Most recent ‘insults’ to Erdoğan

Diken reported that a trial is started against their reporter Tunca Öğreten and novelist/columnist Perihan Mağden for insulting the president with an interview. Öğreten has interviewed Mağden and she has said President Erdoğan was “acting like cornered wild tiger, a wild animal.” Both face 1 to 4 years imprisonment if convicted. Mağden has told the prosecutor that her words were not meant as insults. The first hearing is on May 12. ‘Erdoğan’a hakaret’te bugün (2): Bir söyleşi nedeniyle Diken muhabirine dava

Bianet reported: “Investigation has been launched into Cumhuriyet daily cartoonist Musa Kart over complaint by Presidency Secretary General on the basis of the article 301 of the Turkish Criminal Law… According to the report of Cumhuriyet daily, it has been demanded to take legal actions against Kart on charges of “defaming the president” as well as “insulting the Turkish Nation, State of the Republic of Turkey and the institutions and organs of the state” regulated in the Article 301 of TCK. Kart has been summoned to İstanbul Court to give testimony as a suspect.”

In the mentioned caricature, Erdoğan is flying a judge as a kite as it symbolizes his tight grip and influence on Turkish judiciary.

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Investigation into Cartoonist Musa Kart over Insulting State

Bu karikatüre 301 soruşturması

Lastly, and most weirdly, four journalists are to be tried for insulting the president because their morning news show has used video from an opposition party’s rally and a banner that read “murderer Erdoğan” appeared on screen.

HDN reported: Broadcaster faces charges for ‘insulting president’

“An indictment has been prepared against television channel Kanal D on the grounds that it insulted the president by showing a banner that appeared during a Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) election during one of its morning programs.

The Bakırköy Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office demanded five years and four months in prison for “Kanal D Haber Günaydın” program presenter İrfan Değirmenci, chief news editor Süleyman Sarılar, news editor Fevzi Yeniçeri and news editor Ali Ekber Aydın for insulting the president.

A banner that read “Murderer Erdoğan” appeared two or three times in the background during a HDP election rally in Germany on Sept. 30, 2015, according to the indictment”

Cihan News Agency also reported: Kanal D faces legal proceedings over ‘Murderer Erdoğan’ banner

 

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updates from Turkey

  • Today’s Zaman reported: Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş has announced that the country has 67 journalists in jail, and further claimed that they were not sent to prison due to their journalistic activities but rather due to other crimes.Responding to questions during a meeting of Parliament’s Planning and Budget Commission on Tuesday night, Kurtulmuş said: “Among the 67 journalists who are jailed, only five of them have press cards. And only one of them has been convicted, and it is on charges of a minor offense, not for journalistic activity. Out of the 67 journalists, 37 of them have been jailed over minor offenses. I would like to say that journalists should not be jailed during their trial due to their journalistic activities.” Deputy prime minister says 67 journalists in jail in Turkey
  • Today’s Zaman reported: Journalist Kamil Maman appeared before the court on Thursday on a variety of charges including “establishing a terrorist organization for the purpose of committing crime” and “supporting a terrorist group.”The journalist is also accused of “resisting detention,” “aiding and abetting a terrorist group,” “supporting a terrorist group” and “attending protests with a gun.”Maman, who was working for the Bugün daily when he was detained, appeared before the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court. In one of his tweets he posted on Thursday, Maman ironically wrote that he is being tried for forming a one-person terrorist organization. Journalist Maman standing trial on charge of forming terrorist group
  • Evrensel reported on January 28, at 7.21 PM local time that Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter Bilal Seçkin is detained by the police from his house in northeastern city of Kars. The reason of the house raid which included some Kurdish politicians’ detainment also, is unknown yet.Kars’ta DİHA Muhabiri Bilal Seçkin gözaltına alındı
  • Local sources at southeastern Turkey reported by quoting JİNHA that two journalists, Murat Bay (sendika.org) and a foreign journalist named Alex Alfonso were detained in Diyarbakır. Sur’da ‘yasak’sız mahalleye baskın 2 gazeteci gözaltına alındı
  • Today’s zaman reported: “Ahmet Şengüler, the only suspect arrested for allegedly attacking Hürriyet daily columnist Ahmet Hakan Coşkun, a widely read columnist known for his critical stance toward the government, has been released.” Arrested suspect linked to attack on journalist Coşkun released

 

Media reaction to PF groups’ Silivri visit

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HDN reported: “A coalition from the world’s most prestigious press freedom organizations condemned the isolation of arrested Turkish journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül on Jan. 27, holding a vigil in front of Istanbul’s Silivri prison to show their support.”

International press freedom groups condemn isolation of arrested Turkish journalists (Hürriyet Daily News)

International Journalism Organizations in Silivri for Dündar, Gül (Bianet)

Int’l press groups call on Turkey to allow visits to jailed journalists Dündar, Gül (Today’s Zaman)

Turkish prosecutors seek life terms for two anti-Erdogan journalists (Yahoo by AFP)

Uluslararası basın örgütleri Can Dündar ve Erdem Gül’e tecriti Silivri’de kınadı (Hürriyet)

Uluslararası ifade ve basın özgürlüğü kuruluşları: Tutuklu gazetecileri serbest bırakın (Evrensel)

Silivri’deki umut nöbetine uluslararası basın kuruluşları devam etti (Cihan News Agency)

Int’l press groups call on Turkey to allow visits to jailed journalists (Cihan News Agency)

Dünyanın önde gelen gazetecilik örgütleri Silivri’de toplandı, ardından yazılı açıklama yapıldı (Doğan News Agency/DHA)

Uluslararası Gazetecilik Örgütleri’nden Önce Açıklama Sonra Umut Nöbeti… (VIDEO from Doğan News Agency/DHA)

Uluslararası basın örgütleri ‘umut nöbeti’nde (Dicle News Agency/DİHA)

Dünyanın önde gelen gazetecilik örgütleri Silivri`de toplandı, ardından yazılı açıklama yapıldı (Sözcü)

 

Short updates

detained and/or hurt journalists (January 5-25)

  • Bianet reported: “Reporters will keep solidarity watch and make reports in cities under curfew to stick with their colleagues working under difficult situation… The reporters will go in groups every week to cities where curfews have been lasting and make reports there.” Reporters Head for Cities Under Curfew
  • Hürriyet Daily News reported: “In 2015, 774 journalists were fired, 484 legal actions were taken by judicial authorities, 200 press members and seven media companies were subjected to an investigation, 156 journalists were detained, court cases were opened against 238 journalists and at least 32 journalists were currently under arrest, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy chair Sezgin Tanrıkulu said on Jan. 11.” 774 journalists fired, 156 detained last year in Turkey: CHP
  • Detained and released: DİHA reporter Fatih Gönül was briefly detained by the police in Ankara while reporting from a murder trial on January 7. Muhabirimiz serbest bırakıldı Daily Evrensel reporter Eda Aktaş was detained while covering a protest in İzmir on January 9 and then later released. Muhabirimiz Eda Aktaş ve 12 kadın serbest bırakıldı IMC TV’s reporters Bekir Coşkun and Mehmet Dursun were detained and released in Van on January 10. The journalists were investigating a shootout between police and suspected PKK members which ended in 12 deaths. imc tv muhabiri Bekir Güneş ve kameraman Mehmet Dursun serbest DİHA’s Mardin reporter Murat Verim was also detained and released on January 10 during a house raid. DİHA Mardin Muhabiri Murat Verim Gözaltında Alp Kayserilioğlu (Neues Deutschland & Junge Welt) and photographer Sinan Tangay were detained and released in Diyarbakır, near Sur Area where heavy clashes take place, on January 20 Dargeçit’te 2 gazeteci gözaltına alındı Mizgin Adım, Cizre reporter for JİNHA; was detained and released on January 21. JINHA muhabiri serbest bırakıldı
  • Hurt and/or threatened: Bianet reported: “Detention warrant has been issued on journalist Rıfat Tekin injured by bullet as he was following up report in Cizre, there are police officers on duty in front of the hospital where Tekin has been taken into.” Detention Warrant on Injured Journalist Rıfat Tekin DİHA’s Nedim Türfent from Hakkari was hit in the foot by a gas pallet on January 9 according to his own tweet and he was threatened by the police by a phone call according to a DİHA story from January 19. Türfent says a police officer who did not give his name called him and said “come to the police situation if you know what is good for you.” Türfent’s lawyer says there is no warrant against his client. Polisten Gazeteci Türfent’e: Emniyet’e gelmezsen senin için iyi olmaz! Türfent also had a terrorist propaganda” investigation started against him on January 21 for appearing on pro-PKK TV channels Med Nuçe and Stêrk TV. DİHA muhabirine Med Nuçe ve Stêrk TV soruşturması Journalist Mürsel Çoban said he was threatened with death by police in Diyarbakır. The police tried to detain the journalist on duty on January 12 and said “we would disappear you in trenches” according to Çoban’s Facebook post. Haber peşindeki gazeteciye JÖH’ten ‘seni kaybederiz’ tehdidi Evrensel reported on January 20: Amine Bozkurt, distributor for the daily Azadiya Welat in Tunceli, said she was threatened by the police. According to Bozkurt, a police car stopped by near her and they said “how could your family identify you if an accident happens?” Polislerden ‘Başına bir kaza gelirse ailen seni nasıl tanıyacak?’ tehdidi

Latest on ‘Insulting Erdoğan’ and other updates (Jan 5-25)

  • January 6: Columnist Hasan Cemal had the third investigation launched against him for “insulting” Erdoğan. Preeminent journalist Cemal faces another probe for ’insulting’ Erdoğan
  • January 19: Columnist Ahmet Altan also had the third investigation started against him for insulting the president. Ahmet Altan
  • January 25: The Bakırköy Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation into CNN Türk for using the phrase “’Dictator’ on trial” in reference to a news story concerning discord between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. CNN Türk investigated for using ‘dictator’ in reference to President Erdoğan
  • Hürriyet has fired two editors back in November for using an inappropriate visual of the president by mistake (see Erdoğan left of Jesus, enjoying a chicken wing). An investigation is starte against the former Hürriyet editors Şermin Terzi and Aynur Kabayel only now, according to news reports of January 25. ‘Erdoğan’a hakaret’te bugün (2): ’13’üncü Cuma’ kurbanı gazetecilere soruşturmahurriyet-erdogan
  • An Article 301 trial (“insulting Turkishness”) is started against lawyer Tugay Bek who claimed the state is protecting the killers of murdered press worker kadri Bağdu. The first session will be heid in Adana on January 28.
  • Columnist Fehmi Koru, famous with his friendship with former President Abdullah Gül, is fired from the daily Habertürk on January 12. Fehmi Koru’nun Habertürk’teki yazılarına son verildi Pro-AKP columnist Gülay Göktürk is fired from the daily Akşam on January 13 Pro-gov’t columnist fired after mild criticism of AK Party
  • According to the daily Cumhuriyet, state owned banks have blessed pro government media with 1 billion 32 million 273 thousand TL worth of ads in the last five years while ignoring the opposition press. Kamudan havuza para akıyor
  • Pro-Hizmet news site Haberdar’s Chief Editor Said Sefa said his passport is cancelled and there is a travel ban put on him without a court order. Said Sefa’ya keyfi yurtdışı yasağı
  • Today’s Zaman reported: “A letter from journalist Mehmet Baransu, who is under arrest for releasing classified documents, has revealed how he is being forced to live in miserable prison conditions in his new “cell” in Mersin that appears to be a flagrant violation of human dignity.According to the Zaman daily’s news portal on Friday, Baransu’s prison letter relayed how he was made to spend a night in prison in a cold toilet with a broken window after being moved from an overcrowded cell in which he feared for his safety.” Journalist Baransu made to sleep in toilet cell in Mersin jail
  • Hürriyet Daily News reported: “The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled for Turkey to be fined over a police raid on the office building of Nokta magazine upon a military court ruling in 2007, stating that the raid constituted a violation of human rights.” ECHR fines Turkey for 2007 raid of Nokta magazine

Censorship news (January 5-25)

  • Bianet reported that 34 links for a story on PKK hostages is blocked from access by court order: “The report by Dicle News Agency (ANF) about new year message of soldiers held by Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has been blocked.” Censor on bianet Report
  • Similarly, presidential aide Yusuf Yerkel have had blocked several news stories and other content by court order. Yerkel became internationally famous by kicking a miner in front of cameras following the mining disaster in Soma in 2014. Mashable reported: “Famous images showing an aide to Turkey’s prime minister kicking a protester in the wake of a national tragedy are slowly vanishing from the internet in Turkey.” An aide to Turkey’s president kicked a protester. Then photos of the assault started disappearing. CYEIzCXWwAAODog
  • Odatv reported on January 7 that one of their news stories on the irregularities regarding the murdered journalist Hrant Dink’s trial is blocked in Turkey due to “violating the rights” of the police force. The story was on allegations whether if the police intelligence is keeping the Dink murder trial prosecutor under surveillance or not.  Emniyet Genel Müdürlüğü’nün hedefinde Odatv var
  • The recent Sultanahmet bombing news ban was discussed a lot but it is one of the many, actually hundreds, in recent years. Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has answered the parliamentary question of CHP Deputy Leader Sezgin Tanrıkulu on July 2014 and said the courts ordered a total of 149 news bans as of 4 in 2010, 36 in 2011, 43 in 2012, 42 in 2013 and 24 in the first six months of 2014. The news bans continued in accelerating pace since then. According to this tweet from online rights activist Yaman Akdeniz, 223 links from 146 media organs were blocked regarding the Sultanahmet bombing news ban. Akdeniz also shared the document from the Prime Minister’s office to the court, demanding the ban, in this tweet.
  • Interview with Brazilian caricaturist Carlos Latuff, who is banned in Turkey: Why did Turkey ban a Brazilian cartoonist?

Erdoğan and Davutoğlu make fun of press freedom on press day

The president and prime minister of Turkey decided to mock the journalists on “working journalists day,” a press day exclusive to Turkey, on January 10.

Erdoğan said the media must be independent.

Erdoğan underscores diversity, freedom of press on Working Journalists’ Day

Davutoğlu said they are the guarantee of press freedom.

“I want to express that freedom of press and expression is essential for me. The practice of these freedoms in a democratic country like Turkey is vitally important. We are the strongest guarantee of this freedom as a government which has its signature under great reforms for expanding the fields of freedom since 2002. Everybody should know that, beyond the people’s right to be informed, journalism is not forcing certain tutorship centers’ agenda over the country. I want to underline that misusing freedoms and especially making propaganda of terrorism and terrorist organizations is not within the scope of journalism.”

Davutoğlu: Özgürlüklerin kötüye kullanılması ve terör propagandası gazetecilik değildir!

Turkey government insists there are no journalists in prison

Turkey government insists that there are no journalists in prison who were put behind bars due to their work.

CHP Parliamentary Deputy Aydın Uslupehlivan has asked a parliamentary question to the government about how many journalists are in jail. According to reports from January 6, the Justice Ministry gave the usual answer that there are none and provided a list of terrorism, obtaining secret documents and other charges and convictions against the arrested journalists.

Adalet Bakanlığı: Cezaevlerinde salt gazetecilik faaliyetinden dolayı hükümlü ve tutuklu bulunmuyor

Justice Ministry Bekir Bozdağ and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu have recently spoken on the issue; Doğan News Agency (DHA) has released the following story on December 25, 2015:

None of the journalists currently jailed in Turkey have been prosecuted due to charges related to their profession, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ has said.

“There are detained or convicted journalists in prisons in Turkey. There have been judgments made concerning claims about these journalists during both the investigation and trial stages. When I look at the claims made during the investigation stage, there is no journalist prosecuted for reporting in Turkey. When you look at convicted journalists, there is no journalist convicted for reporting either. However, the crimes that are imputed are different crimes,” Bozdağ said.

His remarks came after journalists had said appeals for the release of prominent journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, who have been jailed on charges of “aiding terrorist organizations,” have been constantly refused, while opposition parties have urged the government to try them without placing them in pre-trial detention.

Cumhuriyet daily’s editor-in-chief Dündar and Ankara bureau chief Gül were arrested on Nov. 26 on charges of aiding an armed terrorist organization and committing political or military espionage over reports in Cumhuriyet on the interception of trucks belonging to the National Intelligence Organization (MİT). The articles claimed that the trucks, intercepted in January 2014, were shipping weapons to jihadist groups fighting across the border in Syria.

The imprisonment of Dündar and Gül created an outcry inside and outside Turkey, with leading international press organizations alerting the Council of Europe on Turkey’s state of media freedom on Nov. 26.

Last week, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said he was “in principle” against arrest pending trial unless absolutely necessary.

“This is a civilized country and my understanding of justice is in line with this. Someone is guilty only after a final verdict is given. There is no need to punish them before the decision is given” Davutoğlu said, while stressing that he “cannot intervene in the judicial process” as that would be a violation of the separation of powers.

Justice Minister insists journalists not jailed because of profession

 

Two more Kurdish journalists arrested

(January 11, 2016) Turkey arrested two more Kurdish journalists in the last seven days and detained three more on duty who were later released. Nedim Oruç, reporter for the pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency (DİHA) was arrested in Şırnak on January 6 for “propaganda” of a terrorist organization and Rojda Oğuz, reporter for the pro-Kurdish, all female Jin News Agency (JİNHA) was arrested on January 8 in Van for “membership” of a terrorist organization. The journalists, as usual, is accused of being connected to the banned Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK).

Clashes between the security forces of Turkey and Kurdish insurgents at urban areas have been ongoing for months; adding up causalities from both sides alongside civilians as documented by local and international human rights groups. CPJ observed Kurdish journalists operating at hot zones have been targeted by authorities.

Oruç was taken into custody by force and beaten during the apprehension from his home according to eyewitnesses cited in the related reports of DİHA. Oruç was detained with dozens of other people in scope of door to door operations the police have been practicing recently and his whereabouts were unknown before the incident turned into a trending topic on twitter and other journalists put pressure on the authorities by making telephone calls. The journalist’s camera, computer and handwritten notes were confiscated by the police and he was questioned about those. Kunur defended himself by saying he was there to report the clashes and recorded the people digging trenches to avoid the authorities entering the area. According to Konur’s testimony he went to a relative’s house in the neighborhood when the clashes intensified and he was taken into custody from there. The journalist was transferred from the prosecutor’s office with a demand of arrest with both “membership” and “propaganda” charges. The Silopi Court of Penal Peace decided that there is not enough evidence for “strong reasonable doubt” on membership but arrested him on the propaganda accusation. He is at Şırnak Prison, pending trial.

Oğuz is a university student alongside being a reported of JİNHA and was detained alongside other students according to the reports of the agency. She was questioned about her social media posts which included news from JİNHA and some demonstrations she had attended which she has stated that she was there to cover the events as a journalist as her police questioning documents inspected by CPJ show. Oğuz also denied being at some of these demonstrations at all. The journalist is also questioned about phone recordings she has made from her cellphone, which were tapped in by the police. These phone recordings were used as evidence that Oğuz was in connection of a student organization in connection with outlawed Kurdish movements but Oğuz denies such a connection. There is also the testimony of a secret witness about her being involved with terrorist activities which has been used against the journalist The Van 2nd Court of Penal Peace decided that the social media posts, phone recordings, the presence at demonstrations and the secret witness testimony were sufficient for “strong reasonable doubt” for the accusation of membership and arrested her. She is at Van prison, pending trial.