Two editors at critical magazine Nokta arrested in Turkey for election coverage

Istanbul, November 4, 2015–The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the arrest of two editors in Istanbul Monday and calls on authorities to immediately release them. Cevheri Güven and Murat Çapan, of the privately owned weekly magazine Nokta, were arrested in their newsroom over a front-page cover on the results of Turkey’s election, according to reports.

On Tuesday, Nokta‘s chief editor Güven, and news editor Çapan, appeared before the Istanbul 8th Penal Court of Peace, which ordered their detention pending an investigating of claims they incited an armed uprising against the state, according to German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

The charges are related to the post-election issue of Nokta, which is known in Turkey for being critical of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), according to local and international news reports. The magazine’s front cover included an image of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the headline, “The beginning of Turkey’s civil war,” local and international press reported. Police obtained a court order for Internet service providers to block Nokta’s website and for police to confiscate copies of the magazine, reports said. Nokta’s website was inaccessible in Turkey on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press and a tweet from the magazine’s account. The site was still blocked in Turkey today, but was available outside of the country, CPJ found.

“Instead of opening a new chapter in media policy after this weekend’s elections, the Turkish government is continuing full bore with its crackdown on critical journalists and news outlets,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. “We call on authorities to immediately release Cevheri Güven and Murat Çapan, return Nokta to newsstands, and allow access to its online edition.”

According to court documents shared by Nokta on its Twitter account on Tuesday, Istanbul Prosecutor Umut Tepe issued an order for police to detain and question Çapan and Güven over claims they were in violation of Article 214 of Turkey’s Penal Code, which covers “provoking people to commit crimes.”

According to court documents shared by Nokta on Twitter, Güven and Çapan denied any wrongdoing.

With the arrests of Güven and Çapan, the number of journalists imprisoned in Turkey is now at least 11, CPJ research shows. The country’s press freedom record has significantly deteriorated in the past few months, CPJ research shows. Eight international press freedom groups, including CPJ, visited Istanbul and Ankara last month for meetings with local journalists, members of parliament, and foreign diplomats to discuss conditions for the press in Turkey. Following the visit, the Vienna-based International Press Institute, which led the mission, published a report highlighting the country’s troubling press freedom climate.