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 - 24

Journalists in State of Emergency - 24

Number of journalists in prison reaches 133 with the recent arrest of DİHA news agency İdris Sayılgan


Dicle News Agency (DİHA) Muş reporter İdris Sayılgan was put under arrest by a court on Oct. 24.

His arrest brings the total number of journalists in prison to 133, as P24 has updated its list to include two Şanlıurfa journalists, Mehmet Dener and Muhammet Taşçılar from the website, who were arrested on July 22.

Sayılgan had initially been detained on Oct. 17 in a police raid on his home. He was charged with “membership in a terrorist” organization.

Also on Oct. 25, two DİHA reporters, Arjin Dilek Öncel and Beritan İrlan, were detained in Şanlıurfa province while covering the news. The two journalists were released after their police interrogation.

Hasan Cemal faces more than 9 years 

On Oct. 27, Hasan Cemal, the founding president of P24 Platform for Independent Journalism, was due to defend himself in court on charges of having insulted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in two different articles, one published in Oct. 2015 and the other in January 2016.

Prosecutors have demanded that Cemal be imprisoned up to 4 years and 8 months in prison on two counts of insulting the president, meaning that the journalist might get a jail sentence of more than 9 years.

There are two separate trials being heard by different Ankara courts. The first trial, heard earlier in the day on Oct. 27, was adjourned until Dec. 20.

Former News Manager at the shuttered İMC TV, Hamza Aktan, also was on trial on Oct. 27 at the Bakırköy 2nd High Criminal Court on charges of “terror propaganda” over his retweets of posts by others on Twitter.

A number of trials where journalists were on the stand as defendants took place on Oct. 25. BirGün newspaper reporter Onur Erem appeared before the İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. The trial was adjourned until Jan. 31.

In another trial on Oct. 25, Evrensel daily’s Editor-in-Chief Fatih Polat and the same newspaper’s former managing editor, Vural Nasuhbeyoğlu, who also had legal liability for the newspaper’s publications, were acquitted in a trial where they were accused of “propagandizing for a terrorist organization,” and of “praising a crime or a criminal”.

Yet another trial heard on Oct. 25 concerned the shuttered Özgür Gündem daily. President of Basın-İŞ, a press union that’s part of the Confederation of Revolutionary Labor Unions (DİSK) Faruk Eren, Evrensel columnist İhsan Çaralan, journalist Erturğul Mavioğlu and the managing editor of the newspaper İnan Kızılkaya -- who is in prison on charges of terrorism propaganda -- were tried for a campaign, where journalists became editor-in-chief of the daily for a day to display solidarity. The case was adjourned until Jan. 24, 2017.

Several columnists and employees of the Atılım Newspaper, whose editor-in-chief Hatice Duman is in prison on terror related charges, also appeared before a court on Oct. 25. The trial was adjourned until Dec. 20. Sixteen journalists are being tried in the case facing charges of “propagandizing for a terrorist organization” regarding 53 articles published in the newspaper.

Sevan Nişanyan, a journalist and writer who is in prison on charges of violating zoning plans, appeared before a judge on Oct. 25 in Istanbul on charges of “degrading religious values” in a blog post.