National Press Club

National Press Club alarmed by Turkey's purge of journalists

July 26, 2016 | By Rachel Oswald |

The National Press Club on Tuesday voiced alarm that the Turkish government was moving to arrest dozens of journalists following the recent attempted military coup.

Official Turkish news agencies report that detention warrants have been issued for 42 journalists, with five journalists already detained for questioning. A number of news outlets have also been shuttered in the days since the failed coup that sought to topple President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Some of the detained journalists work for pro-Kurdish news outlets. Others with facing arrest warrants worked for news organizations affiliated with the Gulen movement, which Erdogan blames for the coup, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

"We had hoped that following the actions of a number of brave Turkish journalists to continue reporting and resist coup members' efforts to silence them that President Erdogan would recognize the essential role that journalists play in upholding democracy," said NPC President Thomas Burr. "Clearly that has not happened and so we are deeply troubled by the continued downward descent of Erdogan's respect for press freedom."

The National Press Club has spoken out multiple times in the last year over its concerns about the deteriorating press freedom conditions in Turkey, a NATO ally and key U.S. security partner. The country remains among the top jailers worldwide of journalists.

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 club's nonprofit affiliate, the Journalism Institute, provides professional development trainings and supports the next generation of journalists.

Contact: Rachel Oswald, NPC Press Freedom vice chairman; 202-486-9173;