Expression Interrupted

Journalists and academics bear the brunt of the massive crackdown on freedom of expression in Turkey. Scores of them are currently subject to criminal investigations or behind bars. This website is dedicated to tracking the legal process against them.

Journalists in State of Emergency - 103

Journalists in State of Emergency - 103

Prosecutor asks for life in Enis Berberoğlu retrial; TRT World editor death found suspicious

The first hearing in the retrial of Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Enis Berberoğlu, who is imprisoned over a news report published in the Cumhruiyet newspaper, was heard on December 1 at the 2nd Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice.

The prosecutor asked for life for Berberoğlu, on charges of “disclosing secret information vital to state security or to the domestic or foreign political benefit of the state for political or military espionage purposes.”

Berberoğlu was initially tried along with Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar and Ankara Bureau Chief Erdem Gül over a report that suggested that Turkish intelligence units sent arms to jihadi groups in Syria. The cases of the other journalists were later separated and Berberoğlu was given 25 years in prison on June 14, 2017 on the same charge as the prosecutor cited in the retrial.

That ruling was overruled by an appellate court, which ruled for a retrial.

The next hearing in the case will be heard on January 16.

TRT World editor’s suspicious death 

Istanbul police have said the 29 November death of a TRT World editor looked suspicious.

Yasmine Ryan, who worked for the state owned TRT World network, died after falling off of the fifth story of a building at around 2:20 am. She was visiting the apartment of a friend, reports said.

The 34-year old New Zealander’s body was autopsied at  the Council of Forensic Medicine. Police have also interrogated her friend, who reportedly said she found an open window in Ryan’s room after waking up to screams.

First hearing in Çağdaş Erdoğan case on 13 February 

The first hearing in the trial of Çağdaş Erdoğan, who is a journalist and art photographer, will be heard on 13 February 2018. Erdoğan stands accused of membership in the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), officially considered a terrorist organization in Turkey, and spreading propaganda for it.

The Istanbul 33th High Criminal Court will hear the case. He was arrested on September 13 after photographing a National Intelligence Agency (MİT) building. For both of the charges, the evidence put forth in the indictment consists of Erdoğan’s social media posts.

Constitutional Court to hear Mehmet Altan’s application

The Constitutional Court will review an  application from journalist Mehmet Altan on 5 December.

Mehmet Altan was arrested in September 2016 on charges related the coup attempt of 15 July. He applied to the Constitutional Court on the grounds that his right to free speech was violated and that his incarceration has been unlawful.

The court will review his application on the basis of admissibility and substance. It is not known yet if the Court will combine Mehmet Altan’s case with that of his older brother Ahmet Altan’s. The elder Altan was arrested on 23 September 2016, a day after Mehmet Altan. Both brothers applied to the Constitutional Court on 8 November 2016.

The Ministry of Justice in its written response to the Constitution Court had combined the Altan brothers’ cases and the lawyers say that the Court might follow suit.

Journalists fined TL 100,000 over report

On November 30, a Turkish court fined Özgür Gündem newspaper’s former editor-in-chief Eren Keskin and Managing Editor Reyhan Çapan TL 100,000 (USD 25,443) regarding a news report published in the newspaper on 16 October 2015.

The story concerned Murat Sancak, the owner of the government-aligned Star newspaper.

The total of fines issued to Keskin has reached TL 355,920. Most of these stem from charges of “insulting the president.”

Bas newspaper stops publishing

The weekly newspaper Bas, a bilingual publication, announced on 27 November that it would no longer exist.

A joint letter by the Bas Media Group Owner Botan Tahseen and Bas Editor-in-Chief Hamiyet Çelebi stated that strained ties between Arbil and Ankara had made it “impossible” for the newspaper to continue.

Investigation into journalists for visiting Nagorno Karabakh

Turkish authorities have launched an investigation into four individuals, including journalists Ali Bayramoğlu and Erol Katırcıoğlu, for visiting the disputed the Nagorno Karabakh region, which is currently under Armenian control.

The other two who visited the region are politician Ufuk Uras and writer Sait Çetinoğlu. Azerbaijan earlier announced it had launched an investigation into the four men. Recently, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said an investigation was also launched in Turkey, adding that he was saddened by the visit to Karabagh which occurred outside the knowledge of the foreign ministry.

For a full list of all the imprisoned journalists in Turkey, visit this spreadsheet. Lists of all of the foundations and associations as well as media outlets shut down can also be found at the same link, although on different tabs of the same spreadsheet.