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 - 107

Journalists in State of Emergency - 107

Cumhuriyet, Özgür Gündem solidarity and academics’ trials dominate the week; Emre İper and Ömer Faruk Aydemir released  


The fifth hearing of a case in which Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Turkey representative Erol Önderoğlu, human rights activist Professor Şebnem Korur Fincancı and writer Ahmet Nesin are charged with “terrorism propaganda” for participating in a solidarity campaign with the pro-Kurdish Özgür Gündem daily, was held at the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court on December 26.

RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire, representatives from PEN International, PEN Turkey, PEN Belgium/Flanders and P24 followed the trial. Önderoğlu, Fincancı and Nesin were placed in pre-trial detention for their particiaption in the solidarity campaign. They remained in prison fo

Lawyers for the defendants reminded the panel of judges, whose members had been changed since the previous hearing, of amicus briefs submitted by RSF and Article 19. In its interim ruling, the court decided to postpone the trial until 18 April in order to allow time for the statement of Ahmet Nesin, who is being tried in absentia. An arrest warrant was previously issued for Nesin, who lives abroad. 


Cumhuriyet’s Emre İper released

Emre İper, an accounting department employee of Cumhuriyet daily who has been imprisoned for 267 days, was released on 29 December. İper’s release followed a statement from Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office that about 1,000 people were to be released across Turkey after it was understood that some mobile phone applications had been automatically connecting the servers of ByLock, an encrypted messaging system that authorities say was exclusively used by members of the Fethullah Gülen network, blamed for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. The chief prosecutor’s office said more than 11,000 people were understood to have unknowingly accessed the ByLock servers through other applications. “Ahmet says hello to you all,” İper said as he was released from Silivri Prison, referring to Cumhuriyet journalist Ahmet Şık who has been held in pre-trial detention in the same facility for a year.

İHA journalist Ömer Faruk Aydemir released

Ömer Faruk Aydemir, an editor at the İhlas News Agency (İHA), was released from Silivri Prison late on December 28 after it was understood that he was not a ByLock user. Aydemir was arrested and then sent to prison pending trial on terrorism charges in August. He, like Cumhuriyet’s İper, was accused of using the ByLock messaging application, something that the authorities say is a proof of membership in the “Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ),” the group blamed for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.

DİHA reporter convicted and jailed

Abdullah Kaya, a reporter for the shuttered Dicle News Agency (DİHA), was sent to prison on 24 December after a sentence of four years and two months was upheld by an appeals court. Kaya was arrested on 18 January and was jailed on the charge of “membership of a terrorist group.” He was released by the court at the end of a hearing held on 11 May. But Kaya was sentenced to four years and two months in jail at the end of his trial. The sentence was recently upheld by an appellate court. After Kaya’s imprisonment and the latest releases, the number of journalists who are in prison serving a conviction or in pre-trial detention is now 150.

The detailed list can be reached here.

Ahmet Şık expelled from courtroom in Cumhuriyet trial

Journalist Ahmet Şık was removed from the courtroom at the fifth hearing of the Cumhuriyet trial held on December 25, after the judge said his defense statement was “political” and would not be allowed. The Istanbul 27th High Criminal Court later ruled that Şık and all other imprisoned defendants in the case remain behind bars pending trial and set 9 March 2018 as the date of the next hearing. The hearing was originally planned to last two days but was cut short after defense lawyers demanded that the panel of judges recuse themselves, arguing that removal of Şık indicated that the judges were not impartial. Two other imprisoned defendants, Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu and Cumhuriyet Executive Board Chairman Akın Atalay, refused to give their defense statements in response to the judge preventing Şık from presenting his. (The full text of the defense statement that Şık prepared for the hearing can be accessed here.) A detailed report on the hearing can be read here.

Journalists reported to be in solitary confinement

Mümtazer Türköne, a columnist for the shuttered Zaman newspaper, and Fevzi Yazıcı, the daily’s art director, have been reportedly placed in solitary confinement in Silivri prison. Yazıcı has been reportedly placed in solitary confinement after he refused to accept that he had a letter signed by Fethullah Gülen on a USB memory stick. Yazıcı, who faces an aggravated life sentence on the charge of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order,” was not brought to the latest hearing of the trial at the Istanbul 26th High Criminal Court on December 11 as he was being questioned by the police that day. Türköne, who also faces coup charges, was reported to have been placed in solitary confinement in several Twitter posts but there was no further information.

Academics’ trial postponed to April

The sixth hearing of a case where academics Esra Mungan, Meral Camcı, Muzaffer Kaya and Kıvanç Ersoy are on trial for signing in 2016 a petition calling for peace in Turkey’s Kurdish southeast region and criticizing actions of the security forces there, was held on December 26 at the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court. The four academics’ trial had started on the basis of Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law, covering “propaganda for a terrorist organization,” but the prosecutor then requested the defendants be tried on the basis of Article 301 of the Turkish Criminal Code, making it illegal to insult Turkey, the Turkish nation, or Turkish government institutions. Since prosecution based on this clause requires permission from the Justice Ministry, the ministry’s permission is requested for the trial to proceed. The court decided to inquire if the case file had been reviewed by the Justice Ministry. The next hearing of the case will be held on April 18, 2018.

Prosecutor objects to journalist’s release

The prosecutor in a terrorism investigation into Mezopotamya Agency reporter Seda Taşkın objected on December 27 to a court decision to release her pending trial. Taşkın, who was taken into police custody because of a “credible tip-off,” was questioned over her social media posts and some of her stories. She was released by the court after questioning by the police on December 23.

Indictment seeks decades behind bars for three journalists

Reporters of the shuttered Dicle News Agency (DİHA) Ferzen Çatak and Mahmut Ruvanas and Azadiye Welat daily reporter Kadri Esen are facing up to 39 years in total in an indictment that came out 22 months after they were briefly detained in Idil, Şırnak. The three journalists were arrested in a house raid on February 28, 2016 in Idil, during a military curfew, and were later released. In the indictment, Çatak is accused of “exposing as targets those who take part in the fight against terrorism,” “terrorist propaganda” and “terrorist group membership” – charges that carry up to 23 years in prison. Esen and Ruvanas are accused of “exposing as targets those who take part in the fight against terrorism” and “terrorist propaganda,” facing between two to eight years in prison each.

Halla Barakat’s suspected murderer formally charged

The suspected murderer of Syrian anti-regime activist and former journalist Orouba Barakat and her 22-year-old journalist daughter Halla Barakat has been formally charged with murder in an indictment. The suspect, Ahmad Barakat who is a relative of the murdered mother and daughter, faces two life sentences. According to the indictment, suspect Barakat, who occasionally overnighted at the victims’ house, was at the house the night before the murder. He is allleged to have then stabbed both women with a sharp object during a heated exchange over an undisclosed matter.  

List of journalists in prison 1          Abdulkadir Turay, DİHA reporter 2          Abdullah Kaya, DİHA 3          Abdullah Kılıç, Habertürk 4          Abdullah Özyurt, Zaman reporter 5          Abdulvahap İş (Freelance journalist) 6          Ahmet Altan 7          Ahmet Feyzullah Özyurt 8          Ahmet Memiş, Gazeteci, Haberdar news website 9          Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Zaman journalist 10        Ahmet Şık, Cumhuriyet reporter 11        Ahmet Turan Alkan, Zaman 12        Ahmet Yavaş, TRT (Erzurum) 13        Akın Atalay, Pres. of Cumhuriyet Foundation Executive Board 14        Alaattin Güner, Cihan media director 15        Ali Ahmet Böken, TRT News coordinator 16        Ali Aşikar – Azadiya Welat 17        Ali Babür Boysal, Zaman page designer 18        Ali Bulaç, Eski Zaman columnist 19        Ali Ünal, Zaman columnist 20        Ali Yüce, TRT Radio broadcasts chief 21        Arafat Dayan, Demokratik Ulus 22        Aslı Ceren Aslan, Özgür Gelecek 23        Ayhan Demir, Çaldıran News Agency 24        Ayşe Nazlı Ilıcak 25        Ayşenur Parıldak, Zaman, Haberdar 26        Aytekin Gezici, journalist/writer 27        Aziz İstegün, Diyarbakır Zaman representative 28        Bayram Kaya, Zaman reporter 29        Behram Kılıç 30        Beytullah Özdemir, Zaman Düzce bureau chief 31        Burak Ekici, Birgün 32        Burçin Dokgöz, former Zaman and Çorum reporter 33        Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Journalists and Writers’ Foundation 34        Ceren Taşkın, Hatay'ın Sesi 35        Cuma Kaya, Zaman 36        Cuma Ulus, Millet newspaper’s publications coordinator 37        Cüneyt Seza Özkan, Samanyolu TV 38        Çağdaş Erdoğan, Photojournalist 39        Deniz Yücel, Die Welt 40        Emin Demir, Freelancer 41        Emre Soncan, Zaman defense reporter 42        Ercan Gün, Fox TV 43        Erdal Süsem, Eylül magazine editor 44        Erdal Şen, former Meydan managing editor 45        Erdoğan Alayamut, Dihaber reporter 46        Erol Yüksel (TRT News Department vice president)) 47        Erol Zavar, Odak magazine, owner and newsroom director 48        Fahrettin Kılıç, Özgür Toplum 49        Faruk Akkan, Cihan news agency 50        Ferhat Çiftçi, Azadiya Welat Gaziantep bureau chief 51        Fevzi Yazıcı 52        Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Türksolu columnist 53        Gurbet Çakar, Hevi women’s magazine 54        Gültekin Avcı 55        Habip Güler, Zaman reporter 56        Hakan Aksel, TRT producer-director 57        Hakan Ergün, Azadiya Welat and Özgür Gündem distributor 58        Hakan Taşdelen 59        Halil İbrahim Mert, TRT (Erzurum) 60        Hamit Dilbahar, Azadiya Welat columnist 61        Hamza Günerigök, TRT 62        Hanım Büşra Erdal, Zaman reporter and columnist 63        Hasan Duman, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi distributor 64        Hatice Duman, Atılım newspaper’s owner and managing editor 65        Havva Cuştan, ETHA reporter 66        Hayati Yıldız, Azadiya Welat 67        Hidayet Karaca, Samanyolu Media Group President 68        Hüseyin Aydın, Cihan reporter 69        Hüseyin Turan, Zaman columnist 70        İbrahim Balta, Zaman business editor 71        İbrahim Kareyeğen, responsible editor for Zaman 72        İdris Okur, Cihan New Agency Çorum reporter 73        İdris Sayılgan, DİHA 74        İsmail Efe, local press advisor in İzmir 75        İsmail Ersan, Anatolia news agency 76        İsminaz Temel, ETHA editor 77        Kamuran Sunbat, DİHA Çukurova reporter (formerly) 78        Kemal Demir, TV 10 79        Kemal Özer, Evrensel 80        Kenan Karavil, Radyo Dünya editor-in-chief 81        Mehmet Ali Ay 82        Mehmet Altan 83        Mehmet Baransu, Taraf columnist/reporter 84        Mehmet Dener, Şanlı editor-in-chief 85        Mehmet Güleş, DİHA 86        Mehmet Gündem 87        Mehmet Kuru, Zaman Eskişehir reporter 88        Mehmet Özdemir, Zaman columnist 89        Meltem Oktay, DİHA reporter 90        Mikail Barut, Özgür Halk former editor 91        Miktat Algül, Mezitli FM General Publications Coordinator 92        Mizgin Çay – Radyo Karacadağ 93        Muhammet Taşçılar, Şanlı editor-in-chief 94        Muhsin Pilgir, Zaman and Cihan news agency 95        Murat Avcıoğlu, Zaman 96        Murat Çapan, Nokta 97        Murat Dağdeviren (Demokrat Gebze owner) 98        Murat Sabuncu, Editor-in- Chief 99        Mustafa Erkan Acar, Bugün news editor, 100      Mustafa Gök, Ankara bureau chief for Ekmek ve Adalet magazine 101      Mustafa Ünal, Zaman 102      Mutlu Çölgeçen, Millet, newsroom coordinator 103      Mutlu Özay, Cihan reporter 104      Mümtazer Türköne, Zaman columnist 105      Nadir Yücel, Çorum Yıldız (local) Editor-in-Chief 106      Nedim Türfent,DİHA 107      Nizamettin İzgi (Batman Newspaper’s owner) 108      Nuh Gönültaş 109      Nur Ener, Yeni Asya 110      Nuri Durna, TRT 111      Nuri Yeşil, Azadiya Welat Dersim bureau chief 112      Nurullah Kaya, G.antep Zaman representative 113      Oğuz Usluer, Habertürk former broadcasts coordinator 114      Osman Yakut, Zaman Antalya 115      Ömer Faruk Aydemir, İHA editor 116      Ömer Oruç, Cihan newspaper 117      Özcan Keser (TRT reporter) 118      Özkan Erdoğan, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi 119      Rabia Özkaya, Özgür Halk 120      Ramazan Alkan, Yeni Akit reporter 121      Resul Cengiz, Denizli reporter with Zaman 122      Sadık Demir – Radyo Karacadağ 123      Sait Gürka Tuzlu, Cihan reporter 124      Salih Erbekler – Radyo Karacadağ 125      Sami Tunca, Mücadele Birliği magazine Managing Editor 126      Semiha Mete, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi reporter and distributor 127      Serhat Şeftali, Zaman regional bureau chief for the Med region 128      Serkan Aydemir, Bitlis Aktüel reporter 129      Serkan Erdoğan, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi 130      Seyid Kılıç, TRT News 131      Seyithan Akyüz, Azadiya Welat Adana bureau chief 132      Şahabettin Demir, DİHA reporter 133      Şahin Alpay, Zaman columnist 134      Şeref Yılmaz, Irmak TV 135      Şerife Oruç, DİHA reporter 136      Tahsin Kürklü, Zaman – head of Logistics Department 137      Togay Okay, Özgür Gelecek 138      Tuncer Çetinkaya, Zaman Antalya 139      Ufuk Şanlı, former Vatan columnist 140      Ünal Tanık, Rota Haber editor-in-chief 141      Vahit Yazgan, İzmir Zaman bureau chief 142      Yakup Çetin, Zaman reporter 143      Yakup Şimşek, Zaman, marketing director 144      Yalçın Güler, TRT (Erzurum) 145      Yasir Kaya, Fenerbahçe TV, formerly 146      Yener Dönmez, Habervaktim news website 147      Yetkin Yıldız, Aktif Haber website editor 148      Yılmaz Kahraman, Özgür Halk editor 149      Zafer Özsoy 150      Zehra Doğan, Jinha 151      Ziya Ataman, DİHA reporter

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.