WSJ’s Baker: This Turkish aggression will not stand
Wall Street Journal editor Gerard Baker sent out the following to the staff on Tuesday in the wake of the sentencing of a Journal reporter in Turkey:
As you will have seen from the headlines we just moved, today one of our reporters has become the victim of a gross injustice.
Ayla Albayrak was convicted by a Turkish court of engaging in terrorist propaganda and sentenced to two years and one month in prison for an article she wrote two years ago about tensions between Turkish authorities and Kurdish rebels. The article – which you can find here – was scrupulously fair. Ayla spoke to many people involved in the conflict – on both sides, as well as those caught in the middle. It was a model of Journal reporting: thorough, balanced, objective.
We are appealing this decision and will continue to defend Ayla with everything we have at our disposal. But let me be clear: Ayla was convicted for doing her job as a journalist. This conviction should send shudders through everyone around the world who values a free press. Ayla of course is not alone. The Turkish authorities have imprisoned dozens of journalists in the last two years. No news organization should be intimidated by this sort of repression and we will not be.
I want to commend Ayla not only for her robust reporting on this story and throughout her career but for her courage and dignity through this long ordeal. She’s an example to us all of how to behave in the teeth of persecution. Let this injustice be a spur to us to continue the great work we hold dear: the pursuit of truth, wherever it leads.