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President Erdoğan addresses supporters in Trabzon on August 12. A journalism student in the city is detained on accusations of insulting the president in an article. (Presidential Press Service pool via AP)

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of December 6, 2018

By Özgür Öğret/CPJ Turkey Representative on December 13, 2018 1:22 PM ET

Anti-state charges for 5 journalists
Five journalists from the opposition daily Sözcü were indicted for "willingly and knowingly helping a [terrorist] organization without being in its hierarchical structure," BBC Turkey reported on December 10. Chief editor Metin Yılmaz, online chief editor Mustafa Çetin, online news coordinator Yücel Arı, and columnists Emin Çölaşan and Necati Doğru are due to appear in court for their trial on January 18, according to the report. All five are free pending trial.

The indictment, viewed by the CPJ, accused their paper, Sözcü, of being pro-FETÖ because both Hizmet and the paper made similar criticisms of the AKP. Sözcü is an ultranationalist newspaper that strongly opposes the leading Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Hizmet Movement--a former ally of the AKP that the ruling party refers to as FETÖ.

Journalist released pending appeal

An Istanbul court on December 12 sentenced Ece Sevim Öztürk, chief editor for the news website Çağdaş Ses, to three years, one month and 15 days in prison for "willingly and knowingly helping a [terrorist] organization"--a reference to FETÖ--according to a tweet from her lawyer, Efkan Bolaç, and a report in Çağdaş Ses. The court ordered Öztürk to be released pending the outcome of her appeal.

Journalism student arrested for 'insulting the president'

Berivan Bila, a journalism student from the Black Sea coastal city of Trabzon, was detained on December 6 and the following day ordered jailed pending investigation over accusations of "insulting the president" in an online article, Sendika reported. The article, "Journalism School Lesson One: Journalism is not a Crime," was published on July 28, 2017 on the website of Halkevler (The People's Houses), a leftist civilian group.

Police confiscated Bila's electronic equipment, books, and other printed material, according to the report. The article, which Sendika republished when it reported on her arrest, is critical of the AKP and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.


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