Turkish journalists unable to attend fathers’ funerals, fearing gov’t persecution

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Said Sefa (L) and Turan Görüryılmaz

Two Turkish journalists who are in exile due to arrest warrants issued for them by the Turkish government after a failed coup attempt on July 15 could not attend funerals of their fathers.

Said Sefa, a columnist and the editor-in chief of the Haberdar news portal, said his father passed away but that he is not able to attend the funeral.

Sefa announced in a frankly written article on Friday that his father had long been suffering from stomach cancer.

“If something happens to me, do not even dare to come for the funeral and do not let them arrest you,” his father told Sefa prior to his death.

The journalist also quoted his father as saying in his will: “They will no longer allow you to do well.”

Haberdar is one of few critical media outlets left in Turkey, shut down under post-coup emergency rule but subsequently reopened, defying government pressure.

Turan Görüryılmaz, an exiled journalist for Bugün TV, KanalTürk and CanErzincan TV, which were seized by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government in 2015 and 2016, tweeted on Saturday that his father had passed away: “My father is said to have passed away. He has been a big influence in my life. It is painful not to be able to attend his funeral. Rest in Paradise.”

Sefa and Görüryılmaz have been on a detention list for dozens of journalists issued by the AKP government.

Since a failed coup on July 15, Turkey has jailed scores of journalists and became the largest jailer of journalists in the world in 2016. Over 160 media outlets have been shut down by decrees issued during Turkey’s relentless purge against critics.

The Contemporary Journalists Association (ÇGD) said this week that Turkey currently holds 142 journalists under arrest. Meanwhile, several other journalists are also in detention.

Sefa said Ahmet Memiş, one of Haberdar’s editors, is also among the post-coup arrestees.

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