Turkey Continues Its Attack on Free Speech

Wall Street Journal reporter accused of writing “terrorist propaganda” was sentenced to over two years in prison in Turkey for an article she wrote two years ago about Turkey’s war with Kurdish separatists.

Ayla Albayrak, a dual citizen of Turkey and Finland, was in New York when the sentence was pronounced. Her article referenced the war between Turkey and the Kurds in Silopi, Turkey; she wrote:

Each day, Turkish special forces play a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with armed Kurdish youths, firing tear gas and live rounds in a bid to reassert control of several neighborhoods. Before nightfall, groups of Silopi residents flee the most violent central neighborhoods, taking refuge in relatives’ homes to avoid the crossfire, according to the mayor and residents.

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Nina Ognianova, the CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, stated that Turkey was the world’s top jailer of journalists, adding, “The conviction of Ayla in Turkey is a very worrying sign and an escalation of the crackdown on the press. We call on the Turkish authorities to overturn this decision immediately.”