Fatma Koçak

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

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.

Koçak, a news editor, was being held at Bakırköy Prison for Women and Children in Istanbul on charges of being a member of the KCK press committee. Koçak’s phone conversations with news sources and reporters, including tips to DİHA about pro-Kurdish demonstrations, were cited as evidence. The indictment asserted that “a normal journalist” would not receive such tips, and it faulted Koçak for not relaying information about the events to authorities. The indictment also faulted Koçak for receiving information by phone about fatalities among guerrillas in eastern Turkey, and fielding a request from German ZDF TV for video of PKK army clashes and the funerals of PKK fighters. Stories Koçak wrote about democratic autonomy were also considered evidence. Koçak disputed alleged ties to the KCK.
In most cases, the journalists faced up to 15 years in prison upon conviction.