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 demokrasi44.com. 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 Subuhaber.com
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