Zuhal Tekiner

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

At least 13 editors, writers, and managers with the Dicle News Agency, or DİHA, were arrested as part of a massive government roundup of journalists associated with pro-Kurdish news outlets. 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.

Tekiner, chairwoman of the DİHA board, was being held at Bakırköy Prison for Women and Children in Istanbul on charges of being an “administrative” member of the KCK press committee, which allegedly orchestrated coverage that would further the organization’s goals. The indictment cited Tekiner’s contribution to DİHA’s account of a 2010 May Day rally as evidence that she was producing propaganda. Authorities, who tapped Tekiner’s phone, also cited a conversation she had with an accused PKK member who had sought news coverage of a press conference. Tekiner denied any links to the KCK.

In most cases, the journalists faced up to 15 years in prison upon conviction.