Birsin, general manager of Gün TV, a regional pro-Kurdish television news station in southeastern Turkey, was charged with “leading an armed terrorist organization by organizing its activities” and “violating the Law on Meetings and Demonstrations,” according to information provided to CPJ by Turkey’s Justice Ministry in November 2013. Birsin’s lawyer, Fuat Coşacak, told CPJ that the charges were retaliatory and without basis.
Authorities publicly claim that the pro-Kurdish media are aligned with the banned Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, and the KCK, an umbrella group of pro-Kurdish organizations that includes the PKK. The government says the journalists produce propaganda in favor of the banned organizations.
Birsin described his arrest in a May 2009 letter published in the daily Gündem. He said police came to his office on the night of April 13, 2009, searched the building, and confiscated archival material, computer hard drives, laptops, cameras, and other broadcast equipment. Birsin, imprisoned at Diyarbakır D Type High-Security Closed Prison, could face up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.
Birsin’s trial was ongoing in late 2013.