Journalists who fled a government crackdown in Turkey and took shelter in Germany held a protest over the weekend on the sidelines of a book fair in Frankfurt in support of their jailed colleagues in Turkey, Bold Medya reported.
The exiled journalists met in Frankfurt on Saturday to attend a protest organized by the International Journalists organization. The demonstration took place in front of the Frankfurt Trade Fair, where the world’s largest event of the publishing industry, the Frankfurt Book Fair, took place between Oct. 16 and 20.
Reading a statement on behalf of the group, journalist Tuba Güven said practices similar to those of the Nazi era in Germany are taking place in Turkey today as the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has arrested dozens of journalists, burnt hundreds of thousands of books and forced many journalists to live in exile.
Holding posters representing their jailed colleagues in Turkey, the journalists demanded their immediate release, saying they will never forget their imprisoned friends.
“We are exiled journalists who were able to find a refugee boat and managed to flee the Erdoğan regime. Yet, more than 200 journalists and writers are in jail in Turkey now. They were given prison sentences of six years, 10 years, 20 years and even a life sentence. We would like to say here at the Frankfurt Book Fair that our hearts are with them. We have not forgotten you. In your absence, Turkey has become a country producing war. We need you so much. We miss you so much,” Güven said on behalf of the journalists in the area.
The journalists were referring to an incursion Turkey launched in northern Syria on Oct. 9 against Syrian militant groups.
“We are calling on each and every free individual in the world to show solidarity with the journalists and writers in Turkey who are being held hostage,” she added.
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) arrested dozens of critical journalists in the aftermath of a failed coup on July 15, 2016 on terrorism or coup charges under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. Veteran Turkish journalists such as Ahmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak have been languishing behind bars for more than three years.
Turkey, where more than 150 journalists and media workers are currently jailed, was ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released in April by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).