CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Özgür Öğret

Özgür Öğret is a Turkish freelance journalist and CPJ’s Turkey representative. He was lead researcher for the 2012 CPJ special report, "Turkey's Press Freedom Crisis."

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of July 24

In this July 24, 2016, handout photo, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gives the Rabaa salute, a reference to Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawaya Square, where Egyptian soldiers and police in August 2013 killed hundreds of supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi protesting the military's ousting of the Egyptian president in July 2013. (Pool/AP)

At least 48 journalists detained in one week
Police in Turkey detained at least 48 journalists in the past week, according to the independent news website P24 and the Twitter account of Ben Gazeteciyim, a volunteer association of Turkish journalists formed to show solidarity with their threatened colleagues. At the time of publication, 21 of those detained were at Istanbul's Çağlayan Courthouse being interrogated by prosecutors and waiting to see a judge. Eren Şener, lawyer for journalists Bülent Mumay and Arda Akın, told the news website Bianet that prosecutors had asked his clients about their activity on Twitter, news stories they had written, and whether they viewed the Hizmet movement, which the Turkish government accuses of orchestrating a failed military coup on July 15 that left more than 200 people dead, as a terrorist organization.

According to P24 and Ben Gazeteciyim, the 21 people at Çağlayan Courthouse at the time of publication were:

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of July 17

Turkey's capital is calm as seen through a broken window at Ankara police headquarters, July 18, 2016, days after soldiers launched a failed attempt at a coup. (Osman Orsal/Reuters)

Police raid and seal Meydan offices

Istanbul police raided the offices of the pro-Hizmet daily Meydan at about 5 p.m. yesterday, local press reported. Police searched the offices in the Şirinevler district for three hours and confiscated documents, before sealing the building. The website of Meydan has not been updated since yesterday. The raid comes in the same week that editors at the daily were briefly detained in apparent retaliation to the paper running excerpts of an interview that the exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen gave to the international press, according the paper.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of July 10

Turkish businessman Aydın Doğan, shown here in a 2009 file photo, on June 13, 2016, denied tax-evasion charges before an Istanbul court. (Murad Sezer/AP)

Prosecutors interrogate journalist on suspicion of 'insulting the president'
Prosecutors in Istanbul yesterday interrogated İhsan Çaralan, a columnist for the socialist daily Evrensel, on charges of "insulting the president" in connection with a May 31 article in the beleaguered, pro-Kurdish daily newspaper Özgür Gündem, Evrensel reported. Çaralan had symbolically acted as co-editor of Özgür Gündem on May 30 to protest authorities' relentless judicial harassment of the newspaper's staff. Çaralan also faces charges of "propagandizing for a [terrorist] organization" in connection with his participation in the solidarity campaign. He denied both charges, Evrensel reported.

[July 15, 2016]

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of July 4

Riot police use water cannons on crowds protesting the takeover of the Koza-İpek Media group in October 2015. An arrest warrant was issued this week for Tarık Toros, a former journalist at the group. (AP/Mehmet Ali Poyraz, Cihan News Agency)

Arrest warrant issued for TV journalist

An arrest warrant was issued yesterday for the Turkish journalist Tarık Toros, according to reports. The pro-government daily, Sabah, reported that Toros was one of more than 30 people against whom arrest warrants were issued as part of a police operation against the alleged terrorist group controlled by Fethullah Gülen. CPJ was unable to determine the charges Toros allegedly faces.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of June 26

Turkish journalists protest the arrest of their colleagues in Istanbul, June 30, 2016. (Adem Altan/AFP)

Columnist freed pending trial
Istanbul's 14th Court of Serious Crimes today ordered Cumhuriyet columnist Ahmet Nesin released, pending trial, the pro-Kurdish daily newspaper Özgür Gündem reported. Police on June 20 arrested Nesin, Erol Önderoğlu, Turkey representative for the press freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF), and Şebnem Korur Fincancı, an academic, columnist and human rights advocate, on incitement and terrorism charges for articles that appeared in Özgür Gündem on the days each symbolically acted as co-editor of the newspaper for a day to protest authorities' judicial harassment of the daily.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of June 19

Demonstrators protest the June 19 arrest of three people, including the press freedom group Reporters Without Borders' Turkey representative, in central Istanbul, June 21, 2016. (Ozan Kose/AFP)

Court indicts TV journalist on terrorism charges for tweets
The Bakırköy Second Court of Serious Crimes in Istanbul indicted Hamza Aktan, news editor at the pro-Kurdish television station IMC TV, on charges of "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization" in connection with nine posts he made to Twitter from 2015 through January 2016, IMC TV reported today.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of June 12

Turkey's Constitutional Court -- seen here in a December 11, 2009, file photo -- on June 17 rejected journalist Mehmet Baransu's contention that his rights were violated in his March 2015 arrest. (AP)

Constitutional Court rejects journalist's appeal
Turkey's Constitutional Court today ruled that editor Mehmet Baransu's constitutional right to freedom of expression and the constitution's guarantees of press freedom were not contravened in the journalist's March 2015 arrest in connection with in an alleged, elaborate conspiracy codenamed "Sledgehammer." The same court in May 2016 rejected his petition to be released from pre-trial detention, CPJ reported at the time.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of June 5

Police use water cannons to disperse protesters in front of the Istanbul headquarters of the Koza İpek media group after a court ordered it put into trusteeship, October 28, 2015. A columnist for Bugün, one of the group's former holdings, was released on June 10, 2016, after seven months' pre-trial detention. (Mehmet Ali Poyraz/Cihan News Agency/AP)

Provincial officials ask journalists to submit to prior censorship: report
Top officials in southeastern Turkey's Gaziantep province, near the Syrian border, on June 1 convened local journalists to ask them not to report on "the bad things happening in the city," and to submit their stories to a group on the messaging service WhatsApp which would include the governor's press officer, Nurgün Balcıoğlu, Gaziantep correspondent for the pro-government daily Sabah told the news website Bianet today.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of May 29

Journalists cover their mouths to protest the April 1, 2016, trial of Cumhuriyet journalists in Istanbul. (Emrah Gurel/AP)

Turkish journalists launch solidarity campaign for jailed colleagues
The Free Journalists Association (ÖGC) on Thursday afternoon held a press conference in front of Istanbul's Diyarbakır courthouse to announce a new campaign to show solidarity with their jailed peers. ÖGC co-chairs Nevin Erdemir and Hakkı Boltan read aloud a list of 46 detained journalists whose trials they vowed the organization would follow, relying on volunteer correspondents in 13 provinces of Turkey. The group said it would also make statements every Thursday testifying to their colleagues' innocence.

[June 3, 2016]

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of May 22

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Binali Yildirim, the new head of the ruling Justice and Development Party, pose for cameras at the presidential palace in Ankara, May 22, 2016. (Presidential Pool/AP)

Prison sentences for newspaper editors
Istanbul's 13th Court for Serious Crimes sentenced Eren Keskin and Reyhan Çapan, former editor and news editor, respectively, of the pro-Kurdish daily newspaper Özgür Gündem, to three years and nine months in prison each on charges of spreading terrorist propaganda, the newspaper reported today. Both are free, pending appeal. In the past month, dozens of journalists have taken turns symbolically acting as co-editors of the newspaper to protest the government's persistent judicial harassment of the daily and its editors.

[May 27, 2016]

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