Kara, publisher of the weekly Datca Haber in the southwestern town of Datcha, began serving a one-year prison term for allegedly threatening the bodyguards of Mert Ciller, son of former Prime Minister Tansu Ciller. According to Kara’s lawyer, the bodyguards attacked the journalist when he tried to photograph Mert Ciller in 2000. But after Kara filed a complaint with the police, the bodyguards claimed that Kara had threatened them and later sued the journalist. Kara’s lawyer maintains that the charge against his client was fabricated, and that the witnesses produced by Mert Ciller’s entourage provided dubious testimony. Kara is in Ula Prison.
Local politicians and businessmen have targeted Kara with several lawsuits for his reporting on local government, according to Turkish media reports. Officials have frequently harassed the journalist through petty administrative measures. In 2002, for example, Kara served jail time for failing to comply with a press law requiring newspaper publishers to send two copies of each issue to the governor’s office.