At least 13 editors, writers, and managers with the Dicle News Agency, or DİHA, were arrested as part of a massive government roundup of journalists associated with pro-Kurdish news outlets. Authorities said the sweep was related to their investigation into the banned Union of Communities in Kurdistan, or KCK, of which the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is part. According to the indictment, all of the main pro-Kurdish media and news agencies in Turkey are directed by the KCK.
Kaplan, a reporter for DİHA, was being held at Kocaeli F Type Prison on charges of being a member of the KCK press committee. The indictment cited as evidence Kaplan’s news coverage and phone conversations in which he relayed information to the pro-PKK satellite station Roj TV. The indictment said Kaplan’s stories distorted the facts, reflected the official perspective of the KCK, and presented “police operations against the KCK as operations against the Kurdish people.” For example, the indictment said a report about the funeral of a PKK member “tried to draw conclusions in favor of the organization.” Kaplan was also accused of having contact with Fırat’s Kayhan.
In most cases, the journalists faced up to 15 years in prison upon conviction.