Muharrem Ince, presidential candidate of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), addresses his supporters during an election rally in Istanbul, Turkey on June 3, 2018. Presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for June 24 and the ruling Justice and Development Party has been leaning on the media to provide them with favorable coverage, according to reports. (Reuters/Huseyin Aldemir)

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of June 4, 2018

By Özgür Öğret/CPJ Turkey Representative on June 7, 2018 2:58 PM ET

Cartoonist arrested for "insulting the president," paroled

Turkish authorities on June 5 released on parole Nuri Kurtcebe, a veteran political cartoonist, who was sent to prison on June 3 after a high court rejected his appeal, according to the daily Evrensel and Kurtcebe's lawyer, Erdem Akyüz, who spoke to the news website OdaTV.

In 2017, an Istanbul court sentenced Kurtcebe to one year, two months, and 15 days in prison on charges of "insulting" President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in relation to Kurtcebe's cartoons that were published in the ultranationalist daily Aydınlık newspaper during the first nine months of 2015, according to the same sources.

Fox TV Turkey under investigation for "insult" and "slander"

Turkish state prosecutors are investigating Fox TV Turkey on suspicion of "demeaning state institutions," "insult," and "slander" in relation to its reporting on a government hospital in the southeastern city of Mersin, the media news website Medya Faresi reported on June 6. Fox TV has not been formally charged, according to Medya Faresi.

The report from Fox TV Turkey, which is owned by the U.S. media conglomerate News Corporation, was about the difficulties a man with a broken leg experienced when trying to reach a public hospital, Medya Faresi stated.

Journalists in court

A court in the western city of Sakarya sentenced to prison Çağdaş Kaplan, the chief editor of the daily Yeni Yaşam and a reporter for the shuttered pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency (DİHA), for six years and three months on charges of "being a member of a [terrorist] organization," the news website Gazete Karınca reported on May 31. Authorities did not immediately arrest Kaplan, who is also under a travel ban, according to the report.


Istanbul authorities on May 30 sent to prison Doğan Baran, chief editor for the leftist magazine Odak, after a high court rejected his appeal, his employer reported.

Baran was sentenced to prison for one year and eight months on charges of "insulting the president," by suggesting in an Odak article that Erdoğan has been an ally of the Islamic State militant group, his employer reported on May 30.


An Istanbul court released from parole supervision photojournalist Çağdaş Erdoğan, who is on trial on terrorism-related charges for photographing a government building, Evrensel reported on June 1. Under Turkish law, Erdoğan will no longer be required to regularly check-in at his local precinct at the court's discretion.

The next hearing in Erdoğan's trial is scheduled for November 2, according to Evrensel.


A court in the eastern city of Van issued an arrest warrant for Selman Keleş, a photojournalist for the shuttered pro-Kurdish news agency Dihaber, who was released from state custody in December 2017 for the duration of his trial, Gazete Karınca reported on June 5.

The Van court said in a statement that it issued the warrant because Keleş is on trial in another case in the northeastern city of Erzurum, according to Gazeta Karınca. CPJ was unable to determine any details about the new trial.

The journalist was not in police custody at the time of publication, according to CPJ research.

TV channel denied operating license

Turkey's broadcast regulator, RTÜK, rejected the broadcasting license application of TR Haber, a new television station that has been cast as sympathetic to the youth opposition party İYİ PARTİ (the Good Party) by some Turkish social media users, the daily Cumhuriyet reported on May 31.

Recep Canpolat, the CEO of TR Haber, had denied rumours that the channel would be sympathetic to the İYİ PARTİ, the report also said.

TR Haber applied for licensing in February, and had already employed 160 people, though was never operational, the report said.

Turkish president featured prominently in regional news

Six local newspapers in the central Anatolian province of Konya featured an identical front page layout promoting President Erdoğan in their June 1 edition ahead of his June 2 rally in Konya, the news website Diken reported.

Erdoğan has been campaigning in Turkey's regions ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections that are for June 24.

Hakimiyet, Konya'nın Sesi, Telgraf, Pusula, Konya Postası, and Merhaba did not state why they all had the same front page or if the front page was an advertisement for the rally, according to Diken.

National newspapers have previously used the same Erdoğan quotes in front page headlines--such as when he said "My life is forfeit for democratic demands" during the Gezi protests in 2013--however, six newspapers using identical formatting is uncommon.

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