Six of our colleagues who have been held captive for the past nine months as part of the case against Cumhuriyet newspaper have been released, but Akın Atalay, Kadri Gürsel, Murat Sabuncu and Ahmet Şık remain behind bars. Our colleagues showed to all during five days of hearings that they would not bow down to lies and slander and that they would not obey pressure exerted at the whim of authorities. It was Ahmet Şık that best encapsulated the stance of all these journalists: “I’m not just speaking for me but for all my colleagues; I’ve only bowed down to kiss the hand of my mother and father until now. That won’t change from now on either.”
Our colleagues did not make a defense in the court but an accusation; they were not on trial but were the ones putting the system on trial. Their resistance offered a source of hope for everyone in Turkey, in which pressure gains a new dimension with every passing day.
The coordinating group in which DİSK Basın-İş participated also displayed some of the most profound moves toward solidarity in recent times. The fostering of international solidarity ensured that the word about the case was successfully spread. Even if the public as a whole couldn’t enter the courtroom, it was able to follow the case minute by minute thanks to the “journalists on the outside” and Cumhuriyet’s lawyers.
We will not abandon our four colleagues still being held captive in the Cumhuriyet case or our other colleagues being held in prison.
This case also offered us a chance to see once more the importance of solidarity. We express our gratitude to international organizations, especially the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the International Press Institute (IPI) and the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), the Journalists on the Outside group, lawyers, those that drew the proceedings in the court and everyone else that made a contribution.
We will stand firm in our courageous position and continue to foster solidarity against those that lie about our colleagues, slander them and declare them traitors.
Solidarity is our greatest weapon against despotism.
Freedom to journalists