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

Journalist detained, released after questioning

Journalist Fatih Yağmur, known for exposure of alleged MİT trucks in Syria, was detained in Adana and released after prosecutor questioning. The journalist were asked about the MİT trucks. Yağmur announced that he is free from his twitter account.

Fatih Yağmur serbest bırakıldı

Award-winning journalist Fatih Yağmur briefly detained in Adana

Detained Journalist Yağmur Released

Nokta editors arrested

Cevheri Güven and Murat Çapan, chief editor and news editor of the weekly news magazine Nokta, were detained by the police in Istanbul on November 2 and arrested by court the day after for “provoking the people to armed resistance against the government” (Turkish Penal Code TCK 313/1). The offense is punishable by 15 to 20 years jail time if the case makes it to trial with this charge standing and the journalists found guilty.

The court also practiced the Article 100 of the Law of Criminal Procedure for the cause of arrest as it is common with such cases. It is a lengthy article listing the justifications of arrest before trial and allowing arrest for charges such as those against the “national security” and “constitutional order.”

The cover for the November 2 issue of Nokta was first shared on the social media accounts of the magazine on the election night November 1; after it became clear that the Justice and Development Party scored a surprise win and received almost half the vote against expectations. The cover features a daily calendar sheet for November 2, transparent over President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s face, and the red line below reads “The beginning of the Turkey civil war.”

According to the documents shared by Nokta, Istanbul Prosecutor Umut Tepe sent an order to the police to detain Çapan and Güven to be questioned about the cover according to Turkish Penal Code 214/1-2 for provoking the people to commit crimes. According to the documents shared by Nokta, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Istanbul also applied to the 5th Istanbul Court of Penal Peace and got a confiscation order for the printed copies of the last issue on November 2. Nokta’s website is also blocked from access in Turkey according a November 3 tweet from their account. Reports say the 5th Ankara Court of Penal Peace ordered the block for noktadergisi.net.

The journalists were detained at their offices on Monday and transferred to the 8th Istanbul Court of Penal Peace on Tuesday with a demand of arrest from Tepe. According to court documents shared by Nokta, Güven and Çapan both denied wrongdoing. They said the cover is about the expected chaos atmosphere in post-election Turkey according to the violent statements from both the government and the opposition; adding that it is not possible to provoke the people to start a civil war with a magazine cover. However the court said both suspects are responsible according to the 11th Article of the Press Law and there is strong suspicion of guilt according to the presented content; arresting the journalists as the details are explained above.

This latest incarnation of the 1980’s legendary weekly news magazine Nokta is a publication known to be close to the Fethullah Gülen.Therefore, Nokta is fiercely against the government and received harsh reactions from the government and the judicial system whether it be raided offices, blocked news, confiscated issues and detained journalists in the past months.

Koza-İpek media staff resists police takeover as broadcasts are stopped

Kanaltürk and Bugün TV broadcasts are stopped today around 4.30 PM local time in Istanbul by the police. The Koza-İpek staff resisted to not to allow the police in the building which resulted in battering and use of tear gas and pressurized water by the authorities as can be seen in this video. Bugün TV continued its broadcast from the control room until the police entered there also and stopped them. Several Koza-İpek staff are battered and/or detained for resisting the police.

Turkish police raid critical media HQ, shut down live broadcast

Bugün TV, Kanaltürk taken off air after İpek Media Group seizure

The timetable of events and more videos according to Bugün can be seen in the story below

Turkish police storm offices of critical media group, fire tear gas, detain journalists

Short updates from Turkey (Oct 20-28)

  • A leaked video from February, featuring Presidental Advisor Mustafa Varank discussing pro-Hizmet channels to be removed from the TURKSAT sattelite with pro-government journalists at a TV studio has surfaced.

Video showing censorship plan by Erdoğan’s chief advisor sparks outrage

Jurists call for legal action against Erdoğan’s adviser for media censorship plot

  • After confiscating the undistributed issue of the Nokta magazine with the Erdoğan selfie cover, blocking access to noktadergisi.com, blocking access to a story about leaked meeting notes from the AKP officials, the government practiced “preliminary censorship” on Nokta by presenting a court order that what kind of news they will not be able to report. The mentioned meeting notes were part of a series but Nokta reported on October 21 that they received a court order that says they cannot continue to publish the alleged notes. Nokta also stated that the police confiscated their magazine’s latest issue from some central newsstands in Istanbul without a court order.

Nokta Dergisi’ne yönelik baskılar basın tarihinin görmediği yeni bir boyuta yükseldi

  • Hürriyet reported on October 24: 12 news websites were blocked from access in 4 days. As listed below:

562b7c64c03c0e3ab08e3ab6

Dört günde 12 haber sitesine erişim engeli

  • Diken reported: A trial started against police officer S.G. for breaking the nose of Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter Feyyaz İmrak as he was covering a protest event. The cop is on trial without arrest and faces a year of imprisonment if found guilty and pleads not guilty.

DİHA muhabirinin burnunu kıran polisin bir yıl hapsi isteniyor

  • Regarding the latest developments in the Hrant Dink murder case:

Dink murder indictment returned to prosecutor for including Dinç as suspect

Intelligence unit is temporizing the Dink investigation with fabricated reports

25 years sought for police chief in Dink murder indictment

Gülenist police chiefs face life sentence over Dink murder

Former police intel chiefs face up to 25 years in jail over Hrant Dink murder

  • Cem Küçük, pro government journalist who is famous for threatening colleagues and recently questioned by the police regarding the attack on Ahmet Hakan did it again. Küçük threatened CNNTürk news presenter Nevşin Mengü with ending her journalism career. Küçük has testified that his previous threats to Hakan were “irony,” not threats. During a daytime live TV debate, Küçük claimed Hakan has published his adress and other private information in his column (not true) and Mengü showed that newspaper clip on CNNTürk. “Mengü will see… I will end her life in media” Küçük said. Mengü said she welcomes the challenge.

Cem Küçük Bu Sefer de Nevşin Mengü’yü Tehdit Etti

Turkish journalist detained in Greece

Turkish journalist Güliz Vural is detained on the Lesbos island of Greece while documenting the people smugglers; according to her husband Fatih Vural; who is also a journalist. According to Fatih Vural’s tweets; Güliz went to Lesbos on a refugee boat and detained by the police afterwards on October 17.

Fatih tweeted that the police is treating them and his wife good but she could not be brought in front of a judge dues to the busy schedule of the Lesbos court.  The defense expects the journalist to be released and deported after testimony which will be on Wednesday.

Gazeteci Güliz Vural, insan kaçakçılığını belgeleyen röportaj için gittiği Midilli’de gözaltına alındı

Untitled

Journalist detained, released

Bianet reported: “Aydınlık newspaper’s Journalist Mehmet Faraç who is also a TV Host at Halk TV was detained at 5 a.m. today in a hotel that he stayed in Adana province of central Turkey.”

Journalist Mehmet Faraç Detained

According to reports in Turkish; there was a criminal complaint about two of Faraç’s columns from two years ago. Faraç said he has written about a cleric school principal who allegedly beat a student. Faraç added that the police could have called him to testify in Istanbul where he lives. The journalist believes being detained five in the morning at the hotel he was staying in Adana is an attempt of intimidation.

Gazeteci Mehmet Faraç serbest bırakıldı