Hale Gönültaş, a reporter for the news website Gazete Duvar, received a death threat on July 30, three days after the publication of her feature on the Islamic State militant group selling Yezidi women as slaves, her employer reported. Gönültaş’s report stated that at least one Yezidi woman was sold in Ankara, Turkey’s capital.
A man who spoke Turkish called Gönültaş on her personal cell phone from an unknown number, insulted and cursed at the journalist, and said he knew her home address in Ankara, the Gazete Duvar report stated. “Sharia will come to this land. Watch your step!” the man is quoted as saying, referring to Islamic law.
Gönültaş told CPJ that her lawyer filed a criminal complaint and that a legal investigation into the threats has begun.
Journalists in court
An Istanbul court on August 1 found Oğuz Güven, the online chief editor of Cumhuriyet, guilty on charges of “provoking the people into animosity and hatred,” and sentenced him to six months in prison, the news website T24 reported. Güven will remain on probation during the appeals process.
The charges against Güven relate to the publication of a controversial Charlie Hebdo cartoon in a report on the trial of Cumhuriyet journalists Ceyda Karan and Hikmet Çetinkaya, according to T24.
The Turkish government filed two lawsuits against Afrika Gazetesi, a daily newspaper published in Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, Gazete Duvar reported on August 1. CPJ was unable to determine the nature of the lawsuits.
One of the suits relates to a January headline, “Another Invasion Operation from Turkey,” which compared Turkey’s recent incursions into the border town of Afrin in Syria to its invasion of Cyprus in 1974, according to Gazete Duvar. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan publicly criticized the headline following its publication and, in the wake of his remarks, a crowd of approximately 200- 300 people attacked the Afrika offices, according to the daily Bianet.
The other lawsuit is in relation to a column written by the paper’s Chief Editor Şener Levent, according to Gazete Duvar.
Levent told Gazete Duvar that Afrika Gazetesi staff will not go to Ankara for the trials because they are not guilty and do not recognize the validity of the cases.