A view of Maiden's Tower, front, and Galata Tower, in Istanbul. A court in the city has sentenced Turkish journalist Ayşe Nazlı Ilıcak to an additional five years in prison. (AFP/Ozan Kose)

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week beginning January 20, 2019

By Özgür Öğret/CPJ Turkey Representative on January 24, 2019 1:25 PM ET

Jailed journalist Nazlı Ilıcak sentenced to extra 5-year prison term
An Istanbul court on January 22 sentenced veteran journalist Nazlı Ilıcak to five years and 10 months in prison for "exposing secret documents," the news website Diken reported. Ilıcak, who worked most recently with shuttered outlets Can Erzincan TV and the daily Özgür Düşünce, is already serving a sentence of life in prison without parole, handed down in February 2018 for trying to topple the constitution through her journalism, CPJ documented. In Turkey, life sentences without parole equate to 30 years in solitary confinement in prison, with limited rights for visits.

Court acquits man accused of threatening journalist Fatih Altaylı

A court on January 22 acquitted Sedat Peker, a convicted criminal and outspoken government supporter, of threatening TV and internet journalist Fatih Altaylı, the leftist daily Evrensel reported. CPJ documented in late 2017 how Peker allegedly threatened the journalist.

According to Evrensel, Peker told the court, "I have said that the fact that I have not killed [Altaylı] alone proves that I am not a leader of a criminal organization. I have no intent of threat by this [remark]. Actually, I even find it strange that I am on trial." The court acquitted Peker, agreeing that no crime was committed.

Journalists Reyhan Çapan, Seda Taşkın released from prison

  • Reyhan Çapan, a former responsible news editor for the shuttered pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem, was released under judicial control on the night of January 17, the pro-Kurdish Mezopatamya News Agency reported. CPJ documented last week how Çapan was still in prison despite having less than a year of her sentence left, which in Turkey should have made her eligible for parole or release under judicial control. Çapan's lawyer Özcan Kılıç told CPJ that his client had less than a year left of her sentence for "making propaganda of a [terrorist] organization," but that she was kept in prison over an unpaid fine for "insulting the president." According to Kılıç, Çapan's family paid this fine which led to her release. The journalist is facing several other trials, all at different stages, related to her journalism, according to CPJ's 2018 Prison Census.

  • An appeals court on January 17 released Seda Taşkın, a reporter for the Mezopotamya Agency, from prison pending the appeal of the verdict, reports said. Taşkın was detained in January 2018, and sentenced in October to seven years and six months in prison for "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization" and four years and two months for "aiding and abetting a [terrorist] organization without being a member," her employer reported at the time.

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