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People watch an election rally for President Erdoğan in Mardin, on June 20. An OSCE report released ahead of Turkey's elections highlights the restrictive environment for the press. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of June 17

By Özgür Öğret/CPJ Turkey Representative on June 21, 2018 1:22 PM ET

Ahead of election, OSCE highlights restrictive media environment
In a report on Turkey's elections this month, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said, "The media landscape is dominated by outlets whose owners are considered affiliated with the government or depend on public contracts." The report added that Turkey's constitution "Contains a general provision regarding the right to freedom of expression, but also restrains it by allowing restrictions on media, including under anti-terror and internet laws."

Journalists arrested

  • An Istanbul court on June 21 ordered Ece Sevim Öztürk, chief editor for the news website Çağdaş Ses, to be held in pre-trial detention, her outlet reported. A prosecutor questioned Öztürk 13 days after she was first detained. She is accused of "knowingly and willingly aiding a [terrorist] organization," according to the report.

  • Hakan Gülseven, a former columnist for the daily Yurt, which is pro-the Republican People's Party (CHP), was jailed for one night after his outlet did not pay a fine, the independent news website Bianet reported. A court convicted Gülseven of "insulting" a governor in his column, and sentenced the journalist to a 7,000 Turkish lire (US$1,470) fine, or 350 days in prison, according to the report. Gülseven was imprisoned on June 19, and released the following day after the fine was paid.

President's son uses court order to block news stories about him

An Istanbul court on June 19 ruled that access to 24 online news stories about the President's son, Ahmet Burak Erdoğan, be blocked in the country, according to a tweet by academic and cyber rights activist Yaman Akdeniz. The court ruled that the news site violated the personal righs of Ahmet Erdoğan.

Ahmet Erdoğan filed a complaint to the court the previous day, after several news outlets reported on a political rally in which a presidential candidate from an opposition party made reference to a 1998 incident in which Ahmet Erdoğan hit a woman in his car, who later died. Erdoğan was acquitted of wrong doing in the case.


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