organisations by the state.
Evrensel journalist Yusuf Karatas has been arrested and is prison after being charged with terrorism offences over his role in the DTK.
His legal team have revealed that from 2009-13, Yusuf was spied on the Turkish state who monitored his whereabouts and tapped his phone, listening to his conversations.
He has been questioned over his attendance at a meeting of agricultural workers organised by the DTK in Diyarbakir in 2013. There were no charges brought against him at the time, however, attending the meeting is now considered a "terror activity."
Government officials from the ruling AKP have also attended meetings of the DTK in the past.
Yusuf was also quizzed over his attendance at a protest in Diyarbakir following the 2011 Roboski massacre when 34 innocent villagers were killed after a fighter jet bombed them in the mountains in south east Turkey.
The case files were built by judiciary and police officers who were purged during operations targeting those suspected of plotting the coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The charges brought against Yusuf are politically motivated and a further attempt to silence all forms of opposition to Erdogan's increasingly autocratic rule.
Yusuf has said "whether we are inside or outside, we will continue to speak the truth”
We demand the immediate release of Yusuf Karatas and all journalists detained for simply doing their job.
Freedom for Yusuf Karatas. Journalism is not a crime."
YUSUF KARATAŞ'S ARTICLES ON EVRENSEL DAILY: