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Turkish journalists in exile join exhibitors at world’s largest book fair in Frankfurt

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The International Journalists Association e.V. (IJA), founded in Germany by media professionals who were forced to flee Turkey due to government pressure and now live in exile, joined the 74th Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest of its kind in the world, with an exhibition as the fair commenced Tuesday evening.

Numerous national and international publishing houses present their new titles at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which hosts more than 2,000 events between October 18 and 23.

Organizing events with media professionals and opposition figures in exile under the banner “Free Media for Real Democracy,” the IJA exhibition started on Wednesday with a discussion between Volodymyr Bober, editor-in-chief of the Ukrainian Poglyad newspaper, and the previously Ukrainian-based Turkish editor of the ukraynahaber.com news website, Yunus Erdoğdu, who talked about the safety of journalists affected by the Russian-Ukrainian war.

The journalists have lived in Ukraine for many years and witnessed the crisis. Bober continues to reside in the western Ukrainian city of Chernivtsi, where he is also president of the National Society of Journalists of Ukraine (NSJU). Erdoğdu is now living in exile in Switzerland.

The IJA will organize other events at the book fair in the coming days.

On Thursday at 2 p.m. local time, exiled journalist Erkam Tufan Aytav will discuss “Media, democracy and the economics of free speech,” with prominent Turkish academics Prof. Dr. Eser Karakas and Prof. Dr. Vedat Demir.

Journalist Post Chief Editor Yüksel Durgut will on Saturday host Ukrainian journalist Sevgil Musayeva, editor-in-chief of the largest news portal in Ukraine (Ukrayinska Pravda), who was named one of the 100 most influential people by Time magazine in 2022. Musayeva will address the role of the media and journalists in the Russian-Ukrainian war.

The same day, Enes Kanter Freedom, an activist and basketball player who was dropped from the NBA reportedly for speaking out against human rights abuses worldwide and who received the 2022 Courage Award at the 14th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, will also be present in the IJA exhibition area, the association’s website says.

Freedom, who has lived mainly in the United States for more than a decade, has used his substantial platform as an international star athlete to condemn Turkey’s pivot towards authoritarianism under Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over the past few years.

Turkish prosecutors are seeking a four-year prison sentence for his alleged membership in the Gülen movement, a religious group inspired by Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen.

On Sunday Cevheri Güven, a prominent investigative journalist living in Germany, will talk about the challenges and consequences of doing journalism in exile.

Güven has made scandalous revelations about President Erdoğan and his close circle as well as some journalists and opposition figures in his YouTube videos. He recently came under the spotlight after the pro-government Sabah daily, on its Sept. 22 front page, published secretly taken photos of him while walking on the street and revealed his home neighborhood in a German city.

Güven told Turkish Minute at the time he believed Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) was behind the search for him and that it was due to one of his videos in early September in which he questioned MİT’s role in a failed coup in Turkey in July 2016, following which Erdoğan’s government launched a massive crackdown on outspoken journalists and non-loyalist citizens under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.

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