Two journalists detained in Diyarbakır shortly before Newroz celebrations

Journalists Ertuş Bozkurt and Mikail Barut were detained in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on March 20 ahead of the Newroz celebrations.

This file photo shows detained journalist Ertuş Bozkurt.

Duvar English

The police on March 20 detained journalists Ertuş Bozkurt and Mikail Barut in a house raid in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır. The journalists were detained following anonymous denunciations made for 36 people to the police, Mezopotamya News Agency reported

Dicle Fırat Journalists Association made an urgent call to national and foreign press organizations for the release of Bozkurt and Barut.

“While the enthusiasm for Newroz was experienced all over Mesopotamia, unfortunately, as the press community, we started the day with a detention operation. It is not acceptable once again to target and arrest journalists who are trying to convey what is happening in our region to the whole world, and especially who are trying to reflect the Newroz enthusiasm in our region,” the association said in a statement. 

“Although we know that our journalist friends were detained as a result of baseless allegations and a hollow investigation, deprivation of their freedom in this way is a serious problem. No journalist should be deprived of his freedom even for a day or an hour. This is a serious human rights violation,” it said and demanded the journalists' immediate release.

The association recalled that both journalists were previously held in prison for a long time within the scope of the case known as the "KCK Press Trial."

In March 2011, 32 journalists and media workers were arrested, put in pretrial detention following a string of police operations against Kurdish media outlets such as Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA), Özgür Gündem, Azadiya Welat. The case has been continuing since 2011, with a total of 46 defendants who have been accused of being the “media branch” of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK). 

The KCK is an umbrella organization of Kurds in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran, and includes both legal movements, as well as groups designated as terrorist by Turkey, such as the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).