The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) released a declaration on Monday in which it criticized last week’s operations against the opposition Cumhuriyet daily and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), saying that the arrest of Cumhuriyet journalists and HDP deputies contravene the Constitution.
The CHP issued the declaration following a Party Council meeting on Sunday that convened to discuss the latest developments in the country which resulted in the arrest of nine Cumhuriyet daily journalists and nine HDP deputies including the party’s co-chairs last week.
In the declaration, the CHP accused the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of serving terrorism by arresting deputies.
“The arrest of deputies without due process is against the Constitution and rulings of the Constitutional Court. These unlawful practices should come to an end,” said the declaration.
Turkish courts on Friday arrested nine HDP deputies including the party’s Co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, who were detained in the early hours of Friday following police raids on their homes. The HDP deputies were arrested after they refused to testify about alleged crimes linked to “terrorist propaganda.”
With regard to the operation against Cumhuriyet, the CHP declaration called the operation against the daily a “politically motivated” one.
“Pressure on the press should end. All kinds of pressure preventing people from enjoying freedom of thought, freedom of expression and the right to information should be eliminated. All the arrested journalists should be released,” said the CHP in its declaration.
The editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet and eight staff members from the daily were arrested on Saturday. They are accused of aiding the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and FETÖ.
FETÖ is a derogatory term and acronym for the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization, coined by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the AKP government to refer to the Gülen movement, which Erdoğan and the AKP accuse of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15. The movement strongly denies having any role in the coup attempt.
The abortive coup on July 15 claimed the lives of more than 240 people and injured a thousand others. Dozens of media outlets in the country have been closed down and scores of journalists have been jailed by the government since the putsch.
According to a recent report from the Contemporary Journalists Association (ÇGD), 118 media outlets in Turkey were closed down, 184 journalists were detained, 56 journalists arrested, 866 journalists fired from their jobs and 620 journalists had their press cards cancelled during the July-September period.