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People and soldiers visit the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during a ceremony marking the 95th anniversary of Victory Day in Ankara, Turkey August 30, 2017. Turkish authorities on October 21 released three journalists who they detained last week during house raids that targeted leftist and pro-Kurdish media in Ankara. (Reuters/Umit Bektas)

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of October 22, 2017

By Özgür Öğret/CPJ Turkey Representative on October 23, 2017 11:15 AM ET

Two journalists held on terror charges
An Istanbul court yesterday ordered two journalists from the socialist Etkin News Agency (ETHA) to be jailed pending trial, alongside 10 other people including politicians and lawyers, their employer reported today.

Police detained İsminaz Temel, an editor, and Havva Cuştan, a reporter, during a house raid at 2 a.m. local time on October 19, CPJ documented last week. The court charged Temel with "being member of a [terrorist] organization" and "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization" and Cuştan for the latter. Police threatened the journalists while in detention, according to their lawyers. The lawyers said that evidence included stories the journalists produced and books that were confiscated from the house that they shared. Authorities are also affiliating ETHA with the outlawed group the Marxist Leninist Communist Party (MLKP), the lawyers said.

Human rights activists freed pending trial

A court yesterday ordered that eight remaining human rights defenders who were detained along with three others after a training session at a hotel on Büyükada, an island off Istanbul, be released pending the conclusion of their trial, Bianet and The Telegraph reported. The group is charged with "committing crimes in the name of a [terrorist] organization without being a member" and or "being a member of an armed terrorist organization." Those freed by the court yesterday are Ünal Kurşun, İlknur Üstün, İdil Eser, Nalan Erkem, Peter Steudtner, Özlem Dalkıran, Ali Garawi, and Veli Acu. The court banned Dalkıran and Acu from foreign travel for the duration of the trial. The next hearing is scheduled for November 22.

An Ist court ruled today that the case of Taner Kılıç, chair of Amnesty Turkey who was arrested as part of a trial about "financing terrorism" in Izmir, will be merged with that of the human rights defenders, according to Bianet and Amnesty. Kılıç's case will be transferred from the 16th İzmir Court of Serious Crimes to the 35th Court in Istanbul.

Birgün reporter detained overnight

Police detained Zeynep Kuray, a reporter for the socialist daily Birgün, at her home in Istanbul last night, Bianet and her employer reported. The journalist was detained over her social media activity, which authorities considered "terrorism propaganda," according to the reports. She was released after appearing before a prosecutor today, according to reports. The reports did not state if she will still face charges.

[October 26, 2017]

Two journalists released after weekend house raids in Ankara

Turkish authorities on October 23 released two journalists who they detained last week during house raids that targeted leftist and pro-Kurdish media in Ankara, their employer, the news site Jin reported.

A prosecutor questioned Duygu Erol and Habibe Eren, who both work as Jin reporters, before their release.

Erol will remain on probation, according to Jin.

Court releases reporter from state custody, trial ongoing

A Turkish court yesterday released journalist Ömer Çelik, a former news editor at the shuttered pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency (DİHA) in the southeastern Diyarbakır province, from prison during the first hearing of his trial, the independent news site Bianet reported. The trial is ongoing.

According to Bianet, the court indicted Çelik on charges of terrorism for using the Turkish energy minister's leaked emails in a report on the minister's allegedly suspect business practices.

During yesterday's hearing, the court also added Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, who is also the president's son-in-law, to the case as an injured party per Albayrak's request, according to the news report.

The Istanbul court ruled that two co-defendants in the case, Tunca Öğreten, the former editor of the online newspaper Diken, and Mahir Kaynak, the former accountant for the daily Birgün, would remain in prison during the trial, according to Bianet.

The court set the next hearing for December 6.

Court releases two reporters from custody, trial ongoing

An Istanbul court yesterday released Atilla Taş, a former columnist for the shuttered daily Meydan, and veteran journalist Murat Aksoy from prison, Bianet reported. Their trial is ongoing.

Authorities originally detained Taş on August 31, 2016, and Aksoy on September 1, 2016, in the wake of the failed attempted coup in June 2016, and charged them with having ties to the Fethullah Gülen movement, which Turkey classifies as a terrorist group, CPJ documented.

A court ordered the journalists' release in March 2017, and another court reversed this decision following a snap appeal from the chief prosecutor, CPJ documented.

Prosecutors now accuse the journalists of being members of an armed terrorist organization, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The court also indicted the journalists for "attempting to disrupt the order as foreseen by the Constitution of the Republic to replace it with another order or to prevent the practice of this order through violence and force," and "attempting to eliminate the government of Turkey or to prevent it from its duties partially or totally through violence and force." These two charges carry a maximum life sentence without parole.

[October 25, 2017]

After house raids, 3 journalists released, 2 remain in detention

Turkish authorities on Saturday released three journalists who they detained last week during house raids that targeted leftist and pro-Kurdish media in Ankara, the independent news site Bianet reported. The two other journalists arrested in the Ankara raids remain in police custody.

Police first questioned Sibel Yükler, editor of the news site Jin, as well as two reporters from the news site Mezopotamya Ajans, Diren Yurtsever and Selman Güzelyüz before releasing the journalists.

Two Jin reporters, Duygu Erol and Habibe Eren, remain in police custody. A prosecutor is scheduled to question Erol and Eren today, according to the Bianet report.

Veteran journalist released from jail on probation

Turkish authorities on Saturday released veteran journalist and rights activist Murat Çelikkan from jail on probation, Bianet reported.

A Turkish court in August sentenced Çelikkan to prison for 18 months on charges of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" after the journalist symbolically acted as a co-editor for a day of the shuttered pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem.

Over 100 individuals took on the position of Özgür Gündem's co-editor as a sign of protest against Turkish authorities' treatment of the paper and its staff, CPJ documented.

[October 23, 2017]


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