Freedom of Expression and the Press in Turkey – 152

10 former TRT employees convicted of “membership in terrorist group”; Oğuz Güven given 5-month jail sentence



The Istanbul 23rd High Criminal Court, which accepted the indictment into the former owner and 10 employees of the shuttered Karşı newspaper, has issued arrest warrants for five of the indicted journalists.
The state-run Anadolu news agency reported on 2 August that the court ordered that arrest warrants be issued for journalists Alaaddin Akkaşoğlu, Değer Özergün, Mehmet Aydoğmuş, Murat Kazancı and Onur Kala, whom the indictment accuses of being users of ByLock, an encrypted messaging app purported tobe exclusively used by the members of the Fethullah Gülen network, which the government accuses of being the perpetrators behind the 15 July 2916 coup attempt.
The indictment, issued in May, seeks up to 18 years in prison each for Karşı reporter Ufuk Emin Köroğlu and former editor in chief of the shuttered Millet daily on charges of “membership in an armed terrorist organization” and “disclosing the identities of public officials who have taken part in the fight against terrorism.”
The indictment also seeks up to 15 years of imprisonment for Alaaddin Akkaşoğlu, the owner of the newspaper’s website, karşı, and a partner of the shuttered Akis Publications; karşı chief editor Mehmet Aydoğmuş; Our Kala, who is purported to be the owner of the Twitter account “@Fedakarkisi”; Murat Kazancı, the news director for the hardcopy; and Emrah Direk, on the charge of “membership in an armed terrorist organization.” Also indicted is Kutlu Esendemir, the newspaper’s general coordinator, for “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed terrorist organization without being its member.” He too faces 15 years in prison.
The indictment did not seek jail terms for the newspaper’s former owner, Turan Ababey, reporter Emre Erciş, and responsible managing editor Mehmet Bozkurt, who were charged with “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed terrorist organization without being its member.” Instead the prosecution asked that they benefit from effective remorse.
The Istanbul 23rd High Criminal Court, in addition to issuing arrest warrants, also ruled that the file be merged with an ongoing case against Eren Erdem, a former opposition MP, who was jailed pending trial on 29 June on accusations stemming from his time as Karşı editor in chief. The trial court overseeing Erdem’s case accepted to merge both case files, but ruled that the trial be overseen by the 23rd High Criminal Court. The case file was then referred to an appellate court, which will determine which of the two trial courts will have jurisdiction over the case.
Akkaşoğlu sentenced to prison
Akkaşoğlu, sought by the Istanbul 23rd High Criminal Court as part of the Karşı trial, has already been sentenced to a prison term in July in a separate trial. The final hearing of that trial was held on 6 July at the Kütahya 2nd High Criminal Court. Akkaşoğlu gave his final defense statement at the hearing, rejecting all the accusations against him, including the allegation that he was a ByLock user. The court convicted Akkaşoğlu of “FETÖ membership” and sentenced him to 8 years and 9 months in prison.
Former TRT employees convicted of “membership in terrorist group”
Ten former employees of the Turkish state broadcaster TRT were given jail terms between 6 years and 3 months and 8 years and 9 months for “membership in an armed terrorist organization” in the final hearing of the case.
A total of 21 former TRT employees who had been dismissed from their posts in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016 on allegations of “FETÖ membership” were standing trial in the case, overseen by the Ankara 23rd High Criminal Court.
Jailed defendants Hasan Hüseyin Örs, İbrahim Halil Öztürkeri and Hasan Taşar were each sentenced to 8 years and 9 months in prison while another jailed defendant, Özden Kınık, was given 8 years 1 month and 15 days in prison. The court also ruled for the continuation of all four’s detention.
The court gave Kemal Erdem, Hasan Basri Erden, Mehmet Ali̇ Öget and Mustafa Ünal 7.5 year-prison terms each, while İdris Selçuk was given 6 years and 3 months. Another defendant referred to in court documents by the initials A.F. and who had requested to benefit from effective remorse was given a suspended jail term of 1.5 years and 22 days.
One of the defendants, Hanife Sayılır, was acquitted of all charges, while the rest of the defendants’ files were separated. Cavit Atasever, Mustafa Altıntaş, Servet Dağ, Mustafa Yazkan, Cihangir Çetin, Hüsamettin Kıroğlu, Osman Zeybek, Murat Kirti and Mustafa Beyhan will continue standing trial.
Öget and Kirti were released pending the conclusion of the trial at the end of  a previous hearing of the case in October 2017.
Hale Gönültaş receives threat for ISIS coverage
Ankara-based journalist Hale Gönültaş received an anonymous phone call on her mobile phone earlier this week in which a male voice threatened her following her recent stories covering ISIS child slave trade for the online newspaper Gazete Duvar.
Gönültaş said the caller told her that “jihad” would “come to this country” and told her “to watch her step.”
Gönültaş had reported based on her interviews with Yazidi women who escaped ISIS that the terrorist group had sold a Yazidi girl in Ankara around two months ago, and that some 3,500 Yazidi women were still missing.
Gönültaş’s lawyer said legal action would be taken to identify the person who threatened her.
JinNews director to stand trial on “propaganda” charge
Feminist news collective JinNews’ news director Safiye Alağaş will be standing trial on the charge of “conducting propaganda for a terrorist organization,” facing up to 5 years in prison.
The case was opened after Turkey’s Internet watchdog, Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK), filed a criminal complaint with the Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor’s Office alleging “propaganda” in dispatches by JinNews.
Several of the collective’s dispatches about Turkey’s military operation on Syria’s Afrin and several op/ed pieces featured on its website were cited among grounds for the accusations in the indictment.
The case will get underway on 11 December 2018 at the 4th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır.
Oğuz Güven given suspended jail sentence for Charlie Hebdo cartoon
Oğuz Güven, the former web editor for Cumhuriyet daily, was given a 5-month suspended prison sentence for publishing a controversial Charlie Hebdo cartoon in the newspaper’s website.
Güven was on trial for “inciting the public to hatred and animosity” at Istanbul’s 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance, which rendered its verdict at the end of the final hearing of the case on 12 July.
Giving his final defense statement during the hearing, Güven told the court that the cartoon was published online because two other Cumuriyet columnists were standing trial on that day for featuring the said cartoon in their respective columns in the paper. Güven also said the cartoon remained online for about 15 minutes, after which it was removed, and requested for his acquittal.
Announcing his verdict at the end of the hearing, the judge initially sentenced Güven to 6 months in prison on grounds that the cartoon was blasphemous for Muslims. The judge then reduced the sentence to 5 months taking into account Güven’s attitude throughout the proceeding, and deferred the sentence by 1 year.
Other free expression cases of the past week
Yunus Ozan Korkut, the director of a documentary titled “Benim Varoş Hikâyem” (My ghetto story) and five actors from the film’s cast will be standing trial on charges of “praising crime and criminals” and “inciting drug use” through the film. The lawsuit will get underway on 30 January 2019 and will be heard by an Adana court in the Ceyhan Courthouse, Korkut announced on his Twitter account.
People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Istanbul MP Erkan Baş is under investigation for “insulting the president” in his social media posts. The investigation was launched because Baş used the word “dictator” in one of his posts about the president.
A factory worker who goes by the initials M.E. was taken into custody on 3 August in the northwestern town of  Çorlu, Tekirdağ, on allegations that he “insulted the president” on social media.
P24 updates its list of jailed journalists and media workers
P24 updated its list of Journalists in Prison, compiled using information available in open sources.
Dismissed TRT employees Hasan Hüseyin Örs, İbrahim Halil Öztürkeri, Hasan Taşar and Özden Kınık, who were sentenced to prison by the Ankara 23rd High Criminal Court earlier in the week, were added to the list, bringing the number of jailed journalists and media workers in Turkey to at least 181.
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              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 Daşdöğen, Gün Matbaacılık employee
90              Kemal Demir, TV 10
91              Kemal Özer, Evrensel
92              Kemal Sancılı, Özgür Gündem copyrights holder
93              Kenan Karavil, Radyo Dünya editor-in-chief
94              Kubilay Çelik, Antropolog magazine responsible managing editor
95              Mahmut Abay, Gün Matbaacılık employee
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 Kadir Özkara, Gün Matbaacılık employee
104            Mehmet Kuru, Zaman Eskişehir reporter
105            Mehmet Sıddık damar, DİHA
106            Meltem Oktay, DİHA reporter
107            Metin Arslan, Bugün reporter
108            Mikail Barut, Özgür Halk former editor
109            Miktat Algül, Mezitli FM broadcast coordinator
110            Mizgin Çay, Radyo Karacadağ
111            Muhammed Sait Kuloğlu, owner of
112            Muhammet Özkan, Gün Matbaacılık employee
113            Muhsin Pilgir, Zaman and Cihan news agency
114            Murat Çapan, Nokta
115            Murat Dağdeviren, Demokrat Gebze owner
116            Musa Kaya, Gün Matbaacılık employee
117            Mustafa Erkan Acar, Bugün news editor
118            Mustafa Gök, Ankara bureau chief for Ekmek ve Adalet magazine
119            Mustafa Gökkılıç, reporter, Radikal and Habertürk TV
120            Mustafa Göktaş, Özgür Gündem Şanlıurfa reporter
121            Mustafa Ünal, Zaman
122            Mutlu Çölgeçen, Millet, newsroom coordinator
123            Mutlu Özay, Cihan reporter
124            Mümtazer Türköne, Zaman columnist
125            Mürsel Demir, Gün Matbaacılık employee
126            Nadir Yücel, Çorum Yıldız local newspaper editor-in-chief
127            Necat Hizarcı, Gün Matbaacılık employee
128            Nedim Türfent, DİHA
129            Nizamettin İzgi, Batman newspaper owner
130            Nuh Gönültaş, Bugün columnist
131            Nuri Durna, TRT
132            Nuri Yeşil, Azadiya Welat Dersim bureau chief
133            Nurullah Kaya, Gaziantep Zaman representative
134            Oğuz Usluer, Habertürk former broadcasts coordinator
135            Osman Yakut, Zaman Antalya
136            Ömer Oruç, Cihan newspaper
137            Özcan Keser, TRT reporter
138            Özden Kınık, TRT
139            Özgür Bozkurt, Gün Matbaacılık employee
140            Pınar Gayıp, ETHA reporter
141            Pınar Tarlak, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi employee
142            Polat Arslan, Gün Matbaacılık employee
143            Reyhan Çapan, Özgür Gündem managing editor
144            Reyhan Hacıoğlu, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi editor
145            Sadettin Demirtaş, Gün Matbaacılık employee
146            Sadık Demir, Radyo Karacadağ
147            Sait Gürkan Tuzlu, Cihan reporter
148            Salih Erbekler, Radyo Karacadağ
149            Sami Tunca, Mücadele Birliği magazine managing editor
150            Seda Taşkın, Mezopotamya News Agency reporter
151            Semiha Mete, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi reporter/distributor
152            Semiha Şahin, ETHA editor
153            Serhat Şeftali, Zaman regional bureau chief for the Med region
154            Serkan Aydemir, Bitlis Aktüel reporter
155            Serpil Ünal, Mücadele Birliği reporter
156            Sertan Önal, Halkın Günlüğü reporter
157            Seyid Kılıç, TRT News
158            Seyithan Akyüz, Azadiya Welat Adana bureau chief
159            Sezai Yavaş, TRT Diyarbakır deputy regional director
160            Songül Yücel, Önsöz editor in chief
161            Süleyman Acar, Mücadele Birliği editor in chief
162            Süleyman Güneş, Gün Matbaacılık employee
163            Şahabettin Demir, DİHA reporter
164            Şeref Yılmaz, Irmak TV
165            Şirin Kabakçı, Zaman Konya bureau chief
166            Togay Okay, Özgür Gelecek
167            Turgut Usul, TRT reporter
168            Ufuk Şanlı, former Vatan columnist
169            Uğur Selman Kelekçiler, Gün Matbaacılık employee
170            Ünal Tanık, Rota Haber editor-in-chief
171            Vahit Yazgan, İzmir Zaman bureau chief
172            Veli Büyükşahin, TV10 executive
173            Veli Haydar Güleç, TV10 executive
174            Yakup Çetin, Zaman reporter
175            Yakup Şimşek, Zaman, marketing director
176            Yalçın Güler, TRT (Erzurum)
177            Yener Dönmez, Habervaktim news website
178            Yetkin Yıldız, Aktif Haber website editor
179            Yılmaz Kahraman, Özgür Halk editor
180            Zehra Doğan, Jinha
181            Ziya Ataman, DİHA reporter