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24
Çrş, Nis

While arresting press workers and administrators of Cumhuriyet newspaper as well as journalists covering the news in Kurdish provinces throughout November 2016, Turkey continued to the world’s biggest jailer of journalists. Of all journalists in European prisons, 95% languish in Turkish jails.

But the pressure has not been restricted to simply journalists from Turkey, as foreign journalists in the country have also suffered their share of recent repression. French journalist Olivier Bertrand was detained in Gaziantep before being deported, while two Swedish journalists were also apprehended by security forces in Amed (Diyarbakır).

And showing off its traditional reflex, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has continued to order media blackouts following incidents around the country. Its latest move to impose a media ban after gross negligence led to the deaths of 12 in a fire at a girls’ dorm run by a religious order in Adana’s Aladağ district is nothing but an indication of its attempt to conceal the bitter truths in the country.

Furthermore, the annulment of yellow press cards by the Prime Ministry and moves to prevent journalists lacking such cards from covering the news illustrates the emergence of a new dimension of censorship.

 

1 November

İsmail Çoban, an employee of Azadiya Welat newspaper, which was closed as part of the state of emergency on 29 October, is detained. According to Çoban’s uncle, police have said they are holding the journalist at the anti-terror branch in Amed (Diyarbakır).

 

2 November

Cumhuriyet newspaper is subjected to a cyberattack following the recent detention of a number of journalists and administrators from the paper.

 

3 November

The Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office opens an investigation into 19 different news stories of the newspaper Özgürlükçü Demokrasi.

 

4 November

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım says a slowdown in internet connection around Turkey, particularly for Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and YouTube, was due to “security purposes” in the wake of the mass detentions of HDP MPs. “Sometime these precautions can be taken for security reasons,” he said, adding that they would be “temporary.”

 

Turkey’s media watchdog, RTÜK, imposes a media blackout following a bomb attack in Amed (Diyarbakır).

 

Jin News Agency (JINHA) correspondent Ayşe Yılmaz is detained alongside dozens of others at a press statement in İzmir that was called after the detention of 12 Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers.

 

Cumhuriyet newspaper accounts manager Günseli Özaltay and former administrator Bülent Yener are released.

 

Zarok TV, a Kurdish-language children’s TV network that was closed on 29 September as part of the state of emergency, will return to air on condition that 20 percent of its cartoons and 40 percent of its other programming are in Turkish. In addition, these programs must “reflect Turkish culture,” authorities have ordered.

 

Radio station Yön Radyo, which was closed as part of the state of emergency on 29 September, is set to reopen.

 

5 November

Cumhuriyet newspaper writers Hikmet Çetinkaya and Aydın Engin are released on probation due to their age. The writers have been barred from leaving the country.

 

A Turkish court arrests nine writers and administrators from Cumhuriyet newspaper, including Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu, publication consultant Kadri Gürsel, Cumhuriyet Foundation Board of Directors members Önder Çelik, Bülent Utku, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Güray Öz and Hakan Kara, cartoonist Musa Kart and book supplement editor Turhan Günay.

 

6 November

Five reporters from the Jin News Agency (JINHA) are detained in Adana after coming to the southern province to film shots for a piece on women farm workers in Istanbul’s Tuzla district.

 

Jin News Agency (JINHA) reporters Bengi Su Kömürcü ve Duygu Civiniz and 17 others are detained by police in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district at a protest called by women’s organizations to denounce the arrest of women MPs from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

 

8 November

Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TİHV) Chair Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Reporters sans frontières (RSF) Turkey representative Erol Önderoğlu and writer Aziz Nesin appear at a hearing in a case that was opened due to their participation in a solidarity campaign with the now-closed Özgür Gündem newspaper. The court refused to acquit the trio, postponing the case until 11 January 2017.

 

Journalist Arzu Demir appears in court for two separate cases on charges of terrorist propaganda over her books “The Revolutionary Version of Rojava” (Devrimin Rojava Hali) and “The Woman’s Version of the Mountains” (Dağın Kadın Hali). The case was postponed until 19 January 2017.

 

Bodrum Journalist and activist Ayhan Karahan is arrested on charges of insulting the president in comments made after a press conference last week.

 

10 November

Aslı Ceren Aslan, the acting news editor of Özgür Gelecek / Paşêroja Azad, is sentenced to two years and six months in jail on charges of “making terrorist propaganda.”

 

The Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) closes the Sendika.Org news website for the 13th time since 25 July 2015. The site is continuing its operations at www.sendika12.org.

 

The Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office completes an indictment regarding nine writers and administrators from the closed Özgür Gündem newspaper, demanding aggravated life sentences for four different crimes. Editor-in-Chief Zana (Bilir) Kaya, Acting News Editor İnan Kızılkaya, license holder Kemal Sancılı, former Co-Editor-in-Chief Eren Keskin and Board of Consultant members Aslı Erdoğan, Necmiye Alpay, Bilge Contepe, Filiz Koçali and Ragıp Zarakolu face life in prison for “membership in an armed terror organization,” “destroying the state’s unity and integrity,” “membership in an organization formed to commit crime” and “conducting terrorist propaganda.”

 

11 November

Cumhuriyet CEO Akın Atalay, who was wanted following an operation against the newspaper late last week, is detained upon his arrival from Germany at Istanbul Atatürk Airport.

 

Semsûr’un (Adıyaman) Gerger ilçesinde yaşanan çocuk istismar skandalını ortaya çıkaran Fırat Gerger haber sitesinin editörü Özgür Boğatekin’in evi polislerce basıldıktan sonra söz konusu haber zorla sildirildi. Boğatekin gece haberi tekrar yayınlasa da, haber sitesi sonra mahkeme tarafından erişime engellendi.

 

Özgür Gazeteciler Cemiyeti, yeni KHK ile kapatıldı. OHAL yasası ile ÖGC’nin yanı sıra 369 dernek kapatıldı.

 

12 November

Turkish judicial authorities arrest the CEO of daily Cumhuriyet on charges of terrorist propaganda, a day after he was detained as he arrived at Istanbul Atatürk Airport following a trip to Germany.

 

French journalist Olivier Bertrand, who is working for the publication Les Jours, is detained in Gaziantep. His detention "is illegitimate and smacks of intimidation,” said the general secretary of media watchdog Reporters sans frontières Christophe Deloire.

 

13 November

Cumhuriyet newspaper reporter Ali Açar and Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter Metin Yoksu are hit by police while being briefly detained after officers attacked the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) as it attempted to conduct a press statement.

 

French journalist Olivier Bertrand, who was detained in Gaziantep on 11 November, is deported from Turkey.

 

15 November

Journalist Perihan Kara, who was detained on accusations that she was “conducting reconnaissance” while walking down Cizîr’s (Cizre) Sanat Street, is arrested due to the photographs found on her phone.

 

Freelance journalist Can Özen is hit and dragged on the ground by police on Ankara’s Yüksel Avenue after he photographed two young from the Revolutionary High School group staging a sit-down protest. Özen, who was dragged by police even though he informed them about an injured leg, was left unable to walk following the police attack.

 

16 November

Şaban İba, a writer from the closed Özgür Gündem newspaper, is detained in Balıkesir’s Edremit district on accusations of being the “member of a terrorist organization.”

 

17 November

İsmail Çoban, the acting news editor of the now-closed newspaper Azadiya Welat, is sentenced to two years and four months in prison for “terrorist propaganda.”

 

19 November

Swedish journalists L.N.B. and R.A.S. are detained in Amed’s (Diyarbakır) Bajarê Nû (Yenişehir) district for allegedly taking photos of a military installation next to their hotel. The two were released after providing testimony.

 

21 November

Aysel Işık, a journalist formerly with the closed Jin News Agency (JINHA), is bundled into an armored police vehicle while covering a news story in Şirnex (Şırnak).

 

Former Jin News Agency (JINHA) correspondent Aysel Işık is arrested on allegations of “membership in a terror organization” stemming from her social media posts following her detention in Şirnex (Şırnak) while pursuing a story.

 

22 November

Seven newspapers, one journal and a radio station are closed in line with state of emergency decree 677. The Ekspres, Türkiye Manşet, Dağyeli, Akis, İpekyolu, Son Dakika ve Yedigün newspapers were closed alongside Haberexen Journal and Batman FM.

 

Some 45 personnel at state-run Turkey Radio and Television (TRT) are dismissed as part of state of emergency decree 677.

 

The Free Journalists Association (ÖGC) is closed as part of state of emergency decree 677 following the sealing of its offices.

 

Atılım newspaper is assessed a 10,000-Turkish Lira fine for printing an edition of the closed Özgür Gündem newspaper out of solidarity.

 

Journalist Ali Barış Kurt is sentenced to two years and four months in prison on charges of “conducting propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization” that stemmed from social media posts and journalistic activities.

 

23 November

Dicle News Agency (DİHA) journalist Şermin Soydan, who had been under arrest while facing life in prison for a news story she wrote, is released from prison. Soydan had been under arrest since 14 May.

 

A Turkish court orders the release of author Aslı Erdoğan and linguist Necmiye Alpay, two arrested members of the closed Özgür Gündem newspaper’s Advisory Board, on the basis of the Article 302, but orders their continued detention for membership in a terror organization.

 

24 November

Turkey’s media watchdog, RTÜK, announces that the Prime Ministry has imposed a media blackout on news pertaining to an air strike that killed Turkish soldiers near al-Bab, Syria, as part of the Euphrates Shield Operation.

 

Turkey’s media watchdog, RTÜK, announces that the Prime Ministry has imposed a media blackout on news pertaining to an explosion in Adana.

 

Sixteen participants being tried on terrorism charges for participating in a solidarity campaign with now-closed daily Özgür Gündem appear before a judge. The case was adjourned until 14 February 2017.

 

Meltem Oktay, a journalist for the closed Dicle News Agency (DİHA), is sentenced to four years in prison by a court in Mêrdîn (Mardin) on terrorism propaganda charges.

 

26 November

Southeast Journalists Association administrator and BBC Turkish correspondent Hatice Kamer is detained in Sêrt’s (Siirt) Şêrwan (Şirvan) district while pursuing a story in the wake of a mining disaster last week.

 

27 November

Khajijan Farqin, a freelance reporter working for Voice Of America, is detained in Amed (Diyarbakır).

 

Southeast Journalists Association administrator and BBC Turkish correspondent Hatice Kamer is released after being detained the previous day in Sêrt’s (Siirt) Şêrwan (Şirvan) district while pursuing a story in the wake of a mining disaster last week.

 

30 November

A media ban is imposed on stories related to a fire at a girls’ dormitory in Adana’s Aladağ district in which 11 students and a staff member were killed. Turkey’s media watchdog said it was imposing the ban to avoid “disrupting the atmosphere of peace and trust across the country.”