- 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.
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.
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.
- 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
According to Today’s Zaman, “twenty-six journalists — including editors-in-chief, editors and columnists — from two dailies and a news agency have given statements to a public prosecutor at the Istanbul Courthouse” The investigation is about claims of “propaganda” favoring the illegal Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
T24 reported: two new investigations against columnist and noverlist Ahmet Altan were started for “insulting the president.” One of the investigations were started by the Justice ministry and another on the demand of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s lawyers who say Altan’s comments are “insufferable.”
“Hawk columnist” pro-government journalist Cem Küçük continues to threaten dissident journalists and media owners constantly. Lately, he warned the staff of the Fox News Turkey to “be smart” (a polite form of threat, Turkish style). Küçük named Fox’s news editor Ercan Gün and saying they won’t be able to work with him. Totally losing it after last sunday’s election victory, Küçük said on live TV that “they” will decide media mogul Aydın Doğan’s fate and he should fire known journalists Eyüp Can, Bülent Mumay and Nazlı Ilıcak to be on the good side of the government.
Trustee insults, dismisses employees after taking over Bugün daily (video with English subtitles)
Other journalists, including Bugün TV’s Chief Tarık Toros were also fired.
- 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.
- 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.
- Hürriyet reported on October 24: 12 news websites were blocked from access in 4 days. As listed below:
- 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.
- Regarding the latest developments in the Hrant Dink murder case:
- 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.
- Jiyan.org news portal columnist Hayri Tunç, who was detained early Friday in a police operation for his articles critical of the government, was released on Saturday night; Today’s Zaman reported. Columnist Hayri Tunç released as Jiyan.org news portal blocked
“Star Media Group Chairman Murat Sancak has been attacked on Thursday by gunmen. Sancak survived unscathed from the attack. Two assailants, who were reportedly wearing masks, have opened fired on Sancak’s car and fled the scene immediately” the daily Sabah has reported on August 20.
Despite Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said the attackers were apprehended in a live TV interview weeks later; this was not confirmed. However, opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said the PM said the same thing to him too. Reports from October 12 say.
Then, it was claimed that the attack was related to a gambling debt of Sancak.
Three arrests were made on October 15
And most recently, a confidentiality order is brought over the investigation
Since it is expected of Turkey to produce a news ban for every major disaster or slaughter, the Ankara bombing got one too but this time the ban included “criticism” also, not just news coverage. Some dailies refused to recognize the ban but there were incidents that guests on live TV political debate shows were hesitant on deciding what they can say and what not.
Hürriyet Daily News reported:
“A media ban on the investigation into the twin bombings in Ankara on Oct. 10 has been criticized by politicians from the three opposition parties and jurists, while the Ankara Bar Association took legal action against the ban.An Ankara court issued on Oct. 14 a broad media ban including “all kinds of news, interviews, criticism and similar publications in print, visual, social media and all kinds of media on the Internet” covering the investigation into the deadly attack in the capital on Oct. 10.”
Both investigations against columnist Hasan Cemal for insulting the president are discontinued. The prosecutors of the both investigations came to the conclusion that Cemal’s related columns are within the boundaries of freedom of expression.
Another insulting the president investigation is started against the daily Evrensel for using a visual comparing Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Lords of the Rings character Gollum.
“Access to the web link of a report by the Nokta weekly, which reveals the minutes of a high-level meeting of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), was blocked upon an order from the AK Party, which has also launched an internal investigation to find out the identity of the mole who disclosed the information to Nokta” Today’s Zaman reported.