Wall Street Journal reporter imprisoned in Turkey, paper says

A Turkish court convicted a Wall Street Journal reporter Tuesday and sentenced her to more than two years in prison, the newspaper has said.


Ayla Albayrak, a dual-citizen of Finland and Turkey who has worked for the Journal as a staff writer since 2010, was convicted of violating an article in the country’s anti-terrorism law and sentenced to two years and a month in prison. Her conviction stems from an August 2015 article about fighting between Turkish security forces and militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.

In a release Tuesday, the Journal said Albayrak “has consistently demonstrated her commitment to upholding the highest professional standards” and was wrongfully convicted.

“This was an unfounded criminal charge and wildly inappropriate conviction that wrongly singled out a balanced Wall Street Journal report,” editor in chief Gerard Baker said. “The sole purpose of the article was to provide objective and independent reporting on events in Turkey, and it succeeded.”

In its most recent World Press Freedom Index, the organization Reporters Without Borders ranked Turkey among the 30 worst-performing countries.

“The notion that our reporter’s commendable and insightful work led to a criminal prosecution that has resulted in this wrongful conviction is intolerable,” Journal publisher William Lewis said. “We have stood by Ms. Albayrak’s side for nearly two years as we have robustly pursued all available options to defend this baseless prosecution, and we will continue to stand with her as we seek to overturn this conviction.”

The newspaper said it has already begun appealing Albayrak’s case.

By Sam Howard