ISTANBUL (Hurriyet Daily News)—The family of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, assassinated in 2007, has given its support to two prominent journalists who were arrested Sunday in connection with an alleged coup plot.
The arrests of Nedim Şener and Ahmet Şık has sparked widespread anger among press circles and nongovernmental associations. Journalists protested their colleagues’ arrests Sunday in front of the courthouse in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district, joined by Dink’s brother Khosrov Orhan Dink, who waited with the rest of the group until the first morning light to learn the court’s decision and offer his support to Şener and Şık.
Dink’s wife, Rakel Dink, also visited Şener’s wife in order to give her support.
Şener previously faced trial for a book he wrote about the Dink murder case, in which he was accused of “making targets of civil servants,” “obtaining secret documents” and “exposing secret documents.” He was acquitted on all charges in June 2010.
In his column in daily Posta on Feb. 25, Şener wrote that there were threats made against him after it was revealed that police accused of negligence in Dink’s murder were also involved in the Ergenekon inquiry.
Turkish journalists’ organizations on Sunday visited the homes of two reporters to show their support for their colleagues’ families and protest their arrests in an alleged coup plot.
Some 60 to 70 journalists gathered in front Şık’s apartment. They chanted slogans such as “Ahmet and Nedim are our honor,” “Ahmet will be out, Nedim will be out, they will write again” and “We are not afraid of oppression.”
Hilmi Yarayıcı, a singer and parliamentarian from the main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, was also among the protesters.
CHP chief Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu called Şık’s wife during the visits to express his support. “Ahmet and Nedim were doing journalism in order to leave an honorable future to their children. Now they are accused [of committing a crime] because of doing journalism,” Kılıçdaroğlu told Yonca Verdioğlu. He added that the CHP would be closely following the case and would provide any kind of legal help needed by the families.
The demonstrations in protest of Şık and Şener’s arrests will continue, the journalists said in a press statement accompanying Sunday’s events, which were organized by the Turkish Journalists Association, or TGC, the Turkish Journalists Union, or TGS, the Press Council and several other nongovernmental organizations.
“We won’t stop. Because if we slow down our demonstrations, the arrests of journalists will continue, that’s for sure. We will continue writing what is going on in Turkey. And we will definitely be on the streets,” said Alper Turgut, a board member of the TGS.
The journalists’ unions said they would come together in Istanbul on Tuesday to plan a demonstration schedule in protest of the latest arrests, and against other recent interventions in the freedom of the press in Turkey.
International press freedom organizations and Western observers, including the US Embassy in Turkey, has condemned the Turkish government’s harassment of journalists.