Özgür Gündem

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Attacks on the Press   |   Turkey

Willing Accomplice

Collusion by the Turkish media compounds the country's crisis
By Andrew Finkel

Turkey's bloody, failed military coup on July 15, 2016, and the ruthless crackdown that followed are testament to the country's escalating crisis of democracy. Though the crisis had been developing for years, with journalists and independent media outlets facing intense legal pressures from a government intent on serving elite interests rather than a free and open society, recent events illustrate a grave, new peril: the compliance and even complicity of the nation's mainstream media in its own emasculation and the suppression of objective news coverage.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of March 26, 2017

Abdullah Kılıç, courtesy of the Kılıç family

Istanbul court orders release, pending trial, of at least 19 journalists
Istanbul's 25th Court for Serious Crimes today ordered the release, pending trial, of at least 19 journalists imprisoned in direct relation for their work following the July 2016 failed military coup, according to news reports. The court did not drop any charges against the journalists, who had been imprisoned awaiting trial for roughly eight months. They will now be required to check in with local police and are still banned from foreign travel. The journalists released by Istanbul's 25th Court for Serious Crimes today, and their outlets, are:

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of March 19, 2017

A demonstrator walks around a bonfire to mark the spring festival of Newroz in the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakır, March 21, 2016. Ethnic Kurds marked the occasion last year with a demonstration calling for the resumption of peace talks with the government. (Reuters/Sertac Kayar)

Security forces detain reporter in southeastern Turkey
Security forces in the southeastern province of Mardin today detained Dihaber reporter Murat Verim, the news agency reported. Dihaber said the arrest was part of an ongoing terrorism investigation.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of March 12

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addresses local government officials in Ankara, January 19, 2017. (Yasin Bulbul/Presidential Press Service/Pool via AP)

Editor sentenced to nine years in prison
The 7th Court for Serious Crimes in the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakır yesterday sentenced Aydın Atar, former news editor for the shuttered Kurdish-language daily newspaper Azadiya Welat, to nine years, four months, and 15 days in prison on charges of "propagandizing for a [terrorist] organization," the news website Dihaber reported. The journalist is free, pending appeal.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of March 5

Protesters in Berlin call for the release of Die Welt Turkey correspondent Deniz Yücel, February 28, 2017. (Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch)

Suspended sentences, fines, for participants in newspaper solidarity campaign
Istanbul's 22nd Court for Serious Crimes today convicted four people of terrorism charges in connection with the coverage of the pro-Kurdish daily newspaper Özgür Gündem on the days on which they each symbolically acted as co-editor of the newspaper to protest authorities' relentless judicial harassment of the newspaper, according to news reports. Police raided and sealed the newspaper's office in August 2016, as dozens of writers, activists, academics, and artists continued to show solidarity with the newspaper by symbolically adding their names to the newspaper's masthead for a day.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of February 12

A court on February 14, 2017, handed columnist Hasan Cemal, seen here at a colleague's funeral in Istanbul on October 30, 2015, a suspended sentence of one year and three months in prison on charges of propagandizing for a terrorist group in one of his columns.

Publisher closes magazine for cartoon lampooning Moses
The publisher of the cartoon magazine GırGır announced today that he was closing down the magazine after its publication of a cartoon depicting Moses irritating his followers wandering in the desert by talking too much and bragging about parting the Red Sea sparked outrage on social media, including from the president's office, news website T24 reported.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of January 8

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks in Istanbul, December 20, 2016. (Reuters/Murad Sezer)

Erdoğan praises Trump for 'beating down' CNN reporter
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan praised U.S. President-elect Donald Trump for "beating down" ("benzetmek") CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Costa in a January 11 press conference, according to media reports and video widely distributed on the internet. Trump refused to take a question from CNN at the press conference, calling the broadcaster "fake news."

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of January 1

Broken glass scatters across the inside of a café close to the Izmir courthouse targeted in a bombing. News outlets have been ordered to report only official statements about the attack. (STR/AFP)

Jailed investigative journalist held in isolation

Investigative journalist Ahmet Şık has been kept in isolation in prison and denied basic rights since his arrest last week, according to reports that cited his lawyer. Sık, who was detained December 29 on allegations of spreading terrorist propaganda, was kept at Metris Prison in Istanbul for three days before being transferred to Silivri Prison, according to reports.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of December 18

People use an internet cafe in Ankara, April 16, 2015. Turkish authorities have censored social media and news websites, and have sought to block access to tools for circumventing that censorship. (Reuters/Umit Bektas)

Court confiscates assets of 54 journalists
Istanbul's 11th Court of Penal Peace court confiscated the assets of 54 journalists, media workers, and writers, saying there was a "strong suspicion" that they were followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accuses of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (FETÖ/PDY, by its Turkish acronym), the news website Bianet reported today.

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