The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, as part of Media Freedom Rapid Response calls on the Turkish authorities to immediately and unconditionally drop the charges against freelance journalist Oktay Candemir and to return his confiscated property in full and without delay.
On 7 September 2020, police in the eastern city of Van arrested Candemir, who writes columns for the pro-Kurdish news site Nupel. The next day, he was released after being charged with “insulting the memory of a dead person”, which carries a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment. As part of the conditions of his release, Candemir is banned from travelling abroad and must check in with police regularly. His computer and personal archive were confiscated.
The charges against Candemir relate to a satirical tweet, posted on his personal twitter account on 3 September, in which he mocked a historical drama series produced by state broadcaster, TRT. According to the authorities, the tweet insulted Sultan Ertuğrul Ghazi, who lived in the 13th century and was the father of Osman I, founder of the Ottoman dynasty.
Since the attempted coup in July 2016, media freedom has been in steep decline in Turkey. In the crackdown on the press, pro-Kurdish journalists and outlets have been targeted with particular vigour.