Sal, Haz

There was no let-up in the pressure against journalists covering clashes in Kurdish provinces in the month of May, as well as the outlets that publish such news.



Prosecutors also set their sights on journalists displaying solidarity with colleagues, opening a raft of investigations against journalists that included DİSK Basın-İş Chair Faruk Eren and Board of Directors member Ayşe Düzkan, Contemporary Journalists Association (ÇGD) Chair Ahmet Abakay, Reporters sans frontières (RSF) Turkey Representative Erol Öderoğlu and a number of others.


Following the investigations, prosecutors opened a case with a demand for 12 years in prison for Eren and Özgür Gündem News Editor İnan Kızılkaya. But Turkey’s judiciary never sleeps, and new indictments are expected to be completed soon against others that have taken part in a solidarity campaign with Özgür Gündem that began on 3 May World Press Freedom Day.


May was also marked by an attempt on the life of Can Dündar, as the Cumhuriyet journalist was attacked in front of an Istanbul courthouse after being targeted by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. After miraculously escaping without harm, Dündar, as well as Cumhuriyet colleague Erdem Gül, were sentenced to five years in jail.


Turkey also padded its lead as the largest jailer of journalists and publishers in Europe on the final day of the month after freelance journalist Emin Demir was arrested.


31 May

  • Emin Demir, a freelance journalist in the southern province of Mersin, is arrested on charges of “terrorist propaganda.”
  • zete.com, which started operations as Turkey's first tablet newspaper in 2011, ceases operations.

30 May

  • Security forces pour gasoline before burning Dicle News Agency’s (DİHA) Yüksekova office, as well as a number of other Kurdish institutions in the district. According to DİHA employees, three desktop computers and technical equipment was destroyed in the fire.

29 May

  • Journalist Jihat Akça, the press and public relations officer of Cizre Municipality, is detained in a house raid in Cizre along with approximately 20 others.

27 May

  • Serkan Azizoğlu is sentenced to life in prison for “voluntary manslaughter” in the killing of journalist Nuh Köklü in 2015. Azizoğlu, who owned a spice shop in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district, stabbed Köklü to death on the grounds that a group that included Köklü threw a snowball that hit his shop’s window.

26 May

  • Dersim Newspaper News Editor Erkan Aday, Senior Editor Ergin Doğru and Publication Board and writer Nesimi Aday are acquitted on terror charges pertaining to news pieces within the newspaper
  • Police in Diyarbakır’s Sur district prevent the Free Journalists’ Association (ÖGC) from issuing a press announcement while detaining ÖGC Board of Directors member Mehmet Ali Ertaş. Ertaş was released after the completion of procedures at a police station.
  • A trial against Sendika.Org Editor and Halkın Sesi newspaper News Editor Ali Ergin Demirhan on terrorism propaganda charges is postponed until 27 September.

 25 May

  • Müslüm Polat, Mizgin Çay and Zozan Kolay, three employees of Radyo Karacadağ, which broadcasts in Şanlıurfa, are detained in a police raid that was staged on accusations of “insulting the president,” “conducting terrorist propaganda” and “praising crime and criminals.” The three were released after providing testimony.
  • Journalist Ragıp Duran provides testimony at Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse in connection with an investigation into participation in a solidarity campaign with Özgür Gündem.

 24 May

  • An investigation is opened into Reporters Sans Frontières Turkey representative Erol Önderoğlu, as well as Sabahat Tuncel and Celalettin Can, for their participation in a solidarity campaign with Özgür Gündem newspaper.
  • Prosecutors open a case against Cumhuriyet on the grounds of “insulting the president” after the newspaper quoted a BBC Turkish interview with senior PKK leader Cemil Bayık.
  • Police conduct a raid on Ozan Publications in Istanbul’s Gazi neighborhood as workers were preparing a new issue of Yürüyüş journal. Police detained eight workers, confiscated the journal’s computers and scattered belongings in the office.

23 May

  • DİSK Basın-İş Chair Faruk Eren, Board of Directors member Ayşe Düzkan and journalist Ertuğrul Mavioğlu provide testimony in a case opened against them for participating in a solidarity campaign with Özgür Gündem newspaper. Probes have now been opened into 13 journalists in relation to the case.
  • Employees of Yeni Yüzyıl newspaper are refused entry to their building in Şişli’s Bomonti neighborhood after the premises was taken over by Istanbul University.
  • A trial is opened against Halkın Sesi News Editor Ali Ergin Demirhan on charges of “making terrorist propaganda” on account of the words “Murderer” and “Palace” appearing in headlines of his newspaper. Demirhan’s first hearing will be on 26 May in Istanbul.

22 May

  • An investigation is opened into Flash TV news anchor Mustafa Yenigün for his criticism of the “Green Road” project that will connect the highlands of eight Black Sea provinces on the grounds that he “openly insulted the Turkish nation, the state of the Republic of Turkey, the Turkish Grand National Assembly, the government of the Republic of Turkey and the judicial organs of the state.”

21 May

  • A trial is opened into Cumhuriyet newspaper reporter Sinan Tartanoğlu with a demand for 35 years in prison for a news piece on the witness protection program.

18 May

  • A Turkish court sentences journalist Arzu Yıldız to one year and eight months in prison for broadcasting images from the defense of prosecutors who were arrested for leading a probe into weapons-laden trucks belonging to Turkey’s intelligence service that were bound for Syria. Although Yıldız is the mother of two children, the court ordered that she be deprived of any rights for convicts who are mothers.
  • Police carrying machine guns raid a stand belonging to the Aram Publishing House at the 2nd Amed Book Fair, which is continuing in Diyarbakır. Police tore down posters of the publishing house while also detaining one of its employees, Emine Özkeskin.
  • Police confiscate a number of books in a raid on Aram Publishing House at the Van Book Fair.
  • The Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) blocks access to the Dicle News Agency’s (DİHA) website for a 40th time since 24 July 2015. DİHA will continue its operations at www.dicle-haber.xyz.
  • A trial is opened against journalist Felat Bozarslan with a demand for three years in prison for his story on the killing of Yunus Koca, the former provincial head of the AKP’s youth wing in Diyarbakır.

 17 May

  • An investigation is opened into DİSK Basın-İş Chair Faruk Eren, Board of Directors member Ayşe Düzkan, as well as journalists Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, Melda Onur and Mustafa Sönmez, for participating in a solidarity campaign with Özgür Gündem that began on 3 May World Press Freedom Day.
  • Turkey’s television watchdog, RTÜK, orders Özgür Gündem TV to cease operations for 24 hours.

16 May

  • An investigation is opened into journalist Alican Uludağ for a news piece in Cumhuriyet titled “ISIL cells in 70 provinces” that was sourced using reports from the Kars Police Department. Authorities have demanded a news blackout on the story.
  • Dicle News Agency (DİHA) journalist Yekta Yöyler receives death threats while covering a funeral in Kars for Mahmut Çakan, a PKK fighter who died in recent clashes. After telling Yöyler that "we'll shoot all of you in the head," police beat the journalist and seized his camera.
  • The Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) blocks access to the Dicle News Agency’s (DİHA) website for a 39th time since 24 July 2015.

14 May

  • Dicle News Agency (DİHA) journalist Şermin Soydan, who was arrested on 12 May in Van, is arrested due to her reporting. With Soydan’s arrest, 13 DİHA journalists have now been arrested by Turkish courts.
  • Soldiers and police cut a live broadcast by TV10 from Kahramanmaraş’s Terolar neighborhood, where Alevi residents have been resisting plans by the government’s disaster relief foundation to construct a camp due to fears that it will be used to house jihadist elements.

13 May

  • Dicle News Agency (DİHA) journalist and foreign news editor Nedim Türfent is arrested after being sent to court.

  • The Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) blocks access to the Dicle News Agency’s (DİHA) website for a 38th time since 24 July 2015.
  • Aram Publishing House Editor Ferzende Taşan is arrested after being detained in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district on account of an ongoing trial on “membership in a terrorist organization” and the Supreme Court of Appeals’ approval of an old case.

12 May

  • Dicle News Agency (DİHA) journalists Nedim Türfent and Şermin Soydan are detained in Van. Because of his news pieces, Türfent had been receiving threats from social media accounts close to the special forces.

10 May

  • Jin News Agency (JİNHA) journalist Beritan Canözer is sentenced to one year and three months in prison for “conducting terrorist propaganda.”
  • Cumhuriyet newspaper writer Özgür Mumcu is acquitted in a trial into alleged insults against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
  • Dicle News Agency (DİHA) journalist Diyar Balkaş receives death threats from a special police force officer after the reporter arrived to cover news of an attack against a police bus in Diyarbakır. “I can blow your head off, and no one can say anything to me. I’m going to count to three; if you’re not gone by then, I’ll kill you,” the officer said in threatening Balkaş.
  • The Radio and Television Supreme Board (RTÜK), Turkey’s media watchdog, imposes a publication ban on news related to a bomb attack on a police bus in Diyarbakır’s Bağlar district.
  • Investigations are opened into Evrensel journalists Erdal İmrek, Faruk Ayyıldız and Beyar Özalp. İmrek is being investigated over a piece titled “No solution with killing, listen to the people’s demands” and published on 6 April, while Ayyıldız and Özalp are being probed for a piece titled “Houses bombed, five civilians slain” that was published on 7 April.

9 May

  • Dicle News Agency (DİHA) journalist Abdulkadir Turay is arrested, four days after being detained by the gendarmerie in a house raid in Mardin’s Savur district.

6 May

  • Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar narrowly escapes an assassination attempt in front of Istanbul’s courthouse but NTV journalist Yağız Şenkal, who was nearby, sustained a bullet injury to his leg. The perpetrator reportedly shouted “Traitor to the nation” before shooting.
  • Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar and Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gül are respectively sentenced to five years, 10 months and five years in prison for “acquiring and publishing classified state information.”
  • A trial is opened into Dicle News Agency (DİHA) journalist Feyyaz İmrak on accusations that he insulted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on social media.

5 May

  • Abdulkadir Turay, a journalist for Dicle News Agency (DİHA) in Mardin’s Savur district, is detained following a raid on his home by police.
  • Dicle News Agency (DİHA) Mardin correspondent Murat Verim is sentenced to six years in jail at his first hearing on charges of “committing crimes on behalf of a terrorist organization without being a member.” Verim and his lawyers will appeal the ruling at the Supreme Court of Appeals. 
  • The Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) blocks access to the Dicle News Agency’s (DİHA) website for a 37th time since 24 July 2015. DİHA will continue its operations at www.dihanews.xyz.
  • Journalist Kamil Maman, who was beaten as he was detained when Bugün newspaper was placed under control of a trustee last year, is sentenced to one year and 15 days in jail for “insulting an officer” and resistance that prevented an officer from performing his duty

4 May

  • Dicle News Agency (DİHA) journalist Mehmet Hakkı Yılmaz is arrested on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization” in Gaziantep. With Yılmaz’s arrest, the number of arrested DİHA journalists has risen to 10.

3 May

  •  Dicle News Agency (DİHA) journalists Erdoğan Alayumat and Ergin Çağlar are detained on 3 May World Press Freedom Day while following a story along the Turkish-Syrian border in Hatay.
  •  Evrensel newspaper İzmir correspondent Metehan Ud is detained on 3 May World Press Freedom Day.
  • A case is opened into Jin News Agency (JINHA) journalists Ceren Karlıdağ and Öykü Dilara Keskin on accusations of “involvement in armed attacks.” The journalists’ first hearing will be conducted on 28 June.
  • The Diyarbakır Chief Prosecutor’s Office opens an investigation against journalist İsmail Eskin for “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” and “conducting activities on behalf of a terrorist organization” due to his Twitter posts.

2 May

  • A case into Dicle News Agency (DİHA) Dargeçit journalist Murat Verim is opened on accusations of “membership in a terrorist organization.”
  • Dicle News Agency’s (DİHA) internet site is blocked by the Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) for the 36th time since 24 July 2015. The agency is continuing its operations at www.dihahaber.xyz.

1 May

  • Dicle News Agency (DİHA) journalist Mehmet Hakkı Yılmaz is detained after arriving to cover the story of a bomb attack by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Gaziantep. Yılmaz told his lawyer that he had received death threats from police.
  • A court in Gaziantep imposes a media blackout on news related to a bomb attack on the province's main police station.
  • Özgür Gündem reporter Burcu Özkaya, who was covering May Day celebrations in Istanbul’s Okmeydanı neighborhood, sustains injuries to her foot from a tear gas canister that was fired during a police attack.

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