Hrant Dink trial: On 25 July, Ogün Samast received a prison sentence of 22 years and ten months handed down by the Istanbul 2nd Juvenile Criminal Court for the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, editor-in-chief of the Armenian Agos newspaper at the time. The Istanbul court decided for imprisonment of 21.5 years on charges of premeditated murder (Article 82/1 Turkish Criminal Law/ TCK) and an additional 16 months imprisonment and a monetary fine of TL 600 (€280) on charges of unlicensed possession of weapons (Law No. 6136). Samast’s file had been separated from the main case file since he was under age at the time of the murder. If the Court of Appeal upholds the verdict, Samast, who has been detained for four years, will serve two thirds of his sentence in prison, i.e. ten years and eight months. The Dink family lawyers put forward at the hearing that apart from Samast there were four other suspicious people at the scene of crime when the murder was committed. Therefore, the joint attorneys demanded the court to obtain a list of all telephone numbers used in that region at the according time from the Telecommunication Communication Presidency (TİB). The demand was dismissed due to a “violation of privacy”.
The trial against Ogün Samast on the grounds of “membership of an illegal organization and having committed the murder within that context” was continued on 23 September before the Istanbul 2nd Juvenile High Criminal Court. Samast did not attend the hearing and his lawyer requested the recusal of the judge. The court rejected that demand and adjourned the trial to 16 December 2011.
The 20th hearing of the Hrant Dink murder case was held before the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court on 19 September. 19 defendants, two of whom are detained, are being tried in the context of the murder of journalist Dink who was gunned down in the middle of the street in Istanbul on 19 January 2007.The court board asked the prosecutor to present his final plea. The joint attorneys of the Dink family put forward that the final plea could not be presented before all pieces of evidence would have been collected. This, according to the lawyers, would equal a concealment of facts related to the murder. They left the court room under protest. After that, the prosecutor presented his 86-page final opinion on the matter and connected the murder with the Zirve Publishing House Massacre and the murder of Priest Andrea Santoro. The plea demanded prison terms of a two-count aggravated life sentence on charges of “committing a murder on behalf of an illegal organization” and “attempting to remove the constitutional order by force” for each of the defendants Erhan Tuncel, Yasin Hayal, Zeynel Abidin Yavuz, Ersin Yolcu, Ahmet İskender, Mustafa Öztürk and Tuncay Uzundal. Alleged instigator Erhan Tuncel is facing an additional prison sentence of up to 171 years for bombing a McDonald’s branch in Trabzon. The prosecutor demanded the acquittal of defendants Osman Hayal and Çoşkun İğci. The next hearing was set for 14 November.
Cihan Hayırsevener tiral: The trial regarding the murder of journalist Cihan Hayırsevener will be continued before the Istanbul Special Authority 10th High Criminal Court 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. A secret witness is expected to testify at the coming hearing.
66 journalists are incarcerated in Turkish prisons on the grounds of convictions, pending trials and future indictments that have not been announced yet.
Nine journalists and two university students were behind bars at the end of September 2011 on the grounds of their writings/news and books: 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; and university students Berna Yılmaz and Ferhat Tüzer.
Ensar Tunca, distributor of the Azadiya Welat and Özgür Gündem (‘Free Agenda’) newspapers, was released on 19 August; Hıdır Gürz, editor-in-chief of the Halkın Günlüğü (‘The People’s Agenda’) newspaper, on 22 August; Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter Emine Altınkaya was released on 21 September. Tunca was arrested in Iğdır this April under allegations of “propaganda for an illegal organization” according to Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK). He is tried before the Iğdır Magistrate Criminal Court. Gürz was arrested in February on charges of “membership of the illegal Maoist Communist party (MKP). He stands trial before the Adana 7th High Criminal Court and faces charges of “propaganda for an illegal organization” (TMK 7/2) and “membership of an illegal armed terrorist organization” according to Article 314/2 of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK). Altınkaya is tried before the Ankara 12th High Criminal Court. Charges of “membership of a terrorist organization” are pressed against her.
55 journalists are imprisoned in the context of certain trials, operations and investigations: “Union of Kurdish Communities” (KCK), the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Revolutionary Patriotic Youth (DYG) (20); “Ergenekon” (16); Party and Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of the Turkish People (DHKP-C) (7); “Revolutionary Headquarters” (2); “Turkey’s People’s Liberation Party-Front (THKP-C) Revolutionary Path” (1) and the “Resistance Movement” (1). One journalist is being tried on charges of “affiliation with an illegal organization” while the name of the organization has not been disclosed in the indictment.
Of these 55 journalists, 19 are convicted and 26 have trials pending against them. Ten journalists are still waiting for their indictments to be announced according to the state of affairs on 30 September 2011. They are waiting for the date of their first hearing without knowing what charges are being pressed against them.
Eleven journalists of the Azadiya Welat newspaper are behind bars. Ten of them are convicted, one is detained pending trial. Ten journalists of the Dicle News Agency are in prison, four of whom are convicted. Two of them are waiting for their indictments to be announced.
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.
The indictments about 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) were announced on 26 August. All these journalists are incarcerated in the Silivri Prison.
Detainee without indictment: Turan Özlü (general publications director of Ulusal Kanal).
Defendants: Hakan Soytemiz (Red/Enternasyonel/’Objection-International’) and Osman Baha Okar (Bilim ve Gelecek/’Science and Future’)
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).
Detainees without indictment: Sinan Aygül (DİHA reporter); DYG: Feyyaz Deniz (DİHA Ankara reporter).
Defendant: Fatih Özgür Aydın (editor-in-chief of the Mühendislik, Mimarlık ve Planlamada +İvme Dergisi/’Engineeering, Architecture and Planning+Acceleration Journal’).
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).
Erol Zavar received a life sentence in the context of the Devrimci Direniş/‘Revolutionary Restistance’ trial. 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. Miktat Algül (Mersin Mezitli FM-Ulus newspaper) is tried under allegations of membership of an illegal organization.
Lawsuits regarding threats against journalists: The trial opened against security guards Mustafa Kaşıkçı and Ahmet Artan was opened on 26 September. Both security guards stand accused of having attacked Yüksel Evsen, board chair of Akdeniz (‘Mediterranean’) Television, and cameraman Aydın Güçlü at the Adana Airport on 8 February. They are furthermore tried under allegations of having pointed their weapons at both complainants and having threatened to kill them. The indictment was accepted by the Adana 10th Criminal Court of First Instance. The document seeks prison terms of twelve years each on charges of “malicious injury”, “insult” and “threat” for Kasıkcı and Artan who appear both as plaintiffs and defendants. Evsen, also suspect and complainant at once, is facing imprisonment of up to 14 years under allegations of “malicious injury” and “insult”. The trial was adjourned in order to complete the case file.
Ahmet Hakan threatened by People’s Front: In his writing entitled “The People’s Front threatened me” (16 August), Hürriyet newspaper columnist Ahmet Hakan claimed to have been threatened by the People’s Front (Halk Cephesi) because he allegedly made the use of the terms “revolution” and “revolutionaries” ‘a habit by extensively mentioning them’.
Threat by Turkish Revenge Brigade: On 20 July, Representatives of the Evrensel(‘Universal’) newspaper filed a criminal complaint against the Turkish Revenge Brigade (TİT) at the Fatih (Istanbul) Courthouse on Wednesday. On 17 July, the Turkish Revenge Brigade (TİT) reiterated their threat against the Evrensel newspaper via e-mail. This was the second threat of the TİT against the paper. The list of people and institutions that were recently threatened by the TİT includes the Evrensel daily as well as the Armenian Agos newspaper and a number of academics and Kurdish politicians.
Concert of Aynur Doğan interrupted: Contemporary Kurdish singer Aynur Doğan had to interrupt her concert Women of the Water given on 15 July as part of the 18th Jazz Festival of the Istanbul Culture and Arts Foundation. After having performed her second song in Kurdish, some of the people in the audience shouted “Martyrs don’t die” and started singing the national anthem. Aynur was not able to continue her concert.
Exhibit removed after news report: The sculpture ‘The Mausoleum of Extra-Struggle with a Minaret’ was removed from the exhibition after the Aydınlık newspaper had reported about the exhibit in an article entitled “A scandal at the 1st Istanbul Summer Exhibition” published on 23 June. As reported by the Radikal newspaper, Memed Erdener, creator of the ‘Extra-Struggle’ series and representative of Gallery Non, was informed about the removal of the object in an e-mail sent to the gallery by the curator of the exhibition. Derya Demir, owner of Gallery Non, assessed the removal of the sculpture as auto-censorship.
Laz Marks trial still pending: Haldun Açıksözlü, director of the political play Laz Marks, is tried before the Tunceli Magistrate Criminal Court on the grounds of his play. The trial was opened in November 2010. The latest hearing was held on 30 September. The allegations are based on Article 215 TCK (praising offences and offenders) and stem from the reference in the play to Turkish revolutionaries from the 1970s, i.e. Deniz Gezmiş, Mahir Çayan, İbrahim Kaypakkaya and Mazlum Doğan. Açıksözlü is facing prison terms of up to two years and a professional ban of between three months and three years upon the demand for a “deprivation of certain rights” (TCK 53). After Açıksözlü presented his defence, the trial was postponed to 19 November.
One-year prison threat because of caricature: Caricaturist Bahadır Baruter is facing imprisonment of one year on the grounds of a caricature published in the Penguen magazine on 10 February. The caricature showed the slogan “There is no God, religion is a lie” written on the column of a mosque. The Department of Religious Affairs, the Foundation Officer’s Union and a number of citizens complained about Baruter who stands accused of “denigrating the religious values of a part of the people” (TCK 216/3). At the first hearing on 29 September, the court decided to bring Baruter to court by compulsion and to accept the complainants to be included in the trial. Baruter’s lawyer Tora Pekin expects the court to decide for lack of jurisdiction (Press Law 27/2) and to transfer the trial to the Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. The second hearing was scheduled for 29 March 2012.
Membership of illegal organization after attending funeral: 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 continued on 29 September. The defendants are tried under allegations of “membership in the Marxist Leninist Communist Party (MLKP)” and “spreading propaganda” for the party that is listed as a terrorist organization in Turkey as of 2007 (TCK 314; TMK 7/2). The court board continued with the defence speeches and accepted the excuses presented by the lawyers for some defendants. The trial was postponed to 22 December.
Yeni Democratic Society newspaper: Fırat Distribution company employee Mevlüt Ayağ was taken into custody on 27 September. The Fırat Distribution company also distributes the weekly Yeni Democratik Toplum (‘New Democratic Society’) newspaper. Ayağ was released after a while. The 25 newspapers he was carrying when he was taken in custody were confiscated.
Terror charges for news on association: Journalist Murat Altunöz from Antakya is being prosecuted by reason of two news items he wrote for the Democratic Culture and Arts Association. The trial is based on a raid on the association and was opened before the Adana Special Authority 6th High Criminal Court on 15 September. Altuöz is facing prison sentences between five and ten years on charges of “membership of an illegal organization” (TCK 314) and an additional one to five years in jail under allegations of “propaganda for an illegal organization” (TMK 7/2).
Wirter and publisher acquitted, printing operator in jail: The trial regarding the book entitled “Memories of Abdullah Öcalan – Feast of the Sun” by Gülseren Aksu was continued before the Istanbul Special Authority 14th High Criminal Court on 27 October. Aksu and Abdülrezzak Güngör, owner of the Çetin Publishing Company, were acquitted. Sadık Daşdöğen, owner of the Berdan Printing House that printed the book, was sentenced to imprisonment of one year on charges of “propaganda for an illegal organization” (TMK 7/2). Daşdöğen thought that charges were dropped and thus did not apply to the Court of Appeals. His sentence was suspended for six months. He is expected to serve three quarters of his sentence (9 months) starting on 2 November. On 20 September, Daşdöğen’s lawyer requested the Ministry of Justice to quash the verdict with a written order.
Statement on ROJ TV: The trial against lawyer Şiar Rişvanoğlu was handled by the Adana 6th High Criminal Court on 15 September. It is based on statements Rişvanoğlu made on the Kurdish television channel ROJ TV between 1 and 3 May. He is facing prison sentences of between 4.5 and 21.5 years under allegations of “propaganda for an illegal organization” (TMK 7/2). He is also tried under Article 53 TCK on the “deprivation of certain public rights”. The prosecutor pled for Rişvanoğlu’s punishment according to the propaganda charges. The court allowed additional time for the defendant and his representatives to prepare a defence according to the accusations. The following session was set for 12 December.
“Genocide” trial on Article 301: Writer Temel Demirer is being tried because he allegedly said “There was an Armenian genocide in this country” in front of the Human Rights Monument in Ankara on 20 January 2007 in protest of the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. The trial was opened in January 2008 on the complaint of the Ankara Police Security Branch Directorate on charges of “inciting the public to hatred and hostility” and “humiliating the Turkish Republic” (TCK 216; 301). The trial is heard before the Ankara 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance and was continued on 14 September. It was postponed to 28 December since the requested reply from the superior court had not been received yet.
Indictment after ROJ TV operation: The indictment about eight defendants, including Erdoğan Altan, Batman Representative of the Dicle News Agency (DİHA), Diyarbakır Representative Kadri Kaya and Mehmet Karabaş of the Batman Post newspaper was announced on 13 September. Altan and Kaya and another two people were taken into police custody and arrested on 17 April. They were released pending trial on 19 April and arrested again on 22 May. The first hearing was set for 2 November. Altan, Kaya and Karabaş are charged with “assisting an illegal organization” (220/7 TCK; 5/1 TMK) and “making propaganda for an illegal organization” (7/2 TMK). Altan and Kaya are facing prison terms of 20 years each. They are being prosecuted on the grounds of their news items that were broadcasted on the Kurdish television channel Roj TV and the Denge Mesopotamia Radio.
Oda TV indictment: On 9 September, the Istanbul 16th High Criminal Court accepted the 134-page indictment about a group of 14 defendants, twelve of whom are detained, who were arrested earlier this year in the scope of the Ergenekon investigation. The first hearing of the trial is set for 22 November. Journalists Nedim Şener and Ahmet Şık are each facing prison terms of between 7.5 and 15 years under allegations of “aiding an armed terrorist organization”; Soner Yalçın might go to jail for 36.5 years. The indictment seeks prison terms of up to 43 years for Yalçın Küçük under allegations of directing an illegal organization. The remaining defendants are facing prison sentences of up to 23 years each. The list of defendants includes Küçük, Şener and Şık as well as Oda TV news portal executive Soner Yalçın, former Chief of the Eskişehir Police Hanefi Avcı, Oda TV news director Barış Terkoğlu, Oda TV General Publications Director Barış Pehlivan, Oda TV Publication Director Doğan Yurdakul, Oda TV writer Müyesser Uğur, journalists Coşkun Musluk and Sait Çakır and former National Intelligence Agency (MİT) member Kaşif Kozinoğlu as well as un-detained defendants Oda TV writers Ahmet Mümtaz İdil and İklim Ayfer Kaleli. The defendants are tried on charges of “establishing and directing an armed terrorist organization (TCK 314/2), membership of an armed terrorist organization, aiding a terrorist organization (TCK 220), inciting the public to hatred and hostility (TCK 216), obtaining documents related to state security (TCK 327), obtaining confidential documents (TCK 134), violating the secrecy of private life (TCK 134), saving personal data (TCK 135) and attempting to influence a fair trial (TCK 288)”.
Özgür Halk ve Demokratik Modernite: On 8 September, a trial was launched against Deniz Köken, editor-in-chief of the Özgür Halk ve Demokratik Modernite (‘Free People and Democratic Modernity’) magazine, on charges of “propaganda for an illegal organization” (TMK 7/2) and under article 53 TCK (Disqualification from use of certain rights). The case is handled by the Diyarbakır 6th Criminal Court. The indictment is based on an article published in the second issue of June on pages 73 to 82 because it quoted as a source a manifesto by Abdullah Öcalan, imprisoned leader of the PKK, entitled Democratic Civilization Manifesto on Liberation Sociology and Solution Models for Democratization Problems of Civilization in Turkey and the Kurdish Question.
Arrests related to Labour Party, Ulusal Kanal and Aydınlık: The Deputy Chair of the Labour Party (İP), Mehmet Bedri Gültekin, party leader assistant Erkan Önsel, National Channel General Publications Director Turan Özlü and Mehmet Perinçek, Researcher at the Istanbul University (İÜ) were arrested in the scope of the Ergenekon investigation by a court on duty on 23 August. On 19 August they had been taken into police custody in the context of the investigation into the clandestine Ergenekon terrorist organization charged with the attempt to overthrow the government. National Channel reporter İlyas Gümrükçü, Aydınlık newspaper employees Ruhsar Şenoğlu, Özlem Konur Usta, Mehmet Bozkurt and Caner Taşpınar were among the nine people that were taken into custody in the scope of searches made at the İP, Aydınlık newspaper and the National Channel. They were released after they had given their statements to the prosecution.
Court president objects arrests: On 18 August, the Istanbul 11th High Criminal Court dismissed the request to release five persons including journalist Ahmet Şık by majority vote. Court President Şeref Akçay reasoned his dissenting vote as follows: “The investigation is not in accordance with the criteria of independence, impartiality, fairness and human conscience. It has not been explained how the suspects concealed evidence at the police. The book of the defendant has not even been published yet. It is legally impossible to connect this person with an illegal organization by specifying the opinion that it was published nevertheless. Until now, not a single decision was given in this country related to membership in an illegal organization about any publisher or writer”. Akçay also reminded that the only activity of the defendant was writing a book. Even if the Ergenekon organization would be praised in the book, this would fall under the offence of “propaganda for an illegal organization” instead of “membership in an illegal organization”, the court president put forward.
Three-year prison threat for one news item: OdaTV.com news director Barış Terkoğlu, detained defendant of the Ergenekon investigation, is facing imprisonment of up to three years on the grounds of a news item published on the web site. Terkoğlu is being sued in relation with a photograph published that shows judges and prosecutors of the Beşiktaş (Istanbul) Courthouse at an evening meal during Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, together with chiefs of police of the Istanbul Police. The corresponding news was entitled, “This photograph will create a stir”. At the hearing on 17 August before the Istanbul 12th High Criminal Court, Pubic Prosecutor Mehmet Ali Uysal said the news had suggested that “the police, prosecutors and judges launched the ‘Ergenekon’ trial in co-operation”. Prosecutor Uyusal demanded imprisonment of between one and three years for Terkoğlu under allegations of “identifying officials on anti-terror duties as targets” (TMK 6/1). Terkoğlu’s request for his acquittal was rejected. He is going to present his defence at the next hearing on 12 March 2012.
One-day custody: On 2 August, Evrensel newspaper concessionaire Bülent Falakaoğlu was taken into police custody at the last check point of the Trabzon Airport on the grounds of an arrest warrant issued in January. The custody was converted into a monetary fine and Falakaoğlu was released after he paid TL 325 (€ 150). He had received a TL 425 (€200) monetary fine by reason of insult of Osman Durmuş, then Health Minister, in 2004.
Arrest for protesting governor: Engineering Architecture and Planning + Acceleration Magazine editor-in-chief Fatih Özgür Aydın was taken into custody on 22 July and arrested on 25 July because he protested Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu at the Okmeydanı (Istanbul) Cem House. Aydın was taken to the Tekirdağ No.1 Prison. His indictment was issued on 17 August. The first hearing is scheduled for 15 November at the Çağlayan Courthouse. Aydın stands accused of “propaganda for an illegal organization without being a member of that organization (TCK 314/2), “propaganda for a terrorist organization” (TMK 7/2), “praising offences and offenders” (TCK 215), “Resisting Public Officials and Preventing Them from Performing Their Duty” (TCK 265) and opposing Law No.2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations. With an increase according to Article 5 TMK (“Increase of sentences”) he is facing imprisonment of 53.5 years in total.
Mahsum Korkmaz interview: Journalist Mustafa Kemal Çelik, executive of the Batman Post newspaper, is being litigated on charges of “praising a criminal via the media” (TCK 215/1; 218/1) because of an interview with the family of Mahsum Korkmaz, a PKK militant who was killed in 1986. The interview was done with his brother Fehmi Korkmaz and his sister Maşallah Korkmaz who are being tried in the scope of the same case too. The trial was opened at the Batman 2nd Magistrate Criminal Court. The fourth hearing was held on 19 July. Çelik is facing a prison sentence of up to two years. The trial was postponed to 27 October.
At court for warm welcome: Kurdish artist Yılmaz Dünen is facing a prison sentence of between seven and 20 years under allegations of “membership of an illegal organization” and “spreading propaganda for an illegal organization” (TMK 7/2). Reason for the trial was Dünen’s welcome of the so-called Peace Group from Habur and Qandil in Diyarbakır. He said at the ceremony, “Welcome to the capital of hearts”. The case was tried before the Diyarbakır 6th High Criminal Court on 18 July. Dünen said to his defence that prosecutors and judges went to the Habur Customs Gate to interrogate the Peace Group and also said “welcome” to them as reported in the news. The trial was postponed to 1 November.
Halkın Günlüğü reporter arrested: Halkın Günlüğu reporter İsmail Avan and seven members of the Democratic Peoples’ Federation (DHF) were taken into police custody in Izmir/Menemen. They were taken to court on 10 July and arrested subsequently. They were brought to the Kırıklar F Type Prison. The Istanbul 11th High Criminal Court had previously issued a one-month publication ban for the Halkın Günlüğü newspaper because it allegedly was the media outlet of the Maoist Communist Party. Avan was acquitted in a trial regarding charges of “distributing illegal leaflets” on 15 July.
50-year prison threat: Bedri Adanır, owner of Aram Publishing and editorial manager of the Kurdish Hawar newspaper is facing imprisonment of 50 years on charges of “membership of the PKK” (TCK 314) and “spreading propaganda for an illegal organization” (TMK 7/2). His trial before the Diyarbakır 6th High Criminal Court was continued on 8 July. Adanır was taken into custody on 5 January and detained in the Diyarbakır D Type Prison. The charges stem from 38 books confiscated from Adanır’s home in the course of a police search and news items and articles published in four issues of the Hawar newspaper. The next hearing is on 17 November.
Murat Karayılan interview case: Radikal newspaper reporter Ertuğrul Mavioğlu and Hasan Kılıç, responsible manager of the daily, stand trial at the Beşiktaş (Istanbul) 11th High Criminal Court on the grounds of an interview with PKK leader Murat Karayılan published in Radikal on 28 to 30 October 2010. They presented their defence at the first hearing on 6 July. Mavioğlu and Kılıç are charged with “propaganda for a terrorist organization” (TMK 7/2) and are facing imprisonment of five years each. The next hearing was scheduled for 26 October.
Trials against Aysel Tuğluk: Van Deputy Aysel Tuğluk was acquitted on 8 September in the case related to statements made during her time as lawyer of imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. She stood accused of “membership of an armed terrorist organization” before the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court. Tuğluk still has several trials pending at the Diyarbakır 4th High Criminal Court on charges of “propaganda for a terrorist organization” (TMK 7/2) due to a number of speeches she delivered. 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 exact number of trials opened between 2007 and 30 September 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 2,000 and 4,000.
It is not known exactly how many journalists from which media outlets are facing which penalties in the trials pending against them. According to the BİA July-August-September 2011 Media Monitoring Report, the number of trials against Milliyet, Radikal, Habertürk, Star, Bugün, Zaman and Taraf newspapers is expected to exceed 500. The newspapers were not able to give definite figures.
“Were you going to topple the government?”: On 20 September, the trial against reporter Serkan Ocak and Ertan Kılıç was heard before the Bakırköy 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. The case is based on the article entitled “Were you going to topple the government?” published during the Sledgehammer investigation in the Radikal newspaper. Relying on Articles 285, 288, 334 and 336 TCK the court decided for the acquittal of both defendants.
Nedim Şener at court: Detained journalist Nedim Şener appeared before the Bakırköy 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance twice on 8 July. Şener is facing imprisonment of five years under allegations of “violation of confidentiality” (TCK 185) and “attempt to influence a fair trial” (TCK 288). The charges stem from an article published in the Milliyet newspaper on 3 April 2010 entitled, “The fight about the exhibition place turned into an investigation into bribery”. Şener requested his acquittal at the first hearing of that day. The initials of Fersat Aydın were mentioned in the news. Judge Rüveyde Çakmak Kaner accepted Aydın’s demand for joint plaintiff statutes because he was harmed by the offence. The court president decided to merge the file with a trial launched under allegations of “insult via the media” at the 9th High Criminal Court on the grounds of the same incident. The case was postponed to 1 November.
At the second hearing, Şener was tried for the same reasons in the context of an article published in Milliyet on 29 December 2009 entitled, “Organized Corruption at the Yol-İş Trade Union”. Judge Kaner mentioned that plaintiff lawyer Erol Aras submitted a petition to drop out of the case. Therefore he decided to lift the attendant title of Ramazan A. and Türkiye Yol İş Sendikası due to the drop out and postponed the hearing in order to complete the case files.
Pelek and Dolu on trial: Semra Pelek, former editor of the Akşam newspaper, and Mustafa Dolu, Editor-in-Chief of the nation-wide daily, are being sued on the grounds of publishing the statement of former Air Force Commander ret. General İbrahim Fırtına given to the prosecution in the context of the Ergenekon investigation. The trial was continued on 8 July. The journalists are facing prison terms of between 1.5 and six years on charges of Article 285 and another six months to three years in jail according to Article 288 of the Turkish Criminal Code (TCK) on “Violation of Confidentiality” and the “Attempt to influence a fair trial”. The trial was postponed to 13 December in order to take the defence statements and collect evidence. Pelek is tried before the Bakırköy 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance for editing the article entitled “”Questions to Fırtına from Aydın Doğan, Rahmi Koç and Akçakoca” published on 5 January 2010. The article was continued on page 16 of the same issue under the heading “I reject, I curse”.
Lawyer Güray Dağ stands trial on charges of “influencing a fair trial” (TCK 288) by reason of her statement related to the Festus Okey trial made on NTV. The first hearing will be held before the Şişli (Istanbul) 12th Criminal Court of First Instance on 7 December. Dağ’s request made on behalf of the Contemporary Lawyers Association (ÇHD) for joint plaintiff status for the case of killed Nigerian refugee Okey had been rejected. Okey was killed by a bullet from the weapon of police officer Cengiz Yılmaz at the Beyoğlu Police Centre on 20 August 2007. The related trial is pending before the Beyoğlu 4th High Criminal Court. Proceedings are jammed because within the three-year trial period the identity of Festus Okey could not be fully confirmed.
Şener acquitted: On 22 September, journalist Nedim Şener, detained defendant of the Ergenekon trial, was acquitted of charges of “insult” and “violation of privacy” of Cem Uzan. The charges were based on the article entitled “The Million Dollar Wedding Contract” published in Milliyet on 19 November 2009. The indictment was seeking prison terms of between one year and three months and five years (TCK 125; 134). Şener stated to his defence at the Bakırköy 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance, “I made this news to inform the public”.
Fincancı and Yarkadaş acquitted: The President of the Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TİHV), Prof Şebnem Korur Fincancı, and journalist Barış Yarkadaş, administrator of the Gerçek Gündem (‘Real Agenda’) news site, were acquitted in the case filed by Prof. Nur Birgen, Chair of the Institute for Forensic Medicine 3rd Specialization Chamber. The Kadıköy (Istanbul) 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance acquitted both defendants of charges of insult at the final hearing on 15 September. The charges stemmed from an interview Yarkadaş held with Fincancı published on the Gerçek Gündem news site on 22 July 2009. The defendants stood accused of “insult of a public person via the media” (TCK 125/1-2-4).
Compensation claim for press release: The trial regarding the compensation claim filed by the Ministry of the Interior against lawyer and journalist Şiar Rişvanoğlu was continued on 13 September before the Adana 2nd Civil Court of First Instance. Rişvanoğlu is facing a compensation claim of TL 10,000 (€ 5,000) because he read out a joint press release. The case was postponed to 31 January 2012 in order to communicate the evidence of both sides. The press release was concerned with Metin Alataş, distributor of the Kurdish daily Azadiya Welat who was found hung in a tree in an orange plantation in Adana in April this year.
TL 10,000 compensation for using the term “manservant”: On 8 September, the trial related to the TL 10,000 compensation claim filed by AKP Adana deputy Dengir Mir Mehmet Fırat against journalist Hacı Boğatekin was continued before the Gerger Civil Court of First Instance. The trial was opened upon charges of an “attack on personal rights” based on the use of the word “manservant” in the article entitled “Miro-Piro” published in the Gerger Fırat newspaper owned by Boğatekin. The court requested a copy of the newspaper issue on subject and postponed the case to 10 November.
One-year professional ban: On 28 July, the Kırşehir 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance decreed to prohibit journalist Havva Karakaya from performing his profession for 375 days on the grounds of a news item he wrote (TCK 125/1 – insult). The decision of the professional ban is based on the “deprivation of certain rights” according to Article 53 TCK. The court handed down a judicial fine corresponding to 300 days or ten months imprisonment respectively. The sentence stemmed from an article written by Karakaya on irregularities at the Kırşehir Municipality. Judge Haydar regarded the profession of journalism as a “professional organization comparable to a public institution” and prohibited Karakaya from performing his profession as a journalist for more than a year. He also received a monetary fine of TL 7,500 (€ 3,500).
Fincancı and Demirci trial: Şebnem Korur Fincancı and Taraf newspaper officialAdnan Demir stand trial under allegations of “offences against dignity” (TCK 125; 131) based on an interview published on the www.trafaf.com website. The case was continued before the Kadıköy 4th Criminal Court of First Instance on 5 July. The trial was adjourned to 27 October because the site editor had not been notified about the hearing.
Trial on insult of the President: Journalist Barış Yarkadaş is on trial for alleged insult of President Abdullah Gül (TCK 299). The case was continued before the Kadıköy (Istanbul) 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance on 21 June. Yarkadaş is facing imprisonment of five years and four months by reason of a reader comment related to a news report about President Gül. The trial will proceed on 3 November.
Three-year prison threat for translation of ‘Snuff’: Interpreter Funda Uncu and Ayrıntı Publishing Company owner Hasan Basri Çıplak are facing imprisonment of between six months and three years each for translating and publishing the book “Ölüm Pornosu”. The work now subject to a trial is the Turkish translation of Chuck Palahniuk’s book “Snuff”. The trial was opened on 30 September based on Article 226/2 TCK (Obscenity). The indictment was prepared by Istanbul Public Prosecutor İsmail Onaran who stated that details on sexual organs were given in almost all sections of the book. It was said in the indictment that the book had been sent to the Prime Ministerial Board for the Protection of Children from Harmful Publications because it could be obtained by young children since there was no age warning issued for the book. As the result of the review by the committee, the indictment claimed that the book contained many immoral and non-literary narratives and that the actual weight of the book was laid on sexuality. Therefore, the book was found incompatible with the structure of the public morality and deemed obscene, the indictment read. The first hearing of the trial is scheduled for 17 November.
Seized book re-printed: The book “Yeter Tenimi Acıtmayın” (Enough, don’t hurt my skin’) by Meltem Arıkan was re-printed in August 2011 after it had been seized by the protection board in 2004 because it was found obscene. The book was initially printed by the Everest Publishing Company and deals with harassment and oppression of women including incest and domestic violence. The Prime Ministry confiscated all copies of the book due to a report of the protection board dated 14 January 2004 on obscenity. The decision for the seizure was given by the Istanbul 1st Magistrate Criminal Court on 5 February 2004. Arıkan appealed the decision with the Istanbul 2nd Magistrate Criminal Court. The court revoked the decision for seizure on 15 April 2004 in accordance with an expert report. The report deemed the book a work of literature that hence did not fall into the scope of Article 426 TCK on ‘opposing the general moral by hurting the modesty and feelings of the people, inciting them to sexual desires or exploitation’.
Soft Machine: İrfan Sancı, General Publications Director of Sel Publishing, and interpreter Süha Sertabiboğlu are being prosecuted on charges of “obscenity” (TCK 226/2) for translating and publishing the book “The Soft Machine” by US American Writer William S. Burroughs. The first hearing was held on 6 July before the Sultanahmet (Istanbul) 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. After the defendants presented their defence the trial was postponed to 11 October.
Prohibited magazine: On 30 September, the Adana 7th High Criminal Court banned the third issue of the Özgür Halk ve Demokratik Modernite magazine under allegations of “propaganda for a terrorist organization”. The court applied Article 25 of the Press Law (Confiscation and Prohibition of Distribution and Sale) and prohibited the vending and distribution of the magazine. Additionally, it decided for the seizure of the printed copies. The first and second issues of the magazine were confiscated as well.
One-month publication ban: On 27 September, the Istanbul 12th High Criminal Court decided to suspend the publication of the Yeni Evrede Mücadele Birliği (‘United Struggle at a New Phase’) magazine for one month under allegations of “propaganda for an illegal organization” (TMK 7/2).
Internet censorship for deputies: On 20 September, the Presidency of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) complicated access to the websites of KaosGL and LambdaIstanbul, two organizations for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual individuals (LGBT). The people in parliament who tried to access these sites received warnings on their screen like “restricted access”, “homosexuality” and “fill in the form required for your work”. Once the user skipped the warnings, a written form has to be filled in before access is admitted. Outside the parliament, both websites can be accessed as usual. Aylin Nazlıaka, Ankara Deputy of the opposition CHP, submitted a parliamentary question. In her motion she claimed that the discriminative implementations against LGBT individuals was contrary to the constitution and questioned what kind of measures is the government was going to take against this discrimination.
One-month publication ban for Halkın Günlüğü: The publication of the Halkın Günlüğü newspaper was suspended for one month. The ban was enforced on 10 September, the day the 18th issue of the paper dated 10-20 September was going to be published. All copies were seized and the distribution of the latest issue was stopped. The decision given by the Istanbul Public Prosecution is based on news and statements printed in the paper pertaining to the clandestine Maoist Communist Party (MKP) and the People Liberation Army (HKO).
Book confiscated before printing: Writer Halil Gündoğan wrote the second volume of his book entitled “A Fugitive’s Story from Metris to Munzur” while he was in prison. The first volume was published in 2005. He gave the second part to the prison management in order to have it handed to his visitors. However, the prison management seized the yet unpublished work and decided to destroy it because it supposedly “contained objectionable expressions that praised a terrorist organization and the illegal activities of its members”. Gündoğan appealed the decision but his objection was dismissed. The writer’s lawyer applied to court and requested the return of the one and only copy and the reversal of the decision. This request was declined as well.
Youth Magazine banned for one month: On 1 July, the Yeni Demokrat Gençlik (YDG) Magazine (‘New Democratic Youth’) was shut down for one month upon the order of the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court. The court suspended the publication of the YDG magazine on the grounds of “praising crime and a criminal” (TCK 215) and “spreading propaganda for an illegal organization (TMK 7/2).
Book seized: As reported in July, police officers confiscated the book “Öcalan’s Days on Imralı” by Cengiz Kapmaz from the Insan Bookstore in Istanbul and the Serhat Bookstore and Stationary in Iğdır in June. The decision of the Kahramanmaraş 1st Magistrate Criminal Court was given upon the demand to investigate whether 15 books sent to a convict at the Elbistan E Type Prison from aboard were inconvenient. The court issued a decision to confiscate seven of the books. The court announced its opinion on eight books that were decided to be seized as well as on another seven books including the work of Kapmaz, which had not received a sentence. For these books the decision claimed, “These books have not been subject to a decision of seizure but they contain propaganda for the PKK terror organization”. The court decreed for the obstruction of distribution and sale of these books and for the confiscation of all existing copies.
Amendments of certain TCK articles: Amendments are being expected for Articles 285, 286 and 288 TCK which are accounted for as reasons for trials. These legal changes are also expressed in the decisions of the EHRC as “the decisions to be given by the professional judges will in no way be influenced by the writings and comments, and it cannot be thought that the decisions of the judges would be influenced by theses kind of writings and comments”. However, even though these articles were on the agenda of the Ministry of Justice since the beginning of 2011 till October, a concrete result has not been reached yet.
IPI Report: The International Press Institute published a declaration on 28 September subsequent to the 2011 World Congress. Turkey was mentioned as one of the countries with the lowest level of press freedom”. The declaration expressed concern about the situation that “64 journalists are still being detained in Turkey”. The report emphasized that looking at the numbers of journalists in prison, Turkey had exceeded Iran and China.
‘Problematic’ letters: On 26 September, the Birgün newspaper reported that letters sent to convicts and detainees about experienced torture and usurpation of rights were confiscated by the administration of the Kocaeli No.1 F Type Prison because they were deemed ‘problematic’. The seized letters include letters meant to be sent to Erzat Çifçi, Nuray Mert, Mecit Şahinkaya, Baran Furkan Gül, Özgür Mumcu, Tayfun Taç, Yaşar Seyman, Efdal Bayram, Ezgi Başaran, Özkan Yılmaz, Yıldırım Türker and Umur Talu.
Eğitim-Sen Istanbul Universities Branch Report: The Istanbul Universities Branch of the Education and Science Workers’ Union (Eğitim-Sen) issued a report related to legal and political obstructions before the mass use of the right to demonstrations and freedom of expression of students. The report was prepared by academics, doctors, lawyers and representatives of various non-governmental organizations. It was introduced at the Istanbul Bar Association on 21 September.
“Justice 200” on Taksim Square: The “Fellow Journalists of Ahmet and Nedim” (ANGA) gathered on 18 September to mark the 200th day in detention for arrested journalists Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener. The demonstrators of the “Justice 200” walk chanted slogans such as “We will touch even if we get burned”, “A free press cannot be silenced” or “Ahmet is here, where is the justice?”.
Symposium for İsmail Beşikçi: The Ankara Initiative for Freedom of Thought organized an international symposium for İsmail Beşikçi on 17 September. Noam Chomsky and Hans Lusar Kieser sent their video messages and International Pen and the International Publishers Union transmitted their messages via the phone. Emma Sinclair Webb from Human Rights Watch and Eliza B. Young from Freedom House personally attended the symposium. Sociologist Beşikçi served 17 years in jail on the grounds of his writings about Kurds and the Kurdish question and due to numerous books and articles. As the latest conviction, he was sentenced to imprisonment of 15 months by reason of the article entitled “”The right of nations to self determination and the Kurds”.
Internet filtering system: The central internet filtering application initiated by the Prime Ministry Telecommunication Association (BTK) entered into force on 22 November. The “Draft Bill on Principles and Procedures for the Safe Use of the Internet” was expected to be enforced on 22 August but then postponed to 22 November due to certain modifications. Accordingly, the “family profile”, “children profile”, “domestic profile” and “standard profile” were lifted. Only two filtering categories are left: the “family” and “children” profiles.
Criticizing censorship in prison: On 16 August, the President of the Writers Union of Turkey (TYS), Mustafa Köz, criticized the attitude of the administration of the Sincan Prison where writer Halil Gündoğan is being incarcerated. The prison administration had confiscated the draft of Gündoğan’s unpublished book. Köz criticized, “The prosecution of a thought instead of an action is a method of fascism but not of democracy”.
German politician Roth was not able to meet Şık and Şener: Claudia Roth, Co-Chair of the German Green Party and member of the European Union Greens, came to Istanbul on 27 July to visit detained journalists Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener at the Silivri Prison. Yet, Roth was eventually denied to meet Şık and Şener despite the response of the Turkish Ministry of Justice that she was allowed to visit the journalists. Roth received the permission only after she had returned to Istanbul when the visiting hours were over.
“Prisoner Gazette” published: This year’s 103rd Anniversary of the Day of Journalists and Resistance to Censorship celebrated on 24 July was marked by publishing the very first issue of the “Prisoner Gazette” (‘Tutuklu Gazete’). 39 detained and convicted journalists contributed to the 12-page newspaper. The first issue of the paper printed in black and white was distributed together with the dailies Evrensel, Özgür Gündem, Azadiya Welat, Birgün, Aydınlık and Cumhuriyet newspaper. The headline read “RESISTANCE TO CENCORSHIP”.
Press Freedom Reward for Ahmet Şık: On 24 July, the ‘Anniversary of the removal of censorship’, the Journalists Association of Turkey (TGC) awarded the Freedom to Journalists Platform (GÖP) with the 2011 Press Freedom Reward for institutions. The platform comprises 94 professional organizations. The individual rewards were bestowed to TGS President Ercan İpekçi and journalist Ahmet Şık.
EU will observe journalist trials: The European Union decided to observe the hearings of all trials opened against journalists on charges of Articles 285 and 288 TCK (Violation of confidentiality; attempt to influence a fair trial) and Articles 5 and 7 TMK. The related delegation is chaired by Jaroslaw Leszek Walesa and joined by Helene Flautre, Co-Chair of the Joint Turkey-EU Parliamentarian Commission; Ria Ooman-Ruijten, Turkey Rapporteur at the European Parliament; Emma McClarkin and Michael Cashman. The delegation is going to visit Turkey three times a year and will present according reports to the European Parliament.
Press Advertising Association supports Apoyevmatini: On 12 July, the Apoyevmatini newspaper started an advertising campaign in order to prevent its closure. Apoyevmatini, the only Greek newspaper in Turkey, was published in Istanbul for 86 years. Financial troubles started when advertisements form Greek stopped coming due to the economic crisis. The Press Advertising Association announced its support for the newspaper to enable it to continue publishing.
Freedom of Expression and Turkey Report: On 12 July, Thomas Hammarberg, Human Rights Commissioner at the Council of Europe, released the “Freedom of Expression and Media Freedom in Turkey Report”. He criticized the Turkish Criminal Court and the Anti-Terror Law because they constituted obstacles before freedom of expression and moreover the overly restrictive attitudes of judges and prosecutors, long detention periods and internet censorship. The report claimed that legal amendments of the Constitution, the TCK and TMK were necessary to implement the decisions by the European Court of Human Rights related to freedom of expression as required. The report specifically mentioned the trials opened against journalists Nedim Şener and Ahmet Şık, the trial of Pınar Selek that has been pending for several years and the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. Hammarberg also highlighted the RTÜK law and the tax fine imposed to the Doğan Media Group.
“Journalists are being worn out”: On 11 July, the Contemporary Journalists Association (ÇGD) and the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) criticized the lifting of the depreciation regulation for journalists by Faruk Çelik, Minister of Labour and Social Security. The journalists organizations deemed this move an “usurpation of a gained right”.
‘Day of Solidarity with Relatives of Detained and Convicted Journalists’: The Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) marked its 59th anniversary by declaring the ‘Day of Solidarity with Relatives of Detained and Convicted Journalists’ in order to draw attention to journalists in prison. The event in the Maçka Park in Istanbul on 10 July was attended by Vecide Şener, wife of detained journalist Nedim Şener; journalists Suzan Zengin and İbrahim Çiçek who had just been released from prison; Ferai Tınç as the current President of the Freedom for Journalists Platform (GÖP) and President of the Press Institute Association and Necati Abay, spokesman of the Platform for Solidarity with Detained Journalists (TGDP).
Sacked for article on Sivas massacre: On 22 September, Zeynep Altıok Aktalı, daughter of poet Metin Altıok, was made redundant by the Doğuş University on the grounds of an article about the Sivas Massacre on 2 July 1993. A fire intentionally set at the Sivas Madımak hotel caused the death of 35 people, among them also Metin Altıok. Academic Altıok-Aktalı announced via Twitter, “My duty at the ‘educational’ institution I work was terminated because my statements on the Sivas Massacre were found ‘problematic'”. The Doğuş University declared that the lay-off of Altıok-Aktalı was related to her “efficiency”.
Ministry: Journalists not detained because of their writings: According to a study carried out by the Ministry of Justice upon the request of the Turkish Journalists Union (TGS), 18 out of 63 journalists in prison are convicted. The TGS submitted a list with the names of a total of 72 persons to the Ministry of Justice and requested information on these people’s situations. The Ministry declared on 25 August, “The Turkish Journalists Union had a list of 72 names defined as detained and convicted. Three of them were not registered in any prison; six persons were released. 63 people of the list are still being imprisoned. Trials were opened against 36, 18 of whom were convicted.