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Council of Europe media freedom alerts Turkey:
Journalists Arrested in Major Clampdown 2017


29 Nov 2017 

On 24 November 2017, Resul Cengiz was released on probation pending trial.

22 Nov 2017 

On 21 November 2017, the 14th High Criminal Court of Ankara sentenced Ayşenur Parıldak, a correspondent for Zaman newspaper, to seven years and six months in prison for being a member of an armed terrorist organisation.

22 Nov 2017 

On 8 November 2017, an Istanbul court ordered the release of Izmir-based journalist Bekir Gökmen Ulu from the Sözcü daily. The journalist is also under an international travel ban.

30 Oct 2017 

On 12 October 2017, the Mersin 8th High Criminal Court released under judicial control Şirin Çoban and İlker İlkan pending trial

25 Oct 2017 

Murat Aksoy was released from pretrial detention by an İstanbul court on 24 October 2017. According to the decision of the İstanbul 25th High Criminal Court, Aksoy was released after the court determined that the suspect had no bank account with Bank Asya and never used the ByLock mobile phone application, both considered by Turkish authorities to be evidence of links to the Gülen movement.

23 Oct 2017 

On 17 October 2017, the Eskişehir 2nd court of severe crimes sentenced Mehmet Kuru to six years and three months' imprisonment for 'membership in a terrorist organization'.

15 Oct 2017 

Murat Dağdeviren, owner of the Demokrat Gebze newspaper, was arrested on 31 July 2016. On 10 October 2017, he was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months in prison on charge of membership to a terror organization. Demokrat Gebze newspaper was shut down by decree.

05 Oct 2017 

Yüksel Durgut was released pending trial for health reasons on 29 September 2017.

29 Sep 2017 

Abdullah Özyurt was released on 15 September 2017.

29 Sep 2017 

On 22 September 2017, Mediha Olgun was released.

18 Sep 2017 

Burak Ekici, the online editor for daily newspaper Birgün, was ordered arrested on 16 August 2017 on accusations of links to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen. Ekici was detained for allegedly having used mobile phone encryption application Bylock, which prosecutors consider to be evidence of membership in the Gülen movement.

07 Sep 2017 

Mehmet Dener and Muhammet Taşçılar were released on 1 September 2017.

23 Aug 2017 

On 18 August 2017, the 25th court for severe crime of Istanbul released pending trial Cihan Acar, journalist for Bugün, and Aksiyon magazine journalist, Bünyamin Köseli, prosecuted for «coup attempt».

21 Aug 2017 

On 18 August 2017, Ali Ahmet Böken, a former TRT News coordinator and former columnist for the now-closed Samanyolu TV, was arrested. Accused of “membership in a terrorist organisation”, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

17 Aug 2017 

On 10 August 2017, the police in Istanbul detained Cüneyt Seza Özkan, former news editor at the shuttered Samanyolu TV, according to news reports. Mr Özkan was one of 35 journalists and media workers whose arrest a Turkish court mandated the week before as part of a sweeping purge of suspected followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to reports. Özkan’s arrest is part of an investigation into journalists and others who allegedly used the Bylock app, according to press reports. Authorities allege that use of the encrypted messaging app is proof of FETÖ/PDY membership.

28 Jul 2017 

On 19 July 2017, Lokman Erdoğan was released pending trial.

25 Jul 2017 

Hülya Karakaya was released on 18 July 2017 and placed under judiciary control.

20 Jul 2017 

Nizamettin İzgi, owner of the Batman newspaper, was arrested on 11 December 2016. On 17 July 2017, a court ordered his release under judicial control.

01 Jun 2017 

On 27 May 2017, a Turkish court formally arrested Mediha Olgun (internet editor) and Gökmen Ulu (press correspondent in Izmir), two opposition journalists working for Sözcü daily newspaper for "a story and photographs in the paper revealing where Erdogan was spending his vacation a day before the coup, and a crossword puzzle with the president’s name hidden in it", according to state-run Anadolu news agency. The two jailed Sözcü journalists face charges including “knowingly aiding and abetting the FETÖ terrorist organisation without being part of its hierarchical structure”, and “aiding the assassination attempt of the president”.

30 May 2017 

Idris Okur, Cihan reporter in Çorum, was put in custody on 1 August 2016. His trial started in May 2017 before the Çorum 2nd Heavy Penal Court.

29 May 2017 

Özkan Mayda was released on 24 May 2017.

26 May 2017 

Olgun Matur was released on 29 March 2017 and was arrested again 3 days later on 2nd April. He was released again on 24 May 2017.

05 May 2017 

On 4 may 2017, Ozan Kaplanoğlu, editor of the online platform @BursaMuhalif and a member of the Board of Directors of the Bursa Branch of the Contemporary Gazeteciler Derneği, was detained during an early morning raid on his home. The journalist was arrested by a Bursa court on 5 May on the charge of spreading propaganda for a terrorist organisation on his social media account.

02 May 2017 

İbrahim Karayeğen, an editor for Zaman newspaper, was ordered arrested on 26 September 2016 as part of the coup attempt investigation. Karayeğen, who was detained on 16 July 2016 in İstanbul Atatürk Airport was formally put on pre-trial detention on 24 July 2016 by an investigating judge at İstanbul No.2 Criminal Court of Peace. On 27 April 2017, an Istanbul court indicted Karayeğen and 29 other former Zaman Media Group employees with attempting to overthrow the government, the Constitution and Parliament. Each suspect risks three consecutive life sentences. The indictment also seeks another 15 years for each suspect on charges of being members of a terrorist organisation.

29 Apr 2017 

In April 2017, the Izmir 13th High Criminal Courts ruled to release Rabia Özkaya pending trial taking into consideration the nature of the criminal charges and the time she spent in pre-trial detention. The Court also banned Özkaya from travelling abroad.

20 Apr 2017 

Ali Akkuş was released on 31 March 2017 and detained a few hours later. He was released again on 15 April 2017.

18 Apr 2017 

On 5 August 2016, Yakup Şimşek, the former Brand Marketing Manager of Zaman was taken into custody, as part of a probe into a controversial commercial allegedly hinting at an impending coup bid some nine months before the 15 July coup attempt. The indictment drafted on 14 April 2017 by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office seeks three consecutive life sentences for 16 people, including Şimşek, on coup charges. On 29 March 2016, court-appointed trustees had fired Simsek along with 5 colleagues from the daily newspapers Zaman and Today's Zaman, for "abusing the trust of the employer" and "acting against the good will and morals, as well as the company's image".

17 Apr 2017 

Yakup Çetin and Yetkin Yıldız were released on 31 march 2017 and detained again a few hours later. They were re-arrested on 15 april 2017.

13 Apr 2017 

On 11 April 2017 an indictment of journalists and columnists of Zaman daily was filed to the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court. The indictment seeks three consecutive life sentences for the 30 defendants on charges of attempting to overthrow the government. 30 journalists, 21 of whom are already under arrest, were indicted. The defendants include former Zaman writers Mümtazer Türköne, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Şahin Alpay, Mustafa Ünal and Ali Bulaç. The journalists are charged with "attempting a coup d'Etat" for which the prosecutor demands three consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole. Additionally, the prosecutor demands up to 15 years in prison for all the suspects on charges of "membership in a terrorist organisation."

Anatolia News Agency reported that the defendants are Mümtazer Türköne, Şahin Alpay, Ali Bulaç, Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Alaattin Güner, Cuma Kaya, Faruk Akkan, Hakan Taşdelen, Hüseyin Belli, Hüseyin Turan, İbrahim Karayeğen, İsmail Küçük, Mehmet Özdemir, Murat Avcıoğlu, Mustafa Ünal, Onur Kutlu, Sedat Yetişkin, Şeref Yılmaz, Yüksel Durgut and Zafer Özsoy, Ahmet İrem, Ali Hüseyin Çelebi, Süleyman Sargın, Osman Nuri Arslan, Osman Nuri Öztürk, Lalezer Sarıibrahimoğlu, Nuriye Ural and Orhan Kemal Cengiz. Sarıibrahimoğlu, Ural and Cengiz are listed as suspects pending trial outside of prison.

05 Apr 2017 

Serhat Şeftali, Zaman regional burea Chief for the Med region, was arrested on 21 July 2016. He stands accused of preparing the ground for July 2016 coup attempt on behalf of the Hizmet movement. On 1 April 2017, Serhat Şeftali was ordered released on judicial probation by the Antalya 2nd High Criminal Court along 20 police officers and seven other journalists including Tuncer Çetinkaya and Olgun Matur pending the conclusion of their trial. However, the Antalya 3rd High Criminal Court ruled for the re-arrest of 16 of them, including Şeftali following objections to their release by prosecutors.

05 Apr 2017 

Tuncer Çetinkaya was released on 29 March 2017 and re-arrested on 2 April.

04 Apr 2017 

Abdurrahim Ersöz, Ömer Özdemir have been released on 30 March 2017.

31 Mar 2017 

Kenan Baş was released on 29 March 2017.

10 Mar 2017 

Nur Ener, the news-editor of Yeni Asya newspaper, was detained on 3 March 2017 as a part of the purge of journalists allegedly linked to the Gülen movement. Ener was formally arrested on 6 March 2017 for allegedly having used the mobile phone encryption application Bylock, which Turkish prosecutors consider to be evidence of membership in the Gülen movement. Ener is currently in pre-trial detention in the Bakırköy Women’s Closed Prison in Istanbul.

06 Mar 2017 

Erdem Mühirci was released on 28 February 2017.

28 Feb 2017 

Vedat Demir was released on 18 February 2017.

03 Feb 2017 

Hamza Günerigök, an anchor with of state-owned TRT, was arrested on 30 January 2017 by border security in military zone as he was trying to flee from Turkey to Greece in illegal ways. The authorities had issued an arrest warrant for Günerigök over his alleged link with the Gülen movement.

30 Jan 2017 

On 18 January 2017, Ünal Tanık, owner and editor-in-chief of the Rota Haber news portal, which is among the media outlets closed down in the aftermath of the coup attempt, was arrested after being detained in Yalova the day before. The arrest verdict of İstanbul’s 11th Penal Court of Peace was based on the charge of alleged membership to the Gülen movement. Tanık faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

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