Turkey detains 11 journalists working for pro-Kurdish media in morning raids

Turkish police have detained 11 journalists working for the pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya News Agency and JIN News website in early morning raids across several provinces, Duvar news site reported.

The journalist were taken into police custody in raids on Mezopotamya News Agency’s Ankara office and the journalists homes in Istanbul, Ankara, Urfa, Diyarbakır, Van and Mardin provinces following an investigation carried out by the Ankara prosecutor's office, Duvar said. The reason for the detentions remains unknown.

Police seized computers, hard drives, magazines and equipment from the journalists’ homes and offices, in addition to a microphone of Mezopotamya ‘s headquarters in Ankara, it said.

The Journalists' Union of Turkey (TGS) has condemned the detentions, noting that they coincided with a new censorship law, which hands down prison sentences for spreading disinformation.

“You will not be able to criminalize journalism with these practices,” the TGS said in a Twitter post.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has called for the immediate release of the journalists, saying their detention demonstrated that Turkey’s “lawlessness.”

“We condemn these attacks against free press workers in the strongest terms; release the journalists immediately. Such attacks failed to yield results (for the government) yesterday and they will fail to yield results today,” the HDP said on Twitter.

Turkey's parliament earlier this month adopted a law proposed by President Tayyip Erdogan that would jail journalists and social media users for up to three years for spreading "disinformation," despite deep concerns over free speech.

Turkey was ranked 149th out of 180 countries in the annual media freedom index published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) earlier this year.

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