HDP: Erdoğan won’t succeed in silencing free press

The HDP issued a statement to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the bombing of the Özgür Ülke Newspaper on 3 December 1994.

Azad Barış, HDP Press, Broadcast and Propaganda deputy co-chair, reminded that on 3 December 1994, the premises belonging to Özgür Ülke (Free Country), daily independent Kurdish newspaper, were bombed.

Member of staff Ersin Yıldız lost his life in Istanbul Central Office of Özgür Ülke, while the Ankara office was destroyed. A bomb-loaded truck exploded under the building leaving 23 reporters and staff members injured. On top of that 23 other journalists were arrested.

The subsequent investigation, carried out by the Turkish authorities, failed to solve the case. The attack happened just after the then Prime Minister Tansu Çiller openly talked of the need to ‘get rid of Özgür Ülke’.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) condemned Turkey but no one was ever found guilty or arrested for the attack.

Despite being heavily hit Özgür Ülke never stopped its publication. Thanks to the solidarity of the many, the paper was able to come out the very next day of the attack. The headline read “This fire also burns you.”

Barış said that “Çiller failed. She could not silence the free press. Likewise today Erdoğan and his administration will not succeed. We are sure of this. Because we know the struggle and the comittment of journalists, who persistently and with determination work to be the voice of the truth despite all the attacks.”

The HDP exeuctive added: “The attack on the press is an attack on the society, defending free press is defending the right of society to know the truth and to receive information. As a society, we demand our right to know the truth.”

Barış, referring to the latest wave of arrests of journalists, also underlined that “the fact that free press journalists such as Berivan Altan, Sadık Topaloğlu and Sadiye Eser are detained on the anniversary of the bombing of Özgür Ülke confirms that the AKP is trying to preserve that dark past.”