Home / Articles / Freedom of Expression and the Press in Turkey - 151

28 July

Freedom of Expression and the Press in Turkey - 151

Gökhan Öner released from pretrial detention; 315 journos in Turkey face thousands of years in prison, latest BIA Media Monitoring Report finds

Jailed journalist Gökhan Öner, a former reporter for the now shuttered Dicle news agency (DİHA), was released from pretrial detention on 26 July at the first hearing of his trial.
Öner, who was arrested on 28 April during a police raid on his home in Denizli, was jailed in early May on “terrorism propaganda” charges.
Öner gave his defense statement during the first hearing at the 2nd High Criminal Court of Denizli. He told the court that he worked as a reporter for DİHA for three years. Rejecting the accusations, Öner said none of his news reports had the aim of praising any organization.
Öner also said that DİHA had been founded in 2002 and that the agency had not faced any investigations before its closure by an emergency decree.
Adding that he was being prosecuted based on false allegations, Öner requested his release and his acquittal. His co-defendants Mehmet Diler, Erol Beler, Muhlis Kayar and Eyyüp Hansu also rejected the accusations and requested their acquittal.
The prosecutor demanded that Öner be remanded in custody due to the nature of the accusations.
In its interim ruling at the end of the hearing the court ruled for Öner’s release under judicial control measures pending the conclusion of the trial considering the time he had spent in pretrial detention and adjourned the case until 3 March 2019.
MA reporter Ergin Çağlar briefly detained
Engin Çağlar, a reporter for the Mezopotamya news agency (MA), was taken into custody on 24 July during a checkpoint control as he was traveling from Maraş to Adana. Çağlar was arrested on grounds of a search warrant. Çağlar was referred to the local courthouse following his interrogation at the local gendarmerie station and was released by the prosecutor following his statement.
Journalist Mehmet Dursun faces up to 15 years in prison
Jailed journalist Mehmet Dursun is facing up to 15 years of imprisonment on terrorism-related charges in the indictment against him, according to the ANF Turkish news portal.
Dursun was arrested at the Van Police Department, where he was summoned to give his statement. On 6 April, he was brought before a court in Van, which jailed the journalist pending trial on the charge of “conducting propaganda for a terrorist organization.”
ANF reported on 23 July that Dursun’s news reports, his written communication with his sources and his reporting via telephone were cited as grounds for the allegations in the indictment.
Issued by the Van Public Prosecutor’s Office, the indictment accuses Dursun of pro-PKK/KCK news coverage and bills the Dicle news agency as “the news agency of the organization.”
State broadcaster TRT placed under Presidency
The Turkish state broadcaster TRT has been placed under the Presidency through a new circular published in the 24 July issue of the Official Gazette.
According to the circular issued by the Presidency, TRT will now be subordinate to the Directorate of Communications under the Presidency. The same circular also placed the country’s broadcasting watchdog RTÜK under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Jailed journalist Seda Taşkın says tap water in prison subject to quota
Seda Taşkın, a reporter for the Mezopotamya news agency, who has been in pretrial detention in the Sincan Prison in Ankara since late January, says the prison management introduced a quota on tap water.
In a recent letter recounting prison conditions, Taşkın wrote that the restriction, in place for the past two months, has been causing difficulty in maintaining their basic, day-to-day personal hygiene needs. She also wrote that tap water was not clean, was discolored and had odor. The restriction and the poor water quality have been causing various health problems among inmates, Taşkın wrote.
Taşkın also wrote that some sick inmates who needed to be transferred to hospitals faced rights violations during the process.
BIA Media Monitoring Report: 315 journos standing trial in Turkey
A total of 315 journalists have stood trial in various criminal cases and compensation cases in the past three months in Turkey, facing a total of 47 aggravated life sentences, one life sentence, a combined prison term of 3,034 years and six months, and a combined fine of over TL 4 million in pecuniary or non-pecuniary damages.
The figures were compiled in the BIA Media Monitoring 2018 2nd Quarter Report, issued mid-July.
Jailed journos
The report said that a total of 127 journalists were in prison as of 1 July 2018. Among them, 24 journalists were under a sentence, 33 were in pretrial detention as part of ongoing cases, while 40 were still under investigation. The files of 30 of the jailed journalists were before appeal courts, the report added.
Turkish courts heard 33 journalist trials during the past three months and handed down two aggravated life sentences and 137 years, 2 months and 19 days in prison combined. Charges for the sentences included “coup,” “propaganda,” “membership in terrorist group,” “insulting state organs and institutions” and “insulting the president,” among others.
The report said during the months of April, May and June a total of 24 journalists and/or media executives were standing trial on “coup” charges, facing a total of 47 aggravated life sentences combined. Two journalists among them [Mustafa Ünal and Mümtazer Türköne] were handed down aggravated life sentences [as part of the Zaman trial].
The report also said that over the same period, 69 other journalists and media workers stood trial for “conducting propaganda for a terrorist organization,” facing 508 years in prison combined. Among them, seven were sentenced to a combined prison term of 28 years, 8 months and 14 days, while 5 were acquitted. Eight of the trials were in preliminary stage.
Nine other journalists standing trial for “espionage” or “disclosing confidential information relating to the security of the state” were facing one aggravated life sentence and 402 years imprisonment combined over the period covered in the report.
“Insult” cases
A total of 32 journalists were standing trial on “insult” charges, facing 77 years 4 months of imprisonment in total, over the report period. Among them, four were handed down a combined prison term of 1 year, 10 months and 5 days. Seven journalists were facing compensation cases during the same period, facing a combined fine of TL 4,040,000 in pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages. Two of those cases were rejected by trial courts.
Sixteen journalists among those facing “insult” charges stood trial for critical comments about the president. The combined prison term sought for all 16 was 74 years and 8 months. Two among them, Ahmet Altan and Faruk Arhan, were acquitted. Six other journalists -- Selma Erdal, Alican Uludağ, Ahmet Şık, Fatih Polat, Kutlu Esendemir and Levent Gültekin -- were under investigation for “insulting the president.”
Other freedom of expression cases of the past week
Two lawyers representing the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) filed a lawsuit against People’s Democratic Party (HDP) İstanbul MP Ahmet Şık this week for his remarks during his address to the general assembly on 23 July. The AKP is seeking TL 100,000 in non-pecuniary damages in the case on the allegation that Şık’s speech included defamatory remarks about the AKP. 

The reasoned judgment for an appellate court ruling on July 12, which found actress and singer Zuhal Olcay guilty of “insulting the president,” was issued. The judgment said that Olcay changed the lyrics of a song during a live onstage performance to make the song about President Erdoğan and as she was doing so, she insulted the president with a gesture. Olcay was handed down a prison sentence of 11 months and 20 days, deferred by 1.5 years. 

An Istanbul court on 27 July jailed an individual named Turgay İnce for his social media posts critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Odatv reported that İnce was arrested as a result of one lawyer’s complaint. İnce appeared before an Istanbul court on Friday, which jailed the man pending trial. 

An Ankara court on 22 July jailed a woman named Safiye İnci pending trial for her comments about Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in a video she had shot in Anıtkabir. İnci’s comments in the video had sparked public outrage on social media. The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into the woman, who was shortly arrested and jailed for violating the Law on Offences Committed Against Atatürk. İnci was placed in the Sincan Prison. 
List of journalists and media workers in prison
Following DİHA reporter Gökhan Öner’s release, there are at least 177 journalists and media workers in Turkey’s prisons, either in pretrial detention or serving a sentence.
The full list can be accessed here.
1                Abdulkadir Turay, DİHA reporter
2                Abdullah Kaya, DİHA
3                Abdullah Kılıç, Habertürk
4                Abdullah Özyurt, Zaman reporter
5                Abdulvahap İş, freelance journalist
6                Adil Demirci, ETHA reporter
7                Ahmet Altan
8                Ahmet Feyzullah Özyurt
9                Ahmet Memiş, Haberdar news website
10              Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Zaman
11              Ahmet Yavaş, TRT (Erzurum)
12              Ali Ahmet Böken, TRT News coordinator
13              Ali Akkuş, Zaman
14              Ali Aşikar, Azadiya Welat
15              Ali Babür Boysal, Zaman page designer
16              Ali Sönmez Kayar, ETHA reporter
17              Ali Ünal, Zaman columnist
18              Ali Yüce, TRT Radio broadcasts chief
19              Arafat Dayan, Demokratik Ulus
20              Aslı Ceren Aslan, Özgür Gelecek
21              Ayşe Nazlı Ilıcak
22              Ayşenur Parıldak, Zaman, Haberdar
23              Aytekin Gezici, journalist/writer
24              Aziz İstegün, Diyarbakır Zaman representative
25              Barış Ceyhan, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi employee
26              Bayram Kaya, Zaman reporter
27              Behram Kılıç
28              Berzan Güneş, Mezopotamya Agency reporter
29              Beytullah Özdemir, Zaman Düzce bureau chief
30              Burçin Dokgöz, former Zaman and Çorum reporter
31              Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Journalists and Writers’ Foundation
32              Cemal Tunç, Gün Matbaacılık employee
33              Ceren Taşkın, Hatay'ın Sesi
34              Cuma Ulus, Millet newspaper’s publications coordinator
35              Cumali Çaygeç, TRT Şeş news director
36              Cumali Öz, Gün Matbaacılık employee
37              Cüneyt Seza Özkan, Samanyolu TV
38              Çetin Kurşun, Azadiya Welat
39              Doğan Baran, Odak magazine owner, managing editor
40              Ece Sevim Öztürk, Çağdaş Ses editor in chief
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 Zamur, Gün Matbaacılık employee
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              Ferhat Parlak, Silvan Mücadele newspaper owner
53              Fevzi Yazıcı, Zaman chief designer
54              Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Türksolu columnist
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 Bzokurt, Bugün reporter
66              Hasan Duman, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi distributor
67              Hatice Duman, Atılım newspaper owner and managing editor
68              Haydar Ergül, Demokratik Modernite editor
69              Hicran Ürün, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi editor
70              Hidayet Karaca, Samanyolu Media Group president
71              Hüseyin Aydın, Cihan reporter
72              İdris Okur, Cihan New Agency Çorum reporter
73              İdris Sayılgan, DİHA
74              İdris Yılmaz
75              İhsan Sinmiş, Gün Matbaacılık employee
76              İhsan Yaşar, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi owner
77              İrfan Karaca, Gün Matbaacılık employee
78              İshak Yasul, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi responsible managing editor
79              İsmail Çoban, former Azadiya Welat managing editor
80              İsmail Ersan, Anatolia news agency
81              İsminaz Temel, ETHA editor
82              Kamuran Sunbat, former DİHA Çukurova reporter
83              Kasım Zengin, owner of Gün Matbaacılık
84              Kazım Canlan, Cihan news agency Ankara news director
85              Kazım Göçer, Gün Matbaacılık employee
86              Kemal Daşdöğen, Gün Matbaacılık employee
87              Kemal Demir, TV 10
88              Kemal Özer, Evrensel
89              Kemal Sancılı, Özgür Gündem copyrights holder
90              Kenan Karavil, Radyo Dünya editor-in-chief
91              Kubilay Çelik, Antropolog magazine responsible managing editor
92              Mahmut Abay, Gün Matbaacılık employee
93              Mehmet Ali Ay
94              Mehmet Ali Çelebi, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi editor
95              Mehmet Baransu, Taraf columnist/reporter
96              Mehmet Dursun
97              Mehmet Emin Sümeli, Gün Matbaacılık employee
98              Mehmet Güleş, DİHA
99              Mehmet Gündem
100            Mehmet Kadir Özkara, Gün Matbaacılık employee
101            Mehmet Kuru, Zaman Eskişehir reporter
102            Mehmet Sıddık damar, DİHA
103            Meltem Oktay, DİHA reporter
104            Metin Arslan, Bugün reporter
105            Mikail Barut, Özgür Halk former editor
106            Miktat Algül, Mezitli FM broadcast coordinator
107            Mizgin Çay, Radyo Karacadağ
108            Muhammed Sait Kuloğlu, owner of Subuhaber.com
109            Muhammet Özkan, Gün Matbaacılık employee
110            Muhsin Pilgir, Zaman and Cihan news agency
111            Murat Çapan, Nokta
112            Murat Dağdeviren, Demokrat Gebze owner
113            Musa Kaya, Gün Matbaacılık employee
114            Mustafa Erkan Acar, Bugün news editor
115            Mustafa Gök, Ankara bureau chief for Ekmek ve Adalet magazine
116            Mustafa Gökkılıç, reporter, Radikal and Habertürk TV
117            Mustafa Göktaş, Özgür Gündem Şanlıurfa reporter
118            Mustafa Ünal, Zaman
119            Mutlu Çölgeçen, Millet, newsroom coordinator
120            Mutlu Özay, Cihan reporter
121            Mümtazer Türköne, Zaman columnist
122            Mürsel Demir, Gün Matbaacılık employee
123            Nadir Yücel, Çorum Yıldız local newspaper editor-in-chief
124            Necat Hizarcı, Gün Matbaacılık employee
125            Nedim Türfent, DİHA
126            Nizamettin İzgi, Batman newspaper owner
127            Nuh Gönültaş, Bugün columnist
128            Nuri Durna, TRT
129            Nuri Yeşil, Azadiya Welat Dersim bureau chief
130            Nurullah Kaya, Gaziantep Zaman representative
131            Oğuz Usluer, Habertürk former broadcasts coordinator
132            Osman Yakut, Zaman Antalya
133            Ömer Oruç, Cihan newspaper
134            Özcan Keser, TRT reporter
135            Özgür Bozkurt, Gün Matbaacılık employee
136            Pınar Gayıp, ETHA reporter
137            Pınar Tarlak, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi employee
138            Polat Arslan, Gün Matbaacılık employee
139            Reyhan Çapan, Özgür Gündem managing editor
140            Reyhan Hacıoğlu, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi editor
141            Sadettin Demirtaş, Gün Matbaacılık employee
142            Sadık Demir, Radyo Karacadağ
143            Sait Gürkan Tuzlu, Cihan reporter
144            Salih Erbekler, Radyo Karacadağ
145            Sami Tunca, Mücadele Birliği magazine managing editor
146            Seda Taşkın, Mezopotamya News Agency reporter
147            Semiha Mete, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi reporter/distributor
148            Semiha Şahin, ETHA editor
149            Serhat Şeftali, Zaman regional bureau chief for the Med region
150            Serkan Aydemir, Bitlis Aktüel reporter
151            Serpil Ünal, Mücadele Birliği reporter
152            Sertan Önal, Halkın Günlüğü reporter
153            Seyid Kılıç, TRT News
154            Seyithan Akyüz, Azadiya Welat Adana bureau chief
155            Sezai Yavaş, TRT Diyarbakır deputy regional director
156            Songül Yücel, Önsöz editor in chief
157            Süleyman Acar, Mücadele Birliği editor in chief
158            Süleyman Güneş, Gün Matbaacılık employee
159            Şahabettin Demir, DİHA reporter
160            Şeref Yılmaz, Irmak TV
161            Şirin Kabakçı, Zaman Konya bureau chief
162            Togay Okay, Özgür Gelecek
163            Turgut Usul, TRT reporter
164            Ufuk Şanlı, former Vatan columnist
165            Uğur Selman Kelekçiler, Gün Matbaacılık employee
166            Ünal Tanık, Rota Haber editor-in-chief
167            Vahit Yazgan, İzmir Zaman bureau chief
168            Veli Büyükşahin, TV10 executive
169            Veli Haydar Güleç, TV10 executive
170            Yakup Çetin, Zaman reporter
171            Yakup Şimşek, Zaman, marketing director
172            Yalçın Güler, TRT (Erzurum)
173            Yener Dönmez, Habervaktim news website
174            Yetkin Yıldız, Aktif Haber website editor
175            Yılmaz Kahraman, Özgür Halk editor
176            Zehra Doğan, Jinha
177            Ziya Ataman, DİHA reporter


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