short updates


  •  Turkey’s Internet and social media was slow and sometimes inaccessible without location hiding measures like virtual private networks or changing DNS settings during the weekend, highly likely due to the suicide bombing in Istanbul according to reports from Sunday. Twitter and Facebook has been blocked from access quickly after the attack, around 12.20 PM. Turkey routinely blocks social media from access briefly after violent attacks which is not unusual but the loss of speed in the Internet access attracted attention during the weekend.
  • The daily Cumhuriyet and some other media sources reported on Monday that Sevgi Akarçeşme, former chief editor of seized newspaper Today’s Zaman, applied for asylum in Belgium. Akarçeşme later tweeted that she does not have plans to go back to Turkey for a while due to oppression and censorship but she has not applied for asylum.
  • Socialist daily Birgün reported that their reporter Onur Erdem is facing 28 months in prison because the person he interviewed allegedly insulted the prime minister of Turkey. Erdem has interviewed British writer Tarıq Ali for the October 15, 2015 edition of Birgün and he has called PM Ahmet Davutoğlu “a fool” regarding a comment on why suicide bombers cannot be caught before the act in Turkey. According to the Birgün story, The prosecutor wants the journalist punished for the words of the interviewee due to the Article 125 of Turkish Penal Law on “insult” which may lead to a prison sentence of 14 to 28 months. Ali also calls President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan a “tin pot dictator” in the same interview but the 5th Istanbul Court of Penal Peace perceived that comment as a display of freedom of expression and denied the president’s legal team’s request to be involved in the trial according to the Birgün story. The first hearing of Erdem’s trial will be held at the 2nd Istanbul Court of Penal Peace on May 24.