A young man on July 9 with a Turkish flag during a rally in Istanbul to mark the end of a 25-day-long protest against the detention of lawmaker Enis Berberoglu. The word in red means justice. (Reuters/Umit Bektas)
A young man on July 9 with a Turkish flag during a rally in Istanbul to mark the end of a 25-day-long protest against the detention of lawmaker Enis Berberoglu. The word in red means justice. (Reuters/Umit Bektas)

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of October 8, 2017

Two media workers released from state custody, trial ongoing

A Turkish court yesterday released Şirin Çoban and İlker İlkan, two employees of the shuttered Kurdish-language daily Azadiya Welat, from state custody during their first trial hearing, according to the online newspaper Gazete Karınca. The trial is ongoing.

Turkish authorities charged Çoban and İlkan with belonging to and making propaganda for a terrorist organization.

The two media workers asked for an acquittal during yesterday’s court proceedings, and said the only thing they did was distribute their employer’s newspaper, according to Gazete Karınca.

Turkish authorities originally detained Çoban and İlkan in September 2016, CPJ documented.

A government decree ordered Azadiya Welat, along with many other pro-Kurdish media outlets, to close on October 29, 2016, CPJ documented.

[October 13, 2017]

Turkish authorities convict Wall Street Journal reporter in absentia

A Turkish court yesterday convicted Wall Street Journal reporter Ayla Albayrak in absentia of terrorism, and sentenced her to two years and one month in prison in retaliation for her reporting on clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish separatists in the country’s southeast, the Journal reported.

Albayrak, who is currently in the U.S., will appeal the verdict, according to her employer.

CPJ issued a statement yesterday condemning the court’s decision.

Journalist acquitted in one case, remains in prison on other charges

An Istanbul court found journalist Atilla Taş not guilty on charges of insulting the Turkish president in a column he wrote for the shuttered Meydan newspaper, but Taş will remain in jail as he still faces charges in “many other cases,” his lawyer, Yaman Akdeniz, wrote yesterday on Twitter.

In January, Istanbul prosecutors charged Taş, and at least 18 other people, of having ties to Fethullah Gülen, who the Turkish government accuses of leading a terrorist organization, CPJ documented.

[October 11, 2017]

Retrial for former lawmaker accused of terrorism, leaking secret documents

An Istanbul appeals court yesterday overturned the guilty verdict for the former parliament deputy Enis Berberoğlu, who prosecutors accused of leaking secret documents to the Cumhuriyet newspaper, and maintaining ties to a terrorist organization, the Cumhuriyet reported. This decision, under Turkish law, triggers a retrial.

Berberoğlu’s lawyer, Murat Ergün, wrote in a tweet that Turkish authorities have not released his client from custody despite yesterday’s ruling, and that he will appeal to the court for Berberoğlu’s release.

According to the prosecutor, Berberoğlu gave former Cumhuriyet editor Can Dündar video footage that showed trucks carrying weapons from the Turkish intelligence agency to Islamist Syrian rebels in 2015, CPJ documented.

In Dündar’s book, Tutuklandık (We were arrested), the journalist said that “a leftist lawmaker” gave him the footage. Prosecutors believe that the lawmaker was Berberoğlu based on Dündar’s phone records, CPJ documented.

The prosecutor also accused Berberoğlu of having ties to the Hizmet movement, which the Turkish government classifies as a terrorist group, according to the daily Hürriyet.

Before he worked as a lawmaker, Berberoğlu was chief editor of the Hürriyet newspaper.

An Istanbul court sentenced Berberoğlu to life in prison, later reduced to 25 years, on espionage charges, CPJ documented.

[October 10, 2017]