National Press Club

Jailing of press group's rep in Turkey alarms National Press Club

June 21, 2016 | By John M. Donnelly |

National Press Club leaders expressed concern Monday about the reported arrest of a press freedom group’s representative in Turkey.

Reporters Without Borders, an independent advocate for journalists worldwide, reported Monday that a Turkish court had ordered pre-trial detention for Erol Onderoglu, the group’s representative in Turkey for the last two decades, as well as two colleagues. The men have been charged with “terrorist propaganda” for taking part in a campaign of solidarity with the Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem.

Onderoglu was one of several intellectuals in Turkey who have served symbolically as editor of the Kurdish paper as a demonstration of support as it faces pressure from the government. He also wrote articles for the publication.

“Onderoglu has advocated for press freedom for all news organizations in Turkey, not just Kurdish ones, and he has been a longtime monitor of conditions facing reporters in that country,” said Club President Thomas Burr. “We are concerned that the arrest of Onderoglu and his colleagues is the latest worrisome sign of a Turkish government crackdown on independent news organizations and anyone who defends them.”

The National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. Through its Press Freedom Committee, the Club works to promote freedom of expression and transparency at home and abroad. The National Press Club Journalism Institute, a non-profit affiliate, equips news professionals with the skills to innovate, leverages emerging trends, recognizes innovators and mentors the next generation.

Contact: John M. Donnelly, chairman, NPC Press Freedom Committee: 202 746 6020;