Freedom of Expression and the Press in Turkey – 154

Şirin Kabakçı ordered to remain behind bars after 2nd hearing; Mehmet Gündem appears before court for 1st hearing after 9 months in detention



Şirin Kabakçı, former Konya bureau chief for the now closed-down Zaman daily, on 16 August appeared before an Istanbul court for the second hearing of his trial on the charge of “FETÖ membership.” FETÖ stands for “Fetullahist Terrorist Organization,” the name given to the Fethullah Gülen network by the government.
P24 monitored the hearing at the 35th High Criminal Court of Istanbul. Kabakçı, in pretrial detention in the Konya Prison since May 2017, addressed the court via the courtroom video-conferencing system SEGBİS during the hearing.
The prosecutor requested for the continuation of Kabakçı’s detention on grounds that the case file was still incomplete.
Cumali Aydemir, the lawyer representing Kabakçı, told the court that he disagreed with the prosecutor and said there were no witness testimonies against Kabakçı showing that he has taken part in any kind of organized act.
Noting that Kabakçı continued to work for Zaman even after the newspaper was appointed a board of trustees by the government, Aydemir also said his client’s circumstances were no different than those of the defendants who were acquitted in the main “Zaman trial.”
Adding that Kabakçı’s pretrial detention for the past 16 months also posed difficulties on his family, Aydemir requested for Kabakçı’s release. “My client will be eventually acquitted in this trial,” Aydemir added.
Addressing the court following his lawyer, Kabakçı explained that he did not cancel his Digitürk subscription on Gülen’s instruction, contrary to the allegations in the indictment. Also speaking about claims in a complaint against him filed by by a Konya Municipality employee, Kabakçı said he did not know that person and rejected the accusations.
“I was never involved in anything other than journalism throughout my time working in Konya,” Kabakçı said, and requested for his release.
Issuing an interim decision after a brief recess, the court ruled for the continuation of Kabakçı’s pretrial detention and adjourned the trial until 9 October 2018.
Mehmet Gündem stands trial on terrorism-related charge
Mehmet Gündem, a former columnist for Milliyet daily, appeared before an Istanbul court on 14 August for the first time since his arrest more than nine months ago.
Gündem is charged with “membership in a terrorist organization” and is accused of using ByLock, an encrypted messaging application purported to be exclusively used by the members of the Gülen network.
At the end of the hearing, the 35th High Criminal Court of Istanbul ruled for the continuation of Gündem’s detention and set 30 October as the date for the next hearing in the case.
A report about the hearing, monitored by P24, can be accessed here.
Mehmet Güleş: Prison management confiscates books, letters in Kurdish
Imprisoned journalist Mehmet Güleş wrote about rights violations he and other inmates have been facing in a recent letter he sent from the Elazığ Maximum Security Prison.
A former reporter for the now closed-down Dicle news agency (Dihaber), Güleş has been imprisoned since December 2016.
Güleş wrote in the letter that the prison management has been refusing to give books and letters in Kurdish language to the inmates, the Mezopotamya news agency reported. Güleş wrote that the inmates were only allowed to get Kurdish dictionaries and Kurdish grammar books, but letters written in Kurdish were not allowed to be sent or received.
Güleş also said that they were not being given cleaning products. Mirrors or tweezers for personal hygiene are also banned, Güleş wrote, adding that packages sent to inmates were only delivered after three weeks. He added that underwear and socks that are sent to prison by inmates’ relatives were not handed to inmates, forcing them to purchase such items at the commissary.
Güleş also wrote that 30 inmates in the prison were being kept in solitary confinement against their wishes, and one of those inmates was suffering from COPD.
Social media campaign seeks freedom for Metin Duran
A social media campaign was launched on 12 August seeking freedom for jailed journalist Metin Duran, who has been in the Sincan Prison for the past 4.5 months despite his ailment.
A former employee of Radyo Rengin, a Mardin-based radio station which was closed down through an emergency decree, Duran lost his memory as well as his ability to walk and speak following a stroke, which came on the heels of a heart attack he had suffered. Despite his ailment, Duran was taken into custody in his family home in Nusaybin 4.5 months ago and sent to prison because a court convicted him of “committing crimes on behalf of a terrorist organization without being its member,” the Mezopotamya news agency (MA) reported last week.
In order to be released, Duran still awaits a medical report by the Council of Forensic Medicine proving that he is “medically unfit for prison.”
A report about the campaign and Duran’s condition can be accessed here.
Evrensel reporter Kemal Özer remains behind bars
Kemal Özer, a reporter for Evrensel daily, on 10 August appeared before the 1st High Criminal Court on Tunceli for the second hearing of his trial.
Jailed pending trial since September 2017, Özer is charged with “membership in a terrorist organization.”
Addressing the court during the hearing, lawyers representing Özer requested for the journalist’s release pending the conclusion of the trial.
In its interim decision, the court ruled for the continuation of Özer’s detention on grounds of “strong suspicion of involvement in crime” and that “the time he has spent in detention would not be adequate at this stage for judicial control measures.” The court set 24 October as the date for the next hearing.
Other free expression cases of the past week
Taner Kılıç, the honorary chair of Amnesty Turkey, was released from pretrial detention on 15 August. Kılıç had been in detention for over a year on the charge of “membership in FETÖ.” He stands trial along with 10 other human rights defenders who were arrested during a meeting in Istanbul’s Büyükada last July. The 35th High Criminal Court of Istanbul ordered Kılıç’s release following its latest monthly review of his detention. The same court had ruled to release Kılıç at the end of the trial’s hearing in January, but Kılıç was re-arrested as he was leaving the prison because the prosecutor objected to his release. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for 7 November. 

A police investigation has been launched into a total of 346 social media accounts over the past week on account of posts concerning “US dollar exchange rates.” Turkey’s General Directorate of Security announced on its official website that the Cyber Crimes Department was conducting the probe, as part of which 346 social media accounts were found to be “inducing the US Dollar’s rise” and “manipulating opinion” as of 7 August 2018. 

Turkey has jailed a German citizen of Kurdish origin on the charge of “conducting propaganda for a terrorist organization” on social media, the Norddeutscher Rundfunk (Northern German Broadcasting, or NDR) has reported. İlhami A. was taken into custody on 14 August as he was visiting his family home in a village near Elazığ, NDR said. The court he was referred to jailed the man and sent him to the Elazığ prison. His lawyer, Ercan Yıldırım, said the accusations against İlhami A. were based on his Facebook posts critical of the Turkish government. 

List of journalists and media workers in prison
As of 17 August 2018, at least 183 journalists and media workers in Turkey are in prison, 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        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        Cumali Öz, Gün Matbaacılık employee
36        Cüneyt Seza Özkan, Samanyolu TV
37        Çetin Kurşun, Azadiya Welat
38        Deniz Bakır, Atılım editor in chief
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 Haldun Pehlivan, ETHA intern reporter
53        Ferhat Parlak, Silvan Mücadele newspaper owner
54        Fevzi Yazıcı, Zaman chief designer
55        Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Türksolu columnist
56        Gurbet Çakar, Hevi women’s magazine
57        Gültekin Avcı
58        Habip Güler, Zaman reporter
59        Hakan Aksel, TRT producer-director
60        Hakan Ergün, Azadiya Welat and Özgür Gündem distributor
61        Hakan Taşdelen
62        Halil İbrahim Mert, TRT (Erzurum)
63        Hamit Dilbahar, Azadiya Welat columnist
64        Hamza Günerigök, TRT
65        Hanım Büşra Erdal, Zaman reporter and columnist
66        Hasan Bzokurt, Bugün reporter
67        Hasan Duman, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi distributor
68        Hasan Hüseyin Örs, former TRT production-broadcast operator
69        Hasan Taşar, former TRT Ankara reporter
70        Hatice Duman, Atılım newspaper owner and managing editor
71        Haydar Ergül, Demokratik Modernite editor
72        Hicran Ürün, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi editor
73        Hidayet Karaca, Samanyolu Media Group president
74        Hüseyin Aydın, Cihan reporter
75        İbrahim Halil Öztürkeri, former TRT production-broadcast operator
76        İdris Okur, Cihan New Agency Çorum reporter
77        İdris Sayılgan, DİHA
78        İdris Yılmaz
79        İhsan Sinmiş, Gün Matbaacılık employee
80        İhsan Yaşar, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi owner
81        İrfan Karaca, Gün Matbaacılık employee
82        İshak Yasul, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi responsible managing editor
83        İsmail Çoban, former Azadiya Welat managing editor
84        İsmail Ersan, Anatolia news agency
85        İsminaz Temel, ETHA editor
86        Kamuran Sunbat, former DİHA Çukurova reporter
87        Kasım Zengin, owner of Gün Matbaacılık
88        Kazım Canlan, Cihan news agency Ankara news director
89        Kazım Göçer, Gün Matbaacılık employee
90        Kemal Daşdöğen, Gün Matbaacılık employee
91        Kemal Demir, TV 10
92        Kemal Özer, Evrensel
93        Kemal Sancılı, Özgür Gündem copyrights holder
94        Kenan Karavil, Radyo Dünya editor-in-chief
95        Kubilay Çelik, Antropolog magazine responsible managing editor
96        Mahmut Abay, Gün Matbaacılık employee
97        Mehmet Ali Ay
98        Mehmet Ali Çelebi, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi editor
99        Mehmet Baransu, Taraf columnist/reporter
100       Mehmet Dursun
101       Mehmet Emin Sümeli, Gün Matbaacılık employee
102       Mehmet Güleş, DİHA
103       Mehmet Gündem
104       Mehmet Kadir Özkara, Gün Matbaacılık employee
105       Mehmet Kuru, Zaman Eskişehir reporter
106       Mehmet Sıddık damar, DİHA
107       Meltem Oktay, DİHA reporter
108       Metin Arslan, Bugün reporter
109       Mikail Barut, Özgür Halk former editor
110       Miktat Algül, Mezitli FM broadcast coordinator
111       Mizgin Çay, Radyo Karacadağ
112       Muhammed Sait Kuloğlu, owner of
113       Muhammet Özkan, Gün Matbaacılık employee
114       Muhsin Pilgir, Zaman and Cihan news agency
115       Murat Çapan, Nokta
116       Murat Dağdeviren, Demokrat Gebze owner
117       Musa Kaya, Gün Matbaacılık employee
118       Mustafa Erkan Acar, Bugün news editor
119       Mustafa Gök, Ankara bureau chief for Ekmek ve Adalet magazine
120       Mustafa Gökkılıç, reporter, Radikal and Habertürk TV
121       Mustafa Göktaş, Özgür Gündem Şanlıurfa reporter
122       Mustafa Ünal, Zaman
123       Mutlu Çölgeçen, Millet, newsroom coordinator
124       Mutlu Özay, Cihan reporter
125       Mümtazer Türköne, Zaman columnist
126       Mürsel Demir, Gün Matbaacılık employee
127       Nadir Yücel, Çorum Yıldız local newspaper editor-in-chief
128       Necat Hizarcı, Gün Matbaacılık employee
129       Nedim Türfent, DİHA
130       Nizamettin İzgi, Batman newspaper owner
131       Nuh Gönültaş, Bugün columnist
132       Nuri Durna, TRT
133       Nuri Yeşil, Azadiya Welat Dersim bureau chief
134       Nurullah Kaya, Gaziantep Zaman representative
135       Oğuz Usluer, Habertürk former broadcasts coordinator
136       Osman Yakut, Zaman Antalya
137       Ömer Oruç, Cihan newspaper
138       Özcan Keser, TRT reporter
139       Özden Kınık, TRT
140       Özgür Bozkurt, Gün Matbaacılık employee
141       Pınar Gayıp, ETHA reporter
142       Pınar Tarlak, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi employee
143       Polat Arslan, Gün Matbaacılık employee
144       Reyhan Çapan, Özgür Gündem managing editor
145       Reyhan Hacıoğlu, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi editor
146       Sadettin Demirtaş, Gün Matbaacılık employee
147       Sadık Demir, Radyo Karacadağ
148       Sait Gürkan Tuzlu, Cihan reporter
149       Salih Erbekler, Radyo Karacadağ
150       Sami Tunca, Mücadele Birliği magazine managing editor
151       Seda Taşkın, Mezopotamya News Agency reporter
152       Semiha Mete, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi reporter/distributor
153       Semiha Şahin, ETHA editor
154       Serhat Şeftali, Zaman regional bureau chief for the Med region
155       Serkan Aydemir, Bitlis Aktüel reporter
156       Serpil Ünal, Mücadele Birliği reporter
157       Sertan Önal, Halkın Günlüğü reporter
158       Seyid Kılıç, TRT News
159       Seyithan Akyüz, Azadiya Welat Adana bureau chief
160       Sezai Yavaş, TRT Diyarbakır deputy regional director
161       Songül Yücel, Önsöz editor in chief
162       Süleyman Acar, Mücadele Birliği editor in chief
163       Süleyman Güneş, Gün Matbaacılık employee
164       Şahabettin Demir, DİHA reporter
165       Şeref Yılmaz, Irmak TV
166       Şirin Kabakçı, Zaman Konya bureau chief
167       Togay Okay, Özgür Gelecek
168       Turgut Usul, TRT reporter
169       Ufuk Şanlı, former Vatan columnist
170       Uğur Akgül
171       Uğur Selman Kelekçiler, Gün Matbaacılık employee
172       Ünal Tanık, Rota Haber editor-in-chief
173       Vahit Yazgan, İzmir Zaman bureau chief
174       Veli Büyükşahin, TV10 executive
175       Veli Haydar Güleç, TV10 executive
176       Yakup Çetin, Zaman reporter
177       Yakup Şimşek, Zaman, marketing director
178       Yalçın Güler, TRT (Erzurum)
179       Yener Dönmez, Habervaktim news website
180       Yetkin Yıldız, Aktif Haber website editor
181       Yılmaz Kahraman, Özgür Halk editor
182       Zehra Doğan, Jinha
183       Ziya Ataman, DİHA reporter