Home / Articles / Freedom of Expression and the Press in Turkey - 165

17 November

Freedom of Expression and the Press in Turkey - 165

Thirteen arrested in sweeping operation targeting civil society; reporter Sedat Sur going to prison for news coverage

Betül Tanbay, an academic from the Mathematics Department of Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University, and Turgut Tarhanlı, the dean of Faculty of Law at Bilgi Üniversitesi were among 13 people arrested on 16 November during early morning police raids in a sweeping operation chiefly targeting members of a civil society organization.
The operation was part of an ongoing investigation into Anadolu Kültür Inc., whose Executive Board Chairman Osman Kavala is currently jailed on remand without an indictment. Those who were taken into custody on Friday were accused of “cooperating, in a hierarchical manner, with Kavala in attempting to expand the scope of the Gezi Park protests.”
In addition to Tanbay and Tarhanlı, Anadolu Kültür Executive Board Deputy Chair Yiğit Ekmekçi, executive board member Ali Hakan Altınay, General Coordinator of Anadolu Kültür Asena Günal, Co-Director of Hafıza Merkezi (Truth Justice Memory Center) Meltem Aslan; Bora Sarı from Anadolu Kültür, Ayşegül Güzel, Filiz Telek, Yiğit Aksakoğlu, Yusuf Cıvır, Hande Özhabeş and producer Çiğdem Mater were also taken into custody during Friday’s raids, Bianet reported.
Turgut Tarhanlı, Asena Günal, Bora Sarı, Hande Özhabeş and Meltem Aslan were released later in the day, after giving their statements.
Arrest warrants were issued for a total of 20 people as part of the investigation, reports said.
Lawyers said their access to the investigation file was restricted.
Sedat Sur going to prison for news coverage
Sedat Sur, a reporter for the online media outlet Özgürüz.org, who was given an 11-month jail term last week for his news coverage and social media posts concerning the government-appointed trustees of the Mardin Municipality, is going to prison on 19 November to serve that sentence.
An investigation was launched into the journalist in 2017 following his report, which was about corruption allegations concerning the municipality. Upon the investigation’s completion, the Mardin Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued an indictment against the journalist, accusing Sur of “making the trustees a target,” “insult” and “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization.” At the final hearing of that court case last week on 9 November, the trial court convicted Sur of the “propaganda” charge and gave him a jail term of 11 months and 20 days. The court did not defer the sentence because of a previous conviction.
Sur is now headed to prison. Since his jail term is less than a year, normally Sur will have to be freed, but the journalist will still have to remain behind bars until his papers are formally submitted to the prison management.
Speaking to the online news portal Gazete Karınca about his looming imprisonment, Sur said: “Journalists are supposed to cover the news. If there are errors in a news report, then the journalist runs a correction. But my coverage has still not been denied.”
Trial into Selman Keleş and Arif Aslan adjourned
The latest hearing in a trial where the shuttered Dicle Medya News Agency (Dihaber) reporter Selman Keleş and journalist Arif Aslan are charged with “membership in a terrorist organization” was held on  15 November in the eastern province of Van. The 5th High Criminal Court of Van adjourned the trial until 21 March 2019.
Keleş and Aslan were jailed pending trial in Van and released at the end of their first hearing on 21 November 2017, after spending eight months in pretrial detention.
Ali Ünal acquitted of coup charge, given 19.5 years for “leading terrorist group”
Ali Ünal, a former columnist for the shuttered daily Zaman, appeared before a court in the Uşak province on 14 November for the final hearing of his trial on “coup” and terrorism-related charges, facing two aggravated life sentences and an additional prison sentence of up to 29.5 years.
Issuing its verdict at the end of the hearing, the 2nd High Criminal Court of Uşak acquitted Ünal of the “coup” charge but convicted him of “establishing and leading an armed terrorist organization” and imposed on Ünal a prison sentence of 19 years and 6 months.
A report about the hearing, monitored by P24, can be accessed here.
Atılım editor in chief Deniz Bakır released from jail
Deniz Bakır, the jailed editor in chief of the Atılım newspaper, was released from prison under judicial control measures on 14 November at the end of the second hearing of his trial.
Bakır had been jailed pending trial for the past nine months on account of his critical statements concerning Turkey’s military operation targeting the Syrian city of Afrin. He is standing trial alongside M. Bedran Çoğaltay and Bedirhan Karayer, two members of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP).
Bakır is accused of “membership in a terrorist group.”
The 27th High Criminal Court of Istanbul, which oversees the case, set 7 February 2019 as the date for he next hearing.
Appellate court quashes prison sentence given to Ayla Albayrak
An appellate court in Gaziantep on 13 November quashed a prison sentence given to journalist Ayla Albayrak, the former Turkey correspondent of The Wall Street Journal.
In October 2017, a High Criminal Court in Cizre had sentenced Albayrak to a prison term of 2 years and 1 month on the charge of “disseminating propaganda for the PKK” in an article published in the WSJ.
The appellate court overturned the trial court’s verdict for procedural reasons on the grounds that the legislation concerning the statute of limitations for opening a lawsuit had been overlooked. The appellate court did not render judgment as to the merits of the case.
Sendika.org editor Ali Ergin Demirhan briefly detained
Police on 13 November took Sendika.org editor Ali Ergin Demirhan into custody at the Istanbul office of the news portal. Demirhan was detained because the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office wanted to take Demirhan’s statement as part of an investigation. The grounds for the investigation were a campaign song used by the Peoples’ Democratic party (HDP) for the 16 April referendum, and a cartoon depicting the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to be posted on Sendika.org. Demirhan was released the same day after giving his statement.
Indictment into jailed reporter Kibriye Evren accepted
The Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court this week accepted an indictment into Kibriye Evren, a reporter for Jin News, who was jailed pending trial in October as part of a sweeping operation launched in Diyarbakır. The first hearing of Evren’s trial is set to take place on 6 December 2018.
The indictment accuses Evren of “membership in a terrorist organization” and “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization.” The accusations in the 25-page indictment are based on testimony by secret witnesses and tip-offs. Evren’s social media posts and her international travels are held as evidence against Evren, as well as membership of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK).
Journalist Deniz Nazlım gives statement as part of investigation
Deniz Nazlım, a reporter for the Mezopotamya news agency (MA), on 12 November reported to the Ankara Courthouse to give his statement as part of an investigation where he faced an arrest warrant.
Nazlım’s house was raided by police on 9 November as part of an operation in the Turkish capital, during which police took academic Cenk Yiğiter and several others into custody. Nazlım’s house was raided by police during the same operation.
MA reported that the prosecutor asked Nazlım questions about his phone conversations with his sources and the agency headquarters, as well as his social media posts. Nazlım was released after giving his statement.
Actress appears before court for social media post
Actress Berna Laçin on 13 November appeared before an Istanbul court for the first hearing of a case in which she is accused of “publicly insulting religious beliefs held by a part of the society” in a Twitter post.
Laçin and her lawyers were in attendance at the Istanbul Anadolu 59th Criminal Court of First Instance for the hearing. In her defense statement, Laçin rejected the accusations in the indictment and requested for her acquittal.
The court adjourned the trial for defense lawyers to submit their statement in written form.
The indictment seeks up to 1 year imprisonment for the actress.
List of journalists and media workers in prison
After Deniz Bakır’s release from prison during the week, by mid-November, at least 174 journalists and media workers are in prison in Turkey, either in pretrial detention or serving a sentence.
The full list can be accessed here.
1                Abdulkadir Turay, DİHA reporter
2                Abdullah Dirican, Zaman local news editor
3                Abdullah Kaya, DİHA
4                Abdullah Kılıç, Habertürk
5                Abdullah Özyurt, Zaman reporter
6                Abdulvahap İş, freelance journalist
7                Adil Demirci, ETHA reporter
8                Ahmet Altan
9                Ahmet Feyzullah Özyurt
10              Ahmet Memiş, Haberdar news website
11              Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Zaman
12              Ahmet Yavaş, TRT (Erzurum)
13              Ali Ahmet Böken, TRT News coordinator
14              Ali Akkuş, Zaman
15              Ali Aşikar, Azadiya Welat
16              Ali Babür Boysal, Zaman page designer
17              Ali Ünal, Zaman columnist
18              Ali Yüce, TRT Radio broadcasts chief
19              Arafat Dayan, Demokratik Ulus
20              Aslı Ceren Aslan, Özgür Gelecek
21              Atilla Taş, Meydan columnist
22              Ayşe Nazlı Ilıcak
23              Ayşenur Parıldak, Zaman, Haberdar
24              Aytekin Gezici, journalist/writer
25              Aziz İstegün, Diyarbakır Zaman representative
26              Bayram Kaya, Zaman reporter
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              Doğan Baran, Odak magazine owner, managing editor
38              Ece Sevim Öztürk, Çağdaş Ses editor in chief
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 Zamur, Gün Matbaacılık employee
45              Erol Yüksel, TRT News Department vice president
46              Erol Zavar, Odak magazine owner and newsroom director
47              Fahri Öztoprak, Cihan/Zaman Samsun correspondent
48              Faruk Akkan, Cihan news agency
49              Ferhat Çiftçi, Azadiya Welat Gaziantep bureau chief
50              Ferhat Haldun Pehlivan, ETHA intern reporter
51              Ferhat Parlak, Silvan Mücadele newspaper owner
52              Fevzi Yazıcı, Zaman chief designer
53              Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Türksolu columnist
54              Gurbet Çakar, Hevi women’s magazine
55              Gültekin Avcı
56              Habip Güler, Zaman reporter
57              Hakan Aksel, TRT producer-director
58              Hakan Ergün, Azadiya Welat and Özgür Gündem distributor
59              Hakan Taşdelen
60              Halil İbrahim Mert, TRT (Erzurum)
61              Hamit Dilbahar, Azadiya Welat columnist
62              Hamza Günerigök, TRT
63              Hanım Büşra Erdal, Zaman reporter and columnist
64              Hasan Bzokurt, Bugün reporter
65              Hasan Duman, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi distributor
66              Hasan Hüseyin Örs, former TRT production-broadcast operator
67              Hasan Taşar, former TRT Ankara reporter
68              Hatice Duman, Atılım newspaper owner and managing editor
69              Haydar Ergül, Demokratik Modernite editor
70              Hicran Ürün, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi editor
71              Hidayet Karaca, Samanyolu Media Group president
72              Hüseyin Aydın, Cihan reporter
73              İbrahim Halil Öztürkeri, former TRT production-broadcast operator
74              İdris Okur, Cihan New Agency Çorum reporter
75              İdris Sayılgan, DİHA
76              İdris Yılmaz
77              İhsan Sinmiş, Gün Matbaacılık employee
78              İhsan Yaşar, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi owner
79              İrfan Karaca, Gün Matbaacılık employee
80              İshak Yasul, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi responsible managing editor
81              İsmail Çoban, former Azadiya Welat managing editor
82              İsmail Ersan, Anatolia news agency
83              İsminaz Temel, ETHA editor
84              Kamuran Sunbat, former DİHA Çukurova reporter
85              Kasım Zengin, owner of Gün Matbaacılık
86              Kazım Canlan, Cihan news agency Ankara news director
87              Kazım Göçer, Gün Matbaacılık employee
88              Kemal Demir, TV 10
89              Kemal Özer, Evrensel
90              Kemal Sancılı, Özgür Gündem copyrights holder
91              Kenan Karavil, Radyo Dünya editor-in-chief
92              Kibriye Evren, JinNews reporter
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 re


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