Veli Büyükşahin

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Police in Istanbul on January 9, 2018 detained Veli Büyükşahin, the board chair and host for the pro-Alevi television channel TV10, according to reports. An Istanbul court on January 18 ordered Büyükşahin to be held in pre-trial detention, the reports said. 

The arrest was part of a larger operation in which 44 people were taken into custody across seven provinces. Of those, the court ordered 15, including Büyükşahin and TV10 board member, host, and producer Güleç, to be held in pre-trial detention on suspicion of “being member of a [terrorist] organization,” according to reports. The reports did not state the reason for the raid or the arrests.

TV10, a station that catered to an audience from Turkey’s Alevi sect of Islam, the country’s largest religious minority, was shuttered in September 2016, according to reports.

Güleç was the host of the station’s show “Satır Arası” (Between the Lines), which discussed current affairs. In a 2016 episode viewed by CPJ, Güleç introduced Büyükşahin as a producer on the channel, and the pair discussed the government crackdown after the failed attempted coup. Büyükşahin’s regular show “Tarihsel Bellek” (Historical Memory), covered Alevi history.

A report by the leftist daily Evrensel on September 28, 2018 said the detainees were still not charged because two courts have rejected the prosecutor’s indictment on the grounds that it is insufficient.

The lawyers representing the journalists have requested that they be freed pending investigation, according to the report.

Büyükşahin is also a columnist for the online newspaper Artı Gerçek.

As of late year, Büyükşahin and his co-accused are still in prison, according to Evrensel.