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31 July

Journalists in State of Emergency - 79

Seven released in Cumhuriyet trial while five others remain imprisoned

Seven defendants were released from prison in the hearings of the Cumhuriyet newspaper trial, where 12 people --  11 Cumhuriyet executives and columnists and a teacher who was jailed over a provocative tweet -- are imprisoned.
The first five sessions in the trial were heard on July 24 - 28 by the Istanbul 27th High Criminal Court. The panel of judges ruled five people -- including four Cumhuriyet journalists -- to remain in prison.
The court ruled for the release of Cumhuriyet’s news ombudsman Güray Öz, front-page cartoonist Musa Kart, Cumhuriyet Foundation board member attorney Bülent Utku, Cumhuriyet columnist Hakan Kara, Cumhuriyet Foundation board members Önder Çelik and Mustafa Kemal Güngör , and the editor of the newspaper’s literary supplement Turhan Günay. The seven defendants were released late in the evening on july 28 after nine months of imprisonment .
The court ruled to maintain the arrest ruling for Cumhuriyet’s Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu, Cumhuriyet newspaper’s Executive President Akın ATalay, columnist Kadri Gürsel, reporter Ahmt Şık and teacher Ahmet Kemal Aydoğdu, who stands accused of using the Twitter account @jeansbiri.
The court’s interim decision also included a ruling to start a criminal investigation into the defense statement of Ahmet Şık. The ruling said: “It has been understood that some of the phrases or accusations expressed by Ahmet Şık might have gone beyond the boundaries of defense and constitute a crime.”
The court also ruled to keep in place the arrest warrants out for journalists Can Dündar and İlhan Tanır, who are also defendants in the case and who are both abroad.
Additionally, the court ruled to lift the limitations to the hours of lawyers from visits in prison which was in place for the suspects.
The trial was adjourned until Sept. 11. The presiding judge said they intended to schedule hearings back-to-back in the months of October, November and December and hoped to finish the trial until the end of this year.
Speaking to the audience in the courtroom after the ruling was read out, Cumhuriyet reporter said: “The ruling says ‘we will get you down on your knees. This I say for myself and my other colleagues: I have only bowed to kiss the hand of my mother and father until today. This is what I will continue to do.”
Five-day long trial
On the first day of the hearings, Kadri Gürsel, Akın Atalay and Musa Kart made their defense statements.
“I stand before you not because I ‘helped a terrorist organization without being its members, but because I am an independent, questioning and critical journalist.,” Gürsel said. In response to the accusation that phone records show that he had communications records with 112 people who either used ByLock, a chat application allegedly used by the members of the Fethullah Gülen network, called “FETÖ” by Turkish authorities and deemed a terrorist group or people who were being investigated in “FETÖ” related probes, Gürsel said he had had mutual interactions with only eight of these individuals, adding that a journalist can talk with anyone as this is what the profession necessitates.
(Full statement of Kadri Gürsel in Turkish)
In his defense statement, Cumhuriyet’s Executive President Akın Atalay responded to the allegation that newspaper’s editorial policy changed radically after the year 2013. Stating that the editorial policy hadn’t changed, Atalay also added that courtrooms cannot possibly be a venue for a discussion on editorial policy changes. “Prosecutors do not have the right or the authority to evaluate, detect or measure editorial policy and level accusations based on those.”
(Akın Atalay’s full court statement in Turkish)
In his defense statement, Musa Kart denied all the accusations against him saying that calling a tour company for booking a holiday had been included in the indictment as “affiliation with a terrorist organization.” He said, “I remained in Silivri Prison in a cell with a view of concrete, while I was hoping to spend three days in a room in Bodrum with a view of the sea. What I’ve been through is not something you can simply call a booking error!
(Musa Kart’s full statement in Turkish)
Murat Sabuncu, Bülent Utku, Güray Öz, Önder Çelik and Mustafa Kemal Güngör made their defense statements on the second day of the trial.
Sabuncu, who was scheduled to testify on the first day of the trial, however was unable to do so as correctional officers at Silivri Prison seized his notes, spoke in the second day of the trial. He said: “The price of independent journalism in TUrkey is imprisonment, then wait for your indictment in a cell for five months and wait for an entire nine months for a chance to be able to defend oneself.”
Responding to one of the accusations regarding headlines used by the newspaper, Sabuncu said: “There is no need to explain the headline ‘Start of the witch hunt.’ Here we are, standing right in front of you.”
Sabuncu said he is occasionally asked what part of his ordeal has been the hardest. “They ask me was it being kept in the basement of the counterrorism unit, or being forced to take off my pants, as a 47-year-old father. The hardest for me, as a journalist, that I have to go over the headlines we have used. Those on trial here have been journalists for 28 to 60 years. I find it hardest to accept that people who work at a newspaper defending secularism and democracy such as Cumhuriyet are charged with FETÖ-related crimes. I am finding it very difficult to put forth the headlines of Cumhuriyet, and have to explain them.”
On the third day, Hakan Kara, Turhan Günay, Ahmet Şık, Ahmet Kemal Aydoğdu, Bülent Yener and Günseli Özaltay testified in court.
“I have been in prison for 267 days on the basis of four instances of communication records and because I was said to be an executive of the foundation.” Günay said the indictment lists him as a foundation executive, but he said he has never held such a position in his life.
Ahmet Şık, who also testified on day three, said: “You must have understood from what I’ve told you so far that this is not a defense statement or testimony.. “ He said, “The Turkish judiciary is today exactly what happens when you subtract rights, justice, conscience and merit from the the law. Our experience has shown clearly that calls for justice, rights, implementing the law and being human are inaudible to you. As such, I ask nothing of the court.”
(Click here for an English translation of Ahmet Şık’s statement)
On the fourth day of the sessions, Aydın Engin, Orhan Erinç and Hikmet Çetinkaya submitted their defense statements.
In a very brief statement, Engin said he had nothing to add, saying that earlier testimony had given the apt response to the indictment. “It makes me feel shame for the law and pain for my country that we were put on the defendant stand with such an indictment,” he said.
Çetinkaya said in the past, Fethullah Gülen was tried for setting up an organization. “Now I am being accused of FETÖ membership with the indictment of prosecutors who have forgotten the past.”
Erinç said he doesn’t understand why the newspaper’s editorial policy is being discussed inside a courtroom.
Two Özgürlükçü Demokrasi employees arrested
Two employees of the pro-Kurdish Özgürlükçü Demokrasi, Serkan Erdoğan and Özkan Erdoğan, were arrested on July 28 on charges of “membership in  a terrorist organization” and “conducting propaganda for a terrorist organization.”
Özkan Erdoğan was initially detained for being in possession of a magazine deemed “illegal” by the Turkish authorities.
Serkan Erdoğan,  was detained in a home raid on the same night also in Mersin and later arrested by a Peace Judgeship on the same charges. Reports have said the two Özgürlükçü Demokrasi employees share an apartment, but they are no relation to each other in spite of the shared last name.
The number of journalists in prison has reached 162 following the releases of Cumhuriyet daily and the arrest of two journalists. For the full list, click here.
Journalists’ imprisonment enters 365 days
Some journalists who were jailed after the July 15 coup attempt of last year completed a full year in prison between the days July 25 and July 27.
Columnists who previously worked at newspapers linked with the Fethullah Gülen network, such as  Şahin Alpay, Nazlı Ilıcak, Ahmet Turan Alkan and Ali Bulaç, were taken into police custody on different dates between July 25 and 27; exactly year ago.
Many of them, including 73-year-old Şahin Alpay, Ahmet Turan Alkan and Ali Bulaç, have yet to appear before a court.
Journalists currently pending trial or serving a conviction in Turkish prisons
1          Abdulkadir Turay, DİHA reporter
3          Abdullah Kılıç, Habertürk
4          Abdullah Özyurt, Zaman reporter
5          Abdulvahap İş (Freelance journalist)
6          Abdürrahim Ersöz, Antalya
7          Ahmet Altan
8          Ahmet Memiş, Gazeteci, Haberdar news website
9          Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Zaman journalist
10       Ahmet Şık, Cumhuriyet reporter
11       Ahmet Turan Alkan, Zaman
12       Ahmet Yavaş, TRT (Erzurum)
13       Akın Atalay, Pres. of Cumhuriyet Foundation Executive Board
14       Alaattin Güner, Cihan media director
15       Ali Ahmet Böken, TRT News coordinator
16       Ali Aşikar – Azadiya Welat
17       Ali Babür Boysal, Zaman page designer
18       Ali Bulaç, Eski Zaman columnist
19       Ali Konar, Azadiya Welat bureau chief
20       Ali Ünal, Zaman columnist
21       Ali Yüce, TRT Radio broadcasts chief
22       Arafat Dayan, Demokratik Ulus
23       Aslı Ceren Aslan, Özgür Gelecek
24       Atilla Taş, Meydan columnist
25       Ayhan Demir, Çaldıran News Agency
26       Ayşe Nazlı Ilıcak
27       Ayşenur Parıldak, Zaman, Haberdar
28       Aytekin Gezici, journalist/writer
29       Aziz İstegün, Diyarbakır Zaman representative
30       Bayram Kaya, Zaman reporter
31       Beytullah Özdemir, Zaman Düzce bureau chief
32       Burçin Dokgöz, former Zaman and Çorum reporter
33       Bünyamin Köseli, Aksiyon magazine reporter
34       Cebrail Parıltı, Anadolu Ajansı (AA) Derik reporter
35       Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Journalists and Writers’ Foundation
36       Ceren Taşkın, Hatay'ın Sesi
37       Cihan Acar, Bugün reporter
38       Cuma Kaya, Zaman
39       Cuma Ulus, Millet newspaper’s publications coordinator
40       Deniz Yücel, Die Welt
41       Emin Demir, Freelancer
42       Emre Soncan, Zaman defense reporter
43       Ercan Gün, Fox TV
44       Erdal Süsem, Eylül magazine editor
45       Erdal Şen, former Meydan managing editor
46       Erdoğan Alayamut, Dihaber reporter
47       Erol Yüksel (TRT News Department vice president))
48       Erol Zavar, Odak magazine, owner and newsroom director
49       Fahrettin Kılıç, Özgür Toplum
50       Faruk Akkan, Cihan news agency
51       Ferhat Çiftçi, Azadiya Welat Gaziantep bureau chief
52       Fevzi Yazıcı
53       Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Türksolu columnist
54       Gökmen Ulu, Sözcü
55       Gurbet Çakar, Hevi women’s magazine
56       Gültekin Avcı
57       Habip Güler, Zaman reporter
58       Hakan Aksel, TRT producer-director
59       Hakan Ergün, Azadiya Welat and Özgür Gündem distributor
60       Hakan Taşdelen
61       Halil İbrahim Mert, TRT (Erzurum)
62       Hamit Dilbahar, Azadiya Welat columnist
63       Hamza Günerigök, TRT
64       Hanım Büşra Erdal, Zaman reporter and columnist
65       Hasan Duman, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi distributor
66       Haşim Söylemez, Aksiyon columnist
67       Hatice Duman, Atılım newspaper’s owner and managing editor
68       Hayati Yıldız, Azadiya Welat
69       Hidayet Karaca, Samanyolu Media Group President
70       Hülya Karakaya, Özgür Halk Managing Editor
71       Hüseyin Aydın, Cihan reporter
72       Hüseyin Turan, Zaman columnist
73       İbrahim Balta, Zaman business editor
74       İbrahim Kareyeğen, responsible editor for Zaman
75       İdris Okur, Cihan New Agency Çorum reporter
76       İdris Sayılgan, DİHA
77       İlker İlkan, Azadiya Welat
78       İnan Kızılkaya, Özgür Gündem Newsroom Editor
79       İsmail Avcı, Zaman
80       İsmail Efe, local press advisor in İzmir
81       Kadri Gürsel, Editorial Advisor
82       Kamuran Sunbat, DİHA Çukurova reporter (formerly)
83       Kemal Sancılı, Özgür Gündem copyrights holder
84       Kenan Karavil, Radyo Dünya editor-in-chief
85       Lokman Erdoğan, Çorum Manşet, owner
86       Mahir Kanaat, BirGün, head of accountingn
87       Mediha Olgun, Sözcü
88       Mehmet Altan
89       Mehmet Baransu, Taraf columnist/reporter
90       Mehmet Çakmakçı, Medyascope.tv reporter
91       Mehmet Dener, Şanlıurfa.com editor-in-chief
92       Mehmet Güleş, DİHA
93       Mehmet Kuru, Zaman Eskişehir reporter
94       Mehmet Özdemir, Zaman columnist
95       Meltem Oktay, DİHA reporter
96       Meşale Tolu, ETHA translater
97       Mikail Barut, Özgür Halk former editor
98       Miktat Algül, Mezitli FM General Publications Coordinator
99       Mizgin Çay – Radyo Karacadağ
100     Muhammet Taşçılar, Şanlıurfa.com editor-in-chief
101     Murat Aksoy,former Yeni Şafak columnist
102     Murat Avcıoğlu, Zaman
103     Murat Çapan,
104     Murat Dağdeviren (Demokrat Gebze owner)
105     Murat Sabuncu, Editor-in- Chief
106     Mustafa Erkan Acar, Bugün news editor,
107     Mustafa Gök, Ankara bureau chief for Ekmek ve Adalet magazine
108     Mustafa Ünal, Zaman
109     Mutlu Çölgeçen, Millet, newsroom coordinator
110     Mümtazer Türköne, Zaman columnist
111     Nadir Yücel, Çorum Yıldız (local) Editor-in-Chief
112     Nedim Türfent,DİHA
113     Nizamettin İzgi (Batman Newspaper’s owner)
114     Nur Ener, Yeni Asya
115     Nuri Durna, TRT
116     Nuri Yeşil, Azadiya Welat Dersim bureau chief
117     Nurullah Kaya, G.antep Zaman representative
118     Oğuz Usluer, Habertürk former broadcasts coordinator
119     Osman Yakut, Zaman Antalya
120     Ozan Kaplanoğlu, Bursa Muhalif
121     Ömer Çelik, DİHA news manager
122     Ömer Oruç, Cihan newspaper
123     Ömer Özdemir, Antalya eski Zaman muhabiri
124     Özcan Keser (TRT reporter)
2          Özkan Erdoğan, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi
125     Rabia Özkaya, Özgür Halk
126     Ramazan Alkan, Yeni Akit reporter
127     Resul Cengiz, Denizli reporter with Zaman
128     Sadık Demir – Radyo Karacadağ
129     Salih Erbekler – Radyo Karacadağ
130     Sami Tunca, Mücadele Birliği magazine Managing Editor
131     Selman Keleş, DİHA
132     Serhat Şeftali, Zaman regional bureau chief for the Med region
133     Serkan Aydemir, Bitlis Aktüel reporter
134     Serkan Erdoğan, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi
135     Seyid Kılıç, TRT News
136     Seyithan Akyüz, Azadiya Welat Adana bureau chief
137     Sezgin Kartal, Sosyalist Dayanımşa magazine
138     Şahabettin Demir, DİHA reporter
139     Şahin Alpay, Zaman columnist
140     Şeref Yılmaz, Irmak TV
141     Şerife Oruç, DİHA reporter
142     Şirin Çoban, Azadiya Welat
143     Tahsin Kürklü, Zaman – head of Logistics Department
144     Togay Okay, Özgür Gelecek
145     Tunca Öğreten, former Diken editor
146     Tuncer Çetinkaya, Zaman Antalya
147     Ufuk Şanlı, former Vatan columnist
148     Ulaş Sezgin, ETHA reporter
149     Ünal Tanık, Rota Haber editor-in-chief
150     Vahit Yazgan, İzmir Zaman bureau chief
151     Vedat Beki, Sözcü 18
152     Vedat Demir, former Yarına Bakış writer
153     Yakup Çetin, Zaman reporter
154     Yakup Şimşek, Zaman, marketing director
155     Yalçın Güler, TRT (Erzurum)
156     Yener Dönmez, Habervaktim news website
157     Yetkin Yıldız, Aktif Haber website editor
158     Yılmaz Kahraman, Özgür Halk editor
159     Yusuf Karataş, Evrensel columnist
160     Zafer Özsoy
161     Zehra Doğan, Jinha
162     Ziya Ataman, DİHA reporter

Lists of all journalists in prison and the media institutions, associations and foundations closed down under the State of Emergency can be viewed here.


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