New York, June 14, 2019 – The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the decision by Turkey’s judiciary to charge two Bloomberg reporters over their coverage of the Turkish economy.
A criminal court in Istanbul accepted an indictment charging the reporters Kerim Karakaya and Fercan Yalınkılıç with undermining Turkey’s economic stability, and requesting that they be imprisoned, according to their employer and media reports. If convicted, the journalists could be jailed for up to five years.
The indictment comes after the Turkish banking regulator BDDK filed a criminal complaint, according to reports. The charges stem from an August 10, 2018 article that Karakaya and Yalınkılıç wrote about how Turkish authorities and banks were responding to the currency shock.
“The notion that Bloomberg’s meticulous financial reporting could somehow be a threat to Turkey’s economic stability and a violation of its laws is hard to fathom,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Today’s indictment represents a further escalation of Turkey’s press freedom crackdown and is of deep concern.”
The indictment also names 36 people who allegedly shared and commented on the Bloomberg report via social media, according to reports. They are accused of sharing “false, wrong, or deceptive information” to affect the markets. Under Turkey’s Capital Market Law 107/2, the charge carries a penalty of up to five years in prison or a judicial fine.
CPJ’s calls to the BDDK today went unanswered.
In a statement today, the BDDK said it had only filed complaints against the Bloomberg journalists.
Bloomberg’s editor-in-chief John Micklethwait condemned the indictment and said that the journalists had reported “fairly and accurately on newsworthy events.”
An Istanbul criminal court is due to hear the case in September 20, Bloomberg reported.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: This alert has been updated to include details of the BDDK statement.]