Pressure against the media in Turkey accelerated in April, as the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) continued its efforts to redesign the mainstream media according to its desires while also taking aim at foreign journalists working in the country.
Encountered only sporadically in the past, incidents such as the refusal to grant accreditation and deportation occurred with frequency over the last month.
Some 33 journalists are now being held under arrest in jail, while 12 journalists for the Dicle News Agency (DİHA) are now being incarcerated in jail, either as arrestees or convicts.
- imc TV News Editor Hamza Aktan is detained by police at his home in Istanbul's Behçelievler district on account of his Twitter posts.
- Special force police officers break into Jin News Agency (JINHA) journalist Aysel Işık’s home in Şırnak, writing, “Everything’s not like you think, JINHA, this is Turkey,” before setting fire to her books and clothes. The officers asked neighbors about the whereabouts of Işık, who was not home at the time.
- Cumhuriyet newspaper writers Hikmet Çetinkaya and Ceyda Karan are sentenced to two years in jail in Turkey’s Charlie Hebdo case
- A trial is opened into Evrensel newspaper Editor-in-Chief Fatih Polat and News Editor Vural Nasuhbeyoğlu on charges of “terrorist propaganda” and “praising crime and criminals.”
- Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) journalist Uygar Önder Şimşek is forcibly removed from Şırnak’s Silopi district by security forces while covering a story on the grounds that “taking videos and photographs is forbidden.”
- Journalist Hilmi Hacaoğlu is briefly detained by police following a complaint from the head of the Kilis Jewelers’ Chamber. Because he does not possess a yellow press card, Hacaloğlu was given permission to continue working after being vouched for by the Kilis Governor’s Office’s press officer.
- Finnish writer Taina Niemalä, who lives in Van, has been sent to a Return Center for deportation after being detained. Niemalä was taken into custody on charges of “spying” and “engaging in activities for the PKK/KCK.”
- A number of telephone providers, including Turkcell and Türk Telekom, block access to a BirGün graph showing the relations between the Ensar Foundation, which has attracted attention due to child sex abuse allegations, and the ruling AKP.
- Journalist Ümit Zileli, who was the subject of a detention order, is taken into custody at a hotel in which he was staying in İzmir. Zileli was released after providing a statement.
- Police conduct a raid on a house in Istanbul that is home to workers for Özgür Gelecek newspaper, detaining Sevil Doğan and Rahime Karvar.
- Can Gürola, a writer for RED journal, is detained in a police attack in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district. The attack resulted in bleeding to Gürola’s face.
- David Lepeska, a journalist based in Istanbul, is forced onto a flight to Chicago after being denied entry to Turkey at Istanbul Atatürk Airport. Lepeska, who writes for a number of international media outlets, had criticized the AKP’s emergency expropriation policies in Sur, Diyarbakır.
- Journalist Can Dündar is ordered to pay compensation to President Erdoğan over a series of articles in his newspaper, Cumhuriyet, outlining corruption claims.
- Dicle News Agency (DİHA) journalist Bilal Güldem is formally arrested by a court in Mardin on charges of membership in a terrorist organization. With Güldem’s arrest, nine DİHA journalists are now under arrest in Turkish jails.
- Ebru Umar, a Dutch journalist of Turkish origin, is detained in Kuşadası for allegedly insulting President Erdoğan after severely criticizing a call by the Turkish Consulate General in Rotterdam “for informants” in her latest column in the Metro newspaper.
- Dicle News Agency (DİHA) journalist Doğan Akdamar is detained in Bingöl’s Karlıova district by plainclothes police officers who claimed there was an order to search the reporter.
- Abdullah Demir, Show TV’s social media manager as well as the channel’s web and digital projects manager, is laid off from his job.
- Sputnik Turkey General Manager Tural Kerimov is barred from entering Turkey in the wake of the Telecommunications Directorate’s (TİB) decision to ban web access to Sputnik’s site in the country.
- Dicle News Agency (DİHA) journalist and Sakarya University student Muhammed Doğru is formally arrested, five days after being detained along with fellow students.
Dicle News Agency (DİHA) journalists Süheyla Ölmez and Mahsum Molak are detained in the southeastern district of İdil, which has been subjected to curfews and operations in recent weeks
- An order to detain journalist Fatih Yağmur is issued following a complaint from Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian businessman at the center of the December 2013 corruption probe case who is currently under arrest in the United States on graft charges. Yağmur was brought to a courthouse to provide testimony.
- Habertürk TV removes Istanbul-based editor Yaşar Gürsoy from his position.
- Turkish border officials refuse to permit entry to Volker Schwenk, the Cairo correspondent of Germany’s ARD TV station.
- Habertürk newspaper lays off photojournalist Ümit Turpçu, courtroom reporter Cemal Doğan, sports reporter Ali Öcal and three others working from outside at its Ankara bureau.
- Turkey’s Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) blocks access to the Sputnik news agency, which is based in Russia and broadcasts in 31 languages. The TİB also blocked the Dicle News Agency (DİHA) for the 35th time and the Jin News Agency (JINHA) for the fifth time. DİHA is continuing operations at www.diclenews.xyz, while JINHA can now be accessed at jinhanews.com.
- Dicle News Agency (DİHA) journalist Muhammed Doğru is one of 11 people detained in raids in Sakarya. The 11 were reportedly detained for participating in festivities marking 8 March International Working Women’s Day.
- Yüksekova News Managing Editor Zeki Dara is taken into custody for crossing his legs in front of Hakkari Gov. Yakup Canbolat at celebrations marking the birth of the Prophet Muhammad. Dara was released after providing a statement.
- Dicle News Agency (DİHA) journalist Meltem Oktay is arrested after being detained in Nusaybin.
- Turkey’s official media watchdog, RTÜK, penalizes imc TV for “depicting a terrorist organization as powerful and righteous” in broadcasting videos of soldiers that have been captured by the PKK. RTÜK also fined the channel for broadcasting comments from Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Şırnak MP Faysal Sarıyıldız in which he called armored police carriers “death machines with their gun barrels trained on civilians” and alleging that a baby who was killed during a siege in Cizre was “raked with bullets” while being carried to an ambulance. RTÜK also fined Özgür Gün Tv, Azadi TV, Jiyan Tv and Van TV for their coverage of news in conflict areas.
- Syrian journalist Mohammad Zahar al-Shurgat succumbs to injuries sustained in a gun attack in Gaziantep on 10 April 10.
- The Hani Criminal Court of Peace Judicial Board imposes a publication ban on all news related to a bomb attack in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır's Hani district on 11 April that killed at least one soldier.
- Police enter the building of the Samanyolu TV station after a trustee was appointed to the channel.
- Habertürk visual editor Sanlı Ergin is laid off from the newspaper after eight years on the job.
- Dicle News Agency (DİHA) journalists Meltem Oktay ve Uğur Akgül are detained by special operations police officers in the southeastern district of Nusaybin.
- Dicle News Agency (DİHA) intern journalist Ziya Ataman is arrested by a Turkish court, one day after being detained in the eastern province of Van.
- Syrian journalist Mohammad Zahar al-Shurgat suffers serious injuries after being shot in the back of the neck on a street in the southeastern province of Gaziantep. Al-Shurgat, 36, reportedly worked on anti-ISIL news stories.
- Dicle News Agency (DİHA) journalist Ziya Ataman is taken into custody while covering a story in Van’s Kurubaş neighborhood
- Cem Küçük, who has gained notoriety for his closeness to the government and his attacks on journalists, is fired by Star newspaper. Küçük was reportedly fired due to his articles attacking Doğan Media Group owner Aydın Doğan, with whom Star owner Ethem Sancak recently signed a new business partnership.
- Dicle News Agency (DİHA) journalist Engin Eren is detained in the city center of the southeastern province of Siirt.
- Dicle News Agency’s (DİHA) internet site is closed for a 34th time. DİHA’s new address is www.diclenews.win
- “Revolution in its Rojava State” (Devrimin Rojava Hali), a book by journalist Arzu Demir that was prepared in Italy, is banned in Turkey.
- Turkey’s Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) blocks access to the website of Azadiya Welat newspaper for a fifth time.
- A Turkish court orders the blocking of the entire “Turkey” news section of sol.org.tr after a complaint from President Erdoğan about one of the news site’s stories.
- Police stage raids on the Van provincial office of the Democratic Regions Party (DBP), as well as a student association at Yüzüncü Yıl University on the grounds that they contained “illegal books.” Some 2,400 books were confiscated in the raids.
- Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University (MSGSÜ) student and BirGün editor Demet Sargın is detained along with 24 others in house raids by Turkish police.
- Former Millet Editor-in-Chief Değer Özergün, Former Karşı newspaper Editor-in-Chief Kutlu Esendemir and Zaman journalist Bayram Kaya are detained, as police also launch a raid on the home of the family of journalist Ufuk Köroğlu.
- Habertürk TV News Coordinator Suat Toktaş is laid off from his position.
- Necmi Uçar is arrested after being detained in the northwestern province of Kırklareli while selling copies of the journal Yürüyüş
- Nurcan Demirtaş, who had been working as an editor at Habertürk newspaper since its establishment, is laid off, along with reporter Derya Öztürk.