Turkey arrested three more Kurdish journos in December

Turkey authorities arrested three Kurdish journalists on the 1st, 15th and 19th of December 2015. The journalists work for pro-Kurdish news outlets and are accused of being a member of, aiding or making the propaganda for the banned Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK). There are no court dates set for any of the three cases which points that the journalists are imprisoned indefinitely until the prosecutors come up with indictments at future dates unknown.

Southeastern Turkey is not tense only by the Syrian civil war and the refugee crisis but it has been hot with clashes recently; since the police and the military are fighting PKK sympathizer Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement, or YDG-H, at residential areas and journalists on the street are being rounded up and hurt by security forces.

Zeki Karakuş, owner of local news website Nusaybin Haber, was detained and arrested in Nusaybin District of Mardin Province on December 1 according to Cihan News Agency. Karakuş is at Mardin prison in, pending trial. Karakuş’s lawyer Gülsitan Duran said that her client received a call from the police that there is a search warrant about him and he is expected to testify. They went to the Nusaybin authorities and the journalist was arrested for “making propaganda of a terrorist organization via press” bu the Nusaybin Court of Penal Peace. The lawyer said there is a court order of secrecy over the investigation therefore they do not know what evidence is offered against Karakuş or what the exact charges are.

Deniz Babir, reporter for the Kurdish language daily Azadiya Welat, was detained at Sur District of Diyarbakır on December 15 and arrested on the same day as reported by local sources. Babir was following the clashes when he was detained by the police. Four other journalists were detained also at the hot zone alongside Babir but they were later released. Reporter Ferit Dere, also with Azadiya Welat, told the Dicle News Agency (DİHA) that the cops threatened them while in custody with comments such as: “one day you will be killed in confusion” and “you will see the power of the Turk.” Babir was carrying a false identification as he was a fugitive from military service which is mandatory in Turkey. His lawyer Resul Tamur said while his client is guilty on terms of carrying a false identification; he was doing his job at the time as he was arrested and was questioned about journalism; including the contents of his notebook. Dere also told DİHA that they were questioned about why are they are reporting from the hot zone and the police confiscated their cameras, note books and voice recorders even after they were let go. The verdict of the 2nd Diyarbakır Court of Penal Peace shows Babir plead guilty only for the false identification accusation but he was arrested on the “strong suspicion” of being a member of the PKK. Babir is at Diyarbakır D Type prison; pending trial.

Beritan Canözer, reporter for the all female, pro-Kurdish Jin News Agency, or JİNHA; was detained by plain clothes cops while covering social unrest also in Diyarbakır on December 16; local press reported. Canözer spent more than 48 hours under detention and arrested by a Diyarbakır court on December 19. According to reports, Canözer was transferred to the court after the prosecution demanded her arrest for “knowingly and willingly aiding a [terrorist] organization” and the night court of Saturday evening complied. The reports also stated that social media activities of Canözer happened to be the evidence against her. Turkish authorities have arrested two other Kurdish journalists, one of them again from JİNHA, under similar conditions last month.