Van High Security Prison administration found a letter sent to imprisoned journalist Nedim Türfent “inappropriate” for accounting a police officer’s “Look down” statement during the Boğaziçi University protests. Likewise, the prison administration deemed an article attached to the letter by Gazete Duvar Editor-in-Chief, Ali Duran Topuz, in which the parallels between Türfent’s reporting on “You will see the power of Turks” and the footage of the “Look down” event were found “inappropriate”. Türfent appealed the decision.
MLSA Project Coordinator Aslı Ece Koçak sent a letter to journalist Nedim Türfent, who was sentenced to 8 years and 9 months in prison for membership in a terrorist organization despite the fact that 12 of the 13 people who testified against him in 2016 later confessed in court that they gave these statements under torture. In the letter sent on February 26, Koçak asked Türfent about prison conditions and reported about current developments in Turkey. In her letter to Türfent, who has been behind bars for the past five years, Koçak summarized the Boğaziçi protests and related events. However, the letter was deemed “inappropriate” by the prison administration.
“We will not look down”
In the concerned section of the letter, which was not given to Türfent, Koçak wrote the following:
“You surely followed it, a comprehensive student movement emerged after the appointment of a trustee to Boğaziçi University. In the first days of these protests, one of the police officers, who were allowed inside the campus unlawfully, told a student ‘Look down, look down.’ After this incident, solidarity emerged around the slogan ‘We will not look down’; everyone started to share this phrase on social media. Following this, Ali Topuz wrote about the incident in his column for Duvar and compared it to your reporting on ‘You will see the power of Turks.’ I am attaching the article from February 2, 2021 titled ‘A brief history of the command to look down’ to this letter. It is very important to draw the organic connection between what happened in Hakkari in August 2015 and the point that we reached today, and to think of the parallels of the oppression of the citizens in Hakkari and the oppression of Boğaziçi University students.”
Türfent’s own news report also “inappropriate”
Topuz’s article from February 2, 2021 titled “A brief history of the command to look down”, which was sent in the same envelope as the letter, was also found “inappropriate.” Based on the phrase “Look down”, Topuz evoked the video that Türfent had published in 2015. In the footage shared with the public by Türfent, 50 detained workers were forced to lie on the ground in Hakkari on August 8, 2015 and were told: ‘What did this state do to you? What did the state do to you? You will all pay the price. You will see the power of Turks. Is that clear? Don’t look at me, man. Everyone look down.’ Upon this news report, journalist Nedim Türfent was targeted and threatened by security forces.
This news report, that was sent together with Koçak’s letter in the same envelope, was also not given to Türfent. According to information obtained, Türfent told his family in a phone call today (April 14) that Koçak’s letter was not given to him on the grounds that it was found“inappropriate” and that he appealed to this decision.