Journalists and press freedom advocates release balloons in front of the courthouse in Istanbul where 17 journalists and board members from Cumhuriyet newspaper were standing trial, July 24, 2017. (Reuters/Murad Sezer)

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of July 23, 2017

By Özgür Öğret/CPJ Turkey Representative on July 25, 2017 12:05 PM ET

Journalists to stand trial on charges of obtaining secret information
Hatay's Second Court of Penal Peace yesterday ordered Dihaber journalist Erdoğan Alayumat jailed pending trial on charges "obtaining secret information of the Republic of Turkey with the means of political and military espionage" and ordered Nuri Akman released on probation pending trial, their employer reported. The two were arrested on July 13, according to media reports. Prosecutors had asked that they be jailed on terrorism charges, but the court rejected these.

Journalist's trial opens more than a year after arrest
The trial of Şerife Oruç, a former reporter for the now-shuttered, pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency (DİHA), on charges of being a member of a terrorist organization began in the southeastern Turkish city of Batman yesterday, the news website Gazete Sujin reported.

Police arrested her on July 3, 2016. She was not present in court, but attended via videoconference from prison in Mardin.

"My client is reporter and journalist," her lawyer, Mesut Aydın, told Batman's Second Court for Serious Crimes, according to Gazete Sujin. "It is impossible to avoid becoming a target if you work for a dissident [news] agency. My client has become a target for working at DİHA."

The court refused her request to be released pending the conclusion of her trial, which is scheduled to resume on October 26, Gazete Sujin reported.

Leftist website blocked for 55th time
Authorities blocked the leftist news website sendika.org for the 55th time, the site reported on July 26. It is now accessible in Turkey at the new address, sendika56.org.

[July 28, 2017]

Police will not face investigation into claims they beat journalists
The Civil Servant Crimes Investigation Bureau of the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor's Office announced it would not pursue a criminal investigation into claims police beat journalists from the shuttered, pro-Kurdish daily newspaper Özgür Gündem when they raided the newspaper's office in Istanbul last year, the newspaper Dihaber reported today.

Lawyers for the newspaper submitted a complaint to the office on February 16, 2017, saying the police had "overstepped the limits of the authority to use force" in the raid.

Özgür Gündem lawyer Özcan Kılıç told Dihaber the bureau considered only police reports about the event and disregarded hospital reports from the journalists, and that the journalists would appeal the decision.

A court ordered the newspaper to cease publishing temporarily in August 2016. In October 2017, the government used emergency powers it gave itself after the failed July 2016 military coup to order the newspaper permanently closed, CPJ reported at the time.

[July 27, 2017]

Police beat reporters covering fatal traffic accident
İhlas News Agency (İHA) reporters Emrah Kuş and İsmail Bulut on July 23 said roughly 10 traffic policemen beat them as they tried to report on the aftermath of a traffic accident that killed two policemen, İHA reported. Kuş and Bulut filed criminal complaints against the police, alleging that some used handcuffs as brass knuckles, İHA reported, saying that the reporters feared for their lives.

Police detain TV reporter
Police in the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakır last night detained Rojhat Doğru, a reporter for the northern Iraqi television station NRT, from his home, the news website Dihaber reported today. The reason for the journalist's detention was not immediately clear.

[July 25, 2017]

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