People attend a ceremony marking the second anniversary of the attempted coup in Istanbul, Turkey, July 15, 2018. Turkish authorities cracked down on the press in the coup's wake. (Reuters/Murad Sezer)

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of July 16, 2018

By Özgür Öğret/CPJ Turkey Representative on July 19, 2018 4:20 PM ET

Journalists in court

An Istanbul court today found Canan Coşkun, a court reporter with the daily Cumhuriyet, guilty of "making targets of those assigned to combat terrorism" and sentenced her to two years and three months in prison, her employer reported. She is not in government custody, the report stated.

Coşkun will appeal the verdict.

The charges against her relate to an article she wrote about a group of lawyers who were taken into custody on September 20, 2017, by Turkish authorities and questioned by state prosecutors.


A court in the southeastern city of Diyarbakır on July 13 found local journalist Serdar Altan guilty of "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization" and issued a suspended sentence of 18 months and 20 days on the condition that he does not repeat the offense, the Mezopotamya News Agency reported.

The same day, another Diyarbakır court acquitted Fuat Yaşar, a local journalist also charged with "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization," according to the same Mezopotamya News Agency report.

The charges against both journalists related to their social media posts, according to Mezopotamya. Both pleaded not guilty and said the posts were related to their work as journalists, the agency stated.


An Istanbul court on July 16 acquitted in a retrial Erdem Gül, Cumhuriyet's Ankara representative, of "revealing state secrets," the newspaper reported. Can Dündar, Cumhuriyet's former chief editor, who has been on trial in absentia with Gül, remains on trial, according to the same article.

Turkey's Supreme Court of Appeals in March revoked an earlier conviction against Gül and Dündar and asked that, during their retrial, a lower court issue a harsher sentence to Dündar and acquit Gül, according to the Cumhuriyet report.

Both remain on trial together on separate charges of "aiding a [terrorist] organization," Cumhuriyet reported.

The charges in these cases relate to a report in Cumhuriyet that alleged Turkey smuggled weapons into Syria under cover of humanitarian aid, CPJ has documented.

Dündar, Cumhuriyet's former chief editor and CPJ's 2016 International Press Freedom awardee, lives in exile, according to news reports.


A district court in Turkey's eastern Van region on July 17 found local journalist İdris Yılmaz guilty of "slander via press" and sentenced him to 15 months in prison, the Mezoptamya News Agency reported.

The charges relate to a video published by the journalist that shows local militia groups-- formed to assist the military in rural south and southeastern regions-- mistreating a minor, according to the agency report.

According to the report, Yılmaz attended the July 17 court session via teleconference from the Elazığ Prison, where he is being held on a separate charge. The prison is located in Elazığ province some 310 miles (500km) from the Van region.

In February, Yılmaz, who worked for the now-shuttered Dicle News Agency (DİHA), complained about mistreatment in prison, the daily Özgürlükçü Demokrasi reported.

Newsroom raided, computers seized

The pro-Kurdish Jin News Agency's Diyarbakır regional office was broken into and searched, and its computers confiscated around 4 a.m. on July 12, Jin reported.

Jin's lawyers filed a criminal complaint against the regional police, according to the agency's report.

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