A Turkish journalist living in the US brought up the incarceration on terrorism charges of former Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Eren Erdem at this year’s Human Dimensions Implementation Meeting (HDIM), which was boycotted by the Turkish government because it was not allowed to prevent the participation of a nongovernmental organization.
The HDIM, which was held in Warsaw between Sept. 10 and 21, is Europe’s largest human rights conference and is sponsored by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
“The government of Turkey, my home country, is systematically targeting and arresting dissident journalists and writers for their writings or statements. Eren Erdem, a writer, journalist and former member of parliament, is one of the recent victims,” Uzay Bulut, also a writer at the US-based Gatestone Institute, said during her speech last week.
“Erdem exposed the activities of the Islamic State and other jihadist terror groups across Turkey and often urged the government to stop these activities and bring the perpetrators to account,” she added.
Former CHP deputy Erdem was arrested on June 29 on charges of “aiding a terrorist organization” five days after parliamentary and presidential elections, after which he was no longer a parliament member. He faces a prison sentence of between nine and 22 years.
“Turkey continues to be the world’s biggest prison for professional journalists. At least 183 journalists and media workers in Turkey are being held, either in pretrial detention or serving a prison sentence, according to the Platform for Independent Journalism,” Bulut said.
“The mere fact that the Turkish delegation decided to boycott the OSCE event is an indication of the direction that Turkey is taking with regards to human rights.”
“Hence, the Gatestone Institute recommends the OSCE chairmanship place restrictions on Turkey’s participation by excluding them from consensus decision-making until the Turkish government releases all jailed journalists and guarantees the right to free speech for all citizens of Turkey.”