On World Press Freedom Day, 26 organisations condemned Turkey’s continued repression of Kurdish journalists, as the country’s press freedom ranking plummets.


On 3 May, marking World Press Freedom Day, OBC Transeuropa along with 26 other international media freedom and human rights organisations, condemned the recent arrests of Kurdish journalists in Turkey.

RSF expressed concerns regarding Turkey’s press freedom following the re-election of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2023. “The re-election of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party in Turkey is not without raising concerns: the country, in 158th place, continues to lose points in the Ranking,” RSF reported.

On 23 April, Turkish authorities detained Kurdish journalists in Istanbul, Ankara and Şanlıurfa (Riha), including Esra Solin Dal, Mehmet Aslan and Erdoğan Alayumat. Accused of ‘membership in a terrorist organisation’, these journalists were denied legal transparency and access to their lawyers, with no substantial evidence presented to support the charges.

The harassment and intimidation of Kurdish journalists have become a systemic issue in Turkey, with significant increases in arrests in recent years. Last year alone, nine Kurdish journalists were jailed, and in the lead-up to the 2023 elections, another 11 were detained. These instances often result in prolonged detentions and are part of a broader pattern of legal harassment, as documented by the Mapping Media Freedom database.

On World Press Freedom Day, OBC Transeuropa and the coalition of supporting organisations called upon Turkey to respect its obligations under its Press Law, the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights. The collective statement urged Turkey to cease the harassment of journalists and to ensure the safety and protection of all media workers, essential for a functioning democracy.