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20 November

Journalists in State of Emergency – 102

No journalist was released in last week’s trials. With recent arrests the number of imprisoned journalists reaches 155

On November 17, Nedim Türfent, a reporter of the shuttered pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency, appeared before a judge for the fourth time in a trial where he risks up to 22.5 years in prison on terror charges.
Türfent, who has been imprisoned since May 13, 2016, testified to the Hakkari 2nd High Criminal Court from Van Prison via the Turkish court video-conferencing system named SEGBIS.
The prosecutor submitted his final opinion, demanding the same terms as the initial prosecutor who pushed the charges against the journalist. The court issued an interim decision, which kept his arrest warrant in place. The trial was adjourned until December 15.
His lawyer Harika Günay Karataş was physically present in the courtroom, while his other lawyer, Barış Oflas, was at the Van Prison along with his client.
P24 monitored trial. Testimony from three witnesses was read out loud in the trial. Türfent, in his testimony, said the witness statements did not reflect the truth. Türfent, who spoke in Kurdish said, “When the curfew in Yüksekova started, they wanted to leave the district without any journalists. They just wanted uniform news reports from the region. I have been threatened countless times by a Twitter account called JİTEM,” he said, which is the name of an unofficial and illegal secret unit – believed to be responsible for a large number of extrajudicial killings – within the gendarmerie force used extensively in the 90’s as part of the Turkish military’s counter terrorism. Its existence was not acknowledged by the state until 2011, when the interior ministry admitted to its existence during an investigation in Diyarbakır.
Türfent continued, “These were no ordinary threats. I might have been dead now if it weren’t for pressure from the public.”
The journalist said the witnesses who testified against him had spoken under pressure. He also said the police officers who detained him said a case against him to keep in prison for at least 20 years was prepared.
In previous hearings, about a dozen court witnesses said their testimony had been extracted under torture.
Türfent said when the witnesses confessed to having given false testimony in court, the prosecution introduced new witness testimony and later, secret witness testimony.
It emerged that one of the witnesses who testified in this session was 15 years old. Lawyers for Türfent said this testimony was heard in violation of the law on the Protection of Minors. They raised objections to the two other witness statements; one because it was made in a different investigation, the other because mental health of the owner of the testimony was questionable. The lawyer read out inconsistent statements from the same person, which were made in another trial.
Two other witnesses, who submitted statements via SEGBIS, said they had no information on Türfent’s activities. They said their initial testimony had been extracted under threats that they would be kept in prison for a long time.
Türfent, who spoke again after these two witnesses, said the trial was a conspiracy against him stemming from a video-news report which portrayed mistreatment of Yüksekova locals – who appear handcuffed facedown in the street in the video – by police.
Three other witness submissions were read in the hearing. Türfent’s lawyer Karataş asked for dismissal of these three witnesses as they weren’t physically heard by the court. The prosecutor, in its final submission, asked the court to not hear three other witnesses quoted in the indictment. He also said there appeared to be no concrete evidence to suggest that earlier witness testimony had been extracted under torture. He asked for 22,5 years as the initial prosecutor who had pressed the charges saying that Türfent maintained “organic ties” with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Türfent asked for his release saying “19 witnesses have told this court that they testified under torture. The prosecutor has either not listened to their statements or he is submitting his opinion with a political motivation.” He said he had been imprisoned for 555 days, but the prosecutor was completely ignoring the fact.
He said, “If what we are doing is a crime, then they should pass a law which openly states that journalism is a crime.”
His lawyers will submit final defense statements in the next hearing.
Three journalists imprisoned in operation into GYV
On November 1, journalists Nuh Gönültaş, Mehmet Gündem and Behram Kılıç were detained as part of an operation into the shuttered Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV), affiliated with the Gülen network. All three were formally arrested and sent to prison on November 9.
In the operation as part of which they were taken into custody, a total of 45 individuals were detained although arrest warrants had been issued for 111 people.
The three journalists were arrested on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization,” bringing up the total of imprisoned journalists in Turkey to 155. The entire list can be viewed here.
Lawyers thrown out of the courtroom in Altan’s trial
The third session in the trial where Ahmet and Mehmet Altan and journalist Nazlı Ilıcak are on trial was heard at the Istanbul 26th High Criminal Court on November 13.
All four lawyers representing the Altan brothers were expelled from the courtroom after requesting the judge to recuse himself. They were thrown out of the courtroom for speaking without the judge's permission. The lawyers were trying to voice their request to introduce new evidence and witnesses to the the presiding judge, who said he was determined to hear the prosecutor’s final statement first.
The court also ruled to keep arrest warrants for the six imprisoned defendants in the trial in place. It also declined demands to remove restrictions applied to lawyer visits.
International free speech organizations and the Istanbul Bar Association criticized the treatment of the lawyers.
Özgürlükçü Demokrasi executives given prison sentences
Özgürlükçü Demokrasi newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief Yılmaz Yıldız and Editor İhsal Yasul were given 10 months each in prison for publishing the statements of a terrorist organization.
The ruling was issued by the Istanbul 36th High Criminal Court on November 16. Yıldız and Yasul were specifically given the sentences for “publishing statements [that originated] from a terrorist organization that includes violence and force.”
The court deferred the sentence for five years.
Odatv and Cumhuriyet face Paradise Papers related charges
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and his sons, whose commercial dealings were exposed in the recent financial leak known to the public as Paradise Papers, have filed for compensation against the Cumhuriyet newspaper and the Oda TVnews website asking for TL 1 million in total.
The Yıldırım family considers the news reports about their offshore secrets “an attack on their personality rights.” 
They seek TL 500,000 from Cumhuriyet for Binali Yıldırım and his two sons. From OdaTV, they demand TL 250,000 for Binali Yıldırım, 125,000 each for his sons Erkam Yıldırım and Bülent Yıldırım in the form of compensation for emotional damages.
Access to many of the news reports about the Paradise Papers leak were blocked by Turkish authorities, legal expert Yaman Akdeniz tweeted.
Letter from Ai Weiwei to Zehra Doğan
As part of PEN International’s annual Day of the Imprisoned Writer, marked by the organization annually on November 15, Ai Weiwei has written to imprisoned journalist and artist Zehra Doğan in Turkey.
Doğan was given two years 11 months and 22 days in prison for terror propaganda. She is a painter and a former editor  for the shuttered Jin News Agency.
“Although I come from an authoritarian society where freedom of speech is limited, it came as a shock to hear that an artist was imprisoned for making a painting reflecting the reality of today,” Weiwei wrote in his letter.
Objection to arrest ruling for Binali Erdoğan rejected
A request for the release of former TRT cameraman Binali Erdoğan, who was imprisoned for “insulting the president” on his social media accounts, was rejected on November 15. Erdoğan has been imprisoned at Buca Prison since October 20.
Journalists in prison in Turkey
            Name, publication
1          Abdulkadir Turay, DİHA reporter
2          Abdullah Kılıç, Habertürk
3          Abdullah Özyurt, Zaman reporter
4          Abdulvahap İş (Freelance journalist)
5          Ahmet Altan
6          Ahmet Feyzullah Özyurt
7          Ahmet Memiş, Gazeteci, Haberdar news website
8          Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Zaman journalist
9          Ahmet Şık, Cumhuriyet reporter
10       Ahmet Turan Alkan, Zaman
11       Ahmet Yavaş, TRT (Erzurum)
12       Akın Atalay, Pres. of Cumhuriyet Foundation Executive Board
13       Alaattin Güner, Cihan media director
14       Ali Ahmet Böken, TRT News coordinator
15       Ali Aşikar – Azadiya Welat
16       Ali Babür Boysal, Zaman page designer
17       Ali Bulaç, Eski Zaman columnist
18       Ali Ünal, Zaman columnist
19       Ali Yüce, TRT Radio broadcasts chief
20       Arafat Dayan, Demokratik Ulus
21       Aslı Ceren Aslan, Özgür Gelecek
22       Ayhan Demir, Çaldıran News Agency
23       Ayşe Nazlı Ilıcak
24       Ayşenur Parıldak, Zaman, Haberdar
25       Aytekin Gezici, journalist/writer
26       Aziz İstegün, Diyarbakır Zaman representative
27       Bayram Kaya, Zaman reporter
28       Behram Kılıç
29       Beytullah Özdemir, Zaman Düzce bureau chief
30       Binali Erdoğan, former TRT cameraman
31       Burak Ekici, Birgün
32       Burçin Dokgöz, former Zaman and Çorum reporter
33       Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Journalists and Writers’ Foundation
34       Ceren Taşkın, Hatay'ın Sesi
35       Cuma Kaya, Zaman
36       Cuma Ulus, Millet newspaper’s publications coordinator
37       Cüneyt Seza Özkan, Samanyolu TV
38       Çağdaş Erdoğan, Photojournalist
39       Deniz Yücel, Die Welt
40       Emin Demir, Freelancer
41       Emre Soncan, Zaman defense reporter
42       Ercan Gün, Fox TV
43       Erdal Süsem, Eylül magazine editor
44       Erdal Şen, former Meydan managing editor
45       Erdoğan Alayamut, Dihaber reporter
46       Erol Yüksel (TRT News Department vice president))
47       Erol Zavar, Odak magazine, owner and newsroom director
48       Fahrettin Kılıç, Özgür Toplum
49       Faruk Akkan, Cihan news agency
50       Ferhat Çiftçi, Azadiya Welat Gaziantep bureau chief
51       Fevzi Yazıcı
52       Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Türksolu columnist
53       Gurbet Çakar, Hevi women’s magazine
54       Gültekin Avcı
55       Habip Güler, Zaman reporter
56       Hakan Aksel, TRT producer-director
57       Hakan Ergün, Azadiya Welat and Özgür Gündem distributor
58       Hakan Taşdelen
59       Halil İbrahim Mert, TRT (Erzurum)
60       Hamit Dilbahar, Azadiya Welat columnist
61       Hamza Günerigök, TRT
62       Hanım Büşra Erdal, Zaman reporter and columnist
63       Hasan Duman, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi distributor
64       Hatice Duman, Atılım newspaper’s owner and managing editor
65       Havva Cuştan, ETHA reporter
66       Hayati Yıldız, Azadiya Welat
67       Hidayet Karaca, Samanyolu Media Group President
68       Hüseyin Aydın, Cihan reporter
69       Hüseyin Turan, Zaman columnist
70       İbrahim Balta, Zaman business editor
71       İbrahim Kareyeğen, responsible editor for Zaman
72       İdris Okur, Cihan New Agency Çorum reporter
73       İdris Sayılgan, DİHA
74       İsmail Avcı, Zaman
75       İsmail Efe, local press advisor in İzmir
76       İsmail Ersan, Anatolia news agency
77       İsminaz Temel, ETHA editor
78       Kamuran Sunbat, DİHA Çukurova reporter (formerly)
79       Kemal Özer, Evrensel
80       Kenan Karavil, Radyo Dünya editor-in-chief
81       Mahir Kanaat, BirGün, head of accountingn
82       Mehmet Ali Ay
83       Mehmet Altan
84       Mehmet Baransu, Taraf columnist/reporter
85       Mehmet Dener, Şanlıurfa.com editor-in-chief
86       Mehmet Güleş, DİHA
87       Mehmet Gündem
88       Mehmet Kuru, Zaman Eskişehir reporter
89       Mehmet Özdemir, Zaman columnist
90       Meltem Oktay, DİHA reporter
91       Meşale Tolu, ETHA translater
92       Mikail Barut, Özgür Halk former editor
93       Miktat Algül, Mezitli FM General Publications Coordinator
94       Mizgin Çay – Radyo Karacadağ
95       Muhammet Taşçılar, Şanlıurfa.com editor-in-chief
96       Muhsin Pilgir, Zaman and Cihan news agency
97       Murat Avcıoğlu, Zaman
98       Murat Çapan,
99       Murat Dağdeviren (Demokrat Gebze owner)
100     Murat Sabuncu, Editor-in- Chief
101     Mustafa Erkan Acar, Bugün news editor,
102     Mustafa Gök, Ankara bureau chief for Ekmek ve Adalet magazine
103     Mustafa Ünal, Zaman
104     Mutlu Çölgeçen, Millet, newsroom coordinator
105     Mutlu Özay, Cihan reporter
106     Mümtazer Türköne, Zaman columnist
107     Nadir Yücel, Çorum Yıldız (local) Editor-in-Chief
108     Nedim Türfent,DİHA
109     Nizamettin İzgi (Batman Newspaper’s owner)
110     Nuh Gönültaş
111     Nur Ener, Yeni Asya
112     Nuri Durna, TRT
113     Nuri Yeşil, Azadiya Welat Dersim bureau chief
114     Nurullah Kaya, G.antep Zaman representative
115     Oğuz Usluer, Habertürk former broadcasts coordinator
116     Osman Yakut, Zaman Antalya
117     Ömer Faruk Aydemir, İHA editor
118     Ömer Oruç, Cihan newspaper
119     Özcan Keser (TRT reporter)
120     Özkan Erdoğan, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi
121     Rabia Özkaya, Özgür Halk
122     Ramazan Alkan, Yeni Akit reporter
123     Resul Cengiz, Denizli reporter with Zaman
124     Sadık Demir – Radyo Karacadağ
125     Sait Gürka Tuzlu, Cihan reporter
126     Salih Erbekler – Radyo Karacadağ
127     Sami Tunca, Mücadele Birliği magazine Managing Editor
128     Selman Keleş, DİHA
129     Semiha Mete, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi reporter and distributor
130     Serhat Şeftali, Zaman regional bureau chief for the Med region
131     Serkan Aydemir, Bitlis Aktüel reporter
132     Serkan Erdoğan, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi
133     Seyid Kılıç, TRT News
134     Seyithan Akyüz, Azadiya Welat Adana bureau chief
135     Şahabettin Demir, DİHA reporter
136     Şahin Alpay, Zaman columnist
137     Şeref Yılmaz, Irmak TV
138     Şerife Oruç, DİHA reporter
139     Tahsin Kürklü, Zaman – head of Logistics Department
140     Togay Okay, Özgür Gelecek
141     Tunca Öğreten, former Diken editor
142     Tuncer Çetinkaya, Zaman Antalya
143     Ufuk Şanlı, former Vatan columnist
144     Ünal Tanık, Rota Haber editor-in-chief
145     Vahit Yazgan, İzmir Zaman bureau chief
146     Yakup Çetin, Zaman reporter
147     Yakup Şimşek, Zaman, marketing director
148     Yalçın Güler, TRT (Erzurum)
149     Yasir Kaya, Fenerbahçe TV, formerly
150     Yener Dönmez, Habervaktim news website
151     Yetkin Yıldız, Aktif Haber website editor
152     Yılmaz Kahraman, Özgür Halk editor
153     Zafer Özsoy
154     Zehra Doğan, Jinha
155     Ziya Ataman, DİHA reporter


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