Boys stand on the edges of a vintage tram as it runs along the main shopping and pedestrian street of Istiklal in central Istanbul, Turkey in January 2018. Turkey continues to crackdown on media. (Reuters/Murad Sezer)

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of April 16, 2018

By Özgür Öğret/CPJ Turkey Representative on April 19, 2018 5:51 PM ET

Journalists in prison

An Istanbul court on April 17 arraigned Adil Demirci, a Turkish-German dual national and reporter for the socialist Etkin News Agency (ETHA), on charges of "being a member of a [terrorist] organization" and "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization," according to the German news agency Deutsche Welle. In the same case, the court on April 19 arraigned an ETHA editor, Semiha Şahin, and agency reporter, Pınar Gayıp, on terrorism-related charges, their employer reported.

Authorities are holding Şahin, Gayıp, and Demirci, who was on vacation in Turkey at the time of his arrest, in government detention while they await trial, according to the news website Bianet.

Journalists harassed under house arrest

Journalist Şahin Alpay, 74, applied to Turkey's Constitutional Court for release from house arrest saying that authorities have harassed him, violating his rights and interfering with his medical treatments, the daily Cumhuriyet reported on April 17.

According to Cumhuriyet, Alpay's lawyer, Aynur Tuncel Yazgan, said that Turkish authorities have been sporadically appearing at her client's doorstep as late as midnight to check up on the journalist who has numerous health problems.

Alpay is on trial on terrorism-related charges and was released last month to be tried under house arrest, CPJ has documented.

Journalists at court

An Istanbul court on April 17 convicted Ayşe Hür, a historian and former columnist for the shuttered dailies Radikal and Taraf, on charges of "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization," and issued a suspended sentence of 15 months, the pro-Kurdish Mezopatamya News Agency reported.

The charges against Hür relate to a tweet she wrote in August 2016, which stated that the outlawed Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) is not a terrorist organization.


An Istanbul court on April 17 sentenced to prison for six years and three months İhsan Eliaçık, a veteran journalist and TV commentator, on charges of "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization," the daily Cumhuriyet reported. Authorities banned Eliaçık from leaving Istanbul, but did not immediately put him under arrest, the Cumhuriyet reported.

The court said that Eliaçık praised the PKK in his columns published on various online media in 2015 and 2016 and in a speech at a public forum on democracy and religion over two years ago, according to the Cumhuriyet.

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