The lawyers of daily Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar and Ankara Bureau Chief Erdem Gül have objected to the recent court decision to arrest them pending trial over a report about Turkish intelligence trucks bound for Syria.
The lawyers of Dündar and Gül arrived at Istanbul's Çağlayan courthouse early on Nov. 30 to file the objection.
“We are fulfilling our duty and objecting to the ruling that is in violation of Turkey's constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights and rulings of the European Court of Human Rights. The rest is up to you. The decision and the responsibility lie with you” read the three-sentence objection.
On Nov. 29, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also commented on the arrests en route to Brussels for the EU-Turkey Summit, saying they were “unnecessary.”
“I believe it is right to order release pending trial, apart from in exceptional cases,” he said, while stressing that revealing state secrets “is a crime everywhere in the world.”
Dündar and Gül were arrested on charges of collecting and revealing secret documents for espionage and supporting an armed terrorist organization. The accusations were based on reports in Cumhuriyet regarding Syria-bound trucks sent by the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) and halted for inspection by police in January 2014.
“By publishing fabricated footage and information that were leaked to him by the parallel organization, [Dündar] participated in the actions of the organization's members who searched the trucks and plotted with fabricated evidence to create a perception … that the Republic of Turkey [was] helping terrorist organizations” the complaint against Dündar and Gül stated.
"Freedom of thought and expression are the indispensable values of our civilization"
Dündar and Gül have sent a letter to the leaders of the European Union, on the eve of the EU - Turkey summit. "We as journalists who believe that Turkey is part of the European family and should be a full member of the Union, write you this letter from Silivri Prison" they started the letter. "Freedom of thought and expression are the indispensable values of our civilization. We have been arrested and held in custody pending our trial for exercising these freedoms and defending the public's right for information."
"The Prime Minister of Turkey, whom you will meet this weekend and the regime he represents are well known for policies and practices that have flouted human rights and freedom of the press" they said, adding that the governments of the leaders are negotiating with Ankara in connection with the refugee crisis, "a crisis that has concerned and touched all our hearts."
"We sincerely hope that the meeting produces a lasting solution to this problem" they went on, reminding the the "sensitivity of the Western world towards human rights" and went on as follows:
"We would also hope that your desire to end the crisis will not stand in the way of your sensitivity towards human rights, freedom of press and expression as fundamental values of the Western world. We would respectfully remind you that our common values can only be protected by a common stance and solidarity, and this solidarity is now both more vital and urgent than ever."