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Period of detention extended for another 7 days for journalist Erdem

Journalist Zeki Erdem

Turkish prosecutors have extended the period of detention of journalist Zeki Erdem, who has been in police custody since July 11, for another seven days, the Evrensel daily reported on Wednesday.

Erdem, who works for the Özgürlükçü Demokrasi daily, was detained in Şanlıurfa province on his way from Ankara to Diyarbakır. He is being kept in custody at the sports hall of a high school used by the Turkish police as a detention center in Şanlıurfa.

Mehmet Emin Yılmaz, a distributor for Özgürlükçü Demokrasi and Rojeva Medya in Şanlıurfa, was also detained on July 13 and has been held in custody at the same sports hall since then.

It is still unknown on which charges Erdem and Yılmaz were detained due to a “confidentiality” decision in the investigations into them.

Lawyer for the journalists Mikail Yavuz said he met with his clients and that they hope to learn the accusations against them when they are taken to a police station for interrogation.

Assessing the state of the media in Turkey in a report on the occasion of the first anniversary of a failed coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) concluded that Turkish journalism is in its death throes because President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government has used a state of emergency, declared after the failed coup, to step up a witch-hunt against critics.

“The state of emergency declared five days after the coup attempt has allowed the government to summarily close dozens of media outlets. And Turkey, which is ranked 155th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index, is now the world’s biggest prison for professional journalists, with more than 100 detained,” said RSF.

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