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06 May

Freedom of Expression and the Press in Turkey - 189

Constitutional Court rejects applications of Ahmet Altan, Nazlı Ilıcak and 5 former Cumhuriyet journalists

 
 Turkey’s Constitutional Court on 3 May 2019 rejected the individual application of jailed novelist and journalist Ahmet Altan, finding no rights violations in his file that had been pending before the court since November 2016. The court also rejected the application of Nazlı Ilıcak, Altan’s co-defendant in the “coup” case.
 
Altan and Ilıcak’s files were among 10 individual applications by journalists reviewed by the top court’s Plenary over two days, on 2 and 3 May. The other applications were those filed on behalf of former Cumhuriyet staff members Murat Sabuncu, Ahmet Şık, Akın Atalay, Kadri Gürsel, Bülent Utku and Önder Çelik, former Zaman columnist Ali Bulaç and journalist Murat Aksoy.
 
The court ruled that Kadri Gürsel, Murat Aksoy and Ali Bulaç’s rights to personal liberty and security had been violated.
 
A report about the Constitutional Court rulings can be found here.
 
The top court also ruled on the individual application of jailed reporter Ziya Ataman recently. The court rejected Ataman’s application, finding his claim that his right to personal liberty and security to be “ill-founded” and his claim that his right to a fair trial was violated inadmissible because “all legal remedies have not been exhausted.”
 
Mezopotamya news agency reporter taken into custody
 
Barış Polat, an intern reporter for the Mezopotamya news agency, was taken into custody on 3 May at the entrance of the Şanlıurfa Courthouse, where he was covering a news story. Polat was detained on the grounds that he was taking photographs inside the courthouse.
 
11 doctors convicted in Turkish Medical Association trial
 
The trial into 11 members of the Turkish Medical Association’s (TTB) 2016-2018 Central Committee on charges of “inciting the public to hatred and animosity” and “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization” on account of an anti-war declaration they issued in January 2018, concluded on 3 May 2019.
 
The 32nd High Criminal Court of Ankara convicted all 11 defendants in the case of “inciting the public to hatred and animosity” and gave each defendant two 10-month prison sentences. The court convicted one defendant of “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist group” for her social media posts and gave her a prison term of 1 year, 6 months and 22 days. The court did not defer the sentences.
 
The case stemmed from the TTB Central Committee’s declaration issued on 24 January 2018 and titled “War is a public health problem,” in response to Turkey’s military operation on the Syrian city of Afrin.
 
Former TV10 staff members’ trial adjourned
 
The second hearing of the trial into two former employees of the shuttered TV station TV10, camera operator Kemal Demir and staff member Kemal Karagöz, took place on 2 May in Istanbul. Both Demir and Karagöz are charged with “membership in a terrorist group” in the case, overseen by the 28th High Criminal Court of Istanbul.
 
Demir and Karagöz were taken into custody in December 2017. At the end of the detention period, Demir was jailed pending trial while Karagöz was released under judicial control measures. The first hearing of their trial took place on 3 July 2018, but the 28th High Criminal Court of IStanbul ruled at the end of the hearing to send the case file to a criminal court in Mersin on the grounds that it had no jurisdiction over the case. However, the Mersin court also ruled that it had no jurisdiction and the case file ended up at the Supreme Court of Appeals, which ruled that the original trial court had jurisdiction. The 28th High Criminal Court of Istanbul, reevaluating the case file after the Supreme Court of Appeals’ decision, ruled on 8 February 2019 for Demir’s release pending trial.
 
P24 monitored the second hearing, where both Demir and Karagöz were in attendance, accompanied by their lawyers. Rebecca Harms, a German Member of the European Parliament (MEP), and Caroline Stockford, Turkey Advocacy Coordinator at International Press Institute (IPI), were among those observing the hearing to support Demir and Karagöz.
 
Both Demir and Karagöz addressed the court during the hearing, rejecting the accusations. Karagöz’s lawyer Hüseyin Çalışçı asked the court to lift the judicial control measure imposed on his client. Demir’s lawyer Seyit Demir asked the court to lift his client’s international travel ban because it prevented him from seeing his relatives who live abroad.
 
In its interim ruling at the end of the hearing, the court ruled for the continuation of Demir’s travel ban while lifting the judicial control measure imposed on Karagöz. The court granted both defendants exemption from personal appearance in the courtroom and adjourned the trial until 10 September 2019.
 
“Bakur trial” adjourned until July
 
A trial where journalist Ertuğrul Mavioğlu and filmmaker Çayan Demirel are charged with “propaganda” for a documentary they co-directed titled Bakur (North) resumed on 2 May at the 2nd High Criminal Court of Batman.
 
Both Mavioğlu and Demirel, as well as their lawyers, were in attendance at the sixth hearing in the trial, monitored by P24. MPs Ayşe Acar Başaran and Ahmet Şık, representatives from the Association of Documentary Filmmakers of Turkey, journalists from the Altyazı film magazine, academics, filmmakers and stage actors were among those who came to Batman to observe the hearing and lend support to Mavioğlu and Demirel.
 
At the beginning of the hearing, the judges announced that it had recently come to their attention that a separate criminal investigation into Mavioğlu on the charge of “propaganda” was under way in Ankara.
 
In their interim decision, the court ruled to inquire of the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office about the investigation into Mavioğlu and ask for a copy of the investigation file. The court also decided to grant additional time to the defendants for their statements in response to the prosecutor’s final opinion of the case and adjourned the trial until 18 July.
 
Musician Ferhat Tunç faces new arrest warrant
 
A new arrest warrant has been issued for musician Ferhat Tunç as part of an ongoing trial where he stands accused of “membership in an armed terrorist group” and “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist group.” The 5th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır issued the warrant at the end of the latest hearing of the trial on 2 May, where Tunç was represented by his lawyer. Tunç, who now lives abroad, was not in attendance. The court adjourned the trial until 17 October 2019.
 
Court keeps Adil Demirci’s travel ban in place
 
Etkin news agency (ETHA) reporter Adil Demirci on 30 April appeared before an Istanbul court for his trial on the charges of “membership in a terrorist group” and “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist group.” This was the fifth hearing in the case, overseen by the 25th High Criminal Court of Istanbul.
 
P24 monitored the hearing, which was also observed by representatives from the German Consulate-General in Istanbul.
 
Demirci is among 23 defendants in the case. Of the 23, four are in pre-trial detention. Demirci was released at the end of the previous hearing.
 
The prosecutor asked the court to release the remaining jailed defendants based on available evidence and the time they spent in detention.
 
During the hearing, the presiding judge asked Demirci about a criminal intelligence report alleging that Demirci “went to Syria and Iraq as a courier.” Demirci denied the allegation and told the court that he has never been to Syria or Iraq. Demirci requested the court to lift his travel ban.
 
Demirci’s lawyer Keleş Öztürk then addressed the court. He said the intelligence report about Demirci was an unlawfully drafted document and should therefore be removed from the case file. Öztürk also asked the court to lift the travel ban on Demirci, who holds dual German and Turkish citizenship and whose relatives live in Germany.
 
In its interim ruling at the end of the hearing, the court ruled to release all four detained defendants pending trial. The court refused to lift the judicial control measures imposed on Demirci and adjourned the trial until 15 October 2019.
 
Yurt newspaper chief editor briefly detained
 
Ali Avcu, the editor-in-chief of Yurt newspaper, was taken into custody on 30 April at the Alibeyköy Police Station in Istanbul. Avcu was later referred to the Kartal Courthouse, where he was released after giving his statement. Avcu was detained on the grounds of a book he wrote in 2018.
 
Compensation case against journalist Uludağ sent to commercial court
 
A compensation case filed against journalist Alican Uludağ by the market chain BİM, seeking TL 250,000 in non-pecuniary damages for a news report Uludağ penned for the Cumhuriyet daily, got under way on 30 April in an Istanbul court.
 
P24 monitored the hearing. BİM is accusing Uludağ of damaging the company’s brand through his report and two social media posts.
 
Uludağ’s lawyer addressed the Anadolu 9th Civil Court of First Instance for Uludağ’ defense during the hearing, explaining to the court that Uludağ’s tweets and his report were part of the freedom of the press.
 
At the end of the hearing, the Anadolu 9th Civil Court of First Instance ruled that it had no jurisdiction over the case and sent the case file to a commercial court.
 
List of journalists and media workers in prison
 
As of 3 May 2019, at least 146 journalists and media workers are in prison in Turkey, either in pre-trial 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       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 Ünal, Zaman columnist
16     Ali Yüce, TRT Radio broadcasts chief
17     Arafat Dayan, Demokratik Ulus
18     Aslı Ceren Aslan, Özgür Gelecek
19     Ayşe Düzkan
20     Ayşenur Parıldak, Zaman, Haberdar
21     Aytekin Gezici, journalist/writer
22     Aziz İstegün, Diyarbakır Zaman representative
23     Bayram Kaya, Zaman reporter
24     Beytullah Özdemir, Zaman Düzce bureau chief
25     Burçin Dokgöz, former Zaman and Çorum reporter
26     Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Journalists and Writers’ Foundation
27     Ceren Taşkın, Hatay Ses
28     Cuma Ulus, Millet newspaper’s publications coordinator
29     Cüneyt Seza Özkan, Samanyolu TV
30     Çetin Kurşun, Azadiya Welat
31     Doğan Baran, Odak magazine owner, managing editor
32     Emin Demir, freelancer
33     Emre İper, Cumhuriyet accounting dept. staff
34     Emre Soncan, Zaman defense reporter
35     Ercan Gün, Fox TV
36     Erdal Süsem, Eylül magazine editor
37     Erdal Şen, former Meydan managing editor
38     Eren Erdem, Karşı newspaper former editor-in-chief
39     Erol Yüksel, TRT News Department vice president
40     Erol Zavar, Odak magazine owner and newsroom director
41     Fahri Öztoprak, Cihan/Zaman Samsun correspondent
42     Faruk Akkan, Cihan news agency
43     Ferhat Çiftçi, Azadiya Welat Gaziantep bureau chief
44     Ferhat Parlak, Silvan Mücadele newspaper owner
45     Fevzi Yazıcı, Zaman chief designer
46     Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Türksolu columnist
47     Gurbet Çakar, Hevi women’s magazine
48     Gültekin Avcı
49     Güray Tekin Öz, former columnist Cumhuriyet
50     Habip Güler, Zaman reporter
51     Hakan Aksel, TRT producer-director
52     Hakan Ergün, Azadiya Welat and Özgür Gündem distributor
53     Hakan Karasinir, former columnist Cumhuriyet
54     Hakan Taşdelen
55     Halil İbrahim Mert, TRT (Erzurum)
56     Hamit Dilbahar, Azadiya Welat columnist
57     Hamza Günerigök, TRT
58     Hanım Büşra Erdal, Zaman reporter and columnist
59     Harun Çümen, Zaman former managing editor
60     Hasan Bozkurt, Bugün reporter
61     Hasan Duman, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi distributor
62     Hasan Hüseyin Örs, former TRT production-broadcast operator
63     Hasan Taşar, former TRT Ankara reporter
64     Hatice Duman, Atılım newspaper owner and managing editor
65     Hidayet Karaca, Samanyolu Media Group president
66     Hüseyin Aydın, Cihan reporter
67     İbrahim Halil Öztürkeri, former TRT production-broadcast operator
68     İdris Okur, Cihan New Agency Çorum reporter
69     İdris Sayılgan, DİHA
70     İdris Yılmaz
71     İhsan Yaşar, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi owner
72     İsmail Çoban, former Azadiya Welat managing editor
73     İsmail Ersan, Anatolia news agency
74     İsmail Evren, Nokta magazine news director
75     Kamuran Sunbat, former DİHA Çukurova reporter
76     Kazım Canlan, Cihan news agency Ankara news director
77     Kemal Sancılı, Özgür Gündem copyrights holder
78     Kenan Karavil, Radyo Dünya editor-in-chief
79     Kibriye Evren, JinNews reporter
80     Mehmet Ali Ay
81     Mehmet Ali Çelebi, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi editor
82     Mehmet Ali Genç, Atılım newspaper responsible managing editor
83     Mehmet Baransu, Taraf columnist/reporter
84     Mehmet Güleş, DİHA
85     Mehmet Gündem
86     Mehmet Kuru, Zaman Eskişehir reporter
87     Mehmet Sıddık damar, DİHA
88     Meltem Oktay, DİHA reporter
89     Metin Arslan, Bugün reporter
90     Mikail Barut, Özgür Halk former editor
91     Miktat Algül, Mezitli FM broadcast coordinator
92     Muhammed Sait Kuloğlu, owner of Subuhaber.com
93     Muhsin Pilgir, Zaman and Cihan news agency
94     Murat Çapan, Nokta
95     Murat Dağdeviren, Demokrat Gebze owner
96     Musa Kart, former cartoonist Cumhuriyet
97     Mustafa Erkan Acar, Bugün news editor
98     Mustafa Gök, Ankara bureau chief for Ekmek ve Adalet magazine
99     Mustafa Gökkılıç, reporter, Radikal and Habertürk TV
100    Mustafa Göktaş, Özgür Gündem Şanlıurfa reporter
101    Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Cumhuriyet Foundation former board member
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 newspaper editor-in-chief
107    Nazlı Ilıcak
108    Nedim Türfent, DİHA
109    Nizamettin İzgi, Batman newspaper owner
110    Nuh Gönültaş, Bugün columnist
111    Nuri Durna, TRT
112    Nuri Yeşil, Azadiya Welat Dersim bureau chief
113    Nurullah Kaya, Gaziantep Zaman representative
114    Oğuz Usluer, Habertürk former broadcasts coordinator
115    Osman Yakut, Zaman Antalya
116    Ömer Oruç, Cihan newspaper
117    Önder Çelik, Cumhuriyet Foundation former board member
118    Özcan Keser, TRT reporter
119    Özden Kınık, TRT
120    Pınar Gayıp, ETHA reporter
121    Reyhan Hacıoğlu, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi editor
122    Sadık Demir, Radyo Karacadağ
123    Sait Gürkan Tuzlu, Cihan reporter
124    Sami Tunca, Mücadele Birliği magazine managing editor
125    Sedat Laçiner, Haberdar news portal
126    Semiha Mete, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi reporter/distributor
127    Semiha Şahin, ETHA editor
128    Serhat Şeftali, Zaman regional bureau chief for the Med region
129    Serkan Aydemir, Bitlis Aktüel reporter
130    Sertan Önal, Halkın Günlüğü reporter
131    Seyid Kılıç, TRT News
132    Seyithan Akyüz, Azadiya Welat Adana bureau chief
133    Şahabettin Demir, DİHA reporter
134    Şeref Yılmaz, Irmak TV
135    Turgut Usul, TRT reporter
136    Ufuk Şanlı, former Vatan columnist
137    Uğur Akgül
138    Uğur Yılmaz, former Bitlis Municipality press desk employee
139    Ünal Tanık, Rota Haber editor-in-chief
140    Vahit Yazgan, İzmir Zaman bureau chief
141    Yakup Çetin, Zaman reporter
142    Yakup Şimşek, Zaman, marketing director
143    Yalçın Güler, TRT (Erzurum)
144    Yetkin Yıldız, Aktif Haber website editor
145    Yılmaz Kahraman, Özgür Halk editor
146    Ziya Ataman, DİHA reporter

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