Kurdish journalists detained in police raids in southeastern Turkey

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Journalists Ertuş Bozkurt and Mikail Barut were detained on Sunday in police raids on their homes in southeastern Diyarbakir province, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported, citing the Bianet news website.

Bozkurt was a reporter for the Kurdish-language Azadiya Welat daily, shut down by the government in 2016, while Barut worked for the also-shuttered Free People Magazine (Özgür Halk Dergisi). Accusations against the journalists have not yet been disclosed; however, they were taken in for questioning by the counterterrorism bureau of the Diyarbakir Police Department.

According to local news sources, the detentions came after anonymous complaints were made against both journalists.

Bozkurt and Barut were arrested along with 36 other journalists in December 2011 and were imprisoned for two-and-a-half years for alleged membership in the outlawed Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK).

Bozkurt and was released in May 2014 pending trial, but Barut remained in pretrial detention until 2021.

Turkey is one of the world’s biggest jailers of professional journalists and was ranked 153rd among 180 countries in terms of press freedom in 2021, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Turkish journalists are often targeted and jailed for their journalistic activities.

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