BİA Media Monitoring Report 2011 Second Quarter - Full Text
2011 Second Quarter Media Monitoring Report
Erol Önderoğlu - BIA News Desk 01/12/2011

Killed Journalists

First convictions for “Hrant Dink Murder”: On 2 June, the Trabzon 2ndMagistrate Criminal Court sentenced Provincial Gendarmerie Commander Colonel Ali Öz and Captain Metin Yıldız to imprisonment of six months. Öz and Yıldız were found guilty of neglect of duty because they failed to take the necessary precautionary measures prior to the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Dink. Prison terms of four months each were handed down to Expert Gendarmerie Senior Sergeant Veysel Şahin, Gendarmerie Sergeant Major Okan Şimşek and gendarmerie officers Hüseyin Yılmazand Hacı Ömer Ünaldı. Another two defendants tried in the scope of the same case were acquitted. The joint attorneys of the Dink Family claimed that ten police officials on duty at Trabzon at the time should be prosecuted as well.

The trial against Ogün Samast, triggerman suspect of the murder of journalist Dink, has reached its final stage. The case is heard before the Sultanahmet (Istanbul) 2nd Juvenile High Criminal Court. The Prosecutor demanded imprisonment of between 19 and 27 years under allegations of “premeditated murder” and “possessing an unlicensed weapon”. In May, the court separated Samast’s file on “membership of an illegal organization” from the file concerning the charges of “premeditated murder” and “opposition against the Law on Fire Weapons”. The joint attorneys of the Dink Family presented a video to court in the context of allegations that Samast had not been on his own on the day of the incident. The lawyers requested to determine the identities of the people on the video.

Family of Uğur Mumcu filed criminal complaint: The Ankara Public Chief Prosecution dismissed the criminal complaint filed by the family of killed Cumhuriyet newspaper writer Uğur Mumcu. The family of the journalist had filed a complaint on 24 January, 18 years after the murder, and demanded legal action against the officials who allegedly carried out the investigation and the prosecution with negligence. On 11 May, the Ankara Public Chief Prosecution decided against a corresponding prosecution.

The decision indicated that three separate criminal cases have been opened against all suspects related to the murder and that all suspects were searched by arrest warrant. One defendant had a Red Bulletin at Interpol. The Ankara 11th High Criminal Court was still working on arresting the suspects, the decision said.

Murder of Cihan Hayırsevener: The Istanbul 10th Special Authority High Criminal Court decided to summon 24 witnesses in the murder case of journalist Cihan Hayırsevener to the coming hearing on 8 October. Hayırsevener was the General Publications Director of the local Güney Marmara’da Yaşam (‘Life in Southern Marmara’) when he was killed on 18 December 2009. The hearing on 26 May was the first session after the Court of Appeals 5th Criminal Chamber had decided to have the trial heard before the Istanbul Special Authority Court. The court also decided to hear the statement of a secret witness at the next hearing.

Murdered Armenian journalists: As part of their workshop “They were journalists too”, the Holy Cross Armenian Clergy School Alumni Association called on journalism organizations to include killed Armenian journalists on the lists of “Murdered Journalists”. The Association of Contemporary Journalists included the following nine slain Armenian journalists to their list in March 2011: Rupen Zartaryan, Siamanto (Adom Yarcanyan), Yervant Sırmakeşhanlıyan (Yeruhan), Armen Doryan, Levon Larents, Tılgadıntsi (Hovhannes Harutyunyan), Krikor Zohrab, Taniel Varujan and Rupen Sevag.

Journalists in Prison

68 journalists are in prisons due to pending trials, convictions and pre-trial detentions.

A total of twelve people were put behind bars in July, among them ten journalists and two university students: managing editors of the Kurdish Azadiya Welat newspaper Vedat Kurşun, Ruken Ergün and Ozan Kılıç; Azadiya Welat Batman representative Deniz Kılıç; Dicle News Agency (DİHA) Batman representative Erdoğan Alkan, Diyarbakır representative Kadri Kaya; Batman Post writer Mehmet Karabaş; Aram Publishing owner and executive of the Hawar newspaper Bedri Adanır; editor-in-chief of the Devrim Yolunda İşçi Köylü newspaper (‘Workers and Peasants on the Path of Revolution’) Barış Açıkel; Yeni Yorum (‘New Comment’) and Ülkede Yorum (‘New Comment in the Country’) owner and manager Saadet Irmakand university students Berna Yılmaz and Ferhat Tüzer.

Nevin Berktaş, writer of the Proleterce Devrimci Duruş (‘Proletarian Revolutionary Stance’) newspaper, who was still imprisoned at the duration of the previous report on the first quarter of 2011 was released on 18 April. Berktaş had been arrested and taken to the Bakırköy Women Prison on 2 November 2010 on the grounds of her book “Difficult places that challenge the faith: Prison Cells”. The book describes the process of resistance in the prison cells where she was incarcerated herself for 22 years after the military coup in 1980.

A total of 56 journalists are currently behind bars in the context of operations and investigations related to the Union of Kurdistan Communities – Turkey (KCK) the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) (22), the clandestine “Ergenekon” organization charged with the attempt to topple the government (15), the Party and Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of the Turkish People (DHKP-C) (6), the Marxist Leninist Communist Party (MLKP)(7), the “Revolutionary Headquarters” terrorist organization (2), the Maoist Communist Party (MKP) (1), the “Revolutionary Movement” (1) and the “Resistance Movement” (1). One imprisoned journalist is being tried under allegations of “membership of an illegal organization” whereas it has not been announced yet “which illegal organization” the charges refer to.

18 of these 56 journalists are convicted, 19 are still on trial and another 19 detained journalists are waiting for their indictments to be announced since they do not know yet which charges they are going to face at court (state of affairs on 30 June).


Indictments have not been announced yet for Ahmet Şık (News et al.), Nedim Şener (Milliyet newspaper reporter and Posta newspaper columnist), Barış Pehlivan (OdaTV Internet Site general publications director), Barış Terkoğlu (OdaTV Internet Site News Manager), Coşkun Musluk, Doğan Yurdakul, Müyesser Uğur Yıldız, Muammer Sait Çakır, Yalçın Küçük(OdaTV Internet Site writers) and Soner Yalçın (OdaTV Internet Site Concessionaire). All these journalists are incarcerated in the Silivri Prison.

Defendants: Mustafa Balbay (Cumhuriyet newspaper columnist), Tuncay Özkan (journalist, writer), Mehmet Haberal (Kanal B Television Concessionaire), Hikmet Çiçek (Ulusal Kanal /’National Channel’ television general publications director) and Mehmet Deniz Yıldırım (Aydınlık/’Light’ magazine general publications director) who were arrested in the scope of the First and Second Ergenekon Trials are still being kept in detention pending trial.

Revolutionary Headquarters

Defendants: Hakan Soytemiz (Red/International) and Osman Baha Okar(Bilim ve Gelecek/’Science and Future’).

KCK, PKK, DYG (Revolutionary Patriotic Youth)

Convicts: İhsan Sinmiş (Azadiya Welat – 6 years, 3 months), Seyithan Akyüz (Azadiya Welat Adana representative – 1 year), Murat İlhan (Azadiya Welat Diyarbakır employee – 6 years, 3 months), Ali Konar (Azadiya Welat Elazığ representative – 7 years 6 months), Behdin Tunç (DİHA – 6 years, 3 months), Faysal Tunç (DİHA – 6 years, 3 months), Mehmet Karaaslan(DİHA Mersin representative – 6 years, 3 months), Ali Buluş (DİHA Mersin representative – 6 years, 3 months), Bayram Parlak (Gündem/’Agenda’ Mersin representative – 6 years, 3 months), Rohat Ekmekçi (GÜN TV /’DAY TV’ radio announcer – 4 years, 2 months), Dilşah Ercan (Yorum /’Comment’ newspaper and Yeni Özgür Halk/’New Free People’ magazine – 8 years, 9 months), Kenan Karavil (Mersin Radyo Dünya /’Radio World’) publications director – 6 years, 3 months), Abdülcebbar Karabeğ (Azadiya Welat – 7 years, 1 month),  Ali Çat (Azadiya Welat – 7 years, 1 month).

Defendants: Hamdiye Çiftçi (DİHA Hakkari reporter), Emine Altunkaya(DİHA), Ahmet Akyol (DİHA Adana), Ahmet Birsin (Gün TV publication director general manager), Nuri Yeşil (Azadiya Welat), Ensar Tunca (Azadiya Welat employee).

Detainees without indictment: Sinan Aygül (DİHA reporter), Feyyaz Deniz(DİHA Ankara)


Detainees without indictment: Naciye Yavuz (Yürüyüş/’March’ magazine reporter), Kaan Ünsal (Yürüyüş magazine employee), Cihan Gün (Yürüyüş magazine employee), Halit Güdenoğlu (Yürüyüş magazine editor-in-chief and Kamu Emekçileri/’Public Workers’ magazine owner), Musa Kurt (Kamu Emekçileri magazine editor-in-chief), Mustafa Gök (Emek ve Adalet/’Labour and Justice’ magazine Ankara representative).


Convicts: Erdal Süsem (Eylül Hapishane/’September Prison’ magazine editor – life sentence) and Hatice Duman (Atılım/’Leap’ Magazine owner and editor-in-chief – life sentence), Dilek Keskin (Atılım Magazine Istanbul reporter – 4 years, 2 months).

Defendants: Sedat Şenoğlu (Atılım Newspaper publication manager), Hasan Coşar (Atılım Magazine writer), Bayram Namaz (Atılım magazine writer), Füsun Erdoğan (Özgür Radyo/’Free Radio’ general publications co-ordinator).

Detainees without indictment: Miktat Algül (Mersin Mezitli FM-Ulus newspaper) is tried under allegations of membership of an illegal organization. Erol Zavar (Devrimci Direniş/’Revolutionary Restistance’) received a life sentence; Odak (‘Focus’) Magazine editor-in-chief Mehmet Yeşiltepe (Devrimci Hareket/’Revolutionary Movement’ magazine employee) was handed down a prison sentence of eight years and nine months in the THKP-C Revolutionary Path trial. Hıdır Gürz (Halkın Günlüğü/’People’s Agenda’ newspaper editor-in-chief) is detained under allegations of membership of the MLKP, the investigation is still continuing.

Attacks, threats and obstructions

Police Intervention against newspapers: The police obstructed Mehmet Halis İş, editor-in-chief of the Midyat Habur newspaper and Doğan News Agency reporter, from taking pictures of tensions that had occurred between members of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) after a concert in Mardin/Midyat on 6 June. The Midyat Habur newspaper announced to have a video of the incidents. According to the daily, this sort of interventions has become systematic in recent times.

Death threats from the Turkish Revenge Brigade: Prof Baskın Oran received a death threat from the Turkish Revenge Brigade (TİT). The message was sent to the Armenian Agos newspaper on 2 June. The message contained sentences like, “The place for people like you who carry Armenian blood is the coffin rest. (…) Your time has come to die. (…)”. This was the fourth death threat of the TİT to Oran. He held the judiciary responsible for the death threats he received because, in his opinion, the courts did not fulfil their duty accordingly.

Black wreath and eggs: A group of people protested against the column entitled “Spine-chilling rumours and news” by putting down a black wreath in front of the Star newspaper building in Güneşli (Istanbul). The column was concerned with “special” cassettes regarding executives of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) which were leaked to the media by MHP member Ergun Babahan on 26 May 2011. The protestors shouted slogans and threw eggs at the building. Seven people were taken into police custody. The Journalists Association of Turkey, the Turkey Federation of Journalists, the Press Council and various other organizations condemned the incident.

Cyber attacks: The internet sites of Birgün (‘Someday’) newspaper,, of the Independent Communications Network,, and the news portal were subject to cyber attacks on 16 May, 17 May and 18 May respectively. System administrator Murat Demirten said that the attacks on bianet and Sol Haber very probably stemmed from the same source. On 20 May, the web site of the Yüksekova Haber newspaper announced to have been imposed to a similar attack.

Beating and attacks: In the evening of 6 May, the president of the South-East Europe Journalists Association (AGD), Bülent Ayan, Sabah (‘Morning’) newspaper reporter Murat Savaş and Edirne newspaper reporter Birol Çakan were attacked by unidentified individuals in Edirne. At the same night in Malatya, journalists were verbally and physically attacked when they took footage of a fight that emerged after a meeting of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) Malatya Youth Commission. The journalists had followed the meeting. Güneş (‘Sun’) TV cameraman Yusuf Aslan was kicked. Journalism organizations and non-governmental organizations protested the attack in Edirne.

Assault at customs: Anatolian Agency and TRT Ağrı Doğubayazıt reporter Selahattin Kaçuru was beaten when he went to the Gürbulak Customs Border Crossing. Kaçuru applied to the prosecution. His complaint was reported in the press on 25 April. Apparently, Kaçuru was verbally and physically attacked by a customs officer.

Blocking a documentary: The Ministry of Culture and Tourism refused the approval banderol for the documentary “The Epic of a Revolt: Berivan”shown at the Istanbul Film Festival because it “did not pass the Censorship Board”. Film director Aydın Orak announced to have filed an appeal. If this should not yield a result, he was going to show the film “somehow”, “without resorting to violence” and with “civil disobedience” or he was going to sell it to piracy movie vendors to publish the film to a broader audience, he said. The Cinema Worker’s Union (Sine-Sen) condemned the censorship and repression exercised by the power over art.

Journalist assaulted: CHP Adana Metropolitan Municipality Assembly member Bekir Sıtkı Özer stands trial under allegations of having assaulted journalist Özcan Aladağ, columnist of the Adana Günaydın (‘Good Morning’) newspaper. He appeared at court on 12 April. Özer denied the allegations. The trial will continue on 12 July.

Investigations, future/pending trials, court decisions

One acquittal and one investigation for the word “Guerrilla”: Singer Ferhat Tunç was acquitted by the Diyarbakır 4th High Criminal Court on 23 June. Tunç was facing prison terms of up to five years on charges of “propaganda for an illegal organization” according to Article 7/2 of the Anti Terror Law (TMK) because he called PKK members “guerrilla” at a concert in Kığı on 7 August 2010. The Tunceli Public Prosecution on the other hand launched an investigation about Tunç on 17 June because he used the terms “esteemed Öcalan” and “guerrilla” in his election campaign as independent candidate of the Labour, Democracy and Freedom Block for Tunceli.

Investigation into “Sour Dictionary”: The Istanbul police called about 50 writers of the “Sour Dictionary” (Ekşi Sözlük) to the prosecutor’s office to give their statement regarding headings that were related to religious topics. The complaint was filed by creationist Adnan Oktar. Under the newly formed rubric “Sour Dictionary gives information about its writers to the police”, the Sour Dictionary users discussed whether the dictionary forwarded their personal data and if yes, how they should react.

Zengin released: On 14 June, journalist and interpreter Suzan Zengin was released pending trial by the Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court. Zengin stands accused of “membership in an illegal organization”. Zengin, working for the İşçi Köylü (‘Worker Peasant’) newspaper, was arrested after she had been taken into police custody on 28 August 2009. She was incarcerated in the Bakırköy Women and Children Detention House in Istanbul since then. Zengin is facing imprisonment of  up to 15 years on charges of “committing a crime on behalf of an organization without being a member of the organization” according to Article 314/2 of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK)and “membership in the TKP/ML-TİKKO organization” i.e. the Turkish Workers’ Peasants’ Liberation Army as the armed fraction of the clandestine Turkey Communist Party/Marxist-Leninist.

“Genocide” trial: The case against Temel Demirer will be continued on 14 September since by 10 June the decision of the Administrative Court did not reach the Ankara 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance that handles the proceedings. The trial against Demirer was opened upon the complaint of the Ankara Police Security Branch Directorate because he said “The Armenian genocide happened in this country” on the occasion of a protest against the murder of Hrant Dink in front of the Human Rights Monument in Ankara on 20 January 2007. Demirer is facing up to two years in jail under allegations of “inciting the public to hatred and hostility” and “insult” of the Turkish Republic (216; 301 TCK).

166.5-year sentence reduced to 10.5 years: On 9 June, the Diyarbakır 5thHigh Criminal Court sentenced former Azadiya Welat newspaper editor-in-chief Vedat Kurşun to imprisonment of ten years and six months. The same court had sentenced Kurşun to 166 years and six months in jail on charges of “membership of the PKK organization” and “spreading propaganda for an illegal organization” (TMK 7/2; TCK 220) in the scope of 32 cases opened against the journalist. The court had ruled for maximum prison terms of twelve years and eight months under allegations of “membership of an illegal organization” and for a 103-count prison sentence because of “propaganda”. The Court of Appeals 9th Chamber quashed the verdict of the heavy prison sentence on 2 March and sent the file back to the Diyarbakır High Criminal Court.

One-year seven-month sentence for publishing Karayılan statement: On 8 June, Batman Newspaper editor-in-chief Ercan Atay was handed down a prison sentence of one months and seven days because he published a statement of Murat Karayılan, Head of the KCK Steering Board. The Batman 1st Magistrate Criminal Court convicted Atay on charges of “praising crime and a criminal” (TCK 215). The decision is pending at the Court of Appeals.

Alleged membership in DYG: DİHA reporter Feyyaz Deniz was arrested together with another eight people on 3 June in Ankara on the grounds of their alleged membership in the Revolutionary Patriotic Youth (DYG).

Nedim Şener acquitted: Journalist Nedim Şener was acquitted of charges of “violation of communications” by the Bakırköy (Istanbul) 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance on 31 May. The charges had been pressed against the journalist on the grounds of the article “Identities were part of the duty” published on 30 September 2010 in Milliyet. The article contained statements made by Hanefi Avcı, former Chief of Police, and his wife Şenay Avcı. Şener was due in court on 2 June again on the grounds of two news items published in Milliyet newspaper. Şener stands accused of “insult via the media” and “violation of the confidentiality of an investigation” together with Milliyet manager Hasan Çakkalkurt before the Bakırköy (Istanbul) 2ndCriminal Court of First Instance. The charges stem from the article “He is carrying the bribe money in his pocket” published on 23 October 2010. Şener is furthermore tried under allegations of “violation of the confidentiality of an investigation” based on the article “The black bag was not in the room” published on 3 November 2010. Şener commented on the allegations. The trial was postponed to 1 November. A further nine trials are pending against the journalist.

20-month prison sentence and monetary fine for Irmak: Guilty of “making propaganda for the PKK” and of “praising a criminal” was the verdict given by Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court for journalist Saadet Irmak on 26 May (TMK 7/2; TCK 215). Irmak is the owner and editorial manager of the weekly Yeni Yorum magazine and the Ülkede Yorumnewspaper. Irmak received a prison sentence of 20 months in total and a monetary fine of TL 18,140 (€ 6,500). He was sentenced to ten months in jail on the grounds of an article and a news item published in the Yeni Yorum newspaper. Prison terms of one month because he “published a statement of an illegal organization” were converted into a monetary fine of TL 740 (€ 350). He was handed down imprisonment of another ten months based on a different article in the Ülkede Yorum newspaper. He was charged with “publishing a statement of the PKK” (TCK 215). An additional monetary fine of TL 16,660 (€ 8,000) stemmed from another article in the same paper (propaganda; TMK 7/2). The term “leader of the Kurdish people” used in yet another article brought Irmak an additional sentence of one month behind bars which was converted into a monetary fine of TL 740.

“Banner Trial”: The third hearing of the trial against Ankara University student Berna Yılmaz and Trakya University student Ferhat Tüzer, members of the Youth Federation, was held at the Beşiktaş (Istanbul) Courthouse on 23 May. Both students are facing prison terms of up to 15 years because they posted a banner reading “We want free education”during the speech of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the Romani Meeting in Istanbul on 14 March 2010. The court dismissed the request for their release and postponed the trial to 6 October 2011. A trial was opened against seven university students who set up an information tent in Edirne to support Tüzel and Yılmaz. They are facing imprisonment of 15 years each under allegations of “propaganda for an illegal organization” (TMK 7/2).

Five eavesdropping soldiers, one informant: On 23 May, the Van 1st High Criminal Court handed down prison sentences to five soldiers and one informant who had intercepted the phone of journalist Mehmet Baransu by the means of false documents. The defendants were found guilty of “violation of communications” and “misconduct in office” (TCK 132) and “forgery of official documents” (TCK 204). They received prison terms between two years and six months and five years and ten months. The sentence was not postponed. The defendants will go to jail once the Court of Appeals will have upheld the decision.

Release in MLKP Trial: Atılım newspaper publications co-ordinator İbrahim Çiçek was released pending trial at the 16 May hearing of the MLKP trial (Marxist Leninist Communist Party) before the Istanbul 12th High Criminal Court. The case includes 24 defendants, 16 of whom are detained. The following hearing is schedule for 13 October 2011.

Şık and Mavioğlu acquitted: The Kadıköy 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance acquitted journalists Ahmet Şık and Ertuğrul Mavioğlu of charges of “violations of the confidentiality of an investigation” (TCK 285) stemming from their two-volume work entitled “Understanding the counter guerrilla and Ergenekon” and “Who is who in Ergenekon”. The decision was given on 13 May due to a “lack of elements of crime”. Detained journalist Şık had not been able to attend the previous hearing on 14 April because “there was no suitable vehicle available”, prison officials had claimed.

Conviction after murder: Imprisonment of ten months was the verdict for journalist Ersin Çelik on the grounds of a news item about the death of Dicle University student Aydın Erdem. In his article, Çelik had put forward that Erdem died from police bullets when he attended a demonstration in 2009. On 13 May, the Diyarbakrı 6th High Criminal Court handed down a ten-month prison sentence to the journalists on charges of “disclosing the identity of a public official on anti-terror duties”. The decision went to the Court of Appeals.

“Accreditation” trial: On 4 May, the Administrative Litigation Chamber Board of the Council of State decided to repeal the accreditation ban imposed to Günlük Evrensel (‘Daily Universal’) newspaper reporter Sultan Özer. She is a member of the Central Discipline Board of the Turkish Journalists Union (TGS). In November 2008, Özer, who was Prime Ministry reporter for 8 years, was not allowed to observe the Council of Ministers on the grounds that her accreditation was cancelled. Hasan Tüfekçi and Turan Yılmaz of the Hürriyet daily, Abdullah Karakuş of Milliyet, Fatma Çözen of Star TV and Ali Ekber Ertürk of the Akşam daily were also affected by this decision. Spokesperson of the Prime Ministry at the time, Akif Beki, had put forward allegations of “false news” and “forged photographs”. Upon Özer’s petition regarding the ban of her accreditation, the Prime Ministry justified the procedure by saying that the decision “did not conform to the criteria of continuity”.

50-year prison threat: The prosecutor of the 6th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır, Adem Özcan, demanded a prison sentence of up to 50 years for Bedri Adanır, owner of Aram Publishing and editorial manager of the Kurdish Hawar newspaper at the 6 May hearing. Adanır stands accused of “membership of the PKK” (TCK 314) and “spreading propaganda for an illegal organization” (TMK 7/2). Adanır is prosecuted on the grounds of 38 books seized in a police raid and because of news and articles in four issues of the Hawar newspaper. He was arrested on 5 January and detained in the Diyarbakır D Type Prison. The case was postponed to 8 July.

Tried for attending a funeral: Publisher Necati Abay was sentenced to imprisonment of 18 years and nine months; journalist Hatice Duman, former owner and editor-in-chief of the Atılım newspaper, received a life sentence. Abay was charged with directing the underground MLKP (TMK 7). The final decision was taken by the Istanbul 12th High Criminal Court on 4 May. The decisions were appealed and are pending at the Court of Appeals. 27 people are facing trial because they attended the funeral ceremony of political writer Kutsiye Bozoklar in 2009. Among the defendants are also three journalists, namely Sanat ve Hayat (‘Arts and Living’) magazine publication director Hacı Orman, Demokrat Radio employee journalist İsminaz Ergün and Dayanışma (‘Solidarity’) newspaper employee Emin Orhan. The case was postponed to 29 September. The defendants are tried under allegations of “membership in the MLKP” and “spreading propaganda” (TMK 7/2; TCK 314).

Speaking on Roj TV: Şiar Rişvanoğlu, former head of the Contemporary Lawyers Association (ÇHD) Adana Branch, is being tried on the grounds of statements made on the Kurdish television channel Roj TV between 1 and 3 May 2010. His case was continued on 26 April before the Adana Special Authority 6th High Criminal Court. He is facing imprisonment of 13.5 years on charges of “committing a crime on behalf of an organization without being a member of the organization” (TCK 220). The next hearing was set for 15 September.

The article entitled “One Document, three scenarios” published on 19 June 2009 is the reason of a trial against journalist Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, former reporter of Radikal newspaper, and Timur Soykan, editor of the nation-wide daily. The case was continued on 2 May before the Bakırköy (Istanbul) 2ndCriminal Court of First Instance. The case is based on an article entitled “1document, 3 scenarios: The published document was real because…” concerning the Ergenekon trial. The journalists are tried under allegations of “violation of the secrecy of an investigation” (TCK 285). The trial was postponed to 22 September.

Kaya, Altın and Karabaş waiting for indictment: DİHA News Agency Batman representative Erdoğan Altan, Diyarbakır Office representative Kadri Kaya and Batman Post writer Mehmet Karabaş were taken into police custody on 17 April by the Provincial Gendarmerie Command. Simultaneous operations were carried out upon the order of the Batman Public Chief Prosecution. Kaya and Altan and two other people were arrested on charges of “membership of an illegal organization”. Karabaş was released pending trial on 19 April. Later on, he was arrested in Istanbul on 22 May upon an arrest warrant issued by the Diyarbakir Public Chief Prosecution. He was taken to Metris Prison (Istanbul) and transferred to the Batman M Type Prison on 8 June. All three journalists were arrested under allegations of “propaganda for an illegal organization” and “exaggerated” news on the grounds of broadcasts on Roj TV and the Denge Mesopotamia Radio.

“Mother language trial” for doctors: Physicians Prof Osman Küçükosmanoğlu and Dr. Ömer Eşki were taken into police custody on 25 April on the grounds of their speeches made in the Tent for a Democratic Solution (of the Kurdish question) in Adana on 13 April. Küçükosmanoğlu is a lecturer at the Department of Paediatric Cardiology of the Çukurova University Medical School. Eşki is a board member of the Medical Chamber of Adana. During their visit, both doctors addressed the audience in the tent with a speech critical of the government’s health policies on the topic “Health in the Mother Language”. They are facing 7.5 years in jail on charges of “propaganda for an illegal organization” (TMK 7/2). Additionally, the Adana Health Directorate launched a disciplinary investigation about the doctors.

Imprisonment of six years, ten months and 15 days for Ruken Ergün: On 19 April, the Diyarbakır 4th High Criminal Court handed down prison terms of six years, ten months and 15 days in total to Ruken Ergün, former concessionaire and editor-in-chief of the Azadiay Welat newspaper. Ruken was convicted of “propaganda for an illegal organization” (TMK 7/2) according to official decision 2011/69. The case was transferred to the Court of Appeals on 18 May. Ergün is still being detained at the Adana/Karataş Women Closed Prison.

Seven-year sentence for “unlicensed leaflets”: Azadiya Welat employees Ali Çat and Abdulcebbar Karabeğ were sentenced to imprisonment of seven years and one month each by the Adana 8th High Criminal Court on 12 April. Mehmet Şehap Demir was released. Azadiya Welat employees Çat, Karabeğ and Demir were arrested under allegations of “distributing leaflets without permission” in Mersin and “threatening the people not to go to the polls” for the Constitutional Referendum held on 12 September 2010. They were convicted of charges of “assisting and abetting an illegal organization” and “propaganda for an illegal organization” (TMK 7/2).

Second Appeal rejected: The Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court Judgeship on Duty dismissed the requests for the release of Ahmet Şık, Nedim Şener, Yalçın Küçük, Doğan Yurdakul, Coşkun Musluk, Sait Çakır, Müyesser Uğur, Kaşif Kozinoğlu and Hanefi Avcı. All defendants were arrested in the latest wave of arrests regarding the Ergenekon investigation. This was the second appeal for Şık and Şener. Also the second appeal against the arrest of eight further defendants was rejected on 8 April.

“Disproportionate Punishment”: On 7 April, the Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court reconsidered the file of Ozan Kılıç and sentenced the former editor-in-chief of the Azadiya Welat newspaper to six years and nine months in jail under allegations of “propaganda for an illegal organization” (TMK 7/2). The Court of Appeals had previously quashed the verdict of 21 years and three months imprisonment given by the Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court. The case against Kılıç was opened on charges of “committing a crime on behalf of an illegal organization” (TCK 220) and “propaganda” on the grounds of news published in twelve issues of June 2009.

Statement on Roj TV: On 7 April, Azadiya Welat newspaper Batman representative Deniz Kılıç was sentenced to imprisonment of two years and one month by the Diyarbakır 4th High Criminal Court. The case was based on Kılıç’s opinion on the campaign “Öcalan is my political leader” voiced on Roj TV. Kılıç was released after ten months in detention. He was arrested again on 5 April upon the approval of the Court of Appeals. He is currently incarcerated at the Batman M Type Prison to serve the remaining eight months of his sentence.

Trial merger for Ahmet Türk: On 10 May, the trial against Ahmet Türk, former Chair of the defunct Democratic Society Party (DTP) started on the grounds of seven speeches delivered in the provinces of Batman, Diyarbakır, Mardin and Siirt. A total of twelve cases were opened against the politician by reason of various speeches. They were then merged and the trial is now handled by Diyarbakır Special Authority 4th High Criminal Court. Türk is tried on charges of “propaganda for an illegal organization” (TMK 7/2) and “committing a crime on behalf on an organization without being a member of that organization” (TCK 220). At the 16 June hearing, his lawyer Fethi Gümüş requested to stop procedures because her client was a member of parliament. The court decided to consult the Supreme Election Board (YSK)on Türk’s status as MP and adjourned the case to 6 October. In his final speech the public prosecutor demanded Türk’s acquittal regarding the seven speeches made on Roj TV, in Diyarbakır, Batman, Siirt and Mardin between 2006 and 2009 due to “a lack of sufficient, clear and convincing evidence”. As far as another five speeches are concerned, the prosecutor demanded imprisonment of up to 45 years in total under allegations of “propaganda for an illegal organization” and “committing a crime on behalf on an organization without being a member of that organization”.

Ongoing trials against Aysel Tuğluk: The trials against Aysel Tuğluk, co-chair of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), were continued before the Diyarbakır 4th High Criminal Court in May. Tuğluk is charged with “propaganda for an illegal organization” (TMK 7/2) by reason of various speeches. She is facing imprisonment of up to 70 years based on a twelve-count charge of “propaganda for an illegal organization” because of twelve speeches made between 2005 and 2009 and furthermore under allegations of “committing a crime on behalf of an organization without being a member of the organization” (TCK 220). Moreover, Tuğluk is being tried together with Ahmet Türk before the Ankara 12th High Criminal Court. This time, charges of “making propaganda for a separatist terrorist organization” are being pressed against the DTK Co-Chairs Tuğluk and Türk based on speeches given at the First Regular Congress of the DTP in 2006. The trial was continued on 22 March. The prosecutor demanded Türk’s acquittal in his final speech. For Tuğluk he requested a prison sentence of up to five years according to Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMY). The court postponed the case to 21 June to announce the judgement. However, at the 21 June hearing the lawyers pointed to the status of MPs for their clients. They have several trials on various charges pending against them and both Ahmet Türk and Aysel Tuğluk were elected as independent candidates. The court decided to request information in writing form the Turkish Parliament.

TCK 285; 288: How many Thousand Trials?

The exact number of trials opened between 2007 and 30 June 2011 in the scope of Article 285 TCK on “Violation of confidentiality of an investigation” and Article 288 TCK on the “attempt to influence a fair trial” is not known. According to an announcement of the Ministry of Justice, a total of 4,139 investigations were launched since the end of 2009. In 2011, this figure is estimated to range between 5,000 and 6,000.

It is not known exactly how many journalists from which media outlets are facing which penalties in the trials pending against them. The media outlets did not reply to request for related information made by bianet.

According to the news in the media, Milliyet newspaper legal correspondents Esra Alus and Musa Kesler are tried in 40 respectively 15 cases; ten trials were reported for Radikal newspaper reporter İsmail Saymaz, 25 for Bülent Ceyhan from Habertürk; 50 for Bünyamin Demirkan from Star; 60 for Bugün reporter Adem Yavuz Aslan; 75 for Büşra Erdal from Zaman (‘Time’); 7 for Dicle Baştürk from Taraf (‘Facet’) and 50 trials are pending against Mehmet Baransu on the grounds of his news and a further eight cases related to his book “Mösyö” (‘Monsieur’) and “Karagah” (‘Headquarters’).

Gaziantep MP Şamil Tayyar is facing imprisonment of 50 years in total in the scope of three different trials. He was recently sentenced to 15 months in jail by the Bakırköy (Istanbul) Criminal Court of First Instance. The sentence was converted into a monetary fine of TL 17,000 (€8,000).

Trials Related to “Insult”, “Personal Rights” and Compensation Claims

Refutation of reader comment: Barış Pehlivan, publications director of the website, is being prosecuted because he did not remove certain reader comments from the website as he was requested to do by court. The reader comments were related to news about the Turkish preacher Fetullah Gülen and allegedly contained insults against the Muslim scholar. Furthermore, Pehlivan did not publish the refutation sent to him. He appeared before the 6th Magistrate Criminal Court on 28 June. The trial was adjourned and the court will prepare a list of comments to be removed. Due to a change of judge the trial will continue on 1 November. The journalist was arrested on 18 February in the scope of the Ergenekon investigation together with OdaTV administrators Soner Yalçın and news director Barış Terkoğlu. Their custody was based on allegations of “membership of the Ergenekon organization” and “inciting the public to hatred and hostility”.

Tried for reader comment: On 21 June, the trial against Barış Yarkadaş, general publications director of the Gerçek Gündem (‘Real Agenda’) newspaper, started before the Kadıköy (Istanbul) Criminal Court of First Instance. He is sued for an alleged “insult of the President”. Yarkadaş is facing imprisonment of up to five years on the grounds a complaint of the Presidency about a reader comment published in 2008. The second hearing is set for 3 November. Yarkadaş was previously tried on the same charges again in the context of a reader comment. He was acquitted in June 2010.

Tried for news on Ergenekon and “Sledgehammer”: Charges of “insult of public officials, identifying them as a target and the attempt to influence a fair trial” are being pressed against Rıdvan Kaya, President of the Association for Freedom of Thought and Education Rights (Özgür-Der), Vakit newspaper Editor-in-Chief Ahmet Can Karahasanoğlu and Kenan Kıran. They are facing sentences according to TCK 125 and 288. The hearing was held on 19 June. Kaya and the newspaper officials are facing prison sentences on the grounds of writings regarding the release of Chief Prosecutor İlhan Cihaner and 14 defendants of the “Sledgehammer” investigation. Another article subject of the trial was published on 19 June 2010 and touched upon a compensation fine for judges because they did not release “Ergenekon” defendant Mehmet Haberal. Procedures were started on 1 February. The next hearing before the Bakırköy 2nd Criminal Court of First instance is scheduled for 26 October.

Fincancı and Yarkadaş on trial: Witnesses were heard at the 9 June session of the trial against Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, board chair of the Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TİHV) and Barış Yarkadaş, chief editor of the GerçekGü website before the  Kadıköy 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. The case was opened upon the complaint of Nur Bilgen, chair of the Institute for Forensic Medicine 3rd Specialization Chamber. The next hearing will be held on 7 July.

Compensation paid to Prime Minister by Vatan newspaper and Umut Oran: On 7 June, the Ankara 15th Civil Court of First Instance decreed for a compensation fine of TL 6,000 (€3,000) to be paid to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by the Vatan (‘Fatherland’) newspaper. PM Erdoğan sued the daily under allegations of an “attack on his personal rights” on the grounds of the article entitled “The last book of Ergun Poyraz was censored” published on 11 September 2008. The local court rejected the claim and the Court of Appeals 4th Law Office quashed the verdict. CHP Deputy Chair Umut Oran is to pay TL 4,000 (€2,000) in compensation to the prime minister for the same reason.

Convicted of insult: On 26 May, Süleyman Çakmak, former Vice Director of the Tunceli National Education Department, and Samsun Municipality employee İlker Erdoğan were sentenced to imprisonment of 90 days each because of threatening and insulting messages sent to the staff of the Tunceli Emek (‘Tunceli Labour’) newspaper. Çakmak and Erodğan were sentenced according to Article 125/1 TCK regarding “insult”. The Magistrate Criminal Court of Tunceli (eastern Anatolia) mitigated the sentence to imprisonment of 75 days each before the penalty was converted into a monetary fine. The pronouncement of judgement was postponed. Employees of the newspaper are being tried in twelve separate cases.

ÇHD “Return to Life” trial still pending: On 25 May, the trial against ÇHDPresident Selçuk Kozağaçlı was continued before the Ankara 21st Civil Court of First Instance. He is sued by Ali Suat Ertosun, member of the Judges and Prosecutors High Council (HSYK) because of an alleged attack on Erotsun’s personal rights by the means of reading out a press release about the “Return to Life” operation. At the 8 March hearing, Kozağaçlı’s lawyers presented to court a decision of the Ankara 9th Magistrate Criminal Court that ruled for their client’s acquittal in the scope of the same statement on 17 February. The ÇHD President is facing a TL 25,000 (€12,500) compensation claim filed by Ertosun who was Prisons and Arrest Stations General Director in January 2000 at the time of the “return to life” operation. He claims an attack on his personal rights on the grounds of criticism voiced against the operation.

Criticism of Prime Minister deemed freedom of expression: On 25 May, the Ankara 15th Civil Court of First Instance rejected the TL 20,000 (€ 10,000) compensation claim filed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğanagainst Turkish poet and author Ataol Behramoğlu. The court decided to evaluate Behramoğlu’s statement within the scope of freedom of thought and thus decreed to drop procedures.

“Laz Marks” trial pending: Haldun Açıksözlü, actor and director of the theatre play “Laz Marks” is sued under allegations of “insulting the prime minister” (TCK 215) in the play shown in Rize. He is facing imprisonment of up to two years on the grounds of an anecdote as part of the play. The trial was continued on 3 May.

10,000 TL compensation claim for term “manservant”: Journalist Hacı Boğatekin is facing a TL 10,000 (€ 5,000) compensation claim because he used the word “manservant” in one of his articles. The complaint was filed by AKP Deputy Dengir Mir Mehmet Fırat.The court dismissed the request of the journalist for three experts at the hearing on 28 April. The trial will be continued on 8 September.

Mayor guilty of “insult”: On 14 April, Mayor İdris Güleç was found guilty of “insult”. He had prevented the screening of the documentary “The last beach” by director Rüya Arzu Köksal in Kastamonu/Inebolu. Güleç received a monetary fine equalling 67 days in prison. The pronouncement of judgement was postponed. Köksal is also going to file a compensation claim against Güleç.

Ertosun’s claim rejected: The compensation claim filed by Ali Suat Ertosun, member of the Judges and Prosecutors Supreme Board (HSYK), against Taylan Tanay, official of the Contemporary Lawyers Association (ÇHD), and bianet website co-ordinator Ertuğrul Kürkçü was dismissed by the Ankara 25th Court of First Instance on 13 April. Ertosun, Prisons and Arrest Stations General Manager during the Return to Life operation in December 2000, had filed a TL 15,000 (€ 7.500) compensation claim against lawyer Tanay and journalist Kürkçü because of an alleged attack on his personal rights. The charges stem from an article entitled “Ali Suat Ertosun’s place is not on the HSYK but in the dock”, published on the bianet website on 31 July 2009.

Compensation claim for press release: The trial against lawyer Şiar Rişvanoğlu on the grounds of a press release related to the death of Azadiya Welat newspaper distributor Metin Alataş will continue on 13 September. Alataş had been found hung in a tree in an orange plantation in Adana. At the hearing on 12 June, Rişvanoğlu and his joint attorneys presented their evidence to the court.

Convicted of “attack on personal rights” of PM: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sued out TL 5,000 (€ 2,500) in compensation to be paid by the nation-wide Cumhuriyet newspaper and one of its writers, Bekir Coşkun. The daily and Coşkun were found guilty of an “attack on the Prime Minister’s personal rights” on 7 April by the Ankara 12th Court of First Instance.

Sentenced for slogans which were not chanted: On 7 April, the Eskişehir 2nd Magistrate Criminal Court handed down prison sentences of 14 months each to members of the Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP) and the Youth Opposition Can Büyükşahin, Taylan Alhas, İnan Güçlü, Can Aydemir Sezer, İsmail Aldış, Murat Güleryüz, Anıl Genç and Samet Polat. They were convicted of “insult of a public official”. The sentences were mitigated to imprisonment of eleven months and 20 days. The court also decided to put the defendants on a one-year probation period. The trial was opened on the grounds of alleged insult of PM Erdoğan by shouting slogans during the opening ceremony of the fast train track between Eskişehir and Anakara on 13 March 2009. They also carried a banner reading “Reactionist, thief, enemy of the people – AKP”. Expert Necdet Usul concluded in his report that that the defendants did not chant the insulting slogans. However, the court relied on the police records.

Monetary fine for students for throwing eggs at Kılıç: On 7 April, the Eskişehir 1st Magistrate Criminal Court sentenced Anadolu University students Yakup Çetinkaya and Tevfik Caner to monetary fines of TL 7,800 (€3,600) each. They were convicted because they had thrown eggs at Haşim Kılıç, President of the Constitutional Court. The pronouncement of judgement was postponed.

Insult charges dismissed, compensation claim pending: On 2 April, the Kocaeli Public Prosecution decided against a trial regarding Bizim Kocaeli newspaper general publications director Güngör Arslan and CHP Deputy Chair Hurşit Güneş. Arslan and Güneş had both requested to open a case because of insult against each other. Güneş accused Arslan of having written lies in his newspaper and complained about him. Güneş claimed that the newspaper wrote the sentence “The Kurds will eventually sit in the lap of the CHP” about him after a press conference. The compensation claims filed by both men against each other are still pending.

Prime Minister – some trials withdrawn, others still pending: On 16 June, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stepped back from ten compensation claims filed against Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Chairman of the CHP; three claims against Devlet Bahçeli, Chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP)and one claim each made against Namık Kemal Zeybek, Chairman of the Democracy Party (DP) and journalists Meriç Velidedeoğlu and Ahmet Altan. The court cases against journalist and MP of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) Oktay Ekşi, artist Müjdat Gezen, writer Yalçın Küçük and journalist Ergun Poyraz are still pending.

The Prime Ministry Board for the Protection of Children from Harmful Publications

Snuff/Ölüm Pornosu: In May, the Istanbul Press Prosecution launched an investigation into the Turkish translation of the book Snuff (‘Ölüm Pornosu’) written by Chuck Palahniuk and published by Ayrıntı Publishing. The protection board was appointed as an expert and concluded that the book harmed the moral values and emotions and that it abused sexual desire. It was reported on 9 June that therefore the book was found obscene and in breach of Article 226 of the TCK.

Soft Machine: On 27 April, the protection board demanded punishment for the book “The Soft Machine” written by US American writer William S. Burroughs and first published in 1961. Again, the board was appointed as an expert. The book, published in Turkey by the Sel Publishing Company, “does not comply with the social moral”, the board deplored. Funda Uncu, translator of the book “Snuff”, was called to the police in Bodrum to give her statement. She complained about the police afterwards because she was allegedly humiliated during the interrogation.

Closures and Confiscations

Posters collected: In Diyarbakır, posters of the Human Rights Association (İHD), the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (MAZLUMDER), the Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TİHV), the Confederation of Trade Unions of Public Employees (KESK), the Diyarbakır Medical Chamber and of the Bar Association Presidency were collected. The posters announced activities related to the Day against Torture and for Solidarity with Torture Victims on 26 June. The posters featured pictures of police officers torturing people in the street and slogans like “Zero tolerance to torture, endless tolerance to disproportionate force” and “Torture is a crime against humanity – ‘proportionate force’ is the legal cover for torture in the street”. The Diyarbakır 1st Magistrate Criminal Court decided to collect and confiscate the posters according to Article 301/2 TCK (Insulting ‘Turkishness’, the Republic, the organs and institutions of the State).

Forced to stop broadcasting: On 22 June, the satiric Harakiri magazine was forced to cease publication due to a monetary fine of TL 150,000 (€ 75,000). The Prime Ministerial Board for the Protection of Children from Harmful Publications decided that contents of Haraki and also of the Size (‘For You’) magazine “had a harmful influence on the moral of minors”. The board banned the magazine for readers under age. The Journalists Association of Turkey condemned the board’s decision.

Azadiya Welat closed again: The publication of the Azadiya Welat newspaper was suspended for the ninth time on 13 June. The Special Authority 12th High Criminal Court of Istanbul decided for the seizure of all copies of the 12th June issue and a 15-day suspension of publication upon the demand of the Istanbul Public Prosecution. The decision was based on news items published in the issue of 12th June. The daily started publishing on 15 August 2006 and is the only nation-wide newspaper published exclusively in Kurdish.

Özgür Halk ve Demokratik Modernite: The second issue of the newly published Özgür Halk ve Demokratik Modernite (‘Free People and Democratic Modernity’) magazine was seized and the 6th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır decided to suspend the publication of the magazine and confiscate all copies. The ban and the seizure of the magazine are based on footnotes on page 73 and 82 that quote a defence speech of Abdullah Öcalan as a source. Initially, copies of the first issue were seized and the magazine was banned right after its release. After that, the prosecutor decided to drop procedures.

Regulations, Effects, Reactions, Legal Remedies

The harm of “harmful” publications: “The Harm of Harmful Publications” was the theme of this year’s “Freedom to the Word” Literature Festival held by International PEN and PEN Turkey in Istanbul on 18 June. The participants of the panel discussed the Prime Ministerial Board for the Protection of Children from Harmful Publications which was established in its current shape during the regime of the military coup in 1980. They called for a change of the board and said that “harm” should be clearly defined.

“A book is not a bomb”: On 17 June, Reporters without Borders published their report entitled “A book is not a bomb!/ “Media and justice in Turkey – mistrust and repression” which mainly deals with judiciary practices in Turkey. The name of the report stems from an utterance of PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who compared a book of Ahmet Şık to a bomb in his speech at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on 13 April.

Verbal and physical violence condemned: The Turkey Association of Journalists (TGC) condemned the verbal violence experienced by Milliyet newspaper writer Nuray Mert and the physical violence imposed to Cumhuriyet newspaper reporter Pelin Ünker. The announcement claimed that writer Mert was made a target by the severe accusations put forward by the Prime Minister on account of her opinion and her articles. The association’s declaration described the incident that happened to journalist Ünker on 1 June when she was covering a demonstration in Mecidiyeköy (Istanbul). She was exposed to violence even though she showed her press card which was torn into pieces by her attackers. Ünker was not able to use her left arm and had to obtain a sick report for five days. She filed a criminal complaint against the policemen who attacked her.

Police threat against journalists condemned: The Hakkari Journalists Association condemned the armed threat of police officers against journalists who covered a demonstration against the Supreme Election Board (YSK) on 12 May. The YSK had vetoed the candidateship of twelve members of the Labour, Democracy and Freedom Block for the coming general elections. The Governor of Hakkari said that administrative procedures were launched about the police officers related to the journalists.

Access to independent media: The Washington-based human rights organization Freedom House published its “Freedom of the Press Survey Release” on 10 May. The report revealed that the number of people who are able to access free and independent media in the world saw the worst decline of the last ten years. Turkey was included to the list of “partly free” countries. Turkey’s score fell in the past four years between 2007 and 2010. The report emphasized that Turkey’s grade worsened due to Articles 301 and 216 of the TCK and oppression exposed to journalists in the scope of the TMK. Legal pressure “caused the increased application of auto-censorship by journalists, editors and owners of media outlets”, the report claimed.

Solidarity with journalist Kurşun: The Human Rights Association (İHD)Diyarbakır Branch installed a signature booth in front of their office on 17 May to call for the release of imprisoned Vedat Kurşun, former editor-in-chief of the Azadiya Welat newspaper.

Freedom of thought reward: Radikal newspaper reporter İsmail Saymaz, the spokesperson of the Platform for Solidarity with Detained Journalists, Necati Abay, and Emine Demir, former editor-in-chief of the Azadiya Welat newspaper, were rewarded with the “Freedom of Thought Award” on 11 May. The reward is bestowed by the Human Rights Association (İHD) to the honour of human rights activist Ayşe Nur Zarakolu.

World press freedom day: The Turkey Journalists Association (TGC)announced in a press release issued on 3 May, the World Day of Press Freedom: “We fell back from the 127th to the 138th rank within one year. We wish that also the government will start to feel disturbed and will yield solutions regarding increasing obstructions before press freedom, regarding the situation of our colleagues who are detained or convicted in prison due to their journalistic work and regarding the increase of trials opened against journalists.

Organizations’ demands for press freedom: Representatives of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the Association of European Journalists (AEJ), the World Association of Press Councils (WAPC), the World Editors Forum (WEF), the International Press Institute (IPI), Reporters without Borders (RSF), the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO)and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) came together in Istanbul on the World Press Freedom Day on 3 March for the Congress on Freedom for Journalists.

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