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 - 61

Journalists in State of Emergency - 61

Editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet’s website Oğuz Güven was arrested on charges of spreading propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization on May 15.

The journalist was detained on May 12, when a headline used in the online version of the newspaper about a prosecutor who died in a car crash upset government supporters. The headline for a news story about the accident read “Prosecutor who drafted the first 15 July indictment scythed by truck.”

Cumhuriyet reported that Güven was taken to the İstanbul Police Department located on Vatan Street after his detention.

Currently, eleven columnists and executives of the newspaper and one reporter are in prison facing terror-related charges. 165 journalists are in prison according to P24’s list, which can be viewed here.

DİHA reporter released

Abdullah Kaya, formerly a reporter with the shuttered pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency (DİHA) was released from prison on May 11.

Kaya was put under arrest on Jan 20, two days after detention, on terror-related charges. He was released pending trial by an Ağrı court during a trial session on 11 May. Thirteen DİHA reporters are currently in prison.

Kurdish newspaper’s website blocked

On May 14, Turkish telecoms authority BTK blocked access to the Kurdish-language newspaper Rojava Medya’s website. The newspaper is informally the successor of Azadiya Welat, which was shut down under State of Emergency rules introduced after the coup attempt of July 15.

Mersin journalist detained in dawn raid

Journalist Serhat Yaruk was taken into custody by police during a dawn raid on his home in Mersin province in Turkey on May 11.

Yaruk was detained by Special Operations Police at 4:00 am. He was later taken to Van province. Police have said he was detained in connection with an investigation being conducted in Van, but provided no more detail. editor detained while at courthouse to testify

An editor for Sendika.Org was briefly taken into custody at Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse, where he was visiting to testify in another investigation against him on May 11.

Çağlar Özbilgin was at Çağlayan to testify to a court in a trial where he was accused of “insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.” However, he was taken into custody on the grounds that there was another investigation into him.

Özbilgin was kept under detention for four hours, and later released after testifying to a prosecutor.

Network fined over insulting Atatürk

On May 11, the Bakırköy Press Prosecutor’s Office demanded a capture warrant for Hasan Akar and Süleyman Yeşilyurt, over the two men’s comments which allegedly insulted the memory of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk aired by TVnet on the show “Derin Tarih” (Deep History). Yeşilyurt was arrested on May 12.

The prosecutor had started an investigation into the two men on charges of “insulting the memory of Atatürk,” and “openly inciting the public to hostility and hatred.”

On May 10, Turkey’s television watchdog Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK) announced that it had fined TVnet in the amount of five percent of its monthly income from advertisements due to the same reason.

Also on May 10, booksellers Nezih Kitapevi, Remzi, D&R and Migros announced that they would not sell Derin Tarih magazine on the grounds that the magazine also included content insulting to Atatürk’s memory.

Journalist found dead in Arbil café

Soran Seqizi, a former anchorman for the Kurdsat television network, was found dead at a café in Iraqi Kurdistan’s capital of Arbil, according to a report from RojNews on May 0.

Police said they suspect suicide. Abulkadir Talat, a police spokesperson, was quoted as saying that Seqizi might have taken his own life for his debts. The Arbil Police Department has said they have found out about this information from Seqizi’s friends. However, RojNews reported that the circumstances of Seqizi seemed suspicious.

For a full list of journalists or press workers in Turkish prisons serving a conviction or awaiting trial under arrest click here.