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Kurdish journalists detained by Turkish authorities after fleeing northern Syria

Turkish Kurds watch as airstrikes hit Kobani, inside Syria, as fighting intensifies between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, in Mursitpinar, on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, 8 October 2014
Turkish Kurds watch as airstrikes hit Kobani, inside Syria, as fighting intensifies between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, in Mursitpinar, on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, 8 October 2014

AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

This article was originally published on ifj.org on 11 October 2014

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have joined international calls for the 20 Syrian-Kurdish journalists and media workers detained by Turkish military forces to be released with immediate effect.

The journalists were forced to leave the city of Kobani, northern Syria, after fighting intensified between Kurdish forces protecting the city and IS forces. They were among 265 Kurds who crossed the border to seek refuge in Turkey where they were taken into custody by Turkish authorities. They have now been detained in Turkey for five days [as of 11 October 2014].

The journalists and media workers are known to work for media outlets that are active in the Kurdish region of Rojava, Syria. They are protesting again their detention, stating that there is no reason reason behind it. They are undertaking a collective hunger strike to protest against their poor treatment by the Turkish forces.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) called on Turkish authorities to immediately release all their journalist colleagues, as well as the other Kurdish citizens currently detained without any explanation.

“We join our affiliate, the TGS to demand that these journalists, and all the other Kurdish citizens, currently being detained in Turkey, to be released immediately,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. “They sought refuge in Turkey after fleeing the dangerous situation in Kobane, but instead of being welcomed they have been treated like criminals. They have committed no crime and we demand that Turkish authorities treat them with respect."

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