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 - 63

Journalists in State of Emergency - 63

Authorities issued arrest warrants for owner and three staff members of opposition Sözcü newspaper as part of an investigation conducted by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, news reports said on May 19.

The warrants were issued for arrests of newspaper owner Burak Akbay, manager of the newspaper’s website manager Mediha Olgun, Financial Affairs Manager Yonca Kaleli and İzmir correspondent Gökmen Ulu. Olgun was arrested by the police while Akbay was abroad.

The four are reportedly accused of “committing crimes on behalf of the Fetullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ),” as well as assisting attempts to “assassinate and physically attack the president and armed rebellion against the Government of the Republic of Turkey.”

Pro-government Sabah newspaper reported that charges against the four stemmed from publication on July 15, 2016 of the address and photos of a hotel where President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was vacationing.

Ismail Yılmaz, one of the lawyers of Sözcü, said, on the other hand, that there were no arrest warrants for the four people. Yılmaz confirmed that Olgun was arrested but he said it might be in relation to a separate investigation, as there was no arrest warrant for Olgun as part of the current investigation.

Imprisoned Radyo Ses employee released

Journalist Fatma Ölmez, an employee of the shuttered Radyo Ses, was released on May 18 at the end of the first hearing of a trial in which she and 17 other imprisoned suspects appeared before a high criminal court in the southern province of Mersin.

Ölmez was arrested, and subsequently placed in pre-trial detention, as part of a nationwide crackdown on the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) members and supporters on December 12, 2016. She stood trial along with 23 other people, 18 of whom were imprisoned. All the imprisoned suspects including Ölmez and Human Rights Association (İHD) Mersin branch head Ali Tanrıverdi, were released pending trial at the end of the hearing.

Ölmez’s release brings down the number of imprisoned journalists, pending trial or serving a conviction, in Turkey to 165. The full list can be viewed here.

ETHA correspondent arrested

Pro-Kurdish Etkin News Agency (ETHA) correspondent Pınar Gayip was arrested in a police raid of her home early on May 19. News reports said Gayip was one of many people who were arrested as part of a sweeping operation across Istanbul by anti-terror police teams.

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