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18 December

Journalists in State of Emergency - 104

DİHA reporter Nedim Türfent sentenced to eight years and night months on “membership” charges

Nedim Türfent, a reporter with the shuttered Dicle News Agency (DİHA) was convicted on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization” in the fifth and final hearing of the trial against him being heard by the Hakkari 2nd High Criminal Court on December 15.
The court in its ruling handed down seven years to Türfent on the same charge, but increased this term to seven years and nine months on the grounds that his “actions had been continuous.” The court also ruled not to release Türfent for the duration of the appeals process. The journalist has been imprisoned since May 2016.
The hearing on December 15 started four hours later than scheduled, on the grounds that one of the witnesses who was supposed to testify against Türfent had been released from prison. However, like all of the other witnesses who have so far spoken in the trial, that witness also said he had not known Türfent.
All the witnesses have said their earlier testimony against the journalist was extracted under torture.
A total of 20 witnesses testified in the trial including a secret witness. Only one named witness and the secret witness testified against the journalist.
Türfent’s attorney Harika Karataş pointed out the discrepancies and inconsistencies between statements of the single named witness who testified against the journalist.
The prosecutor asked that Türfent remains imprisoned on the grounds that he is a flight risk.
Türfent, who submitted his final defense statement after the prosecutor submitted his opinion, said the prosecutor was acting in bad faith and that the investigation against him was launched by the police department, adding that the prosecutor had stuck to that argument.
Türfent, who testified in Kurdish at the Van prison through the court video-conferencing system SEGBİS, said the prosecutor was acting as if he hadn’t heard the 19 witnesses who said they had not known him. He said the prosecutor was trying to create a crime by tweezing out statements from his news reports or social media posts.
“The prosecutor knows that I am being tried for my journalism. We are in prison because we are opposition. We will never let the government have its way. Journalism is the conscience of the people, there is no other way for us to report than this. Journalism is about holding power to account.”
Türfent said he was arrested for proving that a special operations officer violating detention procedures and yelling racist remarks at a group of people detained in the country’s mostly Kurdish populated southeast. Türfent’s report featured a video showing a special officer shouting, “What has this state ever done to you? You will see the power of the Turk,” at the Kurdish detainees lying face down on the ground.
An investigation was launched into the video, featuring a number of procedural violations as well as a violation of human rights.
In the trial, the journalist said he had engaged in journalism, denied the “membership” charges and asked for acquittal.
His lawyer said there was no proof showing that Türfent was part of a hierarchical structure inside any terrorist organization. “We are in the fifth hearing but there is not a single evidence that can be discussed.”
Barış Oflas, another lawyer representing Türfent, said the only reason why he was in prison was his covering the news during curfews in Hakkari’s Yüksekova district, where security operations allegedly commit a large number of human rights violations against civilians.
Prosecutor asks for life in the Altans trial
A prosecutor has submitted his final opinion asking for life for journalists Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak in a trial heard on December 11 at the Istanbul 26th High Criminal Court.
The prosecutor alleged that the three journalists and three other suspects committed the crime of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” under Turkish Penal Code (TCK) Article 309/1.
The court ruled to keep all suspects in prison and adjourned the trial until February 12 -14. The prime minister has asked for a leave to intervene in the case and also for the suspects’ assets to be seized. The court has said it will rule on the intervention request later but rejected the request to seize the suspects’ assets.
It also lifted limitations imposed on visiting hours by lawyers.
Three advertising salespeople released in Zaman trial
Three former employees of the shuttered Zaman daily were released in a trial where thirty-one people including journalists Şahin Alpay, Ali Bulaç, Mümtazer Türköne, Ahmet Turan Alkan and Mustafa Ünal have been imprisoned for more than 500 days on membership in the “Fethullah Terrorist Organization,” the name given to the Fethullah Gülen network by the Turkish state.
The case was heard on December 8. The court ruled to keep the arrest warrants for all of the journal sites in place but released three people who accepted used cars from Zaman in return for their unpaid premiums or severance payments.
The next hearing will be heard on 5 April 2018.
Turkey responds to ECtHR in Şık trial
The Turkish Government sent a response to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in the trial of journalist Ahmet Şık who has been in prison for 11 months, Şık’s newspaper Cumhuriyet reported.
The government argued that the government argued that Şık was not arrested because of his “journalistic activities” and that his 11 months of imprisoned amounted to a reasonable period, citing a decision of the Court which found the two years and eight months imprisonment of 40 mafia members in Italy reasonable.
Turkey has the highest number of journalists in prison
Turkey was the biggest jailer of journalists in 2017, according to a report published by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on December 13.
According to the CPJ, there are 262 journalists in prison around the world. The report says 73 journalists are in Turkey – a figure much lower than the numbers reported by local organizations such as P24, due to the methodology the CPJ uses.
The report said: “Despite releasing some journalists in 2017, Turkey remains the world’s worst jailer for the second consecutive year, with 73 journalists behind bars, compared with 81 last year. Dozens more still face trial, and fresh arrests take place regularly. In several other cases in Turkey, CPJ was unable to establish a link to journalism. Other press freedom groups using a different methodology have higher numbers. Every journalist CPJ found jailed for their work in Turkey is under investigation for, or charged with, anti-state crimes, as was true of last year’s census.”
Constitutional Court rules in favor of press freedoms
The Constitutional Court said, in a ruling issued on December 14, that access bans to news reports can be applied only in exceptional cases.
The ruling concerned a news report published at Airporthaber.com, banned by a decision of the Ankara 5th Criminal Judgeship of Peace. The high court said the access ban in this case was a violation of Constitution Article 28 which protests press freedoms and called for a retrial.
The ruling said access bans can be imposed only in exceptional situations. “The higher the value of public information in a news report or an article, the more a person has to submit to the fact that the said article is published.” The ruling further said several freedoms vital to democracy, such as freedom of communication, right to information and freedom of spreading thought and expression are today exercised by the Internet, and that local courts should act with restraint when dealing with the internet.
Presidential insult case against Oğuz Güven
A court case has been initiated against Oğuz Güven, the editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet’s internet website.
The journalist is accused of insulting the president in the case which will be heard on 11 April in the Ankara 15th Criminal Court of First Instance in relation with a report that originally appeared in the Washington Post.
Güven was sentenced to three years and one month in prison earlier over a news report Cumhuriyet shared on Twitter.
Reaction to the televised calls for torture
Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Barış Yarkadaş said he had brought  to the attention of the Supreme Board of Radio and Television (ETÜK) and the Justice Ministry the
scandalous remark from pro-government columnist and TV commentator Cem Küçük suggesting that individuals charged with membership in “FETÖ” should be tortured.
On December 12, Cem Küçük said suspects in “FETÖ” cases weren’t giving away too much, suggesting that “there are methods” such as torture, executions or the killing of family members to get suspects to talk.
1HaberVar news platform under investigation
The 1HaberVar Platform, founded by journalists from the shuttered news agencies, face an investigation on charges of “PKK propaganda in the press“ the socialist daily Evrensel reported.
The Diyarbakır Chief Prosecutor's Office has launched the investigation on the basis of events, press statements, demonstrations and other activities which the 1HaberVar platform reported on its website.
List of 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        Burak Ekici, Birgün
31        Burçin Dokgöz, former Zaman and Çorum reporter
32        Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Journalists and Writers’ Foundation
33        Ceren Taşkın, Hatay'ın Sesi
34        Cuma Kaya, Zaman
35        Cuma Ulus, Millet newspaper’s publications coordinator
36        Cüneyt Seza Özkan, Samanyolu TV
37        Çağdaş Erdoğan, Photojournalist
38        Deniz Yücel, Die Welt
39        Emin Demir, Freelancer
40        Emre Soncan, Zaman defense reporter
41        Ercan Gün, Fox TV
42        Erdal Süsem, Eylül magazine editor
43        Erdal Şen, former Meydan managing editor
44        Erdoğan Alayamut, Dihaber reporter
45        Erol Yüksel (TRT News Department vice president))
46        Erol Zavar, Odak magazine, owner and newsroom director
47        Fahrettin Kılıç, Özgür Toplum
48        Faruk Akkan, Cihan news agency
49        Ferhat Çiftçi, Azadiya Welat Gaziantep bureau chief
50        Fevzi Yazıcı
51        Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Türksolu columnist
52        Gurbet Çakar, Hevi women’s magazine
53        Gültekin Avcı
54        Habip Güler, Zaman reporter
55        Hakan Aksel, TRT producer-director
56        Hakan Ergün, Azadiya Welat and Özgür Gündem distributor
57        Hakan Taşdelen
58        Halil İbrahim Mert, TRT (Erzurum)
59        Hamit Dilbahar, Azadiya Welat columnist
60        Hamza Günerigök, TRT
61        Hanım Büşra Erdal, Zaman reporter and columnist
62        Hasan Duman, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi distributor
63        Hatice Duman, Atılım newspaper’s owner and managing editor
64        Havva Cuştan, ETHA reporter
65        Hayati Yıldız, Azadiya Welat
66        Hidayet Karaca, Samanyolu Media Group President
67        Hüseyin Aydın, Cihan reporter
68        Hüseyin Turan, Zaman columnist
69        İbrahim Balta, Zaman business editor
70        İbrahim Kareyeğen, responsible editor for Zaman
71        İdris Okur, Cihan New Agency Çorum reporter
72        İdris Sayılgan, DİHA
73        İsmail Avcı, Zaman
74        İsmail Efe, local press advisor in İzmir
75        İsmail Ersan, Anatolia news agency
76        İsminaz Temel, ETHA editor
77        Kamuran Sunbat, DİHA Çukurova reporter (formerly)
78        Kemal Demir, TV 10
79        Kemal Özer, Evrensel
80        Kenan Karavil, Radyo Dünya editor-in-chief
81        Mehmet Ali Ay
82        Mehmet Altan
83        Mehmet Baransu, Taraf columnist/reporter
84        Mehmet Dener, Şanlıurfa.com editor-in-chief
85        Mehmet Güleş, DİHA
86        Mehmet Gündem
87        Mehmet Kuru, Zaman Eskişehir reporter
88        Mehmet Özdemir, Zaman columnist
89        Meltem Oktay, DİHA reporter
90        Meşale Tolu, ETHA translater
91        Mikail Barut, Özgür Halk former editor
92        Miktat Algül, Mezitli FM General Publications Coordinator
93        Mizgin Çay – Radyo Karacadağ
94        Muhammet Taşçılar, Şanlıurfa.com editor-in-chief
95        Muhsin Pilgir, Zaman and Cihan news agency
96        Murat Avcıoğlu, Zaman
97        Murat Çapan,
98        Murat Dağdeviren (Demokrat Gebze owner)
99        Murat Sabuncu, Editor-in- Chief
100      Mustafa Erkan Acar, Bugün news editor,
101      Mustafa Gök, Ankara bureau chief for Ekmek ve Adalet magazine
102      Mustafa Ünal, Zaman
103      Mutlu Çölgeçen, Millet, newsroom coordinator
104      Mutlu Özay, Cihan reporter
105      Mümtazer Türköne, Zaman columnist
106      Nadir Yücel, Çorum Yıldız (local) Editor-in-Chief
107      Nedim Türfent,DİHA
108      Nizamettin İzgi (Batman Newspaper’s owner)
109      Nuh Gönültaş
110      Nur Ener, Yeni Asya
111      Nuri Durna, TRT
112      Nuri Yeşil, Azadiya Welat Dersim bureau chief
113      Nurullah Kaya, G.antep Zaman representative
114      Oğuz Usluer, Habertürk former broadcasts coordinator
115      Osman Yakut, Zaman Antalya
116      Ömer Faruk Aydemir, İHA editor
117      Ömer Oruç, Cihan newspaper
118      Özcan Keser (TRT reporter)
119      Özkan Erdoğan, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi
120      Rabia Özkaya, Özgür Halk
121      Ramazan Alkan, Yeni Akit reporter
122      Resul Cengiz, Denizli reporter with Zaman
123      Sadık Demir – Radyo Karacadağ
124      Sait Gürka Tuzlu, Cihan reporter
125      Salih Erbekler – Radyo Karacadağ
126      Sami Tunca, Mücadele Birliği magazine Managing Editor
127      Semiha Mete, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi reporter and distributor
128      Serhat Şeftali, Zaman regional bureau chief for the Med region
129      Serkan Aydemir, Bitlis Aktüel reporter
130      Serkan Erdoğan, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi
131      Seyid Kılıç, TRT News
132      Seyithan Akyüz, Azadiya Welat Adana bureau chief
133      Şahabettin Demir, DİHA reporter
134      Şahin Alpay, Zaman columnist
135      Şeref Yılmaz, Irmak TV
136      Şerife Oruç, DİHA reporter
137      Tahsin Kürklü, Zaman – head of Logistics Department
138      Togay Okay, Özgür Gelecek
139      Tuncer Çetinkaya, Zaman Antalya
140      Ufuk Şanlı, former Vatan columnist
141      Ünal Tanık, Rota Haber editor-in-chief
142      Vahit Yazgan, İzmir Zaman bureau chief
143      Yakup Çetin, Zaman reporter
144      Yakup Şimşek, Zaman, marketing director
145      Yalçın Güler, TRT (Erzurum)
146      Yasir Kaya, Fenerbahçe TV, formerly
147      Yener Dönmez, Habervaktim news website
148      Yetkin Yıldız, Aktif Haber website editor
149      Yılmaz Kahraman, Özgür Halk editor
150      Zafer Özsoy
151      Zehra Doğan, Jinha
152      Ziya Ataman, DİHA reporter


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