Turkish opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet hijacked by Erdoğan loyalists
Press releases 09.09.2018
Stockholm, 9 September 2018
The leadership within the Cumhuriyet foundation, owner of the Turkish opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, has been drastically changed on September 7. A new board has fired editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu and several other leading figures within the paper. Cumhuriyet received the Right Livelihood Award, widely known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’, in 2016.
“It is with great concern that we have learned about the change of leadership within Cumhuriyet. There are reasons to believe that the newspaper has been hijacked by loyalists of President Erdoğan, and we are following the developments closely” says Ole von Uexkull, Executive Director of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation.
On September 7, a newly appointed board of the Cumhuriyet foundation, owner of the Turkish newspaper and the 2016 Right Livelihood Award Laureate Cumhuriyet, fired editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu, the managing editor Faruk Eren, and editor Bülent Özdoğan.
Since its creation in 1924, Cumhuriyet has been Turkey’s most important independent newspaper. Cumhuriyet received the 2016 Right Livelihood Award “for their fearless investigative journalism and commitment to freedom of expression in the face of oppression, censorship, imprisonment and death threats.”
On April 25, after a lengthy 17-month political trial, the world watched appalled as the Turkish Judiciary sentenced 14 Cumhuriyet reporters, cartoonists and executives to between two-and-a-half to seven-and-a-half years in prison, pending appeal, on account of their professional activities.
“Freedom of expression is systematically repressed in Turkey and the need for independent and investigative journalism in the country is greater than ever. The protests inside Turkey against the hijacking of Cumhuriyet fill us with hope. We are committed to supporting those related to the newspaper who continue the fight for investigative and independent journalism”, says Ole von Uexkull.
The 2018 Right Livelihood Award Laureates will be announced in Stockholm on 24 September, 09.00 (CEST).
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About the Award
The Right Livelihood Award was established in 1980 to “honour and support courageous people and organisations offering visionary and exemplary solutions to the root causes of global problems”. It is widely known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’ and there are now 170 Laureates from 69 countries. The Foundation sees its role as being the megaphone and shield for the Laureates, and provides them with long-term support. It seeks to help protect those award recipients whose life and liberty are in danger. The annual award is presented in Stockholm, Sweden.