Protesters hold placards to demonstrate against Turkey's crackdown on the press outside an Istanbul court on July 28. (AFP/Ozan Kose)

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of August 20, 2017

New decree used to shutter three pro-Kurdish outlets The Turkey government shuttered three more pro-Kurdish media outlets yesterday, using a new decree issued under the state of emergency that has been in place since the failed attempted coup last year, the daily Cumhuriyet reported. Decree 693 was used to shutter the Dihaber news agency, the news website Gazete Sujin, and the Kurdish-language daily Rojava Medya. The same decree was used to allow Radyo 59, a local radio station from the western province of Tekirdağ, to start operating again. The station had been shuttered since January 2017.

Police detain newspaper employee at roadblock

Police detained Leyla Yıldız, an employee for the pro-Kurdish dailies Özgürlükçü Demokrasi and Rojava Medya at a roadblock in the southeastern province of Adana, on August 23, Dihaber reported. Yıldız was taken into custody for not giving testimony in an investigation into accusations that she is “a member of a [terrorist] organization,” according to the report. The prosecutor’s office transferred her to a court, which released Yıldız the following day under judicial control pending the investigation.

Court issues news ban over photo of judge

An Istanbul court issued a news ban over a photograph of a judge that was leaked to the press and used in at least eight stories, the daily Evrensel reported yesterday. The court issued the ban after the judge, Ali İhsan Horasan, filed a complaint. Muharrem Erkek, a parliamentary deputy of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) shared with the press an image of Ali İhsan Horasan pictured at a table with alcohol on it, and with two others, including Bülent Turan of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), who is doing the “Rabia sign.” In Turkey, consuming alcohol is a symbol of not being a supporter of the İslamist government, but the Rabia sign is used by supporters of the government. They adopted the gesture after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan used it. Horasan is the judge who had Enis Berberoğlu, the former chief editor of the daily Hürriyet and a CHP parliamentary deputy, arrested. Berberoğlu is serving a 25-year prison sentence after being convicted of being the source Can Dündar used for the news reports that led to the “MİT Trucks trial,” CPJ reported.

[August 25, 2017]

Turkey blocks access to Sendika for 61st time

Turkey’s information and communications technology authority, the BTK, has blocked access in Turkey to the leftist online newspaper Sendika for the 61st time, the news website tweeted on August 22. The site has created a new web address, which can be found at BTK also blocked access to the website of the new pro-Kurdish daily Özgürlükçü Demokrasi. The website, which has been blocked 41 times since it was founded on August 23, 2016, can currently be found at

[August 24, 2017]

Detained Özgürlükçü Demokrasi employee releasedAuthorities released Hamdullah Bayram, an employee for the pro-Kurdish daily Özgürlükçü Demokrasi, who police detained August 14, the Turkish news website Dihaber reported today. According to Dihaber, Bayram was kept at a sports complex that Urfa police use as a detention center. CPJ documented how police detained Bayram in a pre-dawn raid on his home. A prosecutor yesterday questioned Bayram at an Urfa courthouse on suspicion of “taking action on behalf of a [terrorist] organization,” “being a member of a [terrorist] organization,” and “making propaganda of a [terrorist] organization.” The prosecutor let Bayram go after questioning.

[August 22, 2017]

Police detain Dihaber reporters, confiscate their images Istanbul police briefly detained Sadiye Eser and Mehmet Şah Oruç, two reporters from the news website Dihaber, on August 19 when the journalists refused to share visuals they had taken at a press conference, their employer reported.

Police stopped the journalists after they attended a press conference of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) at the party’s Istanbul office and asked to check the video and photographs they took. When Eser and Oruç refused, police detained them and temporarily confiscated their press credentials. Police took them to the Taksim police center and told them their camera recordings would be inspected. According to a later report by Dihaber police confiscated the visuals and released the reporters.

[August 21, 2017]