A sign reading 'Cumhuriyet will not be silent' is held during a protest outside Istanbul's court house in September 2017. An appeals court in February upheld the convictions of six staff at the paper. (AFP/Yasin Akgul)

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of February 17, 2019

By Özgür Öğret/CPJ Turkey Representative on February 21, 2019 12:48 PM ET

Appeals court upholds Cumhuriyet verdict

An Istanbul appeals court on February 19 upheld the terrorism-related convictions of staff from the daily Cumhuriyet who were earlier sentenced to five years or less in prison, according to reports. CPJ condemned the decision. The decision means that at least six defendants, including a cartoonist, journalists, a lawyer, an accountant, and a board member, will be taken to prison to serve their sentences. As of February 21, none of the journalists from the appeal hearing had been taken into custody. Fourteen people associated with Cumhuriyet, including journalists and staff members, were convicted on terrorism-related charges in April, CPJ reported at the time. Those sentenced to more than five years in prison are waiting for the Supreme Court of Appeals to hear their case.

  • A Diyarbakır court on February 15 convicted Özgür Paksoy, a former reporter for the shuttered pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency (DIHA), of "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization" [PKK] and sentenced him to three years, one month and 15 days in prison, the pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya News Agency reported. Evidence cited against the journalist included his social media activity, according to the report. Paksoy is free pending appeal, according to reports.

Police detain Artı Gerçek reporter

Police detained Derya Okatan, a reporter for the opposition outlet Artı Gerçek, at her home in the capital, Ankara, in the early hours of February 21, her employer reported. She was released later in the day after questioning, according to the report. Authorities said she was taken into custody over her social media activity. Her employer reported that Okatan was among the journalists who interviewed Derya Demirel, a protester who is at the center of public uproar after camera footage showed a police officer groping her as she was taken into custody earlier this month. Turkey's Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu defended the police and condemned the protester on his Twitter account on February 20, according to reports.

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