Freedom of Expression and the Press Turkey – 169

16 more signatories of Academics for Peace petition given jail terms on “propaganda” charge; Ece Sevim Öztürk convicted of “aiding a terrorist group”



İshak Yasul, the former managing editor of the shuttered daily Özgürlükçü Demokrasi, was given a jail term in a trial where he was accused of “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization” on account of articles posted on a website.
The 37th High Criminal Court of Istanbul on 14 December sentenced Yasul to a prison term of 1 year, 10 months and 15 days for the articles posted on The journalist says he is not the owner of the domain.
Yasul, who has been jailed since April as part of the Özgürlükçü Demokrasi trial, addressed the court via the courtroom video-conferencing system SEGBİS during Friday’s hearing.
Announcing its verdict at the end of the hearing, the court initially imposed on Yasul a 1-year prison sentence. The court then increased the punishment to 1 year and 6 months on the grounds that the offense to be committed through the press. Increasing the sentence once more on the grounds that the offense to be committed multiple times, the court eventually gave Yasul 1 year, 10 months and 15 days in prison.
Cansu Pişkin to stand trial for coverage of jailed Boğaziçi students
Cansu Pişkin, a reporter for the daily Evrensel, will stand trial for her news story about Boğaziçi University students who were jailed earlier this year for staging an anti-war demonstration on the school campus.
The journalist is accused in the indictment of “making those assigned in the fight against terrorism a target” because the name of the prosecutor appointed to investigate the Boğaziçi University students was revealed in her story. Pişkin faces up to 3 years of imprisonment if convicted at the end of the trial.
The trial will get underway on 6 March 2019 at the 36th High Criminal Court of Istanbul.
16 academics convicted of “propaganda” for signing peace petition
Trials into academics who have been charged with “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization” for signing 2016’s Academics for Peace petiiton continued this week in Istanbul. Two of the trial courts convicted 16 academics of the “propaganda” charge this week.
On 13 December, the 37th High Criminal Court of Istanbul convicted academics Sami Cankat Tanrıverdi, Ceren Sözeri, Buket Türkmen, Melis Behlil and Mahmut Çınar of “propaganda” and gave each academic a 15-month prison term. The sentences were deferred. The same court gave academic Lütfiye Bozdağ an 18-month sentence on the grounds that she “did not show remorse” and the sentence was not deferred.
On 12 December, the 37th High Criminal Court of Istanbul imposed on Zeynep Verda İrtiş, Zeynep Savaşçın and Nuray Mert prison sentences of 15 months. The same day, the 32nd High Criminal Court of Istanbul gave Aslı Aydemir, Ayşe Rezan Tuncay and Şahika Yüksel 15-month sentences. All of the sentences were deferred.
Also on 12 December, the 32nd High Criminal Court of Istanbul convicted Ayşe Erzan, Nesrin Sungur Çakmak and Özdemir Aktan of the same charge and gave each defendant a 15-month sentence but the sentences were not deferred on the grounds of “the defendants’ lack of remorse.”
On 11 December, the 37th High Criminal Court of Istanbul handed down Professor Gençay Gürsoy a prison sentence of 2 years and 3 months at the end of the third hearing of the case, where Gürsoy was actually supposed to give his final defense statement in response to the prosecutor’s final opinion. However, Gürsoy was not in attendance due to health issues. The court still went on to issue its verdict and convicted Gürsoy in absentia. The court did not reduce Gürsoy’s sentence based on “his bad conduct during proceedings and lack of remorse.”
Hanifi Barış trial adjourned until February
The trial into Hanfi Barış, a lawyer and an academic who was among the signatories of 2016’s Academics for Peace petition, resumed on 13 December in Istanbul. Barış is accused of “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist group in his social media posts.” At the end of the hearing, the 29th High Criminal Court of Istanbul set 12 February 2019 as the date for the third hearing in the case.
Taraf “MGK report” trial adjourned until March
The trial of former Taraf reporter Mehmet Baransu and responsible managing editor Murat Şevki Çoban, who are accused of “obtaining classified documents” and “exposing secret information pertaining to the security of state,” resumed on 12 December at the Istanbul Anadolu 10th High Criminal Court.
The case is related to a news report published in Taraf on 28 November 2013 and titled “Gülen’i bitirme kararı 2004’te MGK’da alındı” (Decision to finish off Gülen taken by MGK in 2004). The story said the Fethullah Gülen network was listed as a threat in a National Security Council (MGK) meeting that year. Both journalists face up to 52 years in prison for a variety of charges as part of the case, including divulging state secrets and exposing documents of the National Intelligence Agency (MİT).
P24 monitored the latest hearing where both defendants were represented by their lawyers. Çoban was not in attendance because he had given his defense statement earlier and Baransu could not attend due to health issues.
The court accepted Baransu’s excuse for non-attendance and adjourned the trial until 6 March 2019.
Journalist Ece Sevim Öztürk given 3-year prison sentence
An Istanbul court on 11 December convicted journalist Ece Sevim Öztürk of “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member” at the end of the second hearing of her trial.
The 37th High Criminal Court of Istanbul sentenced Öztürk to 3 years, 1 month and 15 days in prison. The court also ruled for Öztürk’s release pending the appeal process.
Our report about the hearing can be accessed here.
Compensation case against Çiğdem Toker postponed
A compensation case against journalist Çiğdem Toker that was scheduled to take place on 11 December at the 13th Civil Court of First Instance of Ankara was postponed because the judge was on leave.
The lawsuit was filed by a mining company called Şenbay Madencilik, which is seeking TL 1.5 million in non-pecuniary damages for an October 2017 column by Toker.
“Propaganda” trial against Jin News director gets underway
Safiye Alağaş, the news director of the feminist news collective Jin News, on 11 December appeared before a court in Diyarbakır for the first hearing of her 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 Jin News. 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.
Addressing the 4th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır for her defense statement during the hearing, Alağaş said the agency’s news coverage was journalism, not propaganda. Alağaş requested to be acquitted.
The prosecution then submitted their opinion and requested that Alağaş be convicted on the “propaganda” charge.
Alağaş’s lawyer Pirozhan Karali then addressed the court in response to the prosecution’s allegations and requested for Alağaş to be acquitted.
In its interim ruling at the end of the hearing, the court decided to examine the indictments and reasoned judgments concerning court cases where Alağaş previously stood trial on similar charges and was acquitted. The trial was adjourned until February.
Adnan Bilen given 22-month jail term on “propaganda” charge
A court in the eastern city of Van on 11 December convicted journalist Adnan Bilen of “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization” and gave him a prison sentence of 1 year and 10 months. The 2nd High Criminal Court of Van deferred Bilen’s sentence by five years.
Bilen was standing trial based on a complaint filed by the Van Metropolitan Municipality, where he was dismissed from his post as the director of press and publications after the government appointed a trustee to run the city. He was accused because of his social media posts.
Sözcü journalists to stand trial on “aiding terrorist group” charge
Five journalists from the daily Sözcü, including columnists Emin Çölaşan and Necati Doğru, will be standing trial on the charge of “aiding the terrorist organization ‘FETÖ’ without being part of its hierarchical structure” in a new case where they face up to 15 years of imprisonment if convicted.
The case is the result of an investigation launched into the newspaper by the press offenses branch of the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. Columnists Çölaşan and Doğru, Editor-in-Chief Metin Yılmaz, website news coordinator Yücel Arı and website editor Mustafa Çetin are accused in a 61-page indictment drafted by the prosecutor’s office and submitted to the 37th High Criminal Court of Istanbul, which also oversees another ongoing trial into three other Sözcü employees and the newspaper’s former publisher.
The first hearing in the new case will take place on 18 January 2019.
Journalist Kenan Kırkaya faces arrest warrant
Police raided numerous homes in Ankara on 10 December as part of an investigation where arrest warrants were issued for 12 people. Journalist Kenan Kırkaya was among those facing arrest warrants. Sources said police also searched Kırkaya’s house. The grounds for the arrest warrants were not disclosed.
List of journalists and media workers in prison
As of 14 December 2018 at least 169 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       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 Özdemir, Zaman Düzce bureau chief
28     Burçin Dokgöz, former Zaman and Çorum reporter
29     Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Journalists and Writers’ Foundation
30     Cemal Tunç, Gün Matbaacılık employee
31     Ceren Taşkın, Hatay'ın Sesi
32     Cuma Ulus, Millet newspaper’s publications coordinator
33     Cumali Çaygeç, TRT Şeş news director
34     Cüneyt Seza Özkan, Samanyolu TV
35     Çetin Kurşun, Azadiya Welat
36     Doğan Baran, Odak magazine owner, managing editor
37     Emin Demir, freelancer
38     Emre Soncan, Zaman defense reporter
39     Ercan Gün, Fox TV
40     Erdal Süsem, Eylül magazine editor
41     Erdal Şen, former Meydan managing editor
42     Erdoğan Zamur, Gün Matbaacılık employee
43     Erol Yüksel, TRT News Department vice president
44     Erol Zavar, Odak magazine owner and newsroom director
45     Fahri Öztoprak, Cihan/Zaman Samsun correspondent
46     Faruk Akkan, Cihan news agency
47     Ferhat Çiftçi, Azadiya Welat Gaziantep bureau chief
48     Ferhat Parlak, Silvan Mücadele newspaper owner
49     Fevzi Yazıcı, Zaman chief designer
50     Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Türksolu columnist
51     Gurbet Çakar, Hevi women’s magazine
52     Gültekin Avcı
53     Habip Güler, Zaman reporter
54     Hakan Aksel, TRT producer-director
55     Hakan Ergün, Azadiya Welat and Özgür Gündem distributor
56     Hakan Taşdelen
57     Halil İbrahim Mert, TRT (Erzurum)
58     Hamit Dilbahar, Azadiya Welat columnist
59     Hamza Günerigök, TRT
60     Hanım Büşra Erdal, Zaman reporter and columnist
61     Hasan Bzokurt, Bugün reporter
62     Hasan Duman, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi distributor
63     Hasan Hüseyin Örs, former TRT production-broadcast operator
64     Hasan Taşar, former TRT Ankara reporter
65     Hatice Duman, Atılım newspaper owner and managing editor
66     Haydar Ergül, Demokratik Modernite editor
67     Hicran Ürün, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi editor
68     Hidayet Karaca, Samanyolu Media Group president
69     Hüseyin Aydın, Cihan reporter
70     İbrahim Halil Öztürkeri, former TRT production-broadcast operator
71     İdris Okur, Cihan New Agency Çorum reporter
72     İdris Sayılgan, DİHA
73     İdris Yılmaz
74     İhsan Sinmiş, Gün Matbaacılık employee
75     İhsan Yaşar, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi owner
76     İrfan Karaca, Gün Matbaacılık employee
77     İshak Yasul, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi responsible managing editor
78     İsmail Çoban, former Azadiya Welat managing editor
79     İsmail Ersan, Anatolia news agency
80     İsminaz Temel, ETHA editor
81     Kamuran Sunbat, former DİHA Çukurova reporter
82     Kasım Zengin, owner of Gün Matbaacılık
83     Kazım Canlan, Cihan news agency Ankara news director
84     Kemal Demir, TV 10
85     Kemal Özer, Evrensel
86     Kemal Sancılı, Özgür Gündem copyrights holder
87     Kenan Karavil, Radyo Dünya editor-in-chief
88     Kibriye Evren, JinNews reporter
89     Kubilay Çelik, Antropolog magazine responsible managing editor
90     Mahmut Abay, Gün Matbaacılık employee
91     Max Zirngast, Re:volt magazine
92     Mehmet Ali Ay
93     Mehmet Ali Çelebi, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi editor
94     Mehmet Baransu, Taraf columnist/reporter
95     Mehmet Emin Sümeli, Gün Matbaacılık employee
96     Mehmet Güleş, DİHA
97     Mehmet Gündem
98     Mehmet Kuru, Zaman Eskişehir reporter
99     Mehmet Sıddık damar, DİHA
100    Meltem Oktay, DİHA reporter
101    Metin Arslan, Bugün reporter
102    Mikail Barut, Özgür Halk former editor
103    Miktat Algül, Mezitli FM broadcast coordinator
104    Mizgin Çay, Radyo Karacadağ
105    Muhammed Sait Kuloğlu, owner of
106    Muhsin Pilgir, Zaman and Cihan news agency
107    Murat Aksoy, former Yeni Şafak columnist
108    Murat Çapan, Nokta
109    Murat Dağdeviren, Demokrat Gebze owner
110    Musa Kaya, Gün Matbaacılık employee
111    Mustafa Erkan Acar, Bugün news editor
112    Mustafa Gök, Ankara bureau chief for Ekmek ve Adalet magazine
113    Mustafa Gökkılıç, reporter, Radikal and Habertürk TV
114    Mustafa Göktaş, Özgür Gündem Şanlıurfa reporter
115    Mustafa Ünal, Zaman
116    Mutlu Çölgeçen, Millet, newsroom coordinator
117    Mutlu Özay, Cihan reporter
118    Mümtazer Türköne, Zaman columnist
119    Nadir Yücel, Çorum Yıldız local newspaper editor-in-chief
120    Nedim Türfent, DİHA
121    Nizamettin İzgi, Batman newspaper owner
122    Nuh Gönültaş, Bugün columnist
123    Nuri Durna, TRT
124    Nuri Yeşil, Azadiya Welat Dersim bureau chief
125    Nurullah Kaya, Gaziantep Zaman representative
126    Oğuz Usluer, Habertürk former broadcasts coordinator
127    Osman Yakut, Zaman Antalya
128    Ömer Oruç, Cihan newspaper
129    Özcan Keser, TRT reporter
130    Özden Kınık, TRT
131    Pınar Gayıp, ETHA reporter
132    Reyhan Çapan, Özgür Gündem managing editor
133    Reyhan Hacıoğlu, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi editor
134    Rojhat Doğru, reporter for Gale Kurdistan TV
135    Sadık Demir, Radyo Karacadağ
136    Sait Gürkan Tuzlu, Cihan reporter
137    Sami Tunca, Mücadele Birliği magazine managing editor
138    Seda Taşkın, Mezopotamya News Agency reporter
139    Semiha Mete, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi reporter/distributor
140    Semiha Şahin, ETHA editor
141    Serhat Şeftali, Zaman regional bureau chief for the Med region
142    Serkan Aydemir, Bitlis Aktüel reporter
143    Serkan Canbaz, TRT Ankara reporter, news editor
144    Serpil Ünal, Mücadele Birliği reporter
145    Sertan Önal, Halkın Günlüğü reporter
146    Seyid Kılıç, TRT News
147    Seyithan Akyüz, Azadiya Welat Adana bureau chief
148    Sezai Yavaş, TRT Diyarbakır deputy regional director
149    Songül Yücel, Önsöz editor in chief
150    Süleyman Acar, Mücadele Birliği editor in chief
151    Şahabettin Demir, DİHA reporter
152    Şeref Yılmaz, Irmak TV
153    Şirin Kabakçı, Zaman Konya bureau chief
154    Togay Okay, Özgür Gelecek
155    Turgut Usul, TRT reporter
156    Ufuk Şanlı, former Vatan columnist
157    Uğur Akgül
158    Uğur Selman Kelekçiler, Gün Matbaacılık employee
159    Ünal Tanık, Rota Haber editor-in-chief
160    Vahit Yazgan, İzmir Zaman bureau chief
161    Veli Büyükşahin, TV10 executive
162    Veli Haydar Güleç, TV10 executive
163    Yakup Çetin, Zaman reporter
164    Yakup Şimşek, Zaman, marketing director
165    Yalçın Güler, TRT (Erzurum)
166    Yetkin Yıldız, Aktif Haber website editor
167    Yılmaz Kahraman, Özgür Halk editor
168    Zehra Doğan, Jinha
169    Ziya Ataman, DİHA reporter