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 - 39

Journalists in State of Emergency - 39

Local Hatay journalist Ceren Taşkın arrested; six journalists still in detention after 19 days

The second hearing of the trial where head of the Turkey Human Rights Foundation (TİHV) Professor Şebnem Korur Fincancı; Reporters Without Frontiers (RSF) Turkey representative Erol Önderoğlu, and writer and journalist Ahmet Nesin -- who were released after initially being arrested on June 20, 2016 -- are accused of terrorism-related charges for standing in as an editor for the shuttered Özgür Gündem daily, was held on Jan. 11.

Özgür Gündem news editor İnan Kızılkaya, who’s still under arrest, is another suspect in the trial. He wasn’t brought to the courtroom for the trial from Silivri Prison where he is held.

Financı and Önderoğlu attended the hearing. Ahmet Nesin, traveling abroad, will testify in the next session. The trial was adjourned until March 22.

Recent arrests  

On Jan. 12, a Hatay Court ruled to arrest Ceren Taşkın, a reporter for the local Hatay Ses newspaper in Hatay. Taşkın was arrested on the basis of her social media posts.

Gazete Karınca has reported that Taşkın was earlier detained for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist group” over her posts.

Taşkın was sent to prison on Jan. 12.

Her arrest brings the number of journalists in prison, who are either under arrest or serving a sentence for a conviction, to 148 by P24’s count. 

Most recently, former Habertürk coordinator Oğuz Usluer was arrested on Dec. 28, 2016 and Kemal Sancılı, who owns the rights to the name of the Özgür Gündem daily, was arrested on Jan. 2.

Other trials

Another journalist on trial on Jan. 12 was Hasan Cemal, a T24 columnist and the Founding President of Platform for Independent Journalism P24. Cemal appeared before the Istanbul 22nd High Criminal Court over an article titled “Fehman Hüseyin” for which he is accused of “spreading terrorist propaganda.” Cemal denied the charges against him saying “Journalism is not a crime” in his court statement. The trial was adjourned until Feb. 14, 2017.

Two journalists detained

Beritan İrlan, a journalist covering the recent attack on the Antep Police Department on Jan. 10, was taken into custody. The journalist was released on Jan. 11. 

Also on Jan. 10, journalist Aylina Kılıç tweeted that she was taken into custody at the Sabiha Gökçen airport. She later announced she was released after being held overnight.

Six journalists held without arraignment for 19 days

Six journalists who were detained on Dec. 25, 2016 in an investigation believed to be linked to their reports about the leaked emails of Berat Albayrak -- Turkey’s Energy Minister and also the son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan -- still weren’t taken before a prosecutor as their time in custody entered its 19th day on Jan. 12.

Those who are being kept in custody without being arraigned are Tunca Öğreten, a former editor for Diken; Derya Okatan, a managing editor for the ETHA news agency; Metin Yoksu, a reporter for the shuttered DİHA news agency; Mahir Kanaat, an employee of the Birgün daily; Eray Saygın, the owner of Yolculuk newspaper and Ömer Çelik, a news editor for DİHA. 

According to a report in Cumhuriyet, Özlem Gümüştaş, a lawyer who represents Derya Okatan, said, the prosecutor assigned to the case, who was on leave at the time of the detentions, had returned to duty but still refused to hear testimony of the journalists.

A warrant extending the custody period to 30 days was released for the six journalists detained on Dec. 25, indicating that they will likely be kept in custody until the end of this period without an arraignment.

In a parallel fashion, the 10 Cumhuriyet journalists who were arrested on Nov. 26, have been in prison for 69 days as of Jan. 12. They are accused of “committing crimes on behalf of FETÖ/PDY and PKK/KCK,” two organizations that have different, even contradictory, ideological leanings. The name FETÖ/PDY is used by the Turkish judiciary to the followers of Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who the Turkish authorities say was behind the coup attempt on June 15, 2016.
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