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A press freedom activist holds a copy of the opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet during a demonstration in solidarity with the jailed members of the opposition newspaper outside a courthouse, in Istanbul on September 25. (Reuters/Osman Orsal)

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of September 24, 2017

By Özgür Öğret/CPJ Turkey Representative on September 25, 2017 10:32 AM ET

Spain releases Turkish journalist arrested on Ankara's request

Spanish authorities yesterday released the leftist writer Hamza Yalçın, who they had arrested in August at the request of the Turkish government, according to the daily Evrensel.

CPJ documented that police arrested Yalçın, a citizen of Turkey and Sweden, at Barcelona's El Pratairport on August 3 and detained him pending an extradition hearing on Turkish charges of insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and maintaining "terrorist links" with the banned Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front, according to media reports from that time.

The writer, a Turkish and Swedish citizen, is not allowed to leave Spain, according to the Evrensel report.

An extradition hearing is scheduled to take place on October 11, according to Evrensel.

Yalçın frequently wrote for the leftist monthly Odak Dergisi, which is often critical of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, CPJ documented.

[September 29, 2017]

Turkey turns off two Kurdish TV channels

Turkish authorities on September 25 removed the Kurdish television channels Waar TV and Kurdistan24 from the TurkSat satellite service in the wake of the Kurdish referendum on independence, according to Turkey's Anatolia News Agency and Kurdistan24.

Earlier in the week, CPJ documented that Turkish authorities removed another Kurdish channel, Rudaw, from TurkStat.

All three channels are supportive of Masoud Barzani, the Iraqi Kurdistan president.

[September 28, 2017]

Cumhuriyet journalist released, still faces trial

Turkish authorities yesterday ordered the release of Kadri Gürsel, a columnist and publishing adviser for the Cumhuriyet and the Turkish National Committee chair of the International Press Institute, who is on trial for terrorism-related charges, Cumhuriyet and Agence France-Presse reported.

A video on Cumhuriyet's website showed police releasing the journalist this morning.

The trial is adjourned until October 31.

Turkish prosecutors accuse Gürsel and other journalists at the paper of being or aiding followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom the government accuses of masterminding a failed military coup in July 2016, and of aiding the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Turkey classifies as a terrorist group. The journalists deny the charges.

Akın Atalay, a lawyer and chairman of Cumhuriyet Foundation's board of directors, Murat Sabuncu, the paper's chief editor, and Ahmet Şık a reporter, will remain in custody during the trial.

Turkey turns off Kurdish TV channel

Turkish authorities yesterday removed the Kurdish television channel Rudaw from the TurkSat satellite service following the Kurdish referendum on independence, according to media reports. The channel is supportive of Masoud Barzani, who is currently the defacto Iraqi Kurdistan president. CPJ could not determine how long the ban on Rudaw is in effect.

[September 26, 2017]

Police release pro-government journalist

Istanbul police today released pro-government journalist Ömer Turan, who was under investigation for his tweets and an article he wrote about the Turkish Intelligence Chief Hakan Fidan, the online newspaper T24 reported. Authorities detained Turan on September 22. It is unclear if Turan is still under investigation.

Cumhuriyet trial continues

The trial of 20 journalists and employees from the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet continued today in Istanbul. Turkish prosecutors accuse the journalists of being or aiding followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom the government accuses of masterminding a failed military coup in July 2016, and of aiding the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Turkey classifies as a terrorist group. The journalists deny the charges.

[September 25, 2017]


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