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07 October

Freedom of Expression and the Press in Turkey - 159

Supreme Court of Appeals upholds sentence for Mehmet Güleş; Appellate court rejects appeals in Altans case; Saudi journalist goes missing in Turkey

The 16th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals upheld a prison sentence rendered in May for Mehmet Güleş, a former reporter for Dicle news agency (DİHA), which had been closed down through an emergency decree.
 
The 2nd High Criminal Court of Elazığ had convicted Güleş of terrorism related charges, handing down the journalist a total of 9 years, 4 months and 15 days in prison. Güleş was given 6 years and 3 months for “membership in a terrorist group” and 3 years, 1 month and 15 days for “conducting propaganda for a terrorist organization.”
 
Güleş’s lawyer appealed that verdict at the 4th Criminal Chamber of the Gaziantep Regional Court of Justice, an appellate court, which rejected the appeal.
 
İdris Sayılğan trial adjourned until December
 
The fourth hearing in a trial where jailed DİHA reporter İdris Sayılğan is accused of “membership in a terrorist organization” was held on 5 October in the eastern city of Muş.
 
Sayılğan, who has been in pretrial detention for two years, addressed the court from the Trabzon Prison via the courtroom video-conferencing system SEGBİS during the hearing. In his defense statement, Sayılğan said he was a dissident journalist and that the trial was aimed at silencing the opposition.
 
Sayılğan’s reporting and his phone conversations with his sources are among the grounds for the accusations in the indictment.
 
In its interim ruling at the end of the hearing, the 2nd Highi Criminal Court of Muş ordered the continuation of Sayılğan’s detention and adjoutned the trial until 24 December 2018.
 
Adnan Bilen taken into custody in Van
 
Local journalist Adnan Bilen was taken into custody on 5 October in the eastern city of Van. Bilen, whose former residence was raided by police earlier on Friday, was accompanied by his lawyer as he went to the police department to give his statement following the raid.
 
The grounds for Bilen’s detention has not been disclosed.
 
Bilen was dismissed from his post as the press director of the Van Metropolitan Municipality after the mayor of Van was replaced by a trustee appointed by the government, and an investigation had been launched into Bilen on allegations of “membership in the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization.” When the allegation turned out to be baseless, the prosecutor’s office pressed charges against Bilen for “conducting propaganda for KCK/PKK.”
 
Court rejects appeals against life sentences in Altans case
 
Jailed novelist and journalist Ahmet Altan, his brother, professor of economics and longtime columnist Mehmet Altan, veteran journalist Nazlı Ilıcak, Fevzi Yazıcı, the chief page designer of the shuttered Zaman daily, and their two co-defendants gave their final defense statements before a Regional Court of Justice on 2 October in what marked the second hearing in the appeal process.
 
At the end of the hearing, the 2nd Criminal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice rejected the appeals against the aggravated life sentences given in February by the trial court, and ruled for the continuation of detention of all imprisoned defendants in the case.
 
The case is now headed for the Supreme Court of Appeals.
 
A detailed report about the appellate court hearing, monitored by P24, can be accessed here.
 
Trial into 7 journalists for 2016 news report gets under way
 
The first hearing in a trial where seven journalists are charged with “making those involved in combating terrorism a target” was held on 3 October in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır.
 
The case was launched after a complaint from senior gendarmerie commander Maj. Gen. Musa Çitil, who was cited in the news report, published in February 2016 by the shuttered DİHA news agency.
 
The defendants include Ömer Çelik, who was the news editor at DİHA at the time, DİHA reporters Çağdaş Kaplan, Hamza Gündüz and Selman Çiçek, journalist Abdulvahap Taş, the shuttered Özgür Gündem newspaper’s responsible editor İnan Kızılkaya and publisher Kemal Sancılı.
 
Three of the defendants, Taş, Çiçek and Çelik, attended the first hearing at the 9th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır. The journalists denied the accusation and told the court that they acted within the right to information and that they had no intention of exposing any official as a target.
 
The court adjourned the trial until 16 January 2019.
 
A report about the hearing, monitored by P24, can be accessed here.
 
“MİT Trucks case” against Can Dündar adjourned until February
 
The latest hearing in the retrial of a case where Can Dündar, the former editor in chief of the Cumhuriyet daily, faces “espionage” charges for the publication of a 2015 news report about the alleged transfer of weapons to Syria on trucks operated by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT), was held on 2 October in Istanbul.
 
The 14th High Criminal Court of Istanbul, which is overseeing the retrial, adjourned the case, awaiting the outcome of Justice Ministry’s application before the German authorities for Dündar’s extradition to Turkey and set 6 February 2019 as the date for the next hearing.
 
Saudi journalist goes missing after going to consulate in Istanbul
 
Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist critical of his country’s government, has gone missing after going to the Consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul on 2 October to complete paperwork for his upcoming marriage.
 
Khashoggi's fiancée accompanied him to the building, but she had to wait outside. She did not see him leave.
 
Turkish authorities have said they believe Khashoggi is still there.
 
The Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned Saudi Arabia's ambassador and “asked for an explanation” about the disappearance, but the ambassador told Turkish authorities that he had no information about Khashoggi's whereabouts.
 
Saudi human rights group Prisoners of Conscience allege that Khashoggi was kidnapped and brought to Saudi Arabia, a claim Saudi authorities have denied, saying the journalist left the building after completing his paperwork.
 
Fadıl Öztürk given suspended jail term for his articles, social media posts
 
Fadıl Öztürk, a poet and a regular contributor to the news website Artı Gerçek, was given a prison sentence of 1 year and 10 months for “conducting propaganda for a terrorist organization” in his social media posts and his online articles.
 
The 2nd High Criminal Court of Izmir convicted Öztürk at the end of the hearing on 2 October. The court deferred the sentence by five years.
 
Öztürk had been taken into custody in January as part of the case, and was released under judicial control measures, pending the conclusion of his trial.
 
Özgürlükçü Demokrasi distributor released
 
Barış Polat, a distributor for the shuttered Özgürlükçü Demokrasi newspaper, was released from pretrial detention on 2 October, at the end of the second hearing of his trial.
 
Polat, who is accused of “membership in a terrorist group” and “conducting propaganda for a terrorist organization,” had been in detention on remand for seven months. In his defense statement during the hearing, olat told the court that distributing or selling a newspaper was not a crime, and rejected the accusations.
 
In its interim ruling at the end of the hearing, the 7th High Criminal Court of Gaziantep ruled to release Polat with an international travel ban and adjourned the trial until 20 April 2019.
 
Odak magazine employees taken into custody
 
Three employees of the political magazine Odak were taken into custody during early morning police raids on their homes on 1 October in Ankara. The raids were conducted as part of a criminal investigation launched by the Chief Public Prosecutor of Ankara.
 
Kazım Kızıl trial adjourned until December
 
The latest hearing in a trial where video-activist and documentary maker Kazım Kızıl and 23 others are accused of “insulting the president” and “violating the Law on Protest and Assembly,” was held on 1 October in Izmir.
 
Kızıl and his co-defendants were taken into custody in April 2017 in Izmir during a demonstration held in protest of Turkey’s constitutional referendum results.
 
The 33rd Criminal Court of First ınstance of Izmir adjourned the trial until 19 December 2018.
 
Court lifts travel ban on Boğaziçi students
 
The second hearing of a trial where 30 students from Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University stand accused of “terrorism propaganda” for taking part in an anti-war demonstration on the campus, was held on 3 October at the Istanbul Courthouse.
 
The students are indicted for staging a protest against another group of Boğaziçi students distributing Turkish delights (lokums) on campus to mark Turkey’s military operation on the Syrian town of Afrin.
 
In its interim ruling at the end of the hearing, the the 32nd High Criminal Court of Istanbul ruled to grant all defendants the right to exemption from attending the hearings and lifted their international travel ban. The court set 19 March 2019 as the date for the next hearing.
 
A report about the hearing, monitored by P24, can be accessed here.
 
Six people in Adana taken into custody over social media posts
 
Six individuals in Adana were taken into custody during early morning police raids on their homes. The suspects were accused of “conducting propaganda for a terrorist organization” in their social media posts. The police also confiscated the suspects’ cell phones and other digital material during searches.
 
Defendant acquitted in “propaganda” case
 
A court in Antalya acquitted an individual who goes by the initials S.Ş. of “conducting propaganda for a terrorist organization” in the final hearing of the trial, where the accusations stemmed from the defendant’s social media posts critical of Turkey’s military operation on Syria’s Afrin.
 
S.Ş., a member of Turkey’s Human Rights Association (İHD), was kept in custody for five days during the initial phase of the investigation.
 
The 10th High Criminal Court of Antalya ruled that for the crime to have taken place, “propaganda must have been made about the said terrorist organization’s methods involving violence,” therefore acquitting S.Ş. The court also said in its verdict that S.Ş.’s social media posts deemed by the prosecution to “incite the public to hatred and animosity” were “thoughts that must be tolerated in democratic societies” and that the defendant’s actions were “part of the exercising of freedom of expression.”
 
List of journalists and media workers in prison
 
At least 174 journalists and media workers are in prison in Turkey as of 5 October 2018.
 
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              Bayram Kaya, Zaman reporter
26              Behram Kılıç
27              Beytullah Demir, Cihan news agency deputy general director
28              Beytullah Özdemir, Zaman Düzce bureau chief
29              Burçin Dokgöz, former Zaman and Çorum reporter
30              Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Journalists and Writers’ Foundation
31              Cemal Tunç, Gün Matbaacılık employee
32              Ceren Taşkın, Hatay'ın Sesi
33              Cuma Ulus, Millet newspaper’s publications coordinator
34              Cumali Çaygeç, TRT Şeş news director
35              Cüneyt Seza Özkan, Samanyolu TV
36              Çetin Kurşun, Azadiya Welat
37              Deniz Bakır, Atılım editor in chief
38              Doğan Baran, Odak magazine owner, managing editor
39              Ece Sevim Öztürk, Çağdaş Ses editor in chief
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 Zamur, Gün Matbaacılık employee
46              Erol Yüksel, TRT News Department vice president
47              Erol Zavar, Odak magazine owner and newsroom director
48              Fahri Öztoprak, Cihan/Zaman Samsun correspondent
49              Faruk Akkan, Cihan news agency
50              Ferhat Çiftçi, Azadiya Welat Gaziantep bureau chief
51              Ferhat Haldun Pehlivan, ETHA intern reporter
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              Hasan Hüseyin Örs, former TRT production-broadcast operator
68              Hasan Taşar, former TRT Ankara reporter
69              Hatice Duman, Atılım newspaper owner and managing editor
70              Haydar Ergül, Demokratik Modernite editor
71              Hicran Ürün, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi editor
72              Hidayet Karaca, Samanyolu Media Group president
73              Hüseyin Aydın, Cihan reporter
74              İbrahim Halil Öztürkeri, former TRT production-broadcast operator
75              İdris Okur, Cihan New Agency Çorum reporter
76              İdris Sayılgan, DİHA
77              İdris Yılmaz
78              İhsan Sinmiş, Gün Matbaacılık employee
79              İhsan Yaşar, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi owner
80              İrfan Karaca, Gün Matbaacılık employee
81              İshak Yasul, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi responsible managing editor
82              İsmail Çoban, former Azadiya Welat managing editor
83              İsmail Ersan, Anatolia news agency
84              İsminaz Temel, ETHA editor
85              Kamuran Sunbat, former DİHA Çukurova reporter
86              Kasım Zengin, owner of Gün Matbaacılık
87              Kazım Canlan, Cihan news agency Ankara news director
88              Kazım Göçer, Gün Matbaacılık employee
89              Kemal Demir, TV 10
90              Kemal Özer, Evrensel
91              Kemal Sancılı, Özgür Gündem copyrights holder
92              Kenan Karavil, Radyo Dünya editor-in-chief
93              Kubilay Çelik, Antropolog magazine responsible managing editor
94              Mahmut Abay, Gün Matbaacılık employee
95              Max Zirngast, Re:volt magazine
96              Mehmet Ali Ay
97              Mehmet Ali Çelebi, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi editor
98              Mehmet Baransu, Taraf columnist/reporter
99              Mehmet Dursun
100            Mehmet Emin Sümeli, Gün Matbaacılık employee
101            Mehmet Güleş, DİHA
102            Mehmet Gündem
103            Mehmet Kuru, Zaman Eskişehir reporter
104            Mehmet Sıddık damar, DİHA
105            Meltem Oktay, DİHA reporter
106            Metin Arslan, Bugün reporter
107            Mikail Barut, Özgür Halk former editor
108            Miktat Algül, Mezitli FM broadcast coordinator
109            Mizgin Çay, Radyo Karacadağ
110            Muhammed Sait Kuloğlu, owner of Subuhaber.com
111            Muhsin Pilgir, Zaman and Cihan news agency
112            Murat Çapan, Nokta
113            Murat Dağdeviren, Demokrat Gebze owner
114            Musa Kaya, Gün Matbaacılık employee
115            Mustafa Erkan Acar, Bugün news editor
116            Mustafa Gök, Ankara bureau chief for Ekmek ve Adalet magazine
117            Mustafa Gökkılıç, reporter, Radikal and Habertürk TV
118            Mustafa Göktaş, Özgür Gündem Şanlıurfa reporter
119            Mustafa Ünal, Zaman
120            Mutlu Çölgeçen, Millet, newsroom coordinator
121            Mutlu Özay, Cihan reporter
122            Mümtazer Türköne, Zaman columnist
123            Mürsel Demir, Gün Matbaacılık employee
124            Nadir Yücel, Çorum Yıldız local newspaper editor-in-chief
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            Özden Kınık, TRT
136            Pınar Gayıp, ETHA reporter
137            Polat Arslan, Gün Matbaacılık employee
138            Reyhan Çapan, Özgür Gündem managing editor
139            Reyhan Hacıoğlu, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi editor
140            Sadık Demir, Radyo Karacadağ
141            Sait Gürkan Tuzlu, Cihan reporter
142            Sami Tunca, Mücadele Birliği magazine managing editor
143            Seda Taşkın, Mezopotamya News Agency reporter
144            Semiha Mete, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi reporter/distributor
145            Semiha Şahin, ETHA editor
146            Serhat Şeftali, Zaman regional bureau chief for the Med region
147            Serkan Aydemir, Bitlis Aktüel reporter
148            Serkan Canbaz, TRT Ankara reporter, news editor
149            Serpil Ünal, Mücadele Birliği reporter
150            Sertan Önal, Halkın Günlüğü reporter
151            Seyid Kılıç, TRT News
152            Seyithan Akyüz, Azadiya Welat Adana bureau chief
153            Sezai Yavaş, TRT Diyarbakır deputy regional director
154            Songül Yücel, Önsöz editor in chief
155            Süleyman Acar, Mücadele Birliği editor in chief
156            Şahabettin Demir, DİHA reporter
157            Şeref Yılmaz, Irmak TV
158            Şirin Kabakçı, Zaman Konya bureau chief
159            Togay Okay, Özgür Gelecek
160            Turgut Usul, TRT reporter
161            Ufuk Şanlı, former Vatan columnist
162            Uğur Akgül
163            Uğur Selman Kelekçiler, Gün Matbaacılık employee
164            Ünal Tanık, Rota Haber editor-in-chief
165            Vahit Yazgan, İzmir Zaman bureau chief
166            Veli Büyükşahin, TV10 executive
167            Veli Haydar Güleç, TV10 executive
168            Yakup Çetin, Zaman reporter
169            Yakup Şimşek, Zaman, marketing director
170            Yalçın Güler, TRT (Erzurum)
171            Yetkin Yıldız, Aktif Haber website editor
172            Yılmaz Kahraman, Özgür Halk editor
173            Zehra Doğan, Jinha
174            Ziya Ataman, DİHA reporter

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