‘Our stories are different yet they are all identical’

The same country leaders who promised justice to the families of assassinated journalists who were murdered for their stories and investigations were destroying their memorials, Daphne Caruana Galizia’s son said.

Following an event at the Swedish consul in Istanbul organised for the families of murdered journalists, Matthew Caruana Galizia wrote on Facebook:

“Our parents and brothers were murdered for what they wrote, revealed and published… In all of our cases our leaders promised justice. In all of our cases there is 100% impunity. In all of our cases authorities destroy memorials to the journalists who were murdered. In all of our cases we continue fighting for truth and justice”.

He spoke of the way his mother’s bank accounts were frozen by Economy Minister Chris Cardona. “When international representatives asked the reason, they said ‘a hate blogger is not important’,” he said.

He took part in a panel discussion called Struggle Against Impunity in Killings of Journalists and was joined by Özge Mumcu, the daughter of journalist Uğur Mumcu who was also killed by a car bomb; Dicle Anter, the son of author Musa Anter, and Meryem Göktepe, the elder sister of Metin Göktepe who was tortured and murdered in police custody. Arant Dink and Delal Dink, son and daughter of Hrant Dink were also present – their father was assassinated with three shots to the head on 19 January 2007.

They discussed what can be done in the struggle against impunity in unsolved murders.

“Our stories are different yet they are all identical. We’re united by love for our fathers, mothers and brothers, love for freedom and a need for truth and justice,” Caruana Galizia said.

He also visited the newspaper Cumhuriyet, which is facing a defamation suit – together with one of its investigative journalists – Pelin Ünker – over a story that published details of a Maltese registered company mentioned in the Paradise Papers in relation to allies and family members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Among those identified as parties in the suit are Turkey’s former prime minister, Binali Yildirim, President Erdogan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak, and members of their families.

Albayrak accused Cumhuriyet of “calumny” after the newspaper published details about the company he formerly managed and about his brother Serhat, listed as a director of a Malta company named Frocks International Trading Ltd,

The Paradise Papers documents revealed that the company used nominees, which can be used to conceal the identity of real shareholders. Set up in 2003 and closed in 2009, documents from the Maltese company registry showed that Frocks International Trading Ltd was in the garment and textile business.

The suit requests financial compensation for damage to their reputations but does not mention factual errors or inaccuracies, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

According to Reporters without Borders, 150 media organisations have been shut down since a failed coup in 2016 and more than 100 journalists have been arrested. Turkey ranks 157 out of 180 countries in Reporters without Borders’ annual Press Freedom Index, with the organisation describing it as “the world’s biggest prison for professional journalists.”

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