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)

 

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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

 

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

Updates (Dec 24-Jan 05)

  • Hürriyet Daily News Reported: “A lawsuit has been opened against Hürriyet Editor-in-Chief Sedat Ergin with a demand that the journalist serve five years in prison for “insulting president” due to a report in the daily.” Hürriyet editor-in-chief faces five years in prison for ‘insulting president’
  • Today’s Zaman reported that the same court also accepted a similar case against former daily Zaman chief editor Ekrem Dumanlı: “A court in İstanbul accepted an indictment against former Zaman Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanlı and Hürriyet Editor-in-Chief Sedat Ergin on Dec. 15 for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in tweets, according to a report by the Zaman daily on Friday. The first hearing in the case is scheduled for March 25, 2016.” Journalists Dumanlı and Ergin to be tried for ‘insulting Erdoğan’
  • Bianet reported: “DİHA website that is blocked as of July 25 has been censored 28th time.” 28th Access Block against DİHA Political news website siyasihaber.org also announced with this tweet that their website is blocked by TİB and they have a new address. It is their first time. According to this tweet featuring the court document from İnternet freedom activist Yaman Akdeniz, TİB blocked 8 other sites alongside siyasihaber.org and 10 twitter accounts. Social media accounts of Kurdish journalists and news sources have been systematically banned by TİB throughout the year.
  • Cihan News Agency reported: “An İstanbul court rejected a request by the lawyers representing journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, who are under arrest, for their release on Friday.” Request to release journalists Dündar and Gül rejected again
  • Bianet reported: “Imprisoned journalist, Mehmet Baransu, has been fined on the grounds of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s wife, Emine Erdoğan; the court hasn’t postponed the penalty over ‘inclination to crime’.” Baransu Fined for Insulting Emine Erdoğan
  • Today’s Zaman reported: “Bülent Ceyhan, the Millet daily’s former desk editor who was fired in early November by the trustees appointed to the İpek Media Group, appeared in court on Thursday on charges of insulting Interior Minister Efkan Ala” for
    writing “in a report on April 29 that Ala had been using a state-owned private jet for his personal use despite not holding public office at the time.” Journalist Bülent Ceyhan faces trial for insulting interior minister
  • Today’s Zaman reported: “The Turkish journalists Union (TGS) and the Pak Medya-İş union organized a demonstration in front of Silivri Prison on Thursday during which they called for freedom for their imprisoned colleagues.” Journalists welcome new year in front of Silivri Prison in support of jailed colleagues
  • Harassing of Kurdish journalists continued as: “DİHA reporter, Merdan Berk, following up protests in Diyarbakır has been wounded in both of his legs.” DİHA Reporter Merdan Berk Injured in Both Legs & “[JİNHA] reporter Duygu Erol went to the street of Gazi where the curfew was lifted last week but still the siege of police continues,in order to cover the news. Police stoped and threatened her by using the sentences; ‘We’ll send you to the cemetery. if it was up to me, I would execute you.'” Police threaten our reporter! & Kurdsat News cameraman Baran Ok was detained on duty in Diyarbakır on December 31 and not released until January 4. In this video, his colleague is captured trying to convince the police to release Ok, saying “O benim Kameramanım” (He is my cameraman” which ended up as a hashtag on twitter for the demand of the journalist’s release.
  • Today’s Zaman reported: “An İstanbul prosecutor has launched an investigation into the Sözcü daily for allegedly insulting president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a puzzle published on the front page of its Jan. 1 edition.” Turkish daily faces investigation for ’insulting’ Erdoğan in puzzle

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.

updates from Turkey

updates from Turkey (Nov 16 – Dec 08)

  • Insulting Erdoğan: “Daily Hürriyet columnist and former editor-in-chief Ertuğrul Özkök faces up to five years and four months in prison for “insulting” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in an opinion piece published on Sept. 3.” Hürriyet Daily News reported. Daily Birgün reporter Onur Erem tweeted: “I’m under prosecution b/c of the interview I made with Tariq Ali, accusted of ‘insulting president Erdogan’.” Cihan News Agency reported: “BirGün daily Managing Editor Berkant Gültekin faces up to 32 years in prison in a total of eight cases filed against him on charges of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in news reports that appeared in the daily.” Daily Evrensel Chief Editor Fatih Polat tweeted documents about a prosecutor dropping an insult complaint by the president. Polat stated that the prosecution decided writing about Erdoğan escalating violence in the country in benefit of his political goals is within the limits of freedom of expression. The indictment is ready for the investigation about journalist Bülent Keneş for “insulting” Erdoğan. Today’s Zaman reported: “Today’s Zaman Editor-in-Chief Bülent Keneş is facing the prospect of up to eight years and two months in prison on charges of “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a series of tweets and statements that the journalist says was him simply expressing a critical opinion.”
  • Mistreatment in jail: Arrested journalist Mehmet Baransu wrote about the bad treatment he is exposed to in jail; Cihan News Agency reported.
  • Censored: Political cartoonist Carlos Latuff’s website is among the thousands of banned sites in Turkey. The cartoonist announced the situation with this post.
  • Detained: ETHA News Agency Editor İsminaz Ergün was detained on November 27 and about an opinion piece (titled “The Kurdish People wants an Honorable Peace”) she wrote and released after questioning.
  • Fired: Doğan Media Group is slowly “cleaning house;” firing journalist who are openly anti-AKP.  Zeynep Gürcanlı and Şükrü Küçükşahin from the Ankara office of the daily Hürriyet were fired on December 2; the daily Cumhuriyet reported. Hürriyet’s Digital Media Coordinator Bülent Mumay was fired on November 26. The Executive Director and Chief Editor of the Kanal D (Doğan’s and Turkey’s most popular TV channel) were also changed and CNNTürk is now directed by Erdoğan Aktaş; former news director of the pro-AKP news channel ATV; local reports from December 8 stated. Also, Today’s Zaman reported:”Eighty more journalists working for the Bugün and Kanaltürk TV stations were fired after the channels were dropped by the state-owned Turkish Satellite Communications Company (Türksat) from its infrastructure in a government-orchestrated crackdown on critical media.”
  • Another investigation against Nokta: Nokta reported that another investigation is launched against Nokta regarding its “Erdoğan selfie” cover. Nokta’s already arrested editors (due to Nokta’s “civil war” cover) Cevheri Güven and Murat Çapan will be investigated about the “selfie” cover for “insulting the president” and “making propaganda of a terrorist organization” alongside two new names: Ertuğrul Erbaş (news coordinator) and  Emrah Direk (digital publishing director). Originally, Çapan was the only suspect in the investigation with the accusation of “insulting” Erdoğan.

Turkey arrests two journos over social media posts

Two journalists from pro-Kurdish news agencies in eastern Turkey city of Van were arrested over social media posts which are considered as “terrorist propaganda” and “insulting the president.” Idris Yılmaz from Dicle News Agency (DİHA) and Vildan Atmaca from Women’s News Agency (JİNHA) were detained by the police at Erciş District of Van on Friday and arrested by court on Saturday. The journalists are accused of being pro-Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which is recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey. Yılmaz is reported injured as he was hurt in the ribs while being detained by the police and denied proper medical attention.

The journalists were detained as a part of a larger group on Friday. Who exactly were in this group which included 10 journalists according to reports is not clear. Some local reports, including the pro-PKK Firat News Agency (ANF) stated the journalists were covering clashes between the police and Kurdish rebels but Yılmaz’s testimony says they were drinking tea at a cafe as a group of journalists from DİHA, VAN TV and IMC TV when police approached him and said he will be detained for “producing biased news.” Other journalists did not want to give up their friend which ended in police shooting in the air to disperse the crowd around and detaining more people (see the video in the first hyperlink). Other detainees were released on Saturday but Yılmaz and Atmaca were transfered to the court with a demand of arrest from the prosecutor.

According to police, prosecutor’s office and court documents CPJ inspected, both journalists are questioned about social media posts; some of which are years old and others not owned.

Yılmaz is accused of terrorism propaganda as being the owner of a news source called Erciş Haberi (Erciş News) but he stated that he has no ties to it and as far as he knows it is a Facebook group that features posts from numerous users. According to visuals featured in the testimony document, Facebook lists the name İdris Yılmaz as the Chief Editor of Erciş Haberi and ercishaberi.com as the media organ’s website. Yılmaz said he used to have a DİHA subscriber news website with the same name at the mentioned address but it was inactive for months and he knows neither who runs the Facebook group nor who put his name there. Yılmaz is also asked about some pro-PKK posts from his own Facebook account and but he denied making propaganda of the organization. Yılmaz has also shared a caricature of President Pecep Tayyip Erdoğan defecating on Turkey. Yılmaz did not comment on that question at the police questioning and argued it is not Erdoğan in the caricature when asked about it again at the prosecutor’s office.

Atmaca asked the authorities some of the posts she is questioned about are two years old and why is she being questioned about them now when detained for a totally different reason. Atmaca was asked about sharing posts such as the picture of a woman YPG (PKK’s Syrian wing) guerrilla, a woman Kurdish journalist noted as a PKK member and a quote of convicted PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. She was also asked about two tweets from October 14, 2015 in which she accuses the police and the police chief firing on the people of Erciş with real bullets. Atmaca denied accusations of PKK propaganda and said she does not remember the incident regarding the tweets but she had no intention of provoking the people as it was mentioned in the question.

Erciş Court of Penal Peace arrested Yılmaz and Atmaca with “a strong suspicion” that they made terrorism propaganda and Yılmaz additionally insulted the president.

Kurdish journalists briefly detained in Istanbul

Öykü Dilara Keskin and Ceren Karlıdağ, two journalists from pro-Kurdish news agency JİNHA (Women’s News Agency) were detained while covering the protests against the G20 Summit in Turkey last weekend alongside some protesters. The journalists were covering the protests near the German and British embassies in Istanbul on Saturday.

JINHA muhabirleri gözaltına alındı

The journalists were released in a few hours but it was reported that the document prepared by the prosecutor’s office labeled JİNHA as an “illegal agency” and the authorities confiscated the journalist’s press cards with this as justification. The journalists refused to sign the release document due to this and claimed their testimonies were not written properly on the document either.

İlk kadın haber ajansı JİNHA ‘illegal’miş!

Meanwhile, citizen journalism platform DokuzSekiz’s reporter Metin Cihan tweeted that the police detained him in Antalya while covering the summit on Monday.

Two Kurdish journalists arrested over social media posts

It was reported that a group of 10 journalists were detained and harnessed in Van on Friday where clashes between Kurdish rebels and security forces are ongoing as many other eastern and southeastern cities of Turkey.

Reporters from DİHA, İMC TV assaulted and detained by police

Van’da On Gazeteciye Gözaltı

While the names of the 10 journalists were not listed in the press properly, it was reported on Saturday that two journalists from the group were arrested while the others were released.

According to Bianet, İdris Yılmaz (Dicle News Agency/DİHA) and Vildan Atmaca (Women’s News Agency/JİNHA) were arrested on Saturday. Yılmaz is accused of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by sharing a caricature of him on social media while Atmaca is accused of terrorism propaganda for sharing the photograph of a Kurdish journalist killed by the ISIS.

DİHA ve JİNHA Muhabirleri Tutuklandı

Two reporters for DIHA and JINHA remanded in custody

Reporters arrested for ‘insulting’ Erdoğan, ’terrorist propaganda’ in eastern Turkey