The new Turkey
Council of Europe media freedom alerts Turkey:
Journalists Arrested in Major Clampdown 2018


07 Dec 2018 

Journalist Murat Aksoy, who was given a 25-month prison sentence earlier this year reported to the Istanbul Courthouse on 22 November 2018 to serve that prison sentence, which was upheld in October 2018 by an appellate court. Aksoy was arrested and sent to the Metris Prison.

15 Nov 2018 

On 14 November 2018, Uşak 2nd High Criminal Court sentenced Ali Ünal to 19 years and six months in jail on charge of leading a terrorist group. The Court acquitted him of "attempt to overthrow the constitutional order".

02 Nov 2018 

Columnist and author Mehmet Gündem, who had worked for several newspapers and outlets such as the now-closed Zaman, Gündem, Tercüman, Yeni Şafak, TRT Haber, and Milliyet, was arrested on 9 November 2017 as part of an operation against the Journalists’ and Writers’ Foundation (GYV), which was shut down by decree law. Gündem is charged with “membership of a terrorist organisation”, together with two other journalists, Behram Kılıç and Nuh Gönültaş.

The latter is also detained in relation to the same operation against GYV. Kılıç was released on 1 November 2018, pending trial. Gündem appeared in court for the first time on 14 August 2018, after 10 months in pretrial detention. He is accused of using “ByLock”, an encrypted-communications application for mobiles said to have been used by followers of exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen. Gündem’s next scheduled hearing is 8 May 2019, where the court has requested an expert report on digital tools to be submitted. Gündem was previously detained in July 2016 as part of arrest warrants for 42 journalists issued after the failed coup attempt on 15 July 2016.

26 Oct 2018 

On 24 October 2018, the 2nd Criminal Chamber of the İstanbul Regional Court of Justice ruled on appeals of a ruling handed down by the İstanbul 25th High Criminal Court on 8 March 2018 lodged by 25 journalists, including 19 jailed journalists. The Chamber upheld the conviction of defendants Cihan Acar, Bünyamin Köseli, İbrahim Balta, Bayram Kaya, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Habip Güler, Hanım Büşra Erdal, Mutlu Çölgeçen, Ünal Tanık, Yakup Çetin, Seyit Kılıç, Hüseyin Aydın, Abdullah Kılıç, Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Ahmet Memiş, Ali Akkuş, Muhammet Sait Kuloğlu, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Oğuz Usluer, Davut Aydın, Ufuk Şanlı, Yetkin Yıldız and Cuma Ulus.

The court in addition ruled for a continuation of the imprisonment of the 19 journalists. In its decision, the chamber also rejected the appeals of prosecutors against lower court decisions for columnist and singer Atilla Taş and for journalist Murat Aksoy.

03 Oct 2018 

On 2 October 2018, the appeal court upheld aggravated life sentences for Nazlı Ilıcak, Fevzi Yazıcı and Yakup Şimşek.

06 Jul 2018 

On 6 July 2018, an Istanbul court has sentenced six former Zaman journalists to prison sentences on charges of being members of a terror organisation, while acquitting five others of all charges. The Court ordered to release Ahmet Turan Alkan and İbrahim Karayeğen under judicial control, pending appeal.

25 May 2018 

On 24 May 2018, a court in İstanbul has sentenced Yeni Asya daily editor Naciye Nur Ener Kılınç to 7,5 years in prison on charge of membership of a terrorist organisation and ruled for the continuation of her house arrest pending appeal trial.

14 May 2018 

On 11 May 2018, the 13th High Criminal Court of Istanbul in its interim decision ruled to release columnist Ali Bulaç and Zaman’s former Responsible Managing Editor Mehmet Özdemir from pretrial detention, while ordering the lifting of Şahin Alpay’s house arrest. The court also imposed overseas travel bans on both Bulaç and Özdemir and ordered judicial control measures for those three defendants. The next hearings are scheduled for 7 and 8 June.

10 May 2018 

On 30 April 2018, Cuma Kaya,, Alaattin Güner and Hüseyin Turan, were sentenced to 5 years in prison each for "aiding a [terrorist] organisation willingly and knowingly without being a member," but were released on probation pending appeal. Murat Avcıoğlu was sentenced to 3 years and 45 days in prison for "aiding a [terrorist] organisation willingly and knowingly without being a member" and released on probation pending appeal. Zafer Özsoy, a Cihan News Agency broadcast technician, was acquitted of all charges,

30 Apr 2018 

On 24 April 2018, a court in the southern city of Antalya sentenced to prison Tuncer Çetinkaya, a former reporter of Zaman newspaper and Cihan News Agency, for 7 years and 6 months on charges of "being a member of a [terrorist] organisation". The court ordered Çetinkaya released on probation to receive treatment for kidney failure.

29 Mar 2018 

On 28 March 2018, a court issued its verdict releasing Ramazan Alkan for lack of evidence.

19 Mar 2018 

Journalist Şahin Alpay was released from Silivri Prison at night on Friday 16 March 2018. He remains under on house arrest.

19 Mar 2018 

On 15 March 2018, the Turkish Constitutional Court re-evaluated Şahin Alpay’s application. This 2nd application was filed after the Constitutional Court’s first ruling was snubbed by local courts in January 2018. The Court reiterated its former ruling that the journalist’s rights had been violated and that he should be freed. Turkish top court ruling comes as European Court of Human Rights is set to announce its verdict on the case on 20th March.

09 Mar 2018 

On 8 March 2018, the İstanbul 25th Heavy Penal Court sentenced defendants Ahmet Memiş, Ali Akkuş, Muhammet Sait Kuloğlu, Multlu Çölgeçen, Seyid Kılıç, Ünal Tanık, Erkan Acar, Oğuz Usluer, Davut Aydın, Ufuk Şanlı, Yetkin Yıldız, Cuma Ulus to 7 years and 6 months in prison on charge of “being a member of an illegal organisation”. The court ruled for the re-arrest of journalist Akkuş, who had been released last April. Cihan Acar, Bünyamin Köseli, İbrahim Balta, Bayram Kaya, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Habip Güler, Hanım Büşra Erdal, Yakup Çetin, Hüseyin Aydın, Abdullah Kılıç and Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu were sentenced to 6 years and 3 months in prison on the same charge. 13 defendants were acquitted of “coup attempt” charges.

The court sentenced Atilla Taş and Murat Aksoy for “knowingly and willingly aiding an illegal organization as a non-member” while not being “a part of the hierarchical structure within the organization”. They were respectively condemned to 3 years 1 month and 15 days in prison and 2 years and 1 month. Considering the time in prison they already served, the court rejected the prosecutor’s request for the re-arrest of Taş and Aksoy and removed the obligation to sign in at a police station regularly. Yet it ruled for the continuation of their travel ban.

21 Feb 2018 

On 20 February 2018, Nur Ener Kılınç was released pending trial and placed under house arrest. Her next hearing is set for 19 Aprill.

16 Feb 2018 

On 16 Febuary 2018, Nazlı Ilıcak, Yakup Şimşek and Fevzi Yazıcı were handed aggravated life sentences.

15 Feb 2018 

Ibrahim Balta was released on 6 February 2018 for health reasons. His trial goes on.

16 Jan 2018 

On 12 January 2018, after reviewing the reasoned judgement of the Constitutional Court, the Istanbul 13th Criminal Court overruled the Constitutional Court’s verdict by saying it overstepped its jurisdiction and usurped the Criminal Court’s authority. On 15 January 2017, the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court rejected Şahin Alpay’s appeal for release.

12 Jan 2018 

On 11 January 2018 Turkey`s Constitutional Court ruled to release Şahin Alpay. His release was halted by Istanbul`s 13th High Criminal Court, which announced that his detention would be reviewed after the Constitutional Court’s reasoned decisions were formally communicated.

Index 2016 2017 2019