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September 28, 2016 / 25 Elul, 5776
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Letter from Imprisoned Turkish Journalist Baris Pehlivan


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Baris Pehlivan

Photo Credit: Odatv.com



My dear colleagues, I have been imprisoned for 17 months with the Odatv case, the clearest proof of the pressure on the freedoms of press and expression in Turkey. Hidden behind the prevarication of a “terror organization,” journalism itself is being tried. Indeed: in the 134-page indictment, the word “news” appears 361 times; the word “book,” 280 times; the words “column/editorial ” 53 times; the word “interview,” 26 times, and the word “article,” 5 times. These are the most common words used to accuse the detained journalists in the Odatv indictment.

Along with these, in the 134-page indictment, the words “Fethullah Gülen” and “Cemaat”[1] were used 111 times. These figures clarify the essence of the indictment. News reports, books, and articles have been presented as “criminal evidence.”

The foundation of the Odatv case is based on fraudulent digital documents proven to have been planted on our computers by hackers. Three Turkish universities (Yıldız Technical University, Middle East Technical University, and Bosphorus University) and one USA-based IT company have verified that these digital data did not belong to us and were uploaded by viruses. Nevertheless, my detention continues.

My dear colleagues,

In conclusion, due to my activities as a journalist, I am unfortunately deprived unlawfully of freedom in my own country. I have been sitting in prison for 17 months without any final verdict. Journalism is a universal profession. Wherever a journalist is arrested and thrown into prison for doing his or her job, all of the world’s journalists are under threat. Within this context, I hope the sensitivity you have shown against the trial of journalism in Turkey will continue until the end.

Thank you very much for your attention and support.

Sincerely,

Baris Pehlivan Odatv.com Editor in Chief

[1] “Cemaat’ is an Arabic word, used in Turkish, which translates to “community.” It is the word used to describe the followers and supporters of Fethullah Gülen, a very controvesial figure in Turkish society.

Originally published by Gatestone Institute  http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

Baris Pehlivan

About the Author: Baris Pehlivan, editor-in-chief of Odatv.com, is accused by the Turkish government of being involved in an allegedly wide-ranging anti-government conspiracy.


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