An Istanbul court on April 6, 2018 ordered İshak Yasul, the responsible news editor for the pro-Kurdish newspaper Özgürlükçü Demokrasi, and İhsan Yaşar, the paper’s publisher, to be detained pending an indictment being filed in their case, according to reports. The court order came after an early morning police raid on March 28, 2018, on the Beyoğlu district building that houses the paper and printer, according to the reports.
During the raid, police detained Yaşar, along with Kasım Zengin, the owner of Gün Printing House, which prints the paper, and at least eight printing house staff, the reports said. Police told the daily newspaper’s legal team that a government-controlled insurer and fund manager called Saving Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) had taken over the newspaper and its printing house, reports said.
An Istanbul court on April 10 arraigned three of the newspaper’s editors on charges of "being members of a [terrorist] organization," reports said. A court ordered that the editors–Mehmet Ali Çelebi, Reyhan Hacıoğlu, and Hicran Ürün– be detained pending the outcome of the trial, reports said.
According to an indictment presented to the court in late May, the journalists are accused of “being a member of a [terrorist] organization,” “making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization” and “pressing or publishing the publications of terrorist organizations,”—all references to the PKK– according to reports. The indictment did not specify what reports or coverage led to the charges.
When the trial started on September 12, 2018, the Istanbul court ordered the owners of the newspaper and the printing house, alongside the three editors, to remain imprisoned pending the outcome, according to reports.
The newspaper was shuttered by a government decree in July 2018.
Since the takeover, police have detained at least 33 paper and printing house employees, the report said. Separate trials are being heard for employees of the paper and the printing house, according to reports.
An Istanbul court on April 5, 2018 arraigned Zengin and 20 employees of Gün Printing House on charges of "being a member of a [terrorist] organization," "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization," and "aiding a [terrorist] organization," according to reports. A court on September 18 released eight of those pending the outcome of the trial, and ordered 13 to remain in prison, according to court reports.