Turkey January Report: Seven journalists arrested, crackdown gets even worse

Turkey January Report: Seven journalists arrested, crackdown gets even worse

The press in Turkey has never had it great, but the worst crackdown on free speech in general and press freedoms, in particular, started with the State of Emergency that followed the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey. However, instead of easing off, it seems to be getting worse.

This situation hasn't changed, according to a January report on press freedoms prepared monthly by the independent news website Gazete Karınca. Below are some of the highlights from the report, prepared by  Hasan Özhan Ünal:

In January, 20 journalists were detained by police for reporting, sharing posts or tweets about Turkey's military campaign in Afrin, a Kurdish enclave in the north of Syria. Seven journalists were arrested and placed in pre-trial detention this past month:Veli Büyükşahin, Veli Haydar Güleç, İdris Yılmaz, Haydar Ergül, Seda Taşkın, İshak Karakaş, Barış Ceyhan. For a full list of all the journalists and media  workers in prison click here.

Here is a list of press-freedom-related events in the month of January:

  • Access to a report by opposition politician Barış Yarkadaş on press freedoms was blocked. (4 January)

  • Journalist Hakan Gülseven was detained in Bursa (4 January)

  • Artı Gerçek columnist Fadıl Öztürk was detained in his İzmir home (5 January)

  • Journalist Ayşenur Aslan was given one year and two months in prison on charges of "insulting the president." The sentence was reduced to 11 months and 20 days and it was deferred for the time being.

  • Cumhuriyet reporter Ahmet Şık was indicted for "denigrating state organs" after a government-aligned journalist filed a report on his tweets.

  • A prosecutor asked for a prison sentence for Muhammet Doğru, a reporter for the shuttered Dicle News Agency on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terror propaganda” (8 January)

  • A case was launched into Cumhuriyet reporter Alican Uludağ on charges of violating the secrecy of an investigation (8 January)

  • Veli Büyükşahin and Veli Haydar Güleç, executives of the television station TV10, which was shut down by a cabinet decree, were detained on 10 January.

  • Journalist and writer Ahmet Altan was fined TL 7,000 for “insulting the president on 11 January.

  • Yüksel Azak, an employee of the pro-Kurdish Özgürlükçü Demokrasi, was detained in Bingöl (12 January)

  • Selman Keleş, a reporter for the shuttered dihaber, was detained in Diyarbakır (12 January)

  • Ersin Özdemir, a newsroom editor for Kızıl  Bayrak, was beaten and detained by police near Taksim Square while reporting on an ongoing protest (13 January)

  • A case seeking TL 1.5 million compensation for damages was launched against Cumhuriyet columnist Çiğdem Toker titled “Tomatoes to Russia are also from Byaburt” by the agricultural corporation Agrobay Seracılık. (15 January)

  • Journalists Ayşe Düzkan, Hüseyin Aykol, Mehmet Ali Çelebi, Hüseyin Bektaş and Ragıp Duran were given a total of nine years and nine months -- collectively -- in a trial into the Özgür Gündem newspaper, which was shut down after the coup (15 January)

  • Haydar Ergül, an editor for the Demokratik Modernite magazine, was detained at Diyarbakır Airport (16 January)

  • The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) found Turkey guilty of violating the right to freedom of expression in the case of Yeni Evrensel, whose publication was disallowed by the Turkish government. (16 January)

  • Semra Özlü, the editor-in-chief of Radio Ses, shut down by cabinet decree, was detained (17 January)

  • Özgürlükçü Demokrasi reporter İhsan Durgut was detained in Hakkari province. (18 January)

  • TV10 executives were Veli Büyükşahin and Veli Haydar Güleç were arrested on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization” and sent to prison (18 January)

  • Özgürlükçü Demokrasi employee Suat Karagöz was detained in Van on the grounds that somebody had filed an anonymous report on him. (20 January)

  • Copies of  20 January edition of the Özgürlükçü Demokrasi newspaper were stopped from being distributed by military officers. (20 Ocak)

  • Journalist İdris Yılmaz was detained by police in a raid of his home in Van province (21 January)

  • Family home of journalist İsmail Eskin was raided by police for sharing tweets on Turkey’s Afrin operations (22 January)

  • Diyarbakır writer Nurcan Baysal was detained in her home for sharing social media posts criticizing Turkey’s military operations in Syria (22 January)

  • Halkın Nabzı newspaper’s editor-in-chief and Artı Gerçek columnist İshak Karakaş was detained in relation with his Twitter posts on Turkey’s Afrin campaign. (22 January)

  • İdris Yılmaz, who was detained earlier in Van, was arrested on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization” (22 January)

  • Artı Gerçek Ankara Bureau  Chief Sibel Hürtaş and Mezopotamya Agency reporter Hayri Demir were detained for posting their opinions about Turkey’s military campaign in Afrin. (22 January)

  • Mezopotamya Agency reporter Seda Taşkın was detained in Ankara (23 January)

  • Demokratik Modernite magazine editor Haydar Ergül, who was in police custody,  was arrested by court decision (23 Ocak)

  • Mezopotamya Agency reporter Seda Taşkın was arrested on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization” (23 January )

  • Özgürlükçü Demokrasi newspaper’s employee Mizgin Fendik was detained in Hakkari province while selling copies of the paper (23 January)

  • A group of locals attacked a CNN Türk reporter and cameraman shouting “You do false news reports” (24 January)

  • A new trial was launched into Nazlı Ilıcak, who is already imprisoned in another coup-related trial, on “espionage” charges (25 January)

  • Two Özgürlükçü Demokrasi employees Özkan Erdoğan and Serkan Erdoğan were released by a Mersin court in their first court appearance on 25 January. They had been in prison for seven months.

  • Turkey asked Facebook, Twitter and Youtube to remove posts, tweets or videos criticizing the country’s Afrin  campaign. (26 January)

  • Halkın Nabzı newspaper’s editor-in-chief and Atı Gerçek columnist İshak Karakaş was arrested on charges of “terror propaganda” (26 January)

  • Van journalist Oktay Candemir was detained at the Van Police Department, where he had gone to testify in an investigation into his news reports. (29 January)

  • An investigation was launched into imprisoned journalist Şerife Oruç,  who resisted being strip searched while she was being transferred to Elazığ Prison from Mardin Prison. (30 January)

  • Özgürlükçü Demokrasi employee Mikail Tunçdemir was detained in Van province while selling the newspaper (31 January)

  • Özgürlükçü Demokrasi employee Barış Ceyhan was arrested on charges of “terror propaganda” and “inciting the public to hatred and hostility” as part of the general crackdown on tweets and posts about the Afrin operation



Medya ve Hukuk Çalışmaları Derneği (MLSA) haber alma hakkı, ifade özgürlüğü ve basın özgürlüğü alanlarında faaliyet yürüten bir sivil toplum kuruluşudur. Derneğimiz başta gazeteciler olmak üzere mesleki faaliyetleri sebebiyle yargılanan kişilere hukuki destek vermektedir.