Semiha Alankuş

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.

Alankuş, a translator and editor, was being held at Bakırköy Women’s Closed Prison in Istanbul on charges of leading an armed terrorist organization, the KCK, according to an updated list of imprisoned journalists provided by the Justice Ministry in November 2013 at CPJ’s request. Authorities alleged that Alankuş participated in a meeting of the KCK press committee in northern Iraq in September 2009, and used her position as a DİHA editor to broadcast directions from the PKK. Possession of banned magazines and books was also cited as evidence. Alankuş said she did not participate in the press committee meeting.

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