ANKARA - Recent arrests of journalists in Turkey will have a "chilling effect" on free speech, Human Rights Watch said on Saturday, and urged the European Union candidate nation to demonstrate commitment to press freedom.
Authorities say the arrests were part of an investigation into an alleged plot to overthrow Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party government. But critics say the case is being used to hound them, and the EU and the United States have expressed concern about press freedoms and democracy in Turkey.
"In the absence of evidence that the police have credible reason to think Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener are responsible for wrongdoing, their arrests are a disturbing development," said Emma Sinclair-Webb, Turkey researcher at Human Rights Watch.
"It raises concerns that what is now under investigation is critical reporting rather than coup plots."