In this October 11, 1999, file photo, Turkish writers (left to right) Orhan Pamuk, Ahmet Atlan, and Yasher Kemal hold a news conference to urge a peaceful resolution to the conflict with Kurdish separatists. Police detained Atlan on September 10, 2016. (Reuters)

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of September 11

By Özgür Öğret/CPJ Turkey Representative on September 12, 2016 11:30 AM ET

Eid holiday leaves detained writers in legal limbo, lawyers say
Veysel Ok and Ergin Cinmen, lawyers for Mehmet and Ahmet Altan, two prominent writers detained four days ago, yesterday made a joint statement saying that because of the Eid holiday they could not find the responsible prosecutor or a court in which to appeal their clients' detention.

They called the charges against the brothers - sending "subliminal messages" about the July 15 failed military coup in their writings before the fact - "unserious."

[September 13, 2016]

Editor, columnists detained
Police detained Ahmet Altan, a novelist, columnist, and founding editor of the shuttered daily Taraf, and his brother, Mehmet Altan, an academic and columnist, on September 10 on suspicion of sending "subliminal messages suggesting a military coup," before mutinous soldiers' July 15 failed attempt to topple the government, Hürriyet Daily News reported. Their detention sparked criticism from well-known intellectuals around the world, the independent news website P24 reported.

Coverage of explosion temporarily banned
Turkish broadcast regulator RTÜK today announced a temporary ban on reporting anything but news from official sources regarding an explosion near an office of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) that injured at least 48 people in the eastern province of Van.

Turkey's Media Crackdown

Police detain magazine staffer, issue warrants for all staff
Police on September 9 detained Nedim Demirkıran, who works for the pro-Kurdish magazine Özgür Halk and was at the magazine's office when police raided the space, the left-wing Etkin News Agency (ETHA) reported. Sinan Zincir, a lawyer for the magazine, told ETHA police had warrants to detain the magazine's staff, writers, printers, and distributors.

Reporters briefly detained, videos deleted
Security forces in Turkey's southeastern Tunceli Province detained four journalists for three hours on September 10 and deleted the contents of their memory cards, the pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reported. Ferit Demir, a reporter for the Dogan News Agency (DHA), Ercan Topaç, of the İhlas News Agency (İHA), Haydar Toprakçı, of the official Anatolia News Agency (AA), and Ali Haydar Gözlü, of the Kurdish Rudaw media group, were reporting on military activity in the area when they were detained.

"The helicopters bombed, journalists recorded [it], then the prosecutor confiscated our recordings, deleted them, and said, 'Do not come before me again.' This is press freedom," Demir wrote on Twitter after the incident.

Court releases journalist detained covering protest
A court in Ankara on September 9 released DİHA reporter Mehmet Kurnaz, whom police detained while he covered a September 5 protest, the daily newspaper Evrensel reported, citing DİHA. Police had requested the court to jail him pending trial on charges of "being member of a [terrorist] organization" and "resisting the police."

Court frees journalist on probation, pending trial
Istanbul's Sixth Court of Penal Peace on September 9 released Hürriyet journalist Arda Akın on probation, pending trial, Hürriyet reported. Police arrested Akın on July 29 as part of a sweeping purge of suspected followers of preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom Turkish authorities accuse of maintaining a terrorist organization and a "parallel state structure" in Turkey that they say orchestrated the July 15 attempted military coup. After spending nearly a month in Istanbul's Silivri Prison, he is now banned from travel, and must check in at a police station regularly.

Prosecutors order nationalist newspaper columnist released
Authorities yesterday released Kürşad Zorlu, a columnist for the Turkish nationalist daily Yeni Çağ, the newspaper reported. Zorlu turned himself in to police on September 8 because police had detained three other columnists for the newspaper while Zorlu was traveling. Adnan İslamoğulları, another Yeni Çağ is still in custody, the newspaper reported yesterday.

[September 12, 2016]

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