A screen shot of a Dihaber video shows a police officer scuffling with journalists at an August 6 opposition party protest in Istanbul.
A screen shot of a Dihaber video shows a police officer scuffling with journalists at an August 6 opposition party protest in Istanbul.

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of August 6, 2017

Police detain journalist
Police detained Berivan Altan, a reporter for the news website Dihaber, at checkpoint in the southeastern province of Mersin last night because there was a warrant for her arrest, the website reported today. At the time of publication, Altan was at Mersin Courthouse waiting for a prosecutor to question her.

Online form prevents media outlets shuttered by decree from appealing order
At least three broadcasters the government ordered closed by decree using emergency powers the government assumed after the July 2016 military coup have been unable to appeal the decree as Turkish protocols for states of emergency (OHAL) require, the leftist daily newspaper Evrensel reported. Hayatın Sesi TV, Evrensel‘s sister outlet, IMC TV, which catered to an ethnic Kurdish audience, and TV10, which catered to members of Turkey’s Alevi religious minority, have been unable to challenge the government’s decree because the government’s website for submitting appeals does not list them among the eligible media outlets.

News website censored for 60th time
Turkish regulator the BTK blocked access to the leftist news website sendika.org for the 60th time, the site reported. The site is continuing to publish at the new address, sendika61.org.

[August 11, 2017]

Police arrest at least nine journalists on terrorism charges
Police today arrested at least nine journalists on charges they were members of the Fethullah Gülen Community (or FETÖ, as the Turkish government calls it)’s “media network,” the news website Bianet reported. The Turkish government considers the group, its former tactical allies, to be a terrorist organization that maintains a “parallel state structure” it blames for the July 2016 failed military coup.

The arrests followed a court’s issuing of 35 arrest warrants for journalists and media workers alleged to use the mobile phone application Bylock, which Turkish courts accept as evidence of membership in the group, the official Anadolu News Agency reported today.

According to Bianet‘s report, the journalists arrested today included: Muhsin Pilgir, a former reporter for the shuttered outlets Zaman and the Cihan News Agency; Ömer Faruk Aydemir, news Editor for the right-wing İhlas News Agency (İHA); Sait Gürkan Tuzlu, an academic at Marmara University’s journalism school; Cüneyt Seza Özkan, the former news editor at Samanyolu TV, which the government ordered closed last year; Yusuf Duran; Ahmet Feyzullah Özyurt; Ahmet Sağırlı, a former columnist for the pro-government daily newspaper Türkiye–he was fired last week; Mutlu Özay, a former reporter for Zaman; Burak Ekici, the online editor for the leftist daily newspaper Birgün.

Child becomes 14th witness to say he was pressured to falsely accuse journalist of terrorism
A minor identified in press reports only by his initials D.B. yesterday told Hakkari’s Second Court for Serious Crimes that authorities pressured him to testify against Nedim Türfent, a former reporter for the shuttered Dicle News Agency (DİHA) jailed pending the conclusion of his trial on terrorism charges, and that the testimony had not been taken in the presence of a lawyer, the news website P24 reported today. D.B. yeseterday recanted his previous testimony and told the court that he did not know Türfent.

At Türfent’s last hearing, 13 of the 14 witnesses who previously testified against him said they did so under torture or threat. Many also said they did not know who the journalist was.

Türfent attended the hearing, which began six hours late, via teleconference, but without audio because of technical problems. The court scheduled the next hearing for November 1, according to P24.

Die Welt to bring Turkey before European Court of Human Rights
The German daily Die Welt will bring Turkey before the European Court of Human Rights over the imprisonment of their reporter, Deniz Yücel, the European Centre for Press Freedom reported on August 8, citing Die Welt.

“We will use all legal means in order to obtain the freedom to report, both for Deniz Yücel and for the newspaper,” Die Welt Managing Director Stephanie Kaspar said; stating their argument is the newspaper cannot provide independent coverage from Turkey due to Yücel’s arrest.

[August 10, 2017]

Journalist to file complaint against police
Onur Öncü, a reporter for the bilingual news website Ozguruz.org, which award-winning editor Can Dündar founded from exile in Germany, will file a criminal complaint alleging he was struck by police while reporting on an August 6 protest march organized by the opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP), the website reported on August 7. The pro-Kurdish news website Dihaber captured the incident on video.

[August 8, 2017]