Veli Haydar Güleç

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Police in Istanbul detained Veli Haydar Güleç, a board member, host, and producer for the pro-Alevi television channel TV10, on January 9, 2018, according to news reports. An Istanbul court on January 18 ordered Güleç 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 Güleç and TV10 board chair and host Veli Büyükşahin, 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.

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