Repression against the team at Meydan anarchist magazine in Turkey took another twist on Thursday after three members of the distribution team were jailed for six months each.
The three volunteers, Nergis Şen, Rıfat Güven and Zeynel Çuhadar were taken into custody (picture above) after the publication of Meydan Gazette issue 33, which called for an anarchist celebration of May 1st, on the grounds of a State prohibition on the event by President Erdogan’s increasingly hardline regime.
The Turkish government has made cracking down on dissenting left groups a priority amid memories of the 2013 Taksim Square occupation and repression has significantly worsened since Erdogan crushed an attempted coup last year. More than 200 people were detained during police repression of May 1st protests this year in a brutal assault by riot police.
The jailings mark the second time Meydan has had its members imprisoned — late last year editor Hüseyin Civan was sent down for a year and three months over an issue of the gazette which was deemed to be too supportive of Kurdish revolutionaries fighting in Rojava. The Meydan collective said in a statement today:
We are not going to give up our beliefs which include freedom and the fight for freedom. We will not stop to write and publish our arguments and propaganda for the socialisation of anarchism. Against the repressions, inquiries, custodies and imprisonments we will keep on maintaining to resist, act and write.
International journalist unions have repeatedly called for the re-establishment of a free press in Turkey after the arrest of reporters nationwide over the last few years. The International Federation of Journalists has said:
The Turkish authorities are now jailing journalists, shutting down radio and TV channels and censoring internet in an attempt to silence criticism. 122 journalists are in jail and over 150 media have been banned since mid-July. More than 2,500 journalists have lost their jobs and arrest warrants have been issued for dozens of media workers. Some families of journalists, who are in hiding or have fled, have been arrested to force them to surrender.
Media workers, journalists and press freedom campaigners all over the world have joined protests calling for the release of all jailed journalists in Turkey. Press freedom is essential for democracy, we demand Turkey sets the journalists free! Journalism is not a crime.