Nilgün Yıldız

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

At least seven editors and reporters with the Dicle News Agency, or DİHA, who were arrested as part of a massive roundup of journalists associated with pro-Kurdish news outlets in December 2011, remained in prison on December 1, 2013, when CPJ conducted its global prison census. 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.

Nilgün Yıldız, a reporter, was being held at Bakırköy Women’s Closed Prison on the charge of being a member of an armed terrorist organization, the KCK, according to the Justice Ministry’s updated list. Citing passport records and the account of a confidential witness, authorities alleged that Yıldız participated in KCK press committee meetings in Iraq. Authorities also cited her news coverage as evidence. The indictment pointed to a story that recounted a Kurdish youth setting himself on fire to protest Öcalan’s imprisonment, which authorities called propaganda, and a piece that referred to a memorial service for a PKK member, which authorities said constituted a call for organization members to gather. Photographs of a PKK member’s funeral on her confiscated flash drive were also cited as evidence. Yıldız denied any wrongdoing.

In most cases, the journalists faced up to 15 years in prison if convicted. Their trial was ongoing in late 2013.