Latest on terrorism investigations against journos, censorship and ‘insulting Erdoğan’

Pro-Kurdish IMC TV banned from satellite

Pro-Kurdish IMC TV, one of the few television channels remaining critical of Turkey’s government, is banned from TÜRKSAT satellite by a prosecution order regarding a terrorism investigation. IMC TV remains on air on the Internet stream and a new satellite.

Prosecution demands ban on İMC TV’s satellite broadcasting

IMC TV satellite broadcast blacked out

Turkey turns off independent TV channel on ‘terrorist’ charge

CHP questions suspension of İMC TV channel in Parliament

Kadri Bağdu murder remains unsolved

The murder of Azadiya Welat staff Kadri Bağdu back in October 2014 remains unsolved. The investigation case dossier was kept secret by a court order until last month got classified in the “unsolved murders” after that; daily Evrensel reported.

Unsolved cases with no suspects or progress in the investigation get a “permanent search order” which in practice it means they are shelved as cold cases.

Lawyer Tugay Bek said they will take the matter to the consideration of the Constitutional Court as the Bağdu family legal team and they are sure Bağdu is killed by ISIS related militants.

Bek told Evrensel that the court order for secrecy was removed due to their appeal on January 7; they demanded a copy of the investigation dossier on January 11 and the case was shelved on January 12.

Bek said the murder is definitely a terrorism related act but the authorities insist on treating it as a regular murder case.

Kadri Bağdu cinayeti faili meçhule gönderildi


Kurdish journalist’s dead body from Cizre identified

Local press reports say the body of Kurdish journalist Rohat Aktaş was identified Wednesday among the dead collected from a basement in the middle of the clashes at southeastern Turkey between Kurdish rebels and Turkish security forces. Turkey has been conducting intense anti-terrorism operations at urban areas for months while both sides of the clashes either blame each other for hundreds of civilian deaths or conflict on who is a civilian or not. Aktaş, responsible news editor for the Kurdish language daily Azadiya Welat (Homeland’s Freedom), was at a hot zone in Cizre District of Şırnak Province and had to take shelter at a basement of a building with others after being shot. Ambulances could not approach the area and everybody in that basement got killed due to heavy weaponry employed. Thousands of people from Cizre and other similar towns had to flee from their homes. According to reports, the bodies collected from the basement were burnt beyond recognition and DNA tests were applied for identification.

CPJ has contacted Azadiya Welat and expressed concern for the well being of the journalist. According to the daily, Aktaş has been there for 80 days; was shot in the arm on January 22 and they did not have contact with him for days. During that time, Cizre was a forbidden zone which led to conflicting reports and statements from the pro-Kurdish and government media and politicians. The pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) stated the government was not allowing ambulances in the area while the government said the ambulances cannot get close because the Kurdish militants do not allow them. “Nobody can claim that Turkey broke the law while fighting against terror,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said on January 28 and added: “We fight against terror and we would take all kinds of measures to rush any wounded person to hospital, no matter whether [he or she] is a terrorist… But if ambulances wish to reach there, then terror elements there should immediately get out.” Kurdish lawyers approached the European Court of Human Rights but the court decided it is a domestic law matter. The operations at Cizre were declared to be at an end on February 11.

Rohat Aktaş missing, Mazlum Dolan detained

Azadiya Welat News editor Rohat Aktaş is still missing, presumed dead at the basement he took shelter in Cizre alongside others. Local reports say over 150 dead bodies were recovered from the area but about two dozen were identified as most were burned beyond recognition.

‘Rohat defended the unity of all people’ (JINHA)

167 dead bodies retrieved to hospitals from Cizre (JINHA)

Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter Mazlum Doğan was trapped at a basement just like Aktaş but in Sur District of Diyarbakır. He has been at the area for 80 days according to DİHA and has notified the agency that he was pinned in place due to the ongoing clashes on February 17. Doğan was taken out of the hot zone by the security forces and got detained on the 19th. He is yet to be released or transferred to court for arrest.

Latest news from Mazlum Dolan (DİHA)

Sur’da mahsur kalanlardan Mazlum Dolan gözaltına alındı (BBC)


journalist arrested in Antalya

Feyyaz İmrak, Antalya Province correspondent for the Dicle News Agency (DİHA), is detained by the police in Antalya on February 11 and arrested by the 1st Antalya Court of Penal peace on February 15 with the accusation of being a member of the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK). İmrak is at Antalya Prison, pending trial for no date set.

İmrak is a university student freelancing for DİHA and he was detained alongside other students in scope of a joint anti-terrorism investigation. The testimony of the journalist from the Antalya Chief Prosecutor’s Office show İmrak was questioned on the membership of a student association alongside the social gatherings, protests or various events. İmrak denied all ties to PKK and its related organizations in his testimony and stated that he considers them a terrorist group. İmrak states the mentioned student association remained on paper only and was not active as a terrorist front as far as he knows. İmrak also states in his testimony that he was at the certain places he was asked as a journalist, not as a participant. The prosecutor’s office asked the journalist about the search of his residence also and  journalistic property such as interview notes and photographs taken by İmrak is considered evidence against him.

İmrak denied the accusations against him at the court too, but according to the arrest verdict the Antalya court find there is “reasonable doubt” for arresting him for being member of a terrorist organization. Article 100 of the Turkish Law for Criminal Procedure allows courts to make arrests on “doubts” which is commonly used for journalist arrests.

Short updates from February so far

three more journalists arrested in the first half of May

Turkish journalist Hayri Tunç is arrested in Istanbul on February 3 over his social media posts of which some consist of his own work. Tunç, writer and correspondent of the news blog, was detained at his home in Istanbul by the police on February 2, Tuesday and arrested by an Istanbul court on Wednesday for “terrorism propaganda” for the outlawed groups Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and Group of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK). The journalist is at Silivri Prison in Istanbul, pending trial. Jiyan Correspondent Hayri Tunç Arrested

According to the questioning document from the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office, Tunç was asked about his Facebook and Twitter posts. While the document does not include the details or screen shots of the related posts, Tunç explains the posts in his testimony as his own journalistic work including videos of social protests intervened by the police, other news content uploaded by others and shared by him, personal pictures, personal comments and song lyrics. Tunç said in his prosecutor’s testimony: “I am a journalist. I observed the accusations. These are journalistic activities. I did not make propaganda of anyone” and pleaded innocent.

However, the prosecutor transferred Tunç to court with a demand of arrest for “[terrorist] organization membership” and “propaganda” and the 3rd Istanbul Court of Penal Peace arrested the journalist according to the arrest order. The court dismissed the arrest demand for organization membership for lack of evidence but found the journalist’s posts sufficient for “reasonable doubt” to arrest him over “propaganda.”

Tunç’s lawyer Ahmet Baran Çelik said that his client was detained two months ago with “propaganda,” “praising a crime and criminal” and “membership” accusations again with similar social media posts as evidence. Çelik said Tunç was released on parole under the condition of presenting signature three times a week at a police station. In the meantime, this current investigation has started. Columnist Hayri Tunç released as news portal blocked

Turkish authorities also detained and arrested journalist Nuri Akman, Van Province office chief for the Dicle News Agency (DİHA), at Malatya Province on February 2 for “[terrorist] organization membership” according to press reports. DİHA Reporter Arrested

Also, on February 12, DİHA correspondent Nazım Daştan, taken into custody in Antep, has been arrested on charges of “propagandizing for the terrorist organization” in his Facebook postings. DİHA Correspondent Nazım Daştan Arrested