The new Turkey
Council of Europe media freedom alerts Turkey:
Journalists Arrested in Major Clampdown 2019

18-Jan-2020

On 25 July 2016, the Turkish anti-terrorism Prosecutor Irfan Fidan has today issued arrest warrants for 42 journalists in the wake of the failed coup against President Erdoğan. According to Anatolian News Agency, the journalists targeted are: Abdullah Abdulkadiroğlu, Abdullah Kılıç, Ahmet Dönmez, Ali Akkuş, Arda Akın, Nazlı Ilıcak, Bayram Kaya, Bilal Şahin, Bülent Ceyhan, Bülent Mumay, Bünyamin Köseli, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Cevheri Güven, Cihan Acar, Cuma Ulus, Emre Soncan, Ercan Gün, Erkan Akkuş, Ertuğrul Erbaş, Fatih Akalan, Fatih Yağmur, Habip Güler, Hanım Büşra Erdal, Haşim Söylemez, Hüseyin Aydın, İbrahim Balta, İnan Kızılkaya, Kamil Maman, Kerim Gün, Levent Kenez, Mahmut Hazar, Mehmet Gündem, Metin Yıkar, Muhammed Fatih Uğur, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Mürsel Genç, Selahattin Sevi, Seyid Kılıç, Turan Görüryılmaz, Ufuk Şanlı, Ufuk Emin Köroğlu, Yakup Sağlam and Yakup Çetin.

Among those targeted by the warrants was prominent journalist and former parliamentarian Nazli Ilicak who was fired from the pro-government Sabah daily in 2013 for criticising ministers caught up in a corruption scandal, NTV and CNN-Turk reported. On 27 July 2016, journalist Nuriye Akman was taken into custody.

On 27 July 2016, Istanbul prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 47 former executives and columnists of Zaman newspaper. Those named in the warrants include the following former columnists and executives : Osman Nuri Öztürk, Ali Akbulut, Bülent Keneş, Mehmet Kamış, Hüseyin Döğme, Süleyman Sargın, Veysel Ayhan, Şeref Yılmaz, Mehmet Akif Afşar, Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Alaattin Güner, Faruk Kardıç, Metin Tamer Gökçeoğlu, Faruk Akkan, Mümtazer Türköne, Şahin Alpay, Sevgi Akarçeşme, Ali Ünal, Mustafa Ünal, Zeki Önal, Hilmi Yavuz, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Lalezar Sarıibrahimoğlu, Ali Bulaç, Bülent Korucu, İhsan Duran Dağı, Nuriye Ural, Hamit Çiçek, Adil Gülçek, Hamit Bilici, Şenol Kahraman, Melih Kılıç, Nevzat Güner, Mehmet Özdemir, Fevzi Yazıcı, Sedat Yetişkin, Oktay Vızvız, Abdullah Katırcıoğlu, Behçet Akyar, Murat Avcıoğlu, Yüksel Durgut, Zafer Özsoy, Cuma Kaya, Hakan Taşdelen, Osman Nuri Arslan, and Ömer Karakaş.

On the same day, Zaman daily columnist, Şahin Alpay, has been detained after police raided his house in the early morning hours. Lale Sarıibrahimoğlu, who used to work for Zaman and Today’s Zaman and currently reports for IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, was taken by police from her home early on that day too.

She has reported in detail about issues concerning the Turkey armed forces, their financial assets, and shortcomings in terms of transparency and accountability. She has suffered for several years from poor health and has need of assured access to medical attention.

 

30 Dec 2019 

On 27 December 2019, the 37th High Criminal Court convicted Gökmen Ulu of “knowingly and willingly aiding the terrorist organization FETÖ/PDY without being its member.” He was sentenced to 2 years and 1 month in prison. Mediha Olgun was acquitted.

05 Nov 2019 

On 4 November 2019, Nazlı Ilıcak was sentenced to 8 years and 9 months of prison for “aiding a terrorist group without being one of its member” The Court ruled to release her, taking into account the time she served in pretrial detention. She was freed on the same day and remains under a travel ban pending appeal.

09 Oct 2019 

On 8 October 2019, the Istanbul 26th High Criminal Court rejected the release requests of 5 defendants including Ahmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak. The Court decided to comply with the decision of the Supreme Court of Appeals to overturn the aggravated life imprisonment sentence and set a new trial on charges of “aiding a terrorist organization”. However the Court’s interim decision did not order the acquittal of Mehmet Altan. The travel ban imposed on him was revoked.

01 Jul 2019 

Ersin Şanli was sentenced by the Ankara 18th High Criminal Court to 9 years of imprisonment on 11 October 2017. Şanlı's lawyer appealed against the decision. On 6 June 2019, the Supreme Court overturned the prison sentence given to the journalist and released him on probation pending trial. A travel ban was also imposed on him.

06 May 2019 

On 3 May 2019, the Constitutional Court of Turkey rejected the individual applications of Nazlı Ilıcak and Ahmet Altan, ruling that there was no violation of their rights during their pre-trial detention and prosecution. On 3 May 2019, the Constitutional Court ruled in favour of Ali Bulaç, saying his right to freedom of expression and personal security had been violated. (The court has been reviewing rights violations for those arrested after the coup attempt, but its rulings do not automatically affect criminal sentences.)

19 Feb 2019 

On 19 February 2019, the 3rd Penal Chamber (the court of appeal) of the İstanbul Regional Court of Justice upheld the verdict on the Cumhuriyet newspaper' case.

This is the final judgment for the defendants who were sentenced to prison for less than five years: journalist Kadri Gursel and lawyer Bulent Utku will not go back to prison due to time already served ; journalists Hakan Kara and Guray Oz, cartoonist Musa Kart, lawyer Mustafa Kemal Gungor, board member Onder Celik, and accountant Emre Iper will return to prison to complete their sentences.

Editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu, journalists Ahmet Sik, Hikmet Cetinkaya, Orhan Erinc, Akin Atalay and Aydin Engin, all sentenced to more than five years, will appeal against their sentences.

08 Jan 2019 

On 4 January 2019, Murat Aksoy was released to serve out the remaining months of a two-year jail term on probation.

Index 2016 2017 2018

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