Mustafa Gök

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Mustafa Gök, Ankara correspondent for the leftist Turkish magazine Ekmek ve Adalet (Bread and Justice), is serving a life sentence that was reinstated when a court convicted the journalist on new charges in 2004. Authorities released Gök on parole for health reasons in 2002, but the courts have rejected subsequent requests that he be released again on the same grounds.

A local court in 2004 sentenced Gök to six years and three months in prison on charges of being a member of the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Salvation Party/Front (DHKP/C), according to his defense lawyer, Evrim Deniz Karatana. Gök’s lawyers appealed the sentence.

Karatana told CPJ that the evidence against the journalist consisted of his news coverage and attendance at political demonstrations. She said that Gök had been targeted for his reporting on politics and human rights, along with his beliefs as a socialist. Karatana said her client suffers from Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a brain disorder, which has led to a loss of sight and balance. She said he was jailed despite having a medical document that says he has a severe disability and should not be incarcerated.

Gök was also serving a life term on charges of membership in a terrorist organization, forgery, bombing, and murder, all dating to the early 1990s, according to an updated list of charges provided by the Justice Ministry. The life sentence was withdrawn in 2002 when Gök was released on parole for health reasons, Karatana told CPJ. When Gök was arrested in 2004 on the DHKP/C membership charges, the life term was reinstated, she said. She said their appeal of the reinstated life term was rejected.

Authorities have ignored his medical needs, the People’s Law Office, a free Istanbul law clinic that handled his case, told CPJ. In late 2018, the People’s Law Office told CPJ that the lawyer who had been representing Gök had been taken into custody.

In late 2019, the People’s Law Office told CPJ that Gök does not have further opportunity to appeal. 

Ayşegül Çağatay, a lawyer for Gök, told CPJ via email in late October 2022 that the journalist is held in Burhaniye Prison in the western province of Balıkesir. Gök is having memory troubles and involuntary hand movements due to Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, Çağatay said, adding that he has access to medical care. Çağatay said Gök bunks with eight other prisoners and can receive visitors but was punished with solitary confinement and visitation restraints for participating in a 2019 hunger strike. 

CPJ’s calls and emails to Çağatay in 2023 did not receive a response.

CPJ’s email to the Turkish Ministry of Justice

on November 1, 2023,

did not receive any reply.