Doğan may be the next media victim

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.

Özgür Gündem & Cumhuriyet may be next to follow Zaman

A “terrorism propaganda” investigation is started against the pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem on March 14 and all the “yellow press cards” of the journalists at the daily got cancelled on March 15.

The terrorism propaganda is based on the daily’s headline after the latest suicide bomb attack in Ankara on Sunday. According to Özgür Gündem, Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office believed the headline “Footsteps of the Newroz (traditional spring festival)” was about the bombing.

Özgür Gündem journalists also received SMS from the state on March 15; stating that their yellow press cards are cancelled. The press cards in Turkey are granted by a bureau of the Prime Ministry according to the criteria decided by the state.

Moreover, pro-CHP daily Cumhuriyet, published a column with the byline Cumhuriyet and voiced worries about alleged plans to take over their newspaper. the daily reminded the pro-AKP columnist Ersoy Dede has stated Cumhuriyet will be next after Zaman and they reminded the slander campaign after the Ankara blast. Pro government accounts on twitter and some pro-government news ites and newspapers have claimed the suicde bomber was a Cumhuriyet reporter and the car used in the attack was hidden at Cumhuriyet car park. Cumhuriyet has announced that they never had a reporter with that name and they do not have a car park in Ankara.

Seized critical dailies transferred into propaganda pieces in Turkey

Turkey’s critical daily Zaman got immediately transferred into a propaganda piece for the government following the takeover by a court assigning trustees with the accusation of “terrorist propaganda.” Similar to what happened at the Koza İpek Holding takeover late last year, reports show that the police entered the Zaman building by force, pushed journalists around and the process continued with key journalists being fired and the Zaman‘s Internet archives are feared to be erased. As of Monday afternoon Turkey time, the website of Zaman was currently inaccessible with an under construction note on display.

Zaman‘s Chief Editor Abdülhamit Bilici and Today’s Zaman‘s former Chief Editor Bülent Keneş were the first to be fired by the new management according to reports.

Zaman’s sister publication, English language daily Today’s Zaman‘s website seemed operational at the same hours but Sevgi Akarçeşme, chief editor of the daily, said that as far as she knows the archives of the newspapers are not erased but the trustees have unplugged the servers so no new content may be entered.

Today’s Zaman has a weekend edition that stays at the newsstands for Saturday and Sunday both. Both dailies’ teams have sent the Friday editions early before the trustees arrived with the police. Saturday edition of the Zaman was perceived as a government propaganda organ as many independent observers foreign and domestic. As for Today’s Zaman, Akarçeşme said the trustees censored all the columnists to be featured on the Monday edition so her team removed their names from the newspaper; refusing to work with censorship. She said two more stories were removed from the daily later on Sunday evening before the newspaper went to print.

Akarçeşme said: “The trustees said today: ‘I do not want any story in this newspaper that denigrates Turkey.’ By denigrating Turkey, they mean criticizing [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan.” She also said the trustees threatened the staff: “The trustees say if we write anything critical against the new policy, they would fire us without paying compensation.”

The court order assigned the trustees to the Feza Journalism Group which houses Zaman, Today’s Zaman and Cihan News Agency. Zaman was one of the top selling dailies of the country and Today’s Zaman was one of the two existing English language dailies critical of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. Cihan News Agency is the only other news agency in the country big enough to cover the election results live other than state controlled Anatolia Agency.

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

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

 

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