A man shops at the gallery on August 16, 2018 near the Istiklal avenue, at Beyoglu district, in Istanbul. (AFP/Ozan Kose)
A man shops at the gallery on August 16, 2018 near the Istiklal avenue, at Beyoglu district, in Istanbul. (AFP/Ozan Kose)

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of August 13, 2018

Capital Markets Board issues warning on coverage of financial markets

The Turkish Capital Markets Board (SPK) said in a statement that Article 107 of the Law no. 6362 on “market fraud” will be used against those who “spread fabricated, false and fallacious news about the economy,” independent news website Bianet reported on August 13. The statement came amid a currency crisis and a trade dispute with the U.S. U.S.-based CNN reported on August 13 that Turkish authorities are investigating 346 social media accounts on suspicion of foreign currency market manipulation. The “law will be applied to those who release fake news about banks, financial institutions and companies that are open to the public,” CNN reported, quoting the SPK statement.

In a separate report on August 13, Bianet quoted Gökhan Durmuş, chair of the Journalists Union of Turkey, as saying that the investigations aim to “prevent news with threats.” Faruk Eren, president of the media and printing branch of the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey, said not reporting about the crisis would be “counter manipulation” and added, “hiding information from the people is a crime.”

In another development related to the U.S.-Turkey spat, the official news agency, Anatolia, reported on August 15 that İlhan Yerlikaya, head of the government’s radio and television broadcast watchdog RTÜK, said: “According to the policies of our government and the concept we are in, I believe that it would be better for our country and the sensitivities of our nation in case our media outlets act more sensitively about American imperialism, the expansionism of its culture and commercial ads of American products.”

Journalist, press advocate released

Press freedom defender and lawyer Taner Kılıç, the honorary chair of Amnesty International Turkey, was released from prison pending trial, Amnesty announced on August 15. Kılıç has been in prison since June 2017, CPJ has documented.

Ruken Demir, who was detained by the police last week, was released from custody on probation, her employer Mezopotamya News Agency reported on August 10. Demir spent three days in custody in Diyarbakır before appearing at an İzmir court from Diyarbakır via teleconference.