MEDIA FREEDOM
Turkey: Press freedom violations June 2019
04 Jul 2019
BY INDEX ON CENSORSHIP

Index on Censorship’s Monitoring and Advocating for Media Freedom project tracks press freedom violations in five countries: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. Learn more.

30 Incidents

Five newspaper staff convicted in Özgürlükçü Demokrasi trial

28 June 2019 – The final hearing in the trial of 14 staff members of the shuttered newspaper Özgürlükçü Demokrasi on terrorism-related charges took place at the 23rd High Criminal Court of Istanbul, P24 reported.

The newspaper’s editors Mehmet Ali Çelebi and Reyhan Hacıoğlu and publisher İhsan Yaşar have been in pre-trial detention as part of the case since April 2018. All 14 defendants in the case were accused of “membership in a terrorist group,” “publishing statements by terrorist groups” and “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist group.” The pro-Kurdish newspaper Özgürlükçü Demokrasi was founded from the ashes of Özgür Gündem, which was closed on August 2016 by a state of emergency decree. But Özgürlükçü Demokrasi’s headquarters was raided by the police in March 2017 and the newspaper was also closed down shortly thereafter by decree. 

At the end of the hearing, the court convicted journalists Hicran Urun, Reyhan Hacıoğlu and İshak Yasul of “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member” and gave each a prison term of 3 years, 1 month and 15 days. Yasul was also given an additional sentence of 1 year, 6 months and 22 days on the charge of “propaganda.” Mehmet Ali Çelebi was also convicted of “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member” and given a prison sentence of 3 years and 9 months.

The court ruled to release Hacıoğlu, Çelebi and Yaşar pending the appeal process in view of the jail time they spent in pre-trial detention. However, Çelebi was not expected to be released immediately because of a previous conviction in another case.

Link(s)

https://twitter.com/P24DavaTakip/status/1144570016664301568 

https://www.evrensel.net/haber/382078/ozgurlukcu-demokrasi-gazetesi-davasinda-14-yil-ceza 

https://t24.com.tr/haber/ozgurlukcu-demokrasi-gazetesi-davasinda-5-kisiye-14-yil-ceza,828162 

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Sendika.Org editor Ali Ergin Demirhan briefly detained

28 June 2019 – Sendika.Org editor Ali Ergin Demirhan was taken into custody in Istanbul during a security check by the police, the journalist said via his Twitter account. Demirhan was taken to the Aksaray Police Station. The grounds for his arrest was an ongoing investigation on the allegation that Demirhan “insulted the president” on social media. Demirhan was released after giving his statement at the Istanbul Courthouse.

Link(s)

http://sendika63.org/2019/06/sendika-org-editoru-ali-ergin-demirhan-serbest-birakildi-3-552999/ 

https://t24.com.tr/haber/sendika-org-editoru-ali-ergin-demirhan-serbest-birakildi,828273  

https://gazetekarinca.com/2019/06/gazeteci-ali-ergin-demirhan-serbest-birakildi/ 

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Journalist Haydar Ergül’s trial adjourned until December

28 June 2019 – The trial of Haydar Ergül, the editor of the periodical Demokratik Modernite, and 18 others on the charge of “membership in a terrorist group” resumed at the 22nd High Criminal Court of Istanbul, P24 reported. This was the ninth hearing in the case. The court ruled to release detained defendants Eşref Yaşar, Ayşegül Turhan, Mustafa Elma, Münevver İlingi and Aysel Diler and adjourned the trial until 26 December 2019.

Link(s)

https://medyavehukuk.org/tr/haydar-ergulun-de-yargilandigi-davada-5-tutuklu-saniga-tahliye 

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Constitutional Court rules for rights violation in Deniz Yücel’s application

28 June 2019 – The Constitutional Court issued its judgment concerning the application on behalf of journalist Deniz Yücel, the former Turkey correspondent of the German newspaper Die Welt, who remained in pre-trial detention in Turkey for a year before being released by the trial court’s decision in February 2018.

In its judgment, dated 28 May 2019 and made public on 28 June 2019 on the court’s official website, the court’s Second Section ruled that Yücel’s pre-trial detention violated his rights to personal liberty and security, enshrined in Article 19 of the Constitution, and the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of the press, enshrined in Articles 26 and 28.

Link(s)

https://medyascope.tv/2019/06/28/anayasa-mahkemesinden-deniz-yucel-karari-ifade-ve-basin-ozgurlugu-ozgurluk-ve-guvenlik-hakki-ihlal-edildi/ 

https://www.ntv.com.tr/turkiye/aymden-deniz-yucel-karari,A8Ilp95lxUiVlErRyXKAJw 

http://gazetekarinca.com/2019/06/aymden-gazeteci-deniz-yucel-icin-hak-ihlali-karari/ 

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Turkish Constitutional Court issues judgments in Ahmet Altan case and 13 others

26 June 2019 – The Constitutional Court’s Plenary has issued the judgments concerning its 3 May 2019 decisions, in which it rejected the individual applications filed on behalf of jailed journalists Ahmet Altan, Nazlı Ilıcak and former Cumhuriyet staff members including Murat Sabuncu and Ahmet Şık.

All nine applications, filed in 2016 and 2017, asserted that the applicants’ arrests violated their rights to liberty and security and freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

The top court’s judgments were published on 26 June 2019 on the court’s official website. The judgments concerning the rejected applications said, in a nutshell, that “the assessments made by the investigation authorities and the decisions rendered by the courts that ruled for [the journalists’] arrests could not be deemed as ‘arbitrary and baseless’.”

In Ahmet Altan’s application, the President of the Constitutional Court Zühtü Arslan, Vice President Engin Yıldırım and three other justices disagreed with the majority opinion. All five judges were of the opinion that Altan’s arrest violated his rights to liberty and security and freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

At the end of two days of deliberations on 2 and 3 May, the Constitutional Court’s Plenary had rejected the applications of Ahmet Altan, Nazlı Ilıcak, who is Altan’s co-defendant in the “coup” case, Akın Atalay, Murat Sabuncu, Ahmet Şık and six former Cumhuriyet Foundation executives, including Önder Çelik and Musa Kart. The judgments issued on 26 June revealed that the Plenary had ruled that Ahmet Şık’s application was “inadmissible.”

The top court had found rights violations in the files of journalists Kadri Gürsel, Murat Aksoy and Ali Bulaç.

Link(s)

https://t24.com.tr/haber/aym-nin-9-gazeteci-hakkindaki-gerekceli-kararinda-sosyal-medya-paylasimlari-da-suc-sayildi,827859 

https://www.evrensel.net/haber/381956/aymnin-gazetecilerle-ilgili-ihlal-kararlarinin-gerekceleri-belli-oldu 

https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/gundem/2019/06/26/aym-tutuklu-gazeteciler-icin-ret-gerekcesini-acikladi/ 

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Prosecutor seeks up to 15 years of jail for Jin News reporter

26 June 2019 – The second hearing in a trial where journalist Gazeteci Beritan Canözer is accused of “membership in a terrorist group” took place at the 9th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır, Mezopotamya Agency reported. 

Canözer and her lawyer Resul Tamur were in attendance in the courtroom. Statements by witnesses who testified against Canözer were first read out during the hearing. Addressing the court afterwards, Canözer rejected the accusations in the witness testimonies and told the court that she was a journalist and was only doing her job.

The prosecution then went on to submit their final opinion of the case, seeking up to 15 years in prison for Canözer on the charge of “membership in a terrorist group” based on testimony by four witnesses.

Accepting Canözer’s request for additional time to prepare her defense statement in response to the prosecutor’s final opinion, the court adjourned the trial until October.

Link(s)

http://mezopotamyaajansi21.com/tum-haberler/content/view/61757?page=2 

https://www.evrensel.net/haber/381908/gazeteci-beritan-canozerin-7-5-yildan-15-yila-kadar-hapsi-isteniyor 

https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/gundem/2019/06/26/beritan-canozere-15-yila-kadar-ceza-istendi/ 

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Ahmet Altan’s trial over 2009 column adjourned until September

25 June 2019 – The third hearing in a trial where jailed novelist and journalist Ahmet Altan is accused over a column he penned in 2009 in the now-defunct Taraf daily took place at the 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance of Istanbul’s Anatolian Courthouse, P24 reported.

Altan is accused of “attempting to influence a fair trial” and “violating the confidentiality of an investigation” in the case, filed upon a complaint by former Sakarya Chief of Police Faruk Ünsal.

Addressed the court from the Silivri Prison where he remains jailed since September 2016, Altan requested to be acquitted. In its interim ruling, the court decided to ask the 1st Civil Court of First Instance of Ankara, which initially dismissed the compensation case, for the original case file, and adjourned the trial until 5 September 2019.

Link(s)

https://twitter.com/ExInt24/status/1143469315854929920 

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Journalist and union activist Boltan faces “insulting the president” charge

21 June 2019 – The Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has pressed charges against Hakkı Boltan, the spokesperson of the Free Journalists Initiative (ÖGİ),online news website Gazete Karınca reported. Boltan faces trial on charges of “insulting the president” and “insulting a public official.”

The indictment accuses Boltan for his remarks in a public statement he delivered in Kurdish concerning Azadiya Welat newspaper’s former managing editor Rohat Aktaş, who was murdered in the basement of a building in Cizre in 2016. Boltan faces a combined prison term of up to 6 years on both charges.

The first hearing of Boltan’s trial will take place on 14 November 2019 at 12th Criminal Court of First Instance of Diyarbakır.

Link(s)

http://gazetekarinca.com/2019/06/ozgur-gazeteciler-inisiyatifi-sozcusune-cumhurbaskanina-hakaret-davasi/ 

https://www.jiyanhaber.net/ozgur-gazeteciler-inisiyatifi-sozcusu-hakki-boltan-hakkinda-dava-acildi/ 

http://www.dusun-think.net/haberler/ozgur-gazeteciler-inisiyatifi-sozcusune-erdogana-hakaret-davasi/ 

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Prosecutor seeks jail term for Yeni Yaşam managing director

20 June 2019 – Journalist Osman Akın, the responsible managing editor of the pro-Kurdish Yeni Yaşam newspaper, appeared in an Istanbul court for the first hearing of his trial on the charge of “successively disseminating terrorist propaganda.” Yeni Yaşam was launched a few months after Özgürlükçü Demokrasi was raided by the police in March 2018 and officially closed down by decree a few weeks later.  

Akın is accused over the newspaper’s coverage of the recent hunger strikes in prisons, P24 reported. He attended the hearing at the 28th High Criminal Court of Istanbul with his lawyer Özcan Kılıç. Addressing the court for his defense statement, Akın denied the allegations and requested to be acquitted.

The prosecutor requested Akın to be sentenced for “systematically disseminating propaganda” based on two news reports. Granting the defense more time to prepare their statements, the court adjourned the trial until 22 October 2019.

Link(s)

https://twitter.com/P24DavaTakip/status/1141671477080657920 

https://gazetekarinca.com/2019/06/yeni-yasamin-yazi-isleri-mudurune-ilk-durusmada-ceza-talebi/ 

http://yeniyasamgazetesi1.com/yazi-isleri-mudurumuze-ilk-durusmada-ceza-talebi/ 

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Journalist Canan Coşkun acquitted in “insult” case

20 June 2019 – Journalist Canan Coşkun appeared before the 40th Criminal Court of First Instance of Istanbul in the second hearing of her trial on the charge of “insulting the president,” P24 reported.

Coşkun, a former reporter with the Cumhuriyet daily, was on trial for a news story dated 27 November 2015, titled “Erdoğan buyurdu, gazetecilik tutuklandı” (Erdoğan ordered, journalism got arrested), in which she reported about the arrests of Cumhuriyet’s former Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar and Ankara representative Erdem Gül.

Coşkun’s lawyer Abbas Yalçın stressed that the case was filed more than two years after the news story was published and requested her acquittal.

Issuing its verdict at the end of the hearing, the court ruled for Coşkun’s acquittal.

Link(s)

https://twitter.com/P24DavaTakip/status/1019619106704764929 

https://bianet.org/bianet/ifade-ozgurlugu/209557-cumhurbaskanina-hakaret-ten-yargilanan-gazeteci-canan-coskun-beraat-etti 

https://gazetekarinca.com/2019/06/gazeteci-coskun-cumhurbaskanina-hakaretten-beraat-etti/ 

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Detained ETHA employees released

19 June 2019 – Five employees of the Etkin news agency (ETHA), who were taken into custody on 15 June as part of an investigation into a supplement issued by the weekly newspaper Atılım, have been released under judicial control measures, Mezopotamya Agency reported.

The five ETHA employees were among a group of 14 people that also included administrators from the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP), who were arrested as part of the investigation. All 14, who were taken into custody on the allegation of “inciting the public to hatred and animosity,” were brought to the Istanbul Courthouse on 19 June 2019 to give their statements to a prosecutor.

The prosecutor referred all 14 to a Criminal Judgeship of Peace after the completion of their testimonies.

The judgeship ruled to release İsminaz Temel, Havva Cuştan, Serdal Işık, Deniz Bakır, Ozancan Sarı, Gülçin Aykul and Mehmet Acettin, but imposed travel bans on all seven. Şahin Tümüklü, Ezgi Bahçeci, İlknur Çetin, Özge Doğan, Zeynep Güler Gerçek, Yaren Tuncer and Hüseyin İldan will have to report to the nearest police station once every 15 days in addition to being banned from traveling abroad.

Link(s)

http://mezopotamyaajansi21.com/tum-haberler/content/view/61113?page=1 

https://ilerihaber.org/icerik/etha-baskininda-gozaltina-alinanlar-serbest-99506.html  

Categories: Arrest / Detention / Interrogation

Source of violation: Police / State security

Lawsuit against Ahmet Altan launched upon the complaint of late president adjourned

19 June 2019 – A lawsuit against imprisoned novelist and journalist Ahmet Altan resumed at the 10th Criminal Court of First Instance of Istanbul’s Anatolian Courthouse, P24 reported.

Filed upon the complaint of the late former President Süleyman Demirel, the lawsuit seeks the punishment of Altan for “not publishing a correction and refutation” over a 2010 article in shuttered Taraf newspaper titled “Ölüm babanın emri” (Death is the father’s command). Demirel was nicknamed “father,” especially by his supporters, during his political career. 

The court determined that some heirs of the accuser, Süleyman Demirel, were not notified about the case. Altan and his lawyer told the court that they would not make any statements at this point. The court decided to inform Demirel’s heirs before proceeding and adjourned the trial until 30 October 2019.

Link(s)

https://twitter.com/P24DavaTakip/status/1141316078582321152 

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

“Taraf MGK report trial” adjourned until September

19 June 2019 – The trial of Mehmet Baransu, the former reporter of shuttered Taraf newspaper and the paper’s former responsible managing editor Murat Şevki Çoban resumed, P24 reported.

Baransu and Çoban stand accused of “acquiring documents related to the security of the state,” “exposing documents related to the security of the state” and “exposing documents of the National Intelligence Agency (MİT)” over a news report published in November 2013, titled “Gülen’i bitirme kararı 2004’te MGK’da alındı” (Decision to finish off Gülen was taken by National Security Committee in 2004). Both face possible prison terms of 25 to 52 years.

Baransu, who has been jailed pending trial for over three years, was brought from Silivri prison to attend the 19th hearing of the case overseen by the 10th High Criminal Court of Istanbul’s Anatolian Courthouse. He told the court that he was tried and acquitted on the same charge before and he requested the case to be rejected. He also argued that a recent ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeals, which dismissed a case against journalist Erdem Gül due to the expiry of the statute of limitations for pressing charges should create a precedent for the present case. 

The court decided to send the case file to the prosecution for the preparation of the final opinion and adjourned the trial until 24 September 2019.

Link(s)

https://twitter.com/P24DavaTakip/status/1141256027872120832 

https://www.dha.com.tr/istanbul/baransunun-mgk-belgelerini-ifsa-etme-davasi/haber-1665622 

https://www.memurlar.net/haber/836865/baransu-nun-devletin-gizli-belgelerini-ifsa-etme-davasinda-mutalaa-istendi.html  

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Harun Çümen remains behind bars in 3rd hearing

19 June 2019 – The third hearing in the trial of jailed journalist Harun Çümen, the former responsible managing editor of shuttered Zaman newspaper, took place at the 32nd High Criminal Court of Istanbul, P24 reported.

Çümen is one of four defendants in the case and he is charged with “membership in a terrorist group.” Two of Çümen’s co-defendants were in attendance in the courtroom while Çümen addressed the court from the Balıkesir Prison, where he has been imprisoned for more than a year.

The presiding judge asked Çümen about the digital forensics report, which claimed that messaging concerning a plan to flee the country were found on Çümen’s phone.

Çümen rejected the allegation in the report and asked to be released pending trial.

The prosecutor requested the continuation of Çümen’s detention on remand. In its interim ruling, the court ordered the continuation of Çümen’s pre-trial detention and adjourned the trial until 18 July 2019.

Link(s)

https://twitter.com/P24DavaTakip/status/1141318981258813441 

https://twitter.com/Cetele_tr/status/1141334776705626112 

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Trial of journalists arrested in Özgür Gündem raid adjourned

19 June 2019 – The trial of 22 journalists beaten and arrested during a 2016 police raid on the offices of the Özgür Gündem newspaper on the charges of “insult” and “resisting a public officer” resumed at Istanbul 5th Criminal Court of First Instance, P24 reported.

Özcan Kılıç, the lawyer representing a number of defendants, requested the return of the materials confiscated by the Beyoğlu District Police Department during the raid. Kılıç said: “During the raid both İMC TV was on air and the police camera was recording. Police have the İMC TV footage. We request you to examine that footage before you render a decision.”

Announcing its interim decision at the end of the hearing, the court ruled to inquire the Beyoğlu District Police Department about and request an urgent response concerning where the confiscated materials are currently located. DDeciding to wait for the execution of the arrest warrants issued for defendants Amine Demirkıran, Günay Aksoy, Bayram Balcı and Ersin Çaksu, the court adjourned the trial until 5 November 2019.

Link(s)

https://twitter.com/P24DavaTakip/status/1141234398278410241 

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Prosecutor seeks conviction for journalist Atakan Sönmez

18 June 2019 – Atakan Sönmez, the former news director of the online edition of Cumhuriyet newspaper, appeared before the 13th High Criminal Court of Istanbul for the third hearing of his trial on the charge of “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization.”

Sönmez is accused because of Cumhuriyet website’s coverage of Turkey’s 2018 military operation on Syria’s Afrin, P24 reported. He attended the hearing alongside his lawyer Buket Yazıcı.

In their final opinion of the case, which they had submitted in between courtroom hearings, the prosecution requested conviction for Sönmez on the charge of “successively disseminating terrorist propaganda.”

Sönmez’s lawyer Yazıcı said that they had just obtained the final opinion on the day of the hearing and he requested additional time for the preparation of the final defense statement. Accepting the request, the court adjourned the trial until 19 July 2019.

Link(s)

https://twitter.com/P24DavaTakip/status/1140881948937785344 

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Journalist Ozan Kaplanoğlu released on probation

15 June 2019 – Ozan Kaplanoğlu, the editor of the online news outlet Bursamuhalif.com, who was sent to prison late May, was released on probation, Mezopotamya Agency reported.

Kaplanoğlu was imprisoned after an appellate court upheld the journalist’s conviction for  “insulting the president”. He was sent to prison on 31 May to serve the remainder of the 11-month prison sentence given by the trial court. Kaplanoğlu had remained in pre-trial detention for three months in 2017 as part of the case.

Link(s)

http://mezopotamyaajansi21.com/tum-haberler/content/view/60729?page=6 

https://gazetekarinca.com/2019/06/gazeteci-ozan-kaplanoglu-tahliye-edildi/ 

https://twitter.com/dokuz8haber/status/1139922334222041090 

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Court lifts travel ban on Adil Demirci

15 June 2019 – The international travel ban on Turkish-German journalist Adil Demirci has been lifted, Deutsche Welle reported. 

Demirci, a Germany-based reporter and translator for the Etkin news agency (ETHA), is one of the defendants in an ongoing trial on terrorism-related charges that is overseen by an Istanbul court. He remained in pre-trial detention for 10 months as part of the trial before being released in February under a travel ban.

Link(s)

http://gazetekarinca.com/2019/06/gazeteci-demircinin-yurt-disi-yasagi-kaldirildi/

https://www.dw.com/tr/adil-demircinin-yurt-d%C4%B1%C5%9F%C4%B1-yasa%C4%9F%C4%B1-kald%C4%B1r%C4%B1ld%C4%B1/a-49218483 

https://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/adil-demirci-darf-offenbar-die-tuerkei-verlassen-a-1272830.html 

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

ETHA offices raided by police, 7 taken into custody

15 June 2019 – Police raided the Istanbul office of the Etkin news agency (ETHA) on the grounds of a court decision ordering that “İstanbul Sokakta” (Istanbul on the streets), a recent supplement issued by the weekly newspaper Atılım, be pulled off newsstands. Five ETHA employees and two others were taken into custody during the raid.

The technical work concerning the supplement, published on the occasion of the upcoming 23 June rerun of the Istanbul mayoral election, was carried out at the ETHA office. The grounds for the publication to be pulled off newsstands is that it allegedly includes expressions that “insulted the president” and could “incite public unrest.”

The police confiscated the mobile phones of ETHA editors and reporters during the search, which lasted for over four hours. At the end of the search, police confiscated all memory cards and sim cards, the agency’s server, 11 computers, three hard drives, seven notebooks, five cameras and six mobile phones for forensic examination. Police also examined all books in the agency’s library. Access to the agency’s website http://etha10.com was also banned during the raid. 

ETHA was unable to dispatch reports for hours on Saturday because all of the agency’s digital equipment was confiscated by police.

Police then took ETHA employees İsminaz Temel, Serdal Işık, Havva Cuştan, Mehmet Acettin and Ozancan Sarı into custody. Deniz Bakır, an advisor to the central executive committee of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP), and Gülçin Aykul, an employee of the Ceylan Publications, who were both visiting the ETHA office as guests, were also detained. All seven were taken to the Istanbul Police Department. The grounds for their detention were not disclosed. Reports said a confidentiality order was in place concerning the investigation.

All seven are expected to appear before a public prosecutor on 19 June following a four-day custody period.

Link(s)

https://www.artigercek.com/haberler/etha-ya-polis-baskini-calisanlarimiza-ulasamiyoruz 

https://bianet.org/bianet/medya/209393-etkin-haber-ajansi-na-polis-baskini-yedi-kisi-gozaltina-alindi 

https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/gundem/2019/06/15/ethaya-polis-baskini/ 

Categories: Arrest / Detention / Interrogation

Source of violation: Police / State security

Sözcü trial adjourned until September

14 June 2019 – The trial of nine employees of the Sözcü newspaper on the charge of “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed terrorist organization without being its member” resumed at the 37th High Criminal Court of Istanbul, P24 reported.

defendants Gökmen Ulu, Mediha Olgun, Yonca Yücekaleli, Metin Yılmaz, Mustafa Çetin, Necati Doğru, Yücel Arı and defense lawyers were in attendance at the 8th hearing of the case. Veteran columnist Emin Çölaşan addressed the court from Ankara via the courtroom video-conferencing system.

Yücekaleli and Çetin requested additional time for their final defense statements in response to the prosecutor’s final opinion, submitted before the previous courtroom hearing. The rest of the defendants made their final defense statements, rejecting the accusations and requesting to be acquitted.

Lawyers representing the defendants also requested a continuance for the final defense statements. In its interim ruling, the court granted additional time and adjourned the trial until 4 September 2019.

Link(s)

https://twitter.com/P24DavaTakip/status/1139428881738457088 

http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turkiye/1438554/Sozcu_Gazetesi_davasi_ertelendi.html 

https://www.ntv.com.tr/turkiye/sozcu-gazetesi-davasi-4-eylule-ertelendi,G9cnPZQreUCOfV5QheKeGw 

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Trial into murder of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink resumes

13 June 2019 – The trial of intelligence officers, gendarmerie and law enforcement officials allegedly involved in the murder of Hrant Dink, the founder and editor-in-chief of the Armenian-Turkish bilingual weekly Agos, resumed on 11 June at the 14th High Criminal Court of Istanbul.

Dink was assassinated on 19 January 2007 outside the Agos weekly’s offices in Istanbul. Seventeen-year-old Ogün Samast had fired three shots at Dink’s head from the back at point blank range. 

The case into Dink’s murder has been ongoing since 2007 with many turns and twists. Five witnesses, including former Istanbul Governor and Interior Minister Muammer Güler, testified during the three-day hearing – the 93rd since the start of the trial.

Güler, one of the key names in the investigation who appeared before the court for the first time during the entire trial on 12 June, denied having received any request from intelligence units to grant Dink protection. He said that the Istanbul Police Department was investigating the topic and only one intelligence report out of 20 composed by the Trabzon Police about a plot to murder Dink was sent to the Istanbul Police.

Speaking on his meeting with dink that took place on 24 February 2004 at the Istanbul Governorship, Güler said it had no relation with the murder. 

The court decided to send camera footage outside the Agos newspaper office on the murder day to the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), for the footage to be matched with the defendants in the case. They also decided to wait on the response to the request to have National Intelligence Organization (MİT) employees testify in the trial. The trial was adjourned until 4-5-6 September 2019.

The case is seen as a landmark trial against impunity in unsolved murders of journalist involving the state.  

Link(s)

http://www.agos.com.tr/tr/yazi/22521/muammer-guler-dink-cinayeti-nde-ifade-verdi-istanbul-a-ham-bilgi-gelmisti 

http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turkiye/1434985/Muammer_Guler__Hrant_Dink_davasinda_ifade_verdi__Guler_e_o_soru_soruldu.html 

https://bianet.org/english/politics/209350-dink-murder-case-former-istanbul-governor-testifies-on-his-meeting-with-dink 

Categories: Death / Killing

Source of violation: Unknown

Yeniçağ columnist Demirağ imprisoned, released on probation

13 June 2019 – Yavuz Selim Demirağ, a vocal columnist for the right-wing nationalist Yençağ newspaper, was admitted to a prison in Ankara on 13 June 2019 to serve an 11 month and 20-day sentence, daily Cumhuriyet reported. The sentence had been given on the charge of “insulting a public official” in a case filed upon a complaint by President Erdoğan. 

Demirağ’s sentence was upheld by an appellate court in April, making it final. Demirağ, who surrendered to the Ayaş Prison, was released on probation the same day around midnight.

Link(s)

http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turkiye/1437575/Gazeteci_Yavuz_Selim_Demirag__cezaevine_girdi.html 

https://www.yenicaggazetesi.com.tr/yavuz-selim-demirag-tahliye-edildi-238014h.htm 

https://t24.com.tr/haber/gazeteci-yavuz-selim-demirag-tahliye-edildi,825890 

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Semiha Şahin, Pınar Gayıp released under house arrest

13 June 2019 – The fifth hearing in the trial of Etkin News Agency (ETHA) journalists Semiha Şahin and Pınar Gayıp, who have been in pre-trial detention in the Bakırköy Women’s Prison since April 2018, took place in an Istanbul court.

23rd High Criminal Court of Istanbul, ruled at the end of the hearing to release both Şahin and Gayıp on house arrest after 14 months in detention on remand, P24 reported.

Şahin and Gayıp are on trial on account of their journalistic work and their social media posts. They are accused of “membership in a terrorist group” and “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist group.”

The journalists were brought to the courtroom in handcuffs by the gendarmerie. They both requested to be released from prison and acquitted at the end of the trial. The prosecution asked the court to rule for the continuation of Şahin and Gayıp’s detention.

In its interim ruling at the end of the hearing, the panel ruled to release Şahin and Gayıp from jail but decided to place them under house arrest. The court set 15 October 2019 as the date for the next hearing.

Link(s)

https://twitter.com/P24DavaTakip/status/1139133987262214144 

https://t24.com.tr/haber/gazeteciler-pinar-gayip-ve-semiha-sahin-davasi-ev-hapsiyle-tahliye-edildiler,825741 

https://bianet.org/bianet/medya/209323-gazeteciler-pinar-gayip-ve-semiha-sahin-e-ev-hapsiyle-tahliye 

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Çağdaş Erdoğan’s trial adjourned until September

13 June 2019 – Photojournalist Çağdaş Erdoğan’s trial on terrorism-related charges resumed at the 33rd High Criminal Court of Istanbul, P24 reported. 

This was the sixth hearing in the case. Erdoğan’s lawyers requested additional time. Accepting the lawyers’ request, the court adjourned the trial until 5 September 2019.

Link(s)

https://twitter.com/ExInt24/status/1139131848880263168 

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Azadiya Welat employees including murdered editor-in-chief face investigation

12 June 2019 – An investigation was launched into 27 employees of the shuttered Kurdish-language daily Azadiya Welat, including Rohat Aktaş, who was the former editor-in-chief of the paper before he was murdered in Cizre in 2016, Mezopotamya Agency reported. The Diyarbakır-based newspaper entirely published in Kurdish was closed down in October 2016 by a state of emergency decree.

Other than Aktaş, the investigation also targets publisher Ramazan Ölçen, managing editor İsmail Çoban and journalists Bişar Durgut, Emrah Kelekçiler, Mehmet Çetin Altun, Melek Bozan, Rojhat Bilmez, Zafer Tüzün and Zeynel Abidin Bulut.

Six journalists and 3 former employees gave their statements at the Diyarbakır Counter-Terrorism Bureau (TEM) on the charges of “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization” and “terrorist organization membership.”

The lawyer representing the journalists, Resul Temur, said the police told him that they are aware Aktaş was deceased. After the death of Aktaş, ongoing trials against the journalist have been dropped.

Link(s)

http://mezopotamyaajansi21.com/tum-haberler/content/view/60352 

https://gazetekarinca.com/2019/06/oldurulen-rohat-aktas-dahil-azadiya-welat-calisanlarina-sorusturma/ 

https://ilerihaber.org/icerik/kapatilan-gazetenin-oldurulen-yazi-isleri-muduru-hakkinda-sorusturma-99156.html 

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Lawsuit against Çiğdem Toker filed by postal company rejected

11 June 2019 – A lawsuit filed against journalist Çiğdem Toker by Turkey’s postal service company PTT resumed at the Ankara 20th Civil Court of First Instance. The PTT was seeking TL 50,000 in non-pecuniary damages in the lawsuit over a column Toker wrote in April 2018 for the Cumhuriyet daily. 

At the hearing, the court eventually rejected the defamation case, in which the PTT claimed that Toker’s column “tarnished the company’s reputation,” P24 reported. The court ruled that the conditions requiring a lawsuit were not formed.

Link(s)

https://twitter.com/ExInt24/status/1138382049188941825 

https://www.evrensel.net/haber/381035/cigdem-tokere-acilan-50-bin-tllik-dava-reddedildi 

https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/gundem/2019/06/11/gazeteci-cigdem-toker-hakkinda-acilan-tazminat-davasi-reddedildi/ 

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Journalist Ayşe Düzkan released on probation

11 June 2019 – Journalist Ayşe Düzkan, who was handed down an 18-month prison sentence and jailed in January for participating in the “substitute editor-in-chief” campaign to show solidarity with the now-defunct pro-Kurdish Özgür Gündem newspaper, was released from the Eskişehir Women’s Prison.

Düzkan was released on probation after serving 130 days in jail. Düzkan’s daughter Haziran announced her mother’s release via her Twitter account.

Link(s)

https://m.bianet.org/english/women/209293-journalist-ayse-duzkan-released 

https://www.evrensel.net/haber/381106/gazeteci-ayse-duzkan-tahliye-oldu 

https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/gundem/2019/06/12/gazeteci-ayse-duzkan-tahliye-edildi/ 

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Prosecutor objects to appellate court decision in Seda Taşkın case

5 June 2019 – The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has objected to the verdict rendered by the appellate court in the case of journalist Seda Taşkın, online news website Gazete Karınca reported on 5 June.

At the end of the appeal hearing of Taşkın’s trial on 15 May, the 6th Criminal Chamber of the Erzurum Regional Court of Justice had acquitted the journalist of “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member” while giving her a deferred prison sentence of 1 year, 11 months and 10 days on the charge of “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization.”

On 30 May, the chief public prosecutor’s office objected to the appellate court’s ruling, saying the acquittal was “in violation of the law and procedural code.”

Link(s)

https://gazetekarinca.com/2019/06/gazeteci-seda-taskina-verilen-beraat-kararina-itiraz/

https://www.gazetefersude.com/gazeteci-seda-taskina-verilen-beraat-kararina-haber-yapip-uluslararasi-kamuoyu-olusturmak-iddiasiyla-itiraz-edildi-61039/ 

https://gazeteyolculuk.net/gazeteci-seda-taskinin-beraat-kararina-itiraz 

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Nurcan Baysal briefly detained

3 June 2019 – Journalist and columnist Nurcan Baysal was taken into custody in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, online news website Bianet reported. After being brought to the anti-terror branch of the Diyarbakır Police Department where she gave her statement, Baysal was released the same day. 

Baysal later announced via her Twitter account that she was detained as part of an investigation into the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) on the allegation of “terrorist group membership.”

Link(s)

https://m.bianet.org/bianet/medya/209078-nurcan-baysal-hakikati-yazmak-ne-kadar-zormus

https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/gundem/2019/06/03/gazeteci-nurcan-baysal-serbest-birakildi/ 

https://www.birgun.net/haber-detay/nurcan-baysala-teror-orgutu-uyeligi-iddiasiyla-gozalti.html

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Journalist Hayri Demir faces another criminal case

1 June 2019 – Journalist Hayri Demir will be standing trial in a newly opened case where he is facing between 7.5 and 18 years of imprisonment if convicted.

Demir announced the news of the new trial on 1 June via his Twitter account. He said that the accusations in the new file stemmed from his journalistic work from the years 2015 and 2016 and his social media posts — particularly one where he shared an old news piece for which he stood trial and was convicted.

Link(s)

https://twitter.com/hayridemir_/status/1134792936347045888?s=12 

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Pakistan’s media forced into self-censorship

Pakistan’s journalists have faced harassment and interference, pressure on media owners is common, and the government has taken to interrupting the distribution of news it dislikes.

Organisations call on Russia to end targeting of journalists covering Moscow protests

A coalition of eight media freedom and journalists’ organisations are calling on Russian authorities to immediately stop the harassment of journalists who have been covering the recent protests in Moscow.

Syrian photographer documents destruction by walking tightrope

His absolute independence is what saved him in all the years that he stayed in Raqqa, even during the years that Isis was in charge

Russia: As space for independent media shrinks, journalists find themselves under increasing threats of physical violence

This report looks at 175 incidents that Index on Censorship’s Monitoring and Advocating for Media Freedom project classified as threats, limitations or violations of press freedom in Russia between 1 February 2019 and 30 April 2019.

Comments are closed.