Özkan Mayda, an Antalya-based photojournalist for the Zaman daily, was arrested in the wake of the 15 July attempted coup in Turkey. He is just one of the over 150 journalists currently in jail in the country.
Counter-terrorism police in the southern province detained Mayda on 23 July 2016. He has been in detention for 247 days.
Zaman was among the more than 100 newspapers, broadcasters, news agencies, and magazines the Turkish government ordered closed using emergency powers assumed after the failed coup.
This month, Mayda’s mother, Memnune Mayda, wrote to Index on Censorship.
Dear ladies and gentlemen,
I hope you’re well.
I am the mother of imprisoned sports journalist Özkan Mayda from Antalya in Turkey. You have published articles on Turkey’s imprisoned journalists.
My son said to me: “Mother, please write a thank you e-mail.” So thank you for your support and solidarity with Turkish journalists. Thank you for not having left us alone. Europe and the world should know that we want solidarity and support. We believe that something will change here but solidarity and support are very important to journalists in Turkey.
I lived in the city of Aachen in Germany from 1975-1984. I had to come back because my family made a decision to return. Then I got married and here I stayed. I have only one child. My husband is retired and I do not work.
I will briefly tell you about my son. Özkan was born on 22 April 1985 in Erzincan, Turkey. As a photojournalist he was Zaman newspaper’s Antalya region sports correspondent and also did page layout.
Zaman was taken over by the state on 13 April 2016. Özkan lost his job and was left unemployed.
A week after the 15 July coup attempt, he was taken into custody. My son has been detained since 23 July 2016. They have accused my son of treason.
Would a mother and father raise a single child to be a traitor? Our only child is definitely not a traitor. We have two lawyers, but they can’t do anything.
We are tired now. We are exhausted. We are weak. We are afraid and we are very worried.
My son Özkan has been detained for 247 days.
Let us all together, let us free them from prison.