The difficult life of the media in Turkey


190 people, 75 of whom are journalists, are being tried for violations of freedom of thought and expression, 138 people are being sued under the Anti-Terror Law (TMY). Six journalists are in jail for their writings. The European Court of Human Rights sentenced Turkey to a total fine of TL 266,551 (€ 133,224) in compensation.
On behalf of “struggling against terrorism”, the judiciary is persecuting the ones who are doing independent journalism or who are expressing different opinions on the “Kurdish question”.
The Media Monitoring Report of the Independent Communication Network Media Monitoring Desk comprises the struggles of 529 people in July-August-September 2010.
The forty-page report includes sections on “Killed journalists”, “Attacks and Threats”, “Arrests and Detentions”, “Ongoing Detentions and Imprisonments” “Trials on Press Freedom and Freedom of Expression”, “Corrections and Legal Redress”, “European Court of Human Rights”, “Reactions to Censorship and Monopolization” and “RTÜK Applications”.
The government does not apply the Law on the Protection of Atatürk enforced 60 years ago against ongoing violations, neither does it apply the Anti-Terror Law that has been oppressing freedom of thought for the last 20 years, nor the Law on Internet Crimes enforced in 2007. The government refers to Articles 285 and 288 of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK) on “violating the secrecy of an investigation” and the “attempt to influence a fair trial” respectively which was enforced in 2005 despite dozens of warnings.
Journalists, writers, politicians, civilians not allowed to think
It turned out that 190 people (writers, publishers, politicians, civilians), 75 of whom are journalists, are being prosecuted in trials related to freedom of thought and expression.
During the same period of time in the previous year, again 190 people were tried, among them 74 journalists.
Number of defendants under Anti-Terror Law quintupled
Allegations such as “printing or broadcasting announcements or statements of terroristic organizations”, “spreading propaganda for a terroristic organization” or “disclosing or disseminating identities of public officials on anti-terror duties or showing them as a target” are among the most common accusations.
The number of people tried under the Anti-Terror Law compared to the same period of time in 2009 has quintupled from 25 to 138.
27 journalists appeared at court facing imprisonment of 7.5 years each. Defendants Selahattin Demirta?, Ziya Çiçekçi, Cabbar Demirci, Pervin Oduncu and Fehmi K?l?ç were sentenced to a total of twelve years and four months in jail and monetary fines summing up to TL 16,600 (€ 8,300). Last year, the comparable total length of prison sentences amounted to six years, five months and 15 days.
Those prosecuted were Rag?p Zarakolu, Mehmet Güler, Ferhat Tunç, Selahattin Demirta?, Aziz Özer, Metin Arslan, Bü?ra Erdal, Hayri Be?er, Aysel Tu?luk, Cemal Do?an, Nurettin Kurt, Mehmet Ali Birand, Mahmut ?akar, Ayla Akad Ata, ?rfan Dündar, Do?an Erba?, Nam?k Durukan, Hasan Çakkalkurt, Hatice Korkut, Halkevleri’nden alt? ki?i, Leyla Zana, kapat?lan Demokratik Toplum Partisi’nin eski 54 belediye ba?kan?, Mehdi Tanr?kulu, ?iar Ri?vano?lu, Ramazan Pekgöz, Filiz Koçali, Ziya Çiçekçi, Nedim ?ener, Ahmet Türk, Yüksel Genç, Selim Sadak, Veysi Sar?sözen, Fehmi K?l?ç, Orhan Miro?lu, DTP’nin kapat?lmas?yla san?k durumuna dü?en 32 ki?i, Cabbar Demirci, Pervin Oduncu, ?smail Be?ikçi, Zeycan Balc? ?im?ek, Gurbet Çakar, Berivan Eker, Bar?? Aç?kel, Bedri Adan?r, Vedat Kur?un, Ozan K?l?nç, Hakan Tahmaz and ?brahim Çe?mecio?lu.
Journalists in Prison!
Six journalists, namely Ozan K?l?nç, Vedat Kur?un, Gurbet Çakar, Bedri Adan?r, Erdal Güler and Deniz Y?ld?r?m, spent the third quarter of 2010 behind bars because of their publications.
K?l?nç, former Editor-in-Chief of the Kurdish Azadiya Welat newspaper, was sentenced to 21 years and 3 months in prison upon his conviction of spreading propaganda for the militant outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). His predecessor Kur?un is still incarcerated in the Diyarbak?r prison due to his sentence to 166 years and six months in jail.
Çakar, Editor-in-Chief of the the Renge Heviya Jine (‘The colour of the woman’s hope’) women’s magazine, Hawar newspaper Chief Editor Adan?r and Editorial Manager Güler of the Revolutionary Democracy newspaper are imprisoned on the grounds of their writings. Deniz Y?ld?r?m, General Publications Director of the Ayd?nl?k magazine, has been detained since 9 November 2009 because he published a telephone conversation of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an with the former President of Northern Cyprus, Mehmet Ali Talat.
At least 15journalists went to prison in July-August-September 2010 in the scope of organizational operation. It has not been clarified yet whether these journalists were arrested because of their professional activities.
Attack, threat, deportation
10 journalists were attacked while they were on duty: ?HA camera man M.V. and reporter B.C., Özcan Alada?, Edip Tekin, Vahap ??, Cevdet ?en, ?smail Eskin, Ça?da? Kaplan, Mehmet Halis ?? and ?ükrü Gökkaya. Ak?n Birdal, member of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) was attacked on the podium while delivering a speech.
Taraf newspaper and journalists Y?lmaz Sa?l?k, Yakup Önal, Orhan Miro?lu and Özgür Topsakal were threatened.
Journalist Vahap ?? was taken into police custody and released later on. American journalist Jake Hess, un-detained defendant of the trial regarding the Democratic Confederation of Kurdistan (KCK) was expelled from the country because he allegedly “constituted a threat to the national security” with his news articles.
The judiciary did not touch the alleged instigators to the murders of journalists Ümit Kaftanc?o?lu, Abdi ?pekçi, Çetin Emeç, U?ur Mumcu and Ahmet Taner K??lal?. The murder trials regarding Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink and journalist Cihan Hay?rsevener who was killed on 18 December 2009 in Band?rma (southern Marmara region) bear the very same risk.
In the 2010 Turkey Progression Report, European Union Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Füle announced that a total of 4,091 trials were opened against journalists under TCK articles 285 and 288 in the context of their reporting about the “Ergenekon” investigation and trial.
21 journalists in the dock for “violation of secrecy”
During the three months on subject, 21 journalists were facing a total prison threat of 131 years on allegations of “violating the secrecy of an investigation” or “publishing confidential documents”. These journalists were Ahmet Altan, Yasemin Çongar, Adnan Demir, Markar Eseyan, ?ahin Bayar, Tuncer Köseo?lu, Melih Alt?nok, Mehmet Baransu, Burhan Ekinci, Fikret Karagöz, Bünyamin Demirkan, Bahar K?l?çgedik, Sibel Hürta?, Bü?ra Erdal, Semra Pelek, Mustafa Dolu, Kemal Gökta?, ?smail Saymaz, Ertu?rul Mavio?lu, Ahmet ??k and Nedim ?ener.
Ten journalists stood accused of the “attempt to influence a fair trial” and faced imprisonment of 76.5 years in total. ?amil Tayyar received a prison sentence of 50 months.
19 journalists sued for “insult”, Ergündo?an sentenced
22 people, 19 of whom are journalists, are facing prison terms of 28 years and four months and compensation claims of TL 1.153 million (€550,000) in total under charges of an “attack on personal rights” or “insult”. In the same period of time last year, 47 people, among them 13 journalists, were facing 76 years, four months and 20 days in jail and compensation claims of TL 1.187 million (€ 570,000).
Birgün newspaper writer Yalç?n Ergündo?an received a monetary fine of TL 10,000 (€ 5,000) in compensation because he was found guilty of personal insult via the media of the Chairman of the Independent Party of Turkey (BDP), Haydar Ba?, who is also the Sheikh of the Kadiri religious order. Mustafa Koyuncu from the Afyonkarahisar Emirda? newspaper is still facing prison terms of up to six years and compensation claim of TL 440,000 (€ 220,000) for an article about the police and alleged prostituition, beating and insult.
Also Ahmet Altan, Y?lmaz Sa?l?k, Hac? Bo?atekin, ?smail Saymaz, Nurgün Balc?o?lu, Fethullah Kapkapc?, Emrullah Özbey, ?ebnem Korur Fincanc?, Bar?? Yarkada?, Adnan Demir, Ertu?rul Kürkçü, Taylan Tanay, Selçuk Koza?açl?, Melih A??k, Hasan Çakkalkurt, Nazl? Il?cak and Cengiz Çandar are tried under the same allegations .
60 people, among them four journalists, are being tried under charges of “praising a crime and a criminal”. They are facing prison terms of 180 years in total. 54 mayors of the banned pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DPT) received monetary fines of TL 1,875 (€ 930) each based on the same charges because they were against the closure of the Kurdish Roj TV channel. The decision was upheld by the Court of Appeals.
ECHR: Heavy monetary fine in Dink case
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) found Turkey guilty of a violation of freedom of expression and the right to life in the scope of the Hrant Dink murder trial heard before the international court. Turkey was sentenced to a monetary fine of € 133,595 in compensation for the four applicants, members of the Dink family.
Turkey received monetary fines of € 266,551 in total at the ECHR based on the applications of the Dink family members, Maya magazine owner Aylin Güzel and Aziz Özer, Editorial Manager of the “Yeni Dünya ?çin Ça??r” (‘Call for a New World’) magazine. The amount of compensation fines for the same period in 2009 was amounting to € 3,000.

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