Pro -government daily Akşam claimed a Turkish prosecutor is about to go after businesspeople and media owners Aydın Doğan and, his daughter, Hanzade Doğan Boyner with accusations of running a fuel smuggling organization in a story published at the top story of their yesterday’s front page. Though the existence of such an investigation is not official yet, it caused a drop in the shares of the Doğan Holding shares according to Reuters. Doğan Media Group used to be the biggest media owner in the country before they let go some of their media organs to government-friendly businesspeople. Aydın Doğan have a rocky relationship with the ALP government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan throughout the years which can be remembered with the landmarks such as the massive tax fine against the group in 2009, cutting the ribbon together to open the Doğan-Trump partnership Trump Towers in Istanbul in 2012 and the accusations exchanged over a real estate permit issue in İstanbul last year. Turkey government recently made moves against pro-Hizmet Koza İpek Holding and Feza Journalism company through trustees attended by courts and they either shut down the featured media organs or turned them into government propaganda tools which leads to rumors enough to cause worry about whether if Doğan is next or not.
- Hürriyet Daily News reported: “A local court has decided to confiscate books by two prominent Turkish journalists after they were found during an operation on a cell where suspected militants of the outlawed Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H) were detained.” Three books, two by Hasan Cemal and one by Tuğçe Tatari are now likely to be confiscated from bookstores unless the journalists’ lawyers appeal against the decision is approved. Court rules to confiscate books by prominent journalists & Hasan Cemal ve Tuğçe Tatari yasaklı oldu!
- Some local news sites reported that journalist Zeki Karakuş (who owns a local news website named Nusaybin Haber with the address nusebin.com focusing on the Nusaybin District of Mardin) was arrested on December 1 for “making propaganda of a terrorist organization” and sent to Mardin Prison. Further information is not currently available due to hot clashes in the area. Nusaybin’de Yerel Gazeteci Karakuş tutuklandı
- Today’s Zaman reported: “Former Today’s Zaman Editor-in-Chief Bülent Keneş was released after being briefly detained by police officers from the İstanbul Police Department’s Counterterrorism Unit at İstanbul Atatürk Airport early on Friday morning.”Former Today’s Zaman Editor-in-Chief Keneş released after brief detention
- Three journalists from daily BirGün received 11 month suspended jail sentence for “Murderer, Thief Erdoğan” headline. BirGün journalists get suspended sentence for insulting Erdoğan
- The cops who have battered a group of journalists while detaining currently arrested journalists İdris Yılmaz and Vildan Atmaca have filed a criminal complaints for resisting arrest. A total of four cops filed the complaint against Yılmaz, Atmaca and two others. The first hearing of the trial will be heard on January 26, 2016. Polisler, darp ederek gözaltına aldıkları gazetecilere dava açtı
- The police has hit DİHA journalist Beritan İralan on the leg with a gas pallet on purpose and then confiscated her medical report about the injury; according to the daily Evrensel. The journalist was covering the protests in Diyarbakır on December 9. DİHA muhabiri polisin gaz fişeğiyle yaralandı
- The daily Taraf is not paying regular wages to its staff for months now and currently fired five journalists illegally; according to the condemning statement by a local journalists’ syndicate. Çalışanların hakkını da sendikasını da yok sayan Taraf’ı kınıyoruz
- Reuters reported: “Turkey’s communications technologies authority, the BTK, has fined micro blogging site Twitter 150,000 lira ($51,000.) for not removing content it says is “terrorist propaganda”, a BTK official told Reuters on Friday.” Turkey fines Twitter for failure to remove ‘terrorist propaganda’: official
- Today’s Zaman reported: “İstanbul police on Saturday raided and searched the house of Samanyolu Broadcasting Group General Manager Hidayet Karaca, who has been behind bars in İstanbul’s Silivri Prison for almost a year, in what his lawyers said was an unlawful move to disturb the journalist’s family.” Police raid, search jailed journalist Karaca’s family home
- Hürriyet Daily News reported: “Seven window panels at the Doğan Media Center building in Ankara, which hosts the Ankara offices of daily Hürriyet and Hürriyet Daily News, broke at around 5 p.m. on Dec. 12. Windows of Hürriyet’s Ankara building shatter
- Bianet reported: “İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court has ordered the new case with 26 suspects regarding the murder of Hrant Dink to be combined with the main case file on the Istanbul 5th High Criminal Court.” Criminal Charges against Public Officers Combined with Primary Case on Dink Case
Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, chief editor and Ankara representative for the daily Cumhuriyet are arrested on November 26 due to their coverage of Turkey allegedly sending weapons to Syria under the cover of humanitarian aid. The journalists are accused of exposing secret documents and espionage for the benefit of the alleged Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Structure (FETÖ/PYD).
Dündar and Gül were called to testify on November 26 about the allegations regarding the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) transporting weapons and munition to Syria by truckloads under the cover of humanitarian aid to Syrian Turkmens. Two trucks were stopped by the gendarmerie in southern Hatay and Adana provinces under the orders of local prosecutors on January 1 and 19 of 2014. The related gendarmerie and judicial personnel who were involved in the stopping of the trucks are also facing terrorism charges. Cumhuriyet‘s headline story of May 29, 2015 was on the truck stopped in Adana: “Here are the weapons that Erdoğan says do not exist.”
Both Dündar and Gül denied the accusations brought against them alongside any ties to the alleged FETÖ/PYD organization and they said their work is journalism, not espionage. This did not stop the court from arresting Dündar and Gül with “strong suspicion that a crime was committed” for “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed terrorist organization,” “terrorist organization membership” and “obtaining and exposing secret documents of the state for means of political and military espionage.” The journalists are sent to Silivri Prison, pending trial with no court date set. Cumhuriyet‘s legal team appealed the arrest verdict on November 30.
Despite the video and photographic proof, the authorities claim the visuals are forged; deny weapons were sent to Syria but insist that the contents of the trucks load is a matter of national security as it was mentioned in the prosecution questioning documents.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has filed a personal criminal complaint on the Cumhuriyet coverage: “I also filed a lawsuit. What only matters to them is casting a shadow on Turkey’s image. I suppose the person who wrote this as an exclusive report will pay a heavy price for this… I will not leave go of him,” Erdoğan has said on live TV on June 1, 2015; implying Dündar, who has his byline on the MİT Trucks story. Alican Uludağ, correspondent for the Cumhuriyet, shared the document of Erdoğan’s complaint on social media on the day his colleagues were arrested and an Istanbul prosecutor started an investigation against him according to reports.
However, Erdoğan recently said: “what if the trucks were filled with weapons?” and Dündar has quoted him in his defense at court.
The allegations regarding the MİT Trucks were first reported by the daily Aydınlık months ago but no legal action has been taken against them. Aydınlık has criticized Cumhuriyet on May 29, 2015 for calling their reporting “exclusive” and stated that they have covered the trucks story 16 months ago; on January 21, 2014. Dündar has also stated in his court defense that he was not the first journalist to report on the MİT trucks. However, according to reports, a trial was started against the leftist news portal Sol Haber about the same coverage and the portal’s former responsible editor Hafize Kazcı will be heard by court for “violating the secrecy of an investigation,” facing one to three years in prison.
Also, Cumhuriyet Board Chair Akın Atalay tweeted on November 30 that financial inspectors will go over 2010 books of the daily which they have done 2.5 years ago. Financial inspection as an intimidation tool is a known method of the government; best known as the Doğan Holding tax fine incident in 2009.
- In an interview with CNN International’s Christiane Amanpour on Nov. 9, Prime Minister Davutoğlu cited freedom of the press and intellectual freedoms as his personal redlines. “First of all, I was a columnist in the 1990s when I was in the academic life. So freedom of the press and intellectual freedom are redlines for me,” Davutoğlu said, in response to a question over concerns of a crackdown on the press by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and the AKP’s founding leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. “If there’s an attack on any intellectual or columnist or a journalist, I will be the advocate for that [issue]. I can assure you this,” he added.
- Bianet reporter Beyza Kural was manhandled by the police and almost detained while on duty. The act was captured on video as a cop says: “From Now on Nothing will be Like Before, We will Teach it to You“
- “Insulting” Erdoğan: Hürriyet Columnists Ertuğrul Özkök and Cengiz Çandar and t24 columnist Perihan Mağden were the latest additions to the long lists of journalists who “insulted” the president according to the prosecutors. Turkish columnist faces probe for ‘insulting Erdoğan’ – Ertuğrul Özkök’e 4 yıl hapis isteniyor –Perihan Mağden Cumhurbaşkanı’na hakaretten ifade verecek Özkök also had another “insult” investigation presented to court as an indictment regarding two AKP officials Hürriyet columnist faces 1.5 years in prison for ‘insulting’ senior AK Party official
- “Insulting” Davutoğlu: Bülent Keneş testified as a result of a criminal complaint from Ahmet Davutoğlu. Journalist Keneş testifies in court over charge of ’insulting’ PM Davutoğlu
- Main opposition party CHP’s leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu criticized pro-gov columnist Cem Küçük who threatens his colleagues constantly: “Those words are a blow dealt on democracy. A journalist desiring his colleagues to be fired is an unprecedented incident in history of Republic. It is a proof that a Goebbelian regime has begun” Kılıçdaroğlu Slams Cem Küçük Who Threatens Aydın Doğan
- A regional bureau office of the Doğan news agency and the Ankara bureau of the NTV television station were raided on Thursday to protest a days-long curfew that has been in place in a southeastern Turkish province and the G-20 summit which is to be held in Turkey next week. Protesters raid media outlets over Silvan curfew, G-20
- Several dissident press organs were banned from watching the G20 Summit in Turkey WAN-IFRA condemns accreditation ban on critical media outlets for G-20
- Pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency’s web address is blocked for the 26th time; probably going for a record. Ajansımıza 26’ncı erişim engeli
- The Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK) has fined CNN Türk 225,000 euros for Tahir Elçi saying PKK is not a terror organization on Ahmet Hakan’s “Tarafsız Bölge” (Neutral Zone) program broadcasted on October 15. RTÜK Fines CNN Türk for Tahir Elçi’s Words
Pro-Kurdish News Agency JINHA reported that their correspondent Filiz Zeyrek was briefly “kidnapped” by the police in Seyhan District of Adana. The police did not detain the journalist but questioned her in a moving car for half an hour and took her pictures according to the report. The jpurnalist was let go after the intimidation attempt.
Journalist Sedef Kabaş was acquitted of “menace” and “targeting public officials involved in counter-terrorism” charges due to her tweet about a Turkey prosecutor at the first hearing today.
Suspects in the case into the beating of Hürriyet columnist Ahmet Hakan have confessed that a former police officer offered them 100,000 Turkish Liras to attack the journalist.
Daily Zaman Chief Editor Ekrem Dumanlı resigned.
Aydın Doğan, the founder and honorary chairman of Doğan Holding, has said that Turkey’s largest media group “does not have to be pro-government,” amid rising pressure and violence targeting the company and its workers.
Turkish police raided the Koza İpek Holding buildings in Istanbul and Ankara today in early hours. The holding houses pro-Hizmet media organs such as the daily Millet, KanalTürk TV, Bugün TV and the daily Bugün. The reason for the arrests was “financing terrorism,” “terrorist propaganda” and “embezzlement” as the owner Hamdi Akın İpek is featured as the suspect. Akın İpek is not currently in Turkey according to reports. The search warrant says the alleged terrorist organization is named FETO; named after Hizmet Movement’s spiritual leader cleric Fethullah Gülen. Koza İpek Holding is operating on many fields besides media, including health, food, insurance, tourism and mining sectors. Many of their companies are under investigation. There is a court order for İpek’s detainment.
The Press Bulletin Authority (BİK) has stopped placing public advertisements for between one and 12 days as punishment to 39 newspapers which published photos related to a hostage crisis on March 31 that resulted in the death of İstanbul public prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz.
Dogan Holding, which includes Dogan Media Group, is banned from state bids. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and several high ranking members of the government have been targeting the media group for the recent weeks.