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 - 90

Journalists in State of Emergency - 90


  • 30 defendants, most of whom are journalists, to appear before court 
  • Second hearing in Altans' trial on September 19
  • Imprisoned French journalist Loup Bureau released 
  • Evrensel reporter Kemal Özer jailed pending trial on terror charges


The trial of 30 defendants, including journalists Şahin Alpay, Ali Bulaç and Ahmet Turan Alkan where they stand accused of having supported the failed of July 15 will commence September 18 at the courtroom inside Silivri Prison.

Twenty one of the defendants to appear in court on Monday have been imprisoned for more than a year. Those under arrest are Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Alaattin Güner, Ali Bulaç, Cuma Kaya, Faruk Akkan, Hakan Taşdelen, Hüseyin Belli, Hüseyin Turan, İbrahim Karayeğen, İsmail Küçük, Mehmet Özdemir, Murat Avcıoğlu, Mustafa Ünal, Mümtazer Türköne, Onur Kutlu, Sedat Yetişkin, Şahin Alpay, Şeref Yılmaz, Yüksel Durgut and Zafer Özsoy.

Other defendants who are not imprisoned are İhsan Duran Dağı, Ahmet İrem, Ali Hüseyinçelebi, Süleyman Sargın, Osman Nuri Arslan, Osman Nuri Öztürk and Orhan Kemal. Two other defendants, Lale Sarıibrahimoğlu and Nuriye Akman, were released pending trial after spending months in prison.

The 64-page indictment seeks three consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole and an additional 15 years for the crimes of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order, attempting to overthrow Parliament or render it unable to perform its duties and attempting to overthrow the government of Turkey or render it unable to perform its duties.”

Most of the accused are former employees or writers of the shuttered Zaman daily.

Children of Alpay, Alkan and Bulaç have talked to P24 before the start of the trial. Elvan Alpay, Şahin Alpay’s daughter and Talat Alkan, son of Ahmet Turan Alkan, said their fathers have written several books while in prison.

Second hearing in the Altans case

On September 19, another trial will continue where journalists Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak stand accused of participating in the coup along with 14 others.

The second hearing in the trial will be heard on Sept. 19 at Istanbul 26th High Criminal Court. The first hearing was heard over a course of five days between the dates June 19 - 23, with the court issuing an interim ruling to keep those under arrest in prison.

A total of six defendants are in prison – including the Altan brothers and Ilıcak, and one person is pending trial outside prison. The other suspects are considered to have at large status by the court.

The Altan brothers, who have been imprisoned since September 2016 and Nazlı Ilıcak, who has been imprisoned since July 2016 are accused of attempting to “overthrow the constitutional order,” “attempting to overthrow the government of Turkey,” and “attempting overthrow Parliament.” They risk three consecutive life terms for these accusations and an additional prison term of up to 15 years for “committing a crime on behalf of a terrorist organization” without being its member.

The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC), which had observed the first trial, released a report on its findings ahead of the second hearing in which it referred to the proceedings as a “show-trial”.

French journalist Loup Bureau released

On September 15, French journalist Luop Bureau, who was arrested by a Turkish court on July 16, was released from prison. A deportation order was also put in place for the journalist along with his release.

He was detained and later arrested on terror related charges upon his return to Turkey from a trip to Arbil, in the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government.

Evrensel reporter arrested

Evrensel Tunceli reporter Kemal Özer, who was detained by police along the Ovacık - Tunceli highway on September 4, was formally arrested on September 15 on charges of membership in a terrorist organization.

Bureau’s release and his arrest bring the number of imprisoned journalists in Turkey to 172.

Court fines journalist for solidarity with shuttered paper

The Istanbul 22th High Criminal Court on September 15 upheld a ruling which issued a TL 7000 fine to journalist Derya Okatan for supporting a solidarity campaign held for the shuttered Özgür Gündem daily.


Click here to view the list in a spreadsheet file; where figures on shuttered media and civil society associations are also available on separate tabs.