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 – 65

Journalists in State of Emergency – 65

On May 26, an Istanbul court ordered two journalists of the opposition Sözcü daily jailed pending trial, a week after they were taken into police custody on terrorism charges.

The court ruled to imprison the newspaper’s Izmir correspondent Gökmen Ulu and responsible manager of its online edition Mediha Olgun, while releasing the financial affairs manager, Yonca Yücekaleli, who was also arrested as part of the same investigation.

On May 19, arrest warrants were issued for the three staff members as well as the newspaper’s owner, Burak Akbay. Olgun, Ulu and Yücekaleli were taken into police custody while Akbay could not be arrested because he was abroad.

The four are charged with “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” in connection with a news story on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s location, which appeared on the newspaper’s website hours before a coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Nokta editor put behind bars

Murat Çapan, the former responsible managing editor of the shuttered Nokta magazine who was arrested near the border with Greece, was imprisoned on May 26.

Anadolu news agency reported that Çapan was arrested and taken into custody on May 24 along with four others while trying to “illegally” cross into Greece by land in the Uzunköprü district of Edirne province.

On May 22, Çapan and the editor-in-chief of Nokta, Cevheri Güven, had been each given a 22-and-a-half-year sentence by Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court on charges of “inciting an armed rebellion against the government.”

Journalist Sezgin Kartal imprisoned

Sezgin Kartal, the responsible managing editor of Sosyalist Dayanışma magazine, was arrested and jailed on May 24 after the Supreme Court of Appeals upheld an earlier prison sentence on terrorism propaganda charges.

On January 17, Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court sentenced Kartal to 15 months in prison for “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” in relation to an article published in Sosyalist Dayanışma but he was not put under arrest, pending the outcome of appeal. Kartal was arrested and sent to Istanbul Metris Prison at Çağlayan Courthouse, where he was attending a hearing of another case.

The imprisonments over the past two days of Kartal, Sözcü journalists Ulu and Olgun and Nokta editor Çapan brings the number of journalists serving a conviction or awaiting trial behind bars to 169. A detailed list can be viewed here.

ECtHR to give priority to Deniz Yücel application

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has notified lawyers of Deniz Yücel, Turkey correspondent of German Die Welt newspaper, that an application filed with the court on behalf of the imprisoned journalist will be given priority.

The court said in a letter on May 25 that Yücel’s application would be reviewed “as soon as possible,” even though it was not given formal priority treatment under Rules of the European Court of Human Rights. Yücel has been imprisoned pending trial on terrorism charges since February 27.

Detained French journalist on hunger strike

Mathias Depardon, an Istanbul-based French photojournalist who was arrested on May 8 when filming in the southeastern province of Batman, has gone on hunger strike, his lawyer said.

Depardon was arrested in Hasankeyf, a district in Batman, while doing a report for National Geographic magazine. He was transferred on May 9 to a repatriation center operated by the Directorate for Migration Affairs in Gaziantep, where he has remained ever since. On May 11, authorities issued an order for his deportation but he has remained in detention since then.

Depardon’s lawyer, Emine Şeker, said that Depardon has been on hunger strike since Sunday, May 20.

Lawyers take journalists’ detention to Constitutional Court

Lawyers for journalists Murat Aksoy and Atilla Taş have applied to the Constitutional Court, complaining about their detention for a second time right after they were released in a case in which they face terrorism charges.

Yaman Akdeniz, an academic who is providing legal assistance to Aksoy and Taş, announced the application to the top court on his Twitter account on May 25.

Aksoy and Taş, along with 19 other journalists, were released pending trial on May 31 at the end of the first hearing of their trial but were immediately rearrested as part of a new investigation launched on coup charges.

Two journalists arrested

Journalists Sedat Sur and Özgür Aydın were arrested in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on May 24.

Sur and Aydın were arrested in Sur district, where many buildings are being demolished as part of a state redevelopment project, and were questioned by the police at the Sur District Police Departmento on why they were in Sur.

Journalist Sur was released after the questioning while Aydın remained in police custody in connection with an investigation launched in the western province of İzmir.

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