Forty-four Kurdish journalists appeared in a Turkish court yesterday, after being charged with terrorism, the Guardian reports. The journalists are facing accusations that they have supported various Kurdish movements including the PKK, the armed Kurdistan Workers’ party. It is the largest media trial in Turkey’s history and human rights groups say it’s an attempt by the government to silence pro-Kurdish activists and intimidate the press.
The charges come amid an escalation in clashes between Kurdish insurgents and Turkish security forces. While the government has preached peace, they have cracked down on thousands of non-violent Kurdish politicians and activists. Most have been arrested and charged with terrorism offences.
More than 100 journalists are currently in jail in Turkey, 800 more face charges and many journalists have been fired or have quit their jobs because of direct or indirect pressure from the Turkish government.