Tag Archives: Turkey

More trials pile up

The next day (Wednesday 21 September) we arrived at the Caglayan Court of Justice in Istanbul which was hearing 5 different prosecution cases against journalists. We were originally told that there would only be one! Again we were with the IFJ/EFJ affiliates TGS (Journalists Union of Turkey), DISK-Basin-Is (Journalists Union of Turkey from DISK) and TGC (Journalists Association of Turkey) to observe the following cases:

The first was the appeal in the MIT Trucks case where journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül working for Cumhuriyet newspaper had been sentenced to 5 years in jail for revealing state secrets and arms trafficking between Turkish intelligence services (MIT) and Syrian armed rebel groups. The appeal hearing was held in secret but this did not put off the many supporters, including Can’s wife, who turned up to the court. Can was not present as he is currently living in Germany (see my 16 August blog) and has said that he will not consider returning until after the state of emergency has been lifted. A further hearing has been ordered. Continue reading More trials pile up

Defending journalism in Turkey

Last week I was on a mission to Turkey on behalf of the International and European Federation of Journalists to observe a number of trials of journalists, which have been on the increase since the failed coup of 15 July and the three month state of emergency introduced on 21 July. Under the state of emergency some 131 media organisation including three news agencies, 16 television channels, 23 radio stations, 45 daily newspapers, 15 magazines and 29 publishing houses have been closed according to Early Day Motion 474 tabled in the UK parliament on 15 September. The authorities can also hold suspects in detention without charge for 30 days with journalists frequently detained. Continue reading Defending journalism in Turkey

Court rejects appeal for detained Turkish editors as petition launched

Last Tuesday, a court in Istanbul threw out an appeal against the detention of two editors from a top daily newspaper as a global media rights watchdog launched a major petition for their release. The higher Istanbul court rejected the appeal from lawyers for the Cumhuriyet daily’s editor-in-chief Can Dundar and its Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gul who had been arrested on “spying” charges last week, the Dogan news agency reported.

The appeal had been made to the Istanbul criminal court on the simple grounds that the ruling contravened the Turkish constitution and law. The case of the two journalists — both hugely prominent figures on the Turkish media scene — has amplified concerns about press freedom in Turkey under the rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Tuesday launched an international petition for their release, with initial signatories including US linguist Noam Chomsky, French economist Thomas Piketty and Turkish pianist Fazil Say. The petition accuses Erdogan of “waging a methodical crackdown on the media in Turkey for years” and persecuting journalists “in an increasingly ferocious manner”. “The Erdogan regime’s arrests, threats and intimidation are unworthy of a democracy,” added the petition.

RSF secretary general Christophe Deloire said the Turkish authorities appeared to prosecute journalists more than IS jihadists. “The Turkish authorities are targeting the wrong enemy,” he said at a news conference in Istanbul. “We appeal to the government, as a matter of honour, to restore all the conditions of pluralism, starting with freedom for journalists,” he added.