CANSU PİŞKİN, İSTANBUL
The 12th hearing in the trial of Eren Keskin and Hüseyin Aykol, the former co-editors-in-chief of shuttered Özgür Gündem newspaper, its former responsible managing editor Reyhan Çapan and journalist Hasan Başak on the charges of “praising crime and criminal,” “incitement to commit crimes” and “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization” took place on 17 July 2019 at the 13th High Criminal Court of Istanbul. P24 monitored the hearing, which was also followed by representatives from Article 19.
Neither Aykol, who was sent to prison just last week to serve a previous conviction in another Özgür Gündem trial, nor his co-defendants were in attendance. They were represented by lawyer Özcan Kılıç.
During the previous hearing, Kılıç had requested for the case file to be merged with the ongoing “Özgür Gündem main trial,” overseen by the 23rd High Criminal Court of Istanbul. The presiding judge informed those in attendance during Wednesday’s hearing that the court has only accepted Kılıç’s request in respect of Eren Keskin.
The prosecutor then submitted their final opinion, asking the court to convict Aykol, Çapan and Başak of “praising crime and criminal” and “incitement to commit crime.” The prosecutor also sought prison terms for Aykol and Başak on the “propaganda” charge, while they asked the court to convict Çapan of “systematically disseminating terrorism propaganda.” Granting time for the preparation of the final defense statements in response to the prosecutor’s final opinion, the court adjourned the trial until 21 November 2019.
Soldiers guarding Turkey's border with Greece captured Murat Çapan, the former news editor for the shuttered monthly publication Nokta, along with seven other people, the daily newspaper Evrensel reported yesterday, citing the Doğan News Agency. Çapan and four of the other people apprehended are wanted on suspicion of being followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom the government accuses of masterminding a failed July 2016 military coup.
Nokta Magazine's Guven and Capan have been on trial since Nov. 3 after their publication released a controversial cover depicting Turkish president
A court in Istanbul has released two Turkish journalists under judicial control who have been accused of inciting an armed uprising against the Turkish government.
Nokta Magazine executive Cevheri Guven and Editor-in-Chief Murat Capan had been on trial since Nov. 3 after their publication's 24th issue showed a picture of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the cover with the headline "The beginning of Turkey’s civil war".
The Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court on Tuesday ordered the release of Guven and Capan, but placed an international travel ban on the duo, who were also required to visit a police station once a week.
The controversial edition of the magazine was published a day after the Nov. 1 general election saw the Justice and Development (AK) Party winning the majority in parliament.
The journalists were accused of trying to sabotage the general election, provoking certain segments of society against the Turkish president and government and inciting an armed uprising through their biased magazine coverage.
The prosecutor had demanded at least 15 years imprisonment for each journalist, who denied all charges against them.
25 November 2015:
4 Nov. 2015 - Two editors at critical magazine Nokta arrested in Turkey for election coverage
Istanbul, November 4, 2015--
On Tuesday, Nokta's chief editor Güven, and news editor Çapan, appeared before the Istanbul 8th Penal Court of Peace, which ordered their detention pending an investigating of claims they incited an armed uprising against the state, according to German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
The charges are related to the post-election issue of Nokta, which is known in Turkey for being critical of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), according to local and international news reports. The magazine's front cover included an image of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the headline, "The beginning of Turkey's civil war," local and international press reported. Police obtained a court order for Internet service providers to block Nokta's website and for police to confiscate copies of the magazine, reports said. Nokta's website was inaccessible in Turkey on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press and a tweetfrom the magazine's account. The site was still blocked in Turkey today, but was available outside of the country, CPJ found.
"Instead of opening a new chapter in media policy after this weekend's elections, the Turkish government is continuing full bore with its crackdown on critical journalists and news outlets," CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. "We call on authorities to immediately release Cevheri Güven and Murat Çapan, return Nokta to newsstands, and allow access to its online edition."
According to court documents shared by Noktaon its Twitter account on Tuesday, Istanbul Prosecutor Umut Tepe issued an order for police to detain and question Çapan and Güven over claims they were in violation of Article 214 of Turkey's Penal Code, which covers "provoking people to commit crimes."
According to court documents shared by Nokta on Twitter, Güven and Çapan denied any wrongdoing.
With the arrests of Güven and Çapan, the number of journalists imprisoned in Turkey is now at least 11, CPJ research shows. The country's press freedom record has significantly deteriorated in the past few months, CPJ research shows. Eight international press freedom groups, including CPJ, visited Istanbul and Ankaralast month for meetings with local journalists, members of parliament, and foreign diplomats to discuss conditions for the press in Turkey. Following the visit, the Vienna-based International Press Institute, which led the mission, published a report highlighting the country's troubling press freedom climate. Source
Nokta editors arrested by İstanbul court over post-election cover
Nokta Editor-in-Chief Cevheri Güven was detained on Monday. (Photo: DHA)
VOLKAN CANSIZ / ISTANBUL
Nokta magazine Editor-in-Chief Cevheri Güven and Managing Editor Murat Çapan, who were detained at the İstanbul Police Department after the latest issue of the publication was pulled from the shelves on Monday, were arrested by the İstanbul 8th Penal Court of Peace on Tuesday under Article 313 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) for inciting the public to armed conflict.
After İstanbul public prosecutor Umut Tepe referred Çapan and Güven to the İstanbul 8th Penal Court of Peace on Tuesday on charges of violating Article 214, which deals with the crimes of disrupting society and inciting one group of people to commit violence against another, demanding their arrest, Judge Atilla Öztürk ruled for the arrest of the Nokta editors while awaiting trial.
Tepe has in the past initiated several investigations into journalists over their tweets. He was also responsible for the detention of Today's Zaman Editor-in-Chief Bülent Keneş on Oct. 10 by referring him to court for arrest over tweets which the prosecutor alleged insulted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Keneş was released on Oct. 14 pending trial.
A day after the parliamentary election on Sunday that gave the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) enough votes to once again form a single-party government, police notified the magazine of a decision by İstanbul 5th Penal Court of Peace judge Cevdet Özcan to pull the publication from the shelves. Özcan also ordered the detention of the two Nokta editors and banned access to the Nokta website.
Nokta, which is known for its critical stance toward the government, announced the decision on its website, saying the police had confiscated all the magazines at its headquarters and started collecting issues at distribution centers.
Nokta's cover features a picture of President Erdoğan and says Nov. 2 is the “start of Turkey's civil war.”
After their detention at their offices on Monday, Çapan and Güven were taken to a hospital for a medical check-up and were later brought to the İstanbul Police Department where they were kept in a detention cell.
‘Detention of Nokta editors aims to intimidate critical media'
Speaking to Today's Zaman on Tuesday, lawyer Kadir Kökten said his clients Çapan and Güven are being detained on baseless charges. According to Kökten, the detention of his clients by way of a government-backed investigation aims to intimidate dissident voices in the critical media.
Reacting against the charges brought by prosecutor Tepe that his clients had violated Article 214, Kökten said: “Accusing someone of violating Article 214 of the TCK means they are arming people. Did Nokta distribute hand grenades as a promotion?”
Underlining that the magazine was prepared and sent to print on Friday, Kökten claimed the prosecutor's interpretation that Nokta was provoking the public after the election results were announced indicated a single-party rule by the AK Party is wrong.
Nokta news coordinator Ertuğrul Erbaş told the Özgür Bugün daily on Tuesday they had prepared the magazine prior to the announcement of the results of Sunday's general election. Denying claims on social media that Nokta had prepared the latest issue after the election results were released on Sunday evening, Erbaş said they complete every issue and send it to print on Fridays.
“We emphasized in our reports that difficult times await Turkey after the Nov. 1 election under the shadow of the terrorist attacks in Suruç in July and Ankara in October, and the alleged government takeover of the Sözcü, Cumhuriyet and Zaman dailies and the Doğan Media Group in an ironic tone,” Erbaş explained.
After a police raid on Nokta on Sept. 14, its distribution was halted and Managing Editor Çapan was detained because the magazine featured a cover showing a selfie taken by smiling Erdoğan with the flag-draped coffin of a soldier in the background. The cover was a reaction to Erdoğan's remarks during a soldier's funeral: “We bid a farewell to our martyr who we believe he has reached martyrdom. How happy is his family, how happy are his nearest and dearest!”
However, the raids seem to have backfired as many Twitter users shared the cover in question, and it circulated exponentially on social media. A large number of Twitter users have condemned the crackdown on Nokta and consider it an attempt by the government to muzzle media outlets that are critical of it.
Press Council condemns arrest of Nokta editors
The Press Council, in a statement on Tuesday, condemned the arrest of Güven and Çapan, saying the AK Party which is now able to form a single-party government after Sunday's election has started to target journalists again.
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Gürsel Tekin also condemned the arrest of the editors, saying there is no democracy in a country whose press is not free.
“The arrest of journalists demonstrates how AK Party government is going to act in its new rule as a single party,” he added.
Nokta managing editor Murat Çapan was detained on Monday. (Photo: Today's Zaman)
September 14, 2015, Monday/ 09:48:37/ REUTERS WITH TODAYSZAMAN.COM / ANKARA
According to the magazine's twitter account police officers from an anti-terrorism unit came to the Nokta magazine Monday afternoon for a second time, in order to detain Çapan.
An İstanbul prosecutor's office banned distribution of the latest edition of Nokta magazine and ordered raids on its offices over charges of "insulting the Turkish president" and "making terrorist propaganda," after the cover was published online, the magazine said in a statement.
"Our cover that prompted the police raid may be harsh, disturbing or even cruel.[But] these are not crimes for a media institution, this is our form of speech," the statement said.
The cover depicted a grinning Erdoğan in shirt-sleeves taking a selfie, while in the background a coffin draped in the red Turkish flag was being borne along in state by soldiers. The image was a clear reference to escalating violence between the state and militants from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has killed more than a hundred security personnel in past weeks. But it is also an implicit criticism of comments Erdoğan has made on military deaths.
Erdoğan has been widely criticized for comments made at the funeral of one soldier killed in clashes.
"How happy is his family and all his close relatives, because Ahmet has reached a very sacred place," he was widely quoted as saying across Turkish national media.
Magazine calls cover 'ironic'
The Nokta statement explained its mock picture as a reaction to those comments.
"President Erdoğan said martyrdom is a cause for happiness. People take selfies when they feel happy. Our cover is ironic and carries a high dose of criticism," the statement said.
Erdoğan's domination of the media, much of it owned by conglomerates with business ties to the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), has pushed Turkey, which is a candidate for membership of the European Union, towards the bottom of global press freedom rankings.
Turkey currently ranks 154th out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index in 2014.
Scores of people have been investigated on accusations of insulting Erdoğan, who has become increasingly intolerant of criticism in recent years. Last week, a 17-year old high school student was jailed for 11 months after making a speech found to have denigrated the head of state, Hürriyet Daily News reported.
Nokta magazine had previously been banned for eight years for a previous controversial cover. It restarted publishing only in May this year.
Over 40,000 people have been killed in a Kurdish insurgency that began in 1984. A ceasefire broke down in July, with PKK militants killing Turkish soldiers and the Turkish military attacking PKK bases in northern Iraq.
The PKK is deemed a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union as well as Turkey. **