Özkan Mayda

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Counterterrorism police in the southern province of Antalya on July 23, 2016, detained Özkan Mayda, a former reporter for the shuttered Cihan News Agency, as part of a sweeping purge of journalists and others suspected of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to press reports. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and “parallel state structure” (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed July 15, 2016, military coup.

Cihan News Agency was among the more than 100 news outlets the government closed by decree on July 27, 2016, using emergency powers it assumed after the attempted coup, saying the media outlets were FETÖ/PDY mouthpieces. Since then, CPJ research shows that Turkish authorities have jailed several Cihan journalists pending trial on terrorism-related offenses.

On July 26, 2016, a criminal court in Antalya ordered Mayda and eight other journalists detained in Antalya to be jailed pending trial on charges they are FETÖ/PDY propagandists, according to press reports. The reports gave no further details.

As of September 2017, only three of the detained journalists, including Mayda, remained in prison, according to a local journalist who has followed the case and who spoke with CPJ on the condition of anonymity.

According to the indictment, all the defendants are charged with “being a member of a [terrorist] organization.”

Prosecutors cited as evidence against Mayda his employment by the Cihan News Agency. Mayda denied the charge and said he is only a journalist, according to a copy of his testimony that is included in the indictment.

The journalist is detained in Antalya prison.