İsmail Yıldız

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.

İsmail Yıldız, a reporter, was being held at Kocaeli F Type Prison on charges of being a member of the KCK’s press committee. As evidence, authorities cited his news coverage of demonstrations, his telephone conversations at DİHA offices, and information he relayed to Roj TV. The indictment also detailed an episode in which Yıldız was among the first at the scene of an explosion in a trash container; authorities alleged his quick arrival meant that he had prior knowledge of the bomb. Banned books and magazines on the Kurdish issue, digital equipment, and CDs featuring interviews with PKK sympathizers were among the items seized from Yıldız.

In most cases, the journalists faced up to 15 years in prison upon conviction.