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OPC Condemns Turkey’s Conviction of WSJ Reporter Ayla Albayrak
The court convicted Ms. Albayrak of violating Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law and sentenced her to two years and one month in prison in connection with a Wall Street Journal article published in 2015. In a press release, the newspaper said work on an appeal has already begun.
“This was an unfounded criminal charge and wildly inappropriate conviction that wrongly singled out a balanced Wall Street Journalreport,” said Gerard Baker, the paper’s editor-in-chief. “The sole purpose of the article was to provide objective and independent reporting on events in Turkey, and it succeeded.”
William Lewis, Dow Jones’s Chief Executive Officer and Publisher of The Wall Street Journal, said: “This ruling against a professional and respected journalist is an affront to all who are committed to furthering a free and robust press. We call on those who share this commitment to make their voices heard.”
The OPC last year called on Turkey’s president to end a massivecrackdown on the press.
Turkish prosecutors charged Ms. Albayrak, a dual citizen of Turkey and Finland who has been a staff reporter for the Journal since 2010, in connection with her August 2015 Journal news article “Urban Warfare Escalates in Turkey’s Kurdish-Majority Southeast.”
“Given the current climate in Turkey, this appalling decision shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me, but it did,” Ms. Albayrak said in the press release. “The decision shows the extent to which the authorities did not want the operations that were going on in Turkey’s southeast to be reported on. It also shows yet again, that the international media is not immune to the ongoing press crackdown in Turkey.”
The Overseas Press Club is an international association of journalists based in New York City that works to encourage the highest standards in journalism, to educate the next generation of foreign correspondents and to promote international press freedom and the well-being of colleagues in the field.