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July 26, 2011

Turkey: Killer’s conviction in Hrant Dink case seen as important step, but masterminds still protected

An Istanbul court for minors on July 25 passed a sentence of 22 years and 10 months in prison on Ogün Samast after convicting him of being the trigger-man in the January 2007 murder of Turkish-Armenian newspaper editor Hrant Dink. Aged 17 at the time of the shooting, Samast was also ordered to pay to a fine of 600 Turkish lira (300 euros), Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) reported. “By imposing almost the maximum sentence on the leading suspect in Dink’s murder,... MORE
June 20, 2011

Turkey: Two journalists complete 100th day in prison

As investigative journalists Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener completed their 100th day in prison, hundreds of people marched down Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue on June 18 to demand their release and the release of all the other journalists detained in Turkey. It was the third big march since their arrest on March 6. There is no sign of any weakening in support for Sik and Sener, whose fourth request for provisional release has just been rejected by the Istanbul prosecutor’s office. They have yet to be... MORE
April 6, 2011

Another face of the war on terror: Turkey holding 57 journalists in prison

The International Press Institute (IPI) has obtained a report from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) indicating that Turkey is currently holding 57 journalists in prison – apparently more than any other country. The report followed an analysis of more than 70 journalists the OSCE conducted in conjunction with Erol Önderoğlu, editor-in-chief of the BIANET Independent Communications Network in Istanbul. While Iran and China topped lists last December by reportedly... MORE
April 5, 2011

Courts continue to hound journalists who cover Kurdish minority issues

Despite the government’s denials, the demands of Turkey’s Kurdish minority continue to be off-limits for the country’s media. Six people have been charged or convicted this month under Anti-Terrorist Law No. 3713 for writing about the subject. The Anti-Terrorist Law will be 20 years old on April 12. It quickly became a weapon that could be used relentlessly against journalists who dare to broach the problem of minorities. This month’s trials have offered further examples of the appalling and... MORE
March 18, 2011

Turkey: Courts refuse to back down; journalists to remain in prison pending trial over Ergenekon

A court in Turkey on Thursday rejected a request for the provisional release of investigative journalists Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener , who were arrested on March 3. They will now have to spend months in prison pending trial on a charge of belonging to an alleged conspiracy called Ergenekon, which the authorities regard as “terrorist organisation.” The court ordered their continued detention under article 100-3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CMK), applicable when there is a risk that “the... MORE
March 16, 2011

Turkey: Journalist faces complaint for interview with PKK leader

A trial has been opened against Radikal newspaper reporter Ertugrul Mavioglu following the filing of a complaint with the Istanbul Chief Prosecution, according to press freedom group BIANET. Mavioglu stands accused of "spreading propaganda for an illegal organisation" on the grounds of his interview with Murat Karayilan, leader of the armed outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), at the Qandil Mountain, the location of the PKK's base in northern Iraq. Mavioglu evaluated this latest development... MORE
March 13, 2011

Turkish journalists protest over arrested colleagues

Thousands of Turkish journalists took to the streets here on Sunday demanding the release of colleagues in prison and raising the issue of press freedom. Journalists supported by activists, intellectuals, and some opposition parties marched in central Istanbul, Agence France-Presse (AFP) has eported. Some carried banners that read "Freedom to journalists", "No to wire tappings," and "Justice right now," an AFP photographer reported. The photographs of arrested colleagues and murdered... MORE
March 8, 2011

Turkey cracks down on Ergenekon coverage; 12 journalists detained so far

There has been a wave of journalist arrests in Turkey in connection with an alleged plot to overthrow the government known as "Ergenekon." Twelve journalists have been detained in less than a month; and nine are currently in custody. On Sunday, Zekeriya Öz, the chief prosecutor overseeing the probe into Ergenekon, said in a statement that the investigation of the journalists is not a result of their work but based on evidence that cannot be publicised because of the confidentiality of the... MORE
March 6, 2011

Turkish journalists sentenced to 7 years for covering banned demonstration

Prison terms of more than 204 years in total were the verdicts for 25 defendants who attended a demonstration in October 2008. Journalist Vedat Yilidiz from the Dicle News Agency (DIHA) and Guneydogu Ekspres (South-east Express) newspaper reporter Lokman Dayan were among those convicted in a hearing which took place on February 24. Yilidiz and Dayan were attending the protest march on assignment, according to BIANET. Defence lawyer Veysel Vesek requested the acquittal of his clients at a... MORE
March 6, 2011

Mayor wanted Kurds to have co-wives, journalist sentenced for criticising

Turkish journalist Ahmet Topcu has been sentenced to eleven months in prison in connection with his criticism of a mayor. In June 2010, Halil Bakirci, mayor of Rize (eastern Black Sea coast) and a member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), had proposed that "Kurds should have co-wives" in order to solve the Kurdish question. The mayor was broadly criticised for his suggestion and later had to apologise. The AKP temporarily suspended Bakirci because of his comments. While Bakirci'... MORE