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Police disperse marchers who had tried to gather for an LGBTQI pride march in Istanbul, June 25, 2017. Police also briefly detained an AP reporter (not pictured here) at the march, according to reports. (Reuters/Murad Sezer)

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of June 25, 2017

By Özgür Öğret/CPJ Turkey Representative on June 26, 2017 10:10 AM ET

BBC reporter refused entry
Police at Istanbul's Atatürk Airport yesterday detained BBC reporter Jiyar Gol for five hours before putting him on a plane out of the country, the journalist wrote on Twitter. The journalist tweeted that he believes he was not allowed in the country because of his reporting for the BBC.

[June 30, 2017]

More than 46,000 legal proceedings for "insulting" president or the state in 2016
The Turkish judicial system handled some 46,193 cases of "insulting the president" or "insulting the Turkish nation, the Republic of Turkey, the parliament, the government, or the institutions of the judiciary," over the course of 2016, the daily newspaper Cumhuriyet reported on June 27, citing figures from the Justice Ministry. Of those, 4,936 were sent to court, while the rest were discontinued at different levels or merged with other proceedings, according to the report.

In total, 5,028 people were charged with "insult" in 2016, including 240 minors. Of the minors, 102 were between the ages of 12 and 15 while the remaining 138 were between 15 and 18, Cumhuriyet reported, citing Justice Ministry figures. Thirty-six of those charged were foreigners. Two were corporate bodies.

Turkey asks Twitter to shut down American pundit's account
Turkey petitioned Twitter to shut down the account of Michael Rubin, a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute and an outspoken critic for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Washington Post reported yesterday. Erdoğan also filed a court case against the former Pentagon official for "insult," Hürriyet Daily News reported. Turkey gave a week to Twitter to comply, according to the Washington Post's report.

Journalist sentenced to 3 years in prison for tweets
The Third Chamber of the Gaziantep Regional Appeals Court today denied İsmail Eskin's appeal of a three-year, 45-day prison sentence on charges of "making propaganda for a terrorist organization," the news website Dihaber reported. Diyarbakır's Fourth Court for Serious Crimes in March found Eskin, a former journalist for the Dicle News Agency (DİHA), guilty of the charge on the basis of his tweets on Kurdish fighters' battles with the Islamic State group. The journalist was not yet in custody, Dihaber reported today.

[June 29, 2017]

Erdoğan calls on press freedom organizations to defend Al-Jazeera
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on June 25 called on press freedom organizations to support Qatari broadcaster Al-Jazeera in the face of Saudi, Emirati, Egyptian, and Bahraini demands that Qatar close the network under threat of continued blockade, the news website Bianet reported.

"Now, I call out especially the press organizations of the world. What are you waiting for? What are you good for" the Turkish president asked. "Now an international media outlet is stripped of its freedom...What are you good for against this? You need to raise your voice. They are silent."

Al-Jazeera has has reported on press freedom organizations' condemnation of the Saudi-led calls to shut down the network. CPJ continues to condemn attempts to strong-arm Qatar into shutting down the network.

[June 27, 2017]

Court adjourns in trial of journalists accused of supporting coup
Istanbul's 26th Court for Serious Crimes on June 23 adjourned until September 19 the trial of 17 journalists--10 of whom are being tried in absentia--accused of supporting the failed July 2016 military coup in one way or another. CPJ was among the organizations that attempted to observe sessions of the trial last week.

Ahmet Altan, former editor of the shuttered daily Taraf; his brother, Mehmet Altan, a former columnist for the shuttered daily Özgür Düşünce and an academic; Nazlı Ilıcak, a former columnist for Özgür Düşünce and a former TV host for the shuttered broadcaster Can Erzincan TV; Fevzi Yazıcı, the former layout editor for the shuttered newspaper Zaman; Yakup Şimşek, the newspaper's former advertising director; and Şükrü Tuğrul Özşengül, a former police academy instructor and TV commentator: All defendants denied the charges against them.

Ahmet Altan described his indictment as "judicial pornography." Mehmet Altan denied that he sent "subliminal messages" on TV favoring the coup before the attempt happened.

The Altan brothers' full statements in their defense, translated into English, can be found here and here. More information about the jailed journalists can be found in CPJ's 2016 Prison Census.

AP reporter briefly detained at Istanbul pride march
Police briefly detained AP reporter Bram Jannsen at the LGBTQI Pride march in Istanbul yesterday, the daily Milliyet reported. Jannsen was carrying his official press credentials but not his passport, the report said.

[June 26, 2017]


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