Can Dundar, editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet, accompanied by his Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gul, talks to media as they leave the Justice Palace in Istanbul, Turkey May 6, 2016. Dundar is now in exile in Germany. (Reuters/Osman Orsal)

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of October 1, 2017

By Özgür Öğret/CPJ Turkey Representative on October 2, 2017 11:32 AM ET

Turkish court banned coverage of alleged police beating incident

A local Turkish court yesterday moved to ban news coverage of a story about two policemen allegedly beating a woman on the street in the southern coastal city of Alanya, the online newspaper Diken reported.

Photographs published in Diken and said to be from the scene show two men in uniform standing over a woman lying on the pavement.

Prior to the news coverage ban, a court arrested one of the officers involved in the incident, and released the other on probation, according to reports.

Journalists' lawyer: 13 clients tortured in prison

Defense attorney Tugay Bek yesterday filed a criminal complaint to a local prosecutor's office against the staff of a Turkish prison alleging they beat and tortured his clients, among them two media workers, the online newspaper Duvar reported.

According to news reports that cite Bek's complaint, staff at the Tarsus Prison in the southern port city of Mersin stripped, beat, and otherwise tortured the prisoners including Erdoğan Alayumat, a reporter for the shuttered, pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency, and Serkan Erdoğan, an employee of the pro-Kurdish daily Özgürlükçü Demokrasi.

A court in July jailed Erdoğan Alayumat pending trial on espionage charges, CPJ documented.

In a separate case that CPJ also documented, a court jailed Serkan Erdoğan pending his trial on terrorism charges.

Pro-Kurdish journalist convicted; likely to be released pending appeal

Turkish authorities today convicted journalist Mehmet Sıddık Damar, and then said they plan to release him from Mardin prison in southeastern Turkey pending the end of his appeal process, the online newspaper Gazete Karınca reported.

According to Gazete Karınca, a local court convicted Damar, who previously worked as a reporter for the shuttered, pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency (DİHA), on charges of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization."

[October 6, 2017]

Murdered Syrian journalist's aunt suspects Islamic State in the crime

The aunt of Syrian journalist Halla Barakat said today that she suspects Islamic State militants in her niece and sister's September double murder, the daily Habertürk reported.

Maen Barakat told the Habertürk that her sister and Halla Barakat's mother, Ouroba Barakat, had received death threats after participating in protests relating to the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Ouroba Barakat also received threats relating to content she frequently shared on social media sites that expressed views against both Syrian President Bashar Assad's government and the Islamic State group, Maen Barakat told Habertürk.

Four or five months ago, someone claiming to be a member of the Islamic State group phoned Ouroba Barakat, and made threats in Arabic with a Moroccan or Tunisian accent, Maen Barakat told Habertürk.

"My sister was threatened again on Facebook 10 days before the murder: 'Shut your mouth, we will kill you,' [they wrote]" Maen Barakat said, according to Habertürk.

Separately, Turkish police on September 30 detained a distant relative they suspect in the mother and daughter's murder, CPJ documented yesterday. The suspect, Ahmet Barakat, is in police custody.

[October 3, 2017]

Turkish police: Suspect detained in Barakat murder

Turkish police on September 30 detained a man they suspect in the murder of a Syrian journalist and her mother, the daily Hürriyet reported.

According to the Hürriyet, police identified Ahmet Barakat on security camera footage as someone who was leaving the area around the Barakats' Istanbul apartment around the time of the murder, and then went on to a bus station. They then found and detained Ahmet Barakat in the western province of Bursa, according to the Hürriyet report.

The suspect is a distant relative of the victims, Halla Barakat and Orouba Barakat, who Turkish police found dead on September 22 in the apartment they shared, according to media reports.

CPJ issued a statement after the Barakats' murder calling on the Turkish authorities to find the perpetrator.

A Turkish prosecutor moves to add journalist in exile to Interpol

A Turkish prosecutor has sought an Interpol warrant for exiled journalist Can Dündar who has been living in exile in Germany, the Germany news agency Deutsche Welle reported.

The prosecutor in Turkey's southeastern Diyarbakir region on September 28 asked the government in Istanbul to issue a notice with Interpol, on the grounds that Dündar has praised the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is labeled a terrorist organization in Turkey, according to media reports.

A Turkish court in May 2016 convicted Dündar, formerly the chief editor at the daily Cumhuriyet, of disclosing state secrets, CPJ documented at the time.

According a report from Deutsche Welle's Turkish service, a spokesperson for the German foreign affairs ministry said he "cannot imagine" such an Interpol warrant would result in Dündar's arrest in Germany.

Last year, CPJ honored Dündar with an International Press Freedom Award.

[October 2, 2017]

EDITOR'S NOTE: The October 2 entry has been corrected to accurately describe Can Dündar.