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.
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Hürriyet fires two journos to not to upset Erdoğan

Bianet reported: “Hürriyet daily has laid off two journalists because of the image titled “Curse of Friday the 13th” on hurriyet.com.tr, and apologized to President Erdoğan.”

The website of Hürriyet prepared a photo gallery on the superstition of Firday the 13th. The editors carelessly used a Jesus  and his disciples photo montage with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in it; eating chicken. This cost the two journalists their jobs immediately and Hürriyet stated a written apology.

Hürriyet Apologizes to Erdoğan, Lays Off Two Journalists

Alternative dailies published instead of confiscated ones stopped by court

Following the Koza-İpek takeover, dozens of journalists working at the dailies Bugün and Millet have lost their jobs.

Trustees dismiss 71 journalists after unlawful İpek Media Group seizure

The fired journalists have started to publish “Özgür Bugün” (Free Bugün) in print on October 30 as a reaction.

Kayyuma Karşı “Özgür Bugün”

“Özgür Millet” followed on November 1.

Özgür BUGÜN’den sonra Özgür MİLLET de yayınlarına başladı

Interest in new Özgür Bugün, Özgür Millet dailies surges

However, the trustees filed a criminal complaint against this action and an Istanbul court banned the websites and social media accounts of the dailies on November 4.

İki Gazeteye Yayın Yasağı

Access to newly established Özgür Bugün daily website blocked

karar10

Various updates (August 25-28)

A VICE team of two journalists is reported as detained by Turkish police in Diyarbakır.

Two British journalists detained in southeast Turkey

The daily Milliyet fired several journalists this week. Milliyet had a unique situation since it was sold from Doğan Group to the Demirören Group since the new boss was pro-government but the staff was not. The daily slowly started to eliminate the AKP opposing staff after the purchase and it seems this policy accelerated this week. Columnists Kadri Gürsel and Aslı Aydıntaşbaş were fired in recent weeks. On August 27 and 28, Milliyet also fired Kemal Göktaş, Evin Demirtaş and Sertaç Koç from the Ankara office alongside Semra Pelek, Mehveş Evin, Meral Tamer and Alper İzbul from the Istanbul office.

Mesleğe Milliyet’te başlamıştı, o da çıkarıldı! 

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened the press yet again. Today’s Zaman reproted:

President Erdoğan, speaking at one of his regular meetings with muhtars (local headmen) at his presidential palace in Ankara on Wednesday, complained that some circles were being tolerant to the activities of the terrorist PKK in Turkey, adding that they would face severe sanctions if they were in a European country and showing the same attitude toward a terrorist organization operating there.

“If it is a media organization [giving this treatment], they would be closed down; if it is a civil society organization, their activities would be immediately halted; if it is a writer, they would find themselves first in court and then in jail. Turkey is a country where freedoms are really broad with this respect,” he said.

Erdoğan confirms Fuat Avni’s claim of massive crackdown on critical media

Various updates (August 5-25)

August 5

Daily Hürriyet fired anti-AKP columnist Yalçın Doğan. The newspaper claimed the reason is economic and many other personnel were let go but it was also reported on other sources that Doğan’s political stance was the issue.

Yalçın Doğan’ın Hürriyet’teki yazılarına son verildi

August 7

Anchorman Cüneyt Özdemir tweeted that he will not be doing prime time news at Kanal D this season but continue doing his own news show. He did not elaborate on the issue but Turkey news sources guessed this was a political decision by the channel rather than a business one.

Ve Cüneyt Özdemir Kanal D Ana Haber’den alındı!

August 14

President Erdoğan had a column removed from news websites by court order. Columnist Mehmet Altan’s piece, ‘Can one be president by demolishing the country?’ is removed from it original source T24.com and two other websites. The 9th Istanbul Penal Court of Peace ruled that “the column’s content could not be considered within the borders of freedom of the press, freedom to express opinion, the right to inform and the right to criticize” but it “violates personal rights” of Erdoğan.

Erdoğan dava açtı, mahkeme Mehmet Altan’ın yazısına erişimi engelledi!

Pro-government media boss Ethem Sancak had news about him praising the president banned by a court order. Sancak has said: “While working on his campaign to get him elected prime minister, from my hometown Siirt, I met him. I saw his honesty and courage. I saw his opposition to oppression, his ability to protect the victim. The more I saw him, I feel in love [with him]. To be honest, during my days as a leftist, I could not understand the love between Mevlana [Jelaluddin Rumi, the poet] and [his companion and spiritual guide] Shams al-Tabrizi. As I got to know Erdogan, I realized that such a kind of divine love between two men is possible. When I [first] declared my love to him, I was already among the top 20 on the Forbes’ list. I did not need to wait for any favors by holding on to Erdogan’s coattails” in an interview back in May. However, Sancak filed a complaint about 50 news sources who reported this and had the stories removed by the order of the 8th Istanbul Penal Court of Peace.

Ethem Sancak’ın ”Tayyip Erdoğan Aşkı” Haberlerine Erişim Engeli

Sancak is also currently waging a war of words between his newspapers and daily Hürriyet columnist Ahmet Hakan. Sancak’s media is accusing Hakan to be a traitor and terrorism sympathizer while Hakan criticizes their extreme partisanship.

Güneş dibi gördü: Hürriyet yazarı Ahmet Hakan için bir ‘Vurun öldürün’ demedikleri kaldı

August 17

The number of the recently banned news sites, their mirror sites and other “dissident websites” (pro-Kurdish and/or socialist sources) increased to 309 as internet freedom activists Yaman Akdeniz and Kemal Altıparmak made a personal application to the Constitutional Court; hoping to get the ban order of the local court revoked. The Gölbaşı Penal Court of Peace in Ankara is famous for internet ban orders in favor of the government.

Sansürlenen 309 muhalif haber kaynağı için Anayasa Mahkemesi’ne başvuru

August 18

The Turkish Revenge Brigade (TİT), and extreme-right group, threatened the socialist daily Evrensel. The group posted a statement to the dailies’ online forum and threatened their lives; condemning them for their pro-PKK stance. Evrensel reported this; reminding that the TİT has thereatened them twice before in 2011.

Türk İntikam Tugayı (TİT) Evrensel’i 3. kez tehdit etti

August 20

Star Media Group’s chief executive officer, businessman Murat Sancak, has survived an armed attack in Istanbul.

CEO of Turkish pro-government media group escapes armed attack

August 21

Turkey condemns BBC story on PKK. UK broadcaster’s piece on Kurdistan Workers’ Party militants is ‘clear support to terrorism’, says Turkish Foreign Ministry

August 22
Yasin Aktay, deputy chairman of the AKP and its chairman of foreign affairs department, had a column at the pro-government daily Yeni Şafak titled: “The suppressed terrorist in the BBC and NYT”
Hizmet Movement’s dailies and TV channels have not received a customary invitation from Turkey’s top religious institution to participate in the Hajj with the institution’s representatives and report on the experience.
August 24

News sources known to be close to the Hizmet Movement claimed that a crackdown on the dissident media is near. Another such claim was made by twitter whistleblower Fuat Avni before the elections.

Report: Erdoğan plans crackdown on critical media before snap election

According to media news sources, two journalists were fired from the daily Habertürk over a story saying too much mineral water is bad for health. Journalists Hüseyin Gündoğdu and Neşet Karadağ were fired because the owner of the newspaper is also in the mineral water business; according to medyaradar.

Habertürk’te maden suyu krizi! 2 gazeteci neden kovuldu?

Soda Haberi İki Habertürk Çalışanını İşinden Etti

Also, this twitter dialogue from August 24 may be of reference for the pro-government media’s rhetoric these days.

August 25

Dogan Group owned internet newspaper Radikal  refused to publish a column by Emrah Altındiş because he made a call to President Erdoğan to send his son to do military service. Altındiş gave his column to the independent internet newspaper Diken and declared that he will continue writing his columns there.

Erdoğan, oğlunu askere yolla!

Journalist fired over tweet criticizing the president

Kadri Gürsel, Turkish National Committee Chair for the International Press Institute (IPI), is fired from the daily Milliyet over a tweet criticizing Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

In a tweet posted Wednesday, Kadri Gursel said it was “shameful” that world leaders were offering condolences to the “Number 1 cause of IS terrorism.”

Milliyet daily fires columnist Gürsel over tweet critical of Erdoğan

Journalist fired over story on soccer coach’s disliking of dogs

Journalist Öncel Özbiçer says she is fired from the daily Vatan because of her reporting on famous soccer coach Fatih Terim’s problems with neighbors about stray dogs. Özbiçer tweeted on July 6 that she was fired, addressing Fatih Terim, asking if he is happy.

fatih-terim-in-kopek-dusmanligini-yazan-gazeteci-isten-kovuldu-55861-5

According to the story “The emperor (Terim’s nickname) declared war on poor stray dogs – Throw them into the highway,” the coach has bought a house in Alaçatı village at western Turkey but was unhappy with the stray dogs around. His neighbors, on the other hand, were very fond of the dogs and they argued with Terim who wanted to get rid of them.