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Famous Turkish journalist Can Dundar meets with a group of dissidents and expatriates around the world to talk to them about a fate he shares with them. Dundar, along with Deutsche Welle journalist Linda Ferricki, have produced a series of documentaries called The Guardians of Truth, highlighting the impressive biographies of a group of personalities who defend press freedom in many parts of the world.

This article was written by Linda Ferrec, and begins with her visit to Mexican journalist Annabel Hernandez.

Dundar is sitting next to me reading his latest Twitter messages. He is currently following a popular hashtag in Turkey, which translates to “he died”, and here he talks about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after one of the followers posted a video on the subject, which caused a stir on social media (came out for him was false news later).

Prior to this visit, Dundar told me when we started working on this film: “When Erdogan leaves office, I will be on the first plane to Istanbul.” Dundar’s fate is linked to Erdogan’s rule, he was sentenced in absentia to 27 years in prison and the journalist confirms that Turkish justice is under the full control of Erdogan’s government.

The reason for this sequel is that Dundar discovered years ago, as part of his job as editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet newspaper, that Turkey sent weapons to Syria, which prompted him to leave the country and seek asylum in Germany, earlier. being convicted in absentia.

We started this documentary before our visit to Annabelle about a year ago. Traveling with Dundar means making sure before you reach the borders of any country that it will not pose a threat to him, because the Turkish authorities, sending a “red notice” to Interpol, tried to follow him everywhere.

Interpol has not reacted positively to Ankara’s request, otherwise as soon as it passes the passport to passport control, a red notice will pulsate, which often happens when it comes to internationally wanted persons who are on the terrorism list. and serious crimes.

But even though Interpol did not accept the request, there are concerns: bilateral agreements between countries that allow the arrest of opponents, so it was necessary to ensure travel security for Dundar and to secure the status of each country separately before traveling.

For example, the German police advised Dundar not to travel to Italy, which I felt very sorry for judging because I trusted the Italian police’s assessment of the matter. For his part, Dundar defended his freedom: “If Italy imprisoned me, what does this mean for press freedom in Europe?”

Although we are trying to confirm everything, it is impossible to achieve a completely safe situation, so we decided to continue our journey to Mexico. There is no extradition agreement between this country and Turkey, but nevertheless the situation here is very dangerous and Mexico is ranked as the most dangerous in the world for journalists. Since 2000, about 150 journalists have been killed, in crimes that have rarely been committed. resolved.

The other central character in this documentary is Mexican journalist Annabel Hernandez. Her life was in danger when she focused on issues of drugs, corruption and abuse of power for influence. One day, 11 armed men stood at her door, but she was lucky and was not there. From that day I decided to seek refuge abroad.

But despite this, she did not stop thinking about the “mysterious” murders of journalists, returning from time to time to her country to talk to her sources or to meet victims of violent crimes. In all her visits she is under special protection 24 hours a day. We also traveled to Mexico under the protection of two bodyguards and a week before we traveled, two journalists were killed on the spot.

Mexican journalist Annabel Hernandez and Turkish journalist Jan Dundar

At the entrance to the small town of Textla, Guerrero, we were stopped by gunmen. The question is the same: “Why do you want to shoot?” Thus, they tell us what is allowed and what is not allowed and when photography is dangerous to us.

We met Marion, he was digging in the ground on a hill. He searches for the remains of his brother abducted years ago and finds no trace of him. Hernandez is trying to resolve the case and alleviate his family’s suffering. The guards tell us to get back on the highway before it gets dark, because armed robberies are common here every day.

I slept badly at night as I did not feel safe. But in general, this feeling will last a week during our stay in Mexico, as many journalists here feel this feeling almost every day.

When we were shooting the documentary about Annabel Hernandez’s life, it was necessary to work very carefully, everything that would appear in the film had to be discussed in detail, because we did not want to create problems for her and our family. Even though she is sheltered abroad, her relatives and friends still live here and the danger overcomes them.

Hernandez also defends his resources. We had to completely hide the identity of these informants. With that said, we realized how much Hernandez trusted us, leading us to the home of her mother, Rosa Maria. How proud this mother was of her daughter and although she does not hide her anxiety, never confronted her, she knows that the truth about Annabel Hernandez is more important than her safety.

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Tuesday 03 May 2022 – time 16:03 UTC
Tuesday 03 May 2022 – time 20:03 UTC
Monday 09 May 2022 – 03:00 UTC
Monday 09 May 2022 – 07:00 UTC
Monday 09 May 2022 – time 13:00 UTC
Tuesday 10 May 2022 – 09:00 UTC
Wednesday 11 May 2022 – 01:00 UTC
Thursday, May 12, 2022 – 11:00 p.m. UTC
Thursday 12 May 2022 – time 15:00 UTC
Saturday 14 May 2022 – 05:00 UTC

Linda Feriki / AA

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