Journalists in State of Emergency – 147

Arrest warrant issued for Sendika.Org editor Ali Ergin Demirhan for his social media posts



Police on June 28 raided the Istanbul offices of the news website Sendika.Org as part of an ongoing investigation into Sendika.Org editor Ali Ergin Demirhan.
The raid took place at around 02:15 a.m. and police knocked down the door of the Sendika.Org office to search the premises without any Sendika.Org employees or lawyers present. Sendika.Org lawyers told reporters that the raid was conducted on grounds of an arrest warrant against the website’s editor Demirhan on account of his social media posts, and that an order for his mobile phone to be confiscated was also in place.
“Özgür Gündem raid” trial adjourned until January
On June 29, an Istanbul court continued hearing the trial into 22 journalists who were forcibly taken into custody by the police during a 2016 raid on the offices of the now closed down pro-Kurdish newspaper Özgür Gündem.
The journalists are charged with resisting arrest and insulting police officers.
Twenty-four journalists were taken into custody during the August 2016 raid, which took place after a court had ordered the closure of the paper. In addition to Özgür Gündem employees, several journalists from other news outlets who were at the scene to cover the raid were also detained. The journalists were later released, however, an indictment was issued against 22 of them, accusing them of resisting arrest and insulting the police officers during the raid, and seeking 8 years and 4 months in prison for each.
Özgür Gündem employees Ender Öndeş, Kemal Bozkurt and Elif Aydoğmuş presented their defense statements during the June 29 hearing at the 5th Criminal Court of First Instance of Istanbul. All three journalists asked for their mobile phones, confiscated during the investigation phase, to be returned.
The court rejected journalists’ requests and adjourned the trial until January 30, 2019.
Trial against Deniz Yücel gets underway
The first hearing of the trial against Deniz Yücel, the Turkey representative of the German newspaper Die Welt, was held on June 28 at the 32nd High Criminal Court of Istanbul.
Yücel, who has dual Turkish-German citizenship, is accused of “conducting propaganda for FETÖ/PDY and PKK/KCK” and “inciting the public to hatred and animosity.”
Yücel was represented by his lawyer Veysel Ok during the hearing, monitored by P24. Ok told the court that Yücel was arrested on account of his news stories and that there were numerous translation errors in those articles. Ok requested for his client to be acquitted.
The prosecutor requested that the plea for Yücel’s acquittal was rejected and that Yücel’s statement was taken by the court.
Issuing an interim ruling, the court rejected plea for Yücel’s acquittal and ordered that Yücel’s statement be taken in Germany. The court set December 20, 2018, as the date of the second hearing.
Yücel was arrested in February 2017 in connection with a probe into leaked emails of Energy Minister Berat Albayrak. He was jailed pending trial after 13 days in custody on “terrorism propaganda” and “inciting hatred and enmity” charges. Yücel was released from prison a year later, on February 16, 2018, after the 32nd High Criminal Court of Istanbul accepted the indictment against Yücel.
Evrensel columnist standing trial for “insulting the president”
Evrensel columnist Kamil Tekin Sürek on June 28 appeared before an Istanbul court for the first hearing of a trial in which he is accused of “insulting the president” in an article he wrote titled “Faşist Diktatörlük” (Fascist Dictatorship).
The case was opened following a complaint filed by one of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s lawyers.
Sürek told the Bakırköy 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance that his article had not personally targeted the president, but was about the system, the government and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Erdoğan’s lawyer requested to participate in the trial as plaintiff.
Sürek’s lawyer Devrim Avcı Özkurt also told the court that the said article included criticism aimed at the government as a whole.
Issuing an interim ruling at the end of the hearing, the judge accepted Erdoğan’s lawyer’s request to be a plaintiff in the case on grounds that the president was “harmed by the crime” and adjourned the trial until October 24, 2018.
Mehmet Altan released from prison by appellate court decision
The 2nd Criminal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice, an appeals court, ruled on June 27 for Mehmet Altan’s release from prison.
In its ruling concerning the commencement of proceedings as part of the appeal process, the chamber cited the Constitutional Court’s January 11 ruling in favor of Altan as the grounds for his release. The top court had ruled in January that Mehmet Altan’s detention was in violation of his rights to personal liberty and security and freedom of the press and freedom of expression.
The 2nd Criminal Chamber also set September 21, 2018, as the date for the appeal hearing.
A report about the ruling can be accessed here.
Court rejects “Paradise Papers” case against Odatv
An Istanbul court on June 28 rejected a compensation case against the news website Odatv that had been filed by the outgoing Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and his sons Erkam and Bülent Yıldırım.
The Yıldırım family were seeking a total of TL 500,000 in non-pecuniary damages from Odatv owner Soner Yalçın and Responsible News Manager Barış Terkoğlu on grounds that Odatv’s reporting about the leaked “Paradise Papers” documents “violated their personal rights.”
In the written defense submitted to the Anadolu 28th Civil Court of First Instance of Istanbul, Odatv lawyer Tugay Topbaş said the documents referred to in Odatv’s reporting were neither classified nor did they include insulting comments or libel about the Yıldırım family. The lawyer requested that the court rejects the case for the sake of freedom of the press.
The Anadolu 28th Civil Court of First Instance of Istanbul rejected the case at the third hearing.
Taraf “MGK report” trial adjourned until October
The 15th hearing in 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, was held on June 27.
The Istanbul Anadolu 10th High Criminal Court is hearing the case which is related to a news report published in Taraf on November 28, 2013, 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).
Addressing the court during the hearing, monitored by P24, Baransu requested that the court send a writ to the General Staff for some documents to refer to in his defense statement. The court rejected that plea.
Baransu’s lawyer Yahya Engin requested additional time as he had been recently appointed to the case after Baransu’s previous lawyer resigned. The court accepted the lawyer’s request for additional time and adjourned the trial until October 17, 2018.
Other free expression cases of the week past

On June 29, former Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Eren Erdem was jailed pending trial by an Istanbul court as part of a case in which some of the accusations against Erdem are based on his time as the editor in chief of the now closed down Karşı newspaper. Erdem was arrested in the early hours of June 29 in Ankara and was later brought to Istanbul to appear before the 35th High Criminal Court of Istanbul, which had issued an arrest warrant for Erdem the day before on grounds of “flight risk.” Erdem told the court that he was being prosecuted “for reporting about [the corruption probes of] December 17-25.” He said the indictment claimed that the Karşı newspaper was published by a printing company owned by the Fethullah Gülen network, but that the Aydınlık newspaper too was printed at the same facility. Following his statement, the court ruled to jail Erdem pending trial. Erdem was sent to the Silivri Prison. The indictment accuses Erdem of “aiding an armed terrorist organization without being its member,” “revealing the identity of a secret witness” and “violating the confidentiality of an investigation.” Among the grounds for the accusations are that he was in possession of documents concerning the MİT trucks operation and that he visited Zaman newspaper’s head office as an act of solidarity on the day the newspaper was raided by police. The court had previously set September 19, 2018, as the date for the first hearing of the case against Erdem.  

An İzmir court on June 27 jailed five individuals on grounds that they insulted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during an election rally in İzmir by the opposition candidate Muharrem İnce. The arrests brought the total number of people jailed pending trial on the same accusation as part of the same investigation to 12.  
List of journalists and media workers in prison
Following Mehmet Altan’s release from Silivri Prison on June 27, there are still at least 181 journalists and media workers either in pretrial detention or serving a sentence Turkey’s prisons.
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 Turan Alkan, 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 Sönmez Kayar, ETHA reporter
18              Ali Ünal, Zaman columnist
19              Ali Yüce, TRT Radio broadcasts chief
20              Arafat Dayan, Demokratik Ulus
21              Aslı Ceren Aslan, Özgür Gelecek
22              Ayşe Nazlı Ilıcak
23              Ayşenur Parıldak, Zaman, Haberdar
24              Aytekin Gezici, journalist/writer
25              Aziz İstegün, Diyarbakır Zaman representative
26              Barış Ceyhan, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi employee
27              Bayram Kaya, Zaman reporter
28              Behram Kılıç
29              Berzan Güneş, Mezopotamya Agency reporter
30              Beytullah Özdemir, Zaman Düzce bureau chief
31              Burçin Dokgöz, former Zaman and Çorum reporter
32              Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Journalists and Writers’ Foundation
33              Cemal Tunç, Gün Matbaacılık employee
34              Ceren Taşkın, Hatay'ın Sesi
35              Cuma Ulus, Millet newspaper’s publications coordinator
36              Cumali Çaygeç, TRT Şeş news director
37              Cumali Öz, Gün Matbaacılık employee
38              Cüneyt Seza Özkan, Samanyolu TV
39              Çetin Kurşun, Azadiya Welat
40              Doğan Baran, Odak magazine owner, managing editor
41              Ece Sevim Öztürk, Çağdaş Ses editor in chief
42              Emin Demir, freelancer
43              Emre Soncan, Zaman defense reporter
44              Ercan Gün, Fox TV
45              Erdal Süsem, Eylül magazine editor
46              Erdal Şen, former Meydan managing editor
47              Erdoğan Zamur, Gün Matbaacılık employee
48              Erol Yüksel, TRT News Department vice president
49              Erol Zavar, Odak magazine owner and newsroom director
50              Fahrettin Kılıç, Özgür Toplum
51              Faruk Akkan, Cihan news agency
52              Ferhat Çiftçi, Azadiya Welat Gaziantep bureau chief
53              Ferhat Parlak, Silvan Mücadele newspaper owner
54              Fevzi Yazıcı, Zaman chief designer
55              Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Türksolu columnist
56              Gökhan Öner, former Dihaber reporter
57              Gurbet Çakar, Hevi women’s magazine
58              Gültekin Avcı
59              Habip Güler, Zaman reporter
60              Hakan Aksel, TRT producer-director
61              Hakan Ergün, Azadiya Welat and Özgür Gündem distributor
62              Hakan Taşdelen
63              Halil İbrahim Mert, TRT (Erzurum)
64              Hamit Dilbahar, Azadiya Welat columnist
65              Hamza Günerigök, TRT
66              Hanım Büşra Erdal, Zaman reporter and columnist
67              Hasan Bzokurt, Bugün reporter
68              Hasan Duman, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi distributor
69              Hatice Duman, Atılım newspaper owner and managing editor
70              Havva Cuştan, ETHA reporter
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 Kareyeğen, responsible editor for Zaman
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 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            Özgür Bozkurt, Gün Matbaacılık employee
139            Pınar Gayıp, ETHA reporter
140            Pınar Tarlak, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi employee
141            Polat Arslan, Gün Matbaacılık employee
142            Reyhan Çapan, Özgür Gündem managing editor
143            Reyhan Hacıoğlu, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi editor
144            Sadettin Demirtaş, Gün Matbaacılık employee
145            Sadık Demir, Radyo Karacadağ
146            Sait Gürkan Tuzlu, Cihan reporter
147            Salih Erbekler, Radyo Karacadağ
148            Sami Tunca, Mücadele Birliği magazine managing editor
149            Seda Taşkın, Mezopotamya News Agency reporter
150            Semiha Mete, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi reporter/distributor
151            Semiha Şahin, ETHA editor
152            Serhat Şeftali, Zaman regional bureau chief for the Med region
153            Serkan Aydemir, Bitlis Aktüel reporter
154            Serpil Ünal, Mücadele Birliği reporter
155            Sertan Önal, Halkın Günlüğü reporter
156            Seyid Kılıç, TRT News
157            Seyithan Akyüz, Azadiya Welat Adana bureau chief
158            Sezai Yavaş, TRT Diyarbakır deputy regional director
159            Songül Yücel, Önsöz editor in chief
160            Süleyman Acar, Mücadele Birliği editor in chief
161            Süleyman Güneş, Gün Matbaacılık employee
162            Şahabettin Demir, DİHA reporter
163            Şeref Yılmaz, Irmak TV
164            Şerife Oruç, DİHA reporter
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