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Int’l journalist organization calls on Ukraine to protect Turkish national

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The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) has called on the Ukrainian government to take urgent action to protect Ukraine-based Turkish journalist Yunus Erdoğdu, who reportedly fears for his safety after the abduction of other Turkish nationals and the publication in the local media of a list bearing the names of Turks to be abducted.

“After last events of kidnapping of Turkish citizens I don’t feel myself in safety. I can’t ask for help from local police or security services because I understand that Turkish and Ukrainian services are in cooperation,” Erdoğdu told the IFJ, adding that he has done “nothing illegal but writing truth and objective articles about the situation in Turkey and Ukraine.”

Founder of the first Turkish language news website ukraynahaber.com and currently chief Turkish language editor at the Vector News Agency, Erdoğdu has been working in Ukraine since 2005.

Erdoğdu, who has an IFJ Press Card, has raised an international call asking for help as neither Ukrainian authorities nor the Turkish Embassy in Kiev has denied the list and have both confirmed that the “detentions are part of ongoing security cooperation between Turkey and Ukraine.”

On July 12, another journalist, Yusuf İnan, was abducted by Turkish intelligence officials in Ukraine, along with businessman Salih Zeki Yiğit due to their alleged ties to the Gülen movement.

“For international partners of the NSJU, in particular the International and European Federation of Journalists, it is of fundamental importance for the Ukrainian authorities to respect the rights of opposition foreign journalists,” said Sergei Tomilenko, chairman of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NSJU).

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir expressed his great concern in a letter to Ukrainian authorities on July 19 asking them to stop the deportation process. However, İnan, editor-in-chief of online news outlet News2023.com, was eventually deported to Turkey.

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