Yeni Yaşam former responsible editor Osman Akın convicted of “propaganda”; academic Tuna Altınel acquitted in case where he remained behind bars for 81 days; press cards of dozens of journalists canceled

 

Tuna Altınel acquitted in case where he spent 81 days behind bars

Tuna Altınel, a faculty member from France’s Claude Bernard University Lyon 1, appeared before the Balıkesir 2nd High Criminal Court on 24 January 2020 for the third hearing of his trial on the charge of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization.”

Issuing its verdict at the end of the hearing, the court acquitted Altınel in a case where he spent 81 days behind bars before being released on 30 July 2019, at the end of the first hearing of his trial.

A report about the hearing can be found here.

Osman Akın given one more sentence on “propaganda” charge

The second hearing of a trial where Osman Akın, the former responsible managing editor of Yeni Yaşam newspaper, was accused of “terrorism propaganda” over two news stories published in the newspaper, took place on 24 January 2020 at the 24th High Criminal Court of Istanbul.

P24 monitored the hearing, where Akın was represented by his lawyer Özcan Kılıç. Issuing their verdict at the end of the hearing, the court ruled in line with the prosecutor’s final opinion, which was presented at the first hearing, and convicted Akın of “systematically spreading propaganda for a terrorist group” and sentenced him to 1 year, 6 months and 22 days in prison.

Press cards of dozens of journalists canceled, reopened

Press cards of dozens of journalists in Turkey have been canceled by the government without explanation. Journalists whose cards were canceled had been awaiting response to their applications pending before the government body issuing press cards, which, under Turkey’s new form of government, is under the Presidency.

Evrensel daily reported on 24 January 2020 that press cards of at least 18 of its staff, including Editor-in-Chief Fatih Polat, were canceled. Press cards of at least seven journalists from BirGün daily were also canceled.

T24 columnist and Cumhuriyet’s former Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu, Turkish Journalists Union (TGS) President Gökhan Durmuş, and TGS Diyarbakır representative Mahmut Oral were also among journalists whose cards were canceled without explanation.

Following public backlash, the cards were reopened over the weekend, Evrensel reported on Sunday.

Compensation case against Cumhuriyet journalists adjourned until March

The second hearing in a lawsuit against Hazal Ocak, a reporter for Cumhuriyet daily, and Alev Coşkun, the newspaper’s publisher and chair of the board of Cumhuriyet Foundation, took place on 23 January 2020 at Istanbul’s Anadolu 14th Civil Court of First Instance.

The lawsuit was filed by businessman Mehmet Cengiz, the chairman of Cengiz Holding. The pro-government businessman is seeking TL 1 million in non-pecuniary damages over a 6 October 2019 report in Cumhuriyet about the restoration of a historical Bosphorus villa that burned down in 2014.

P24 monitored the hearing, where Ocak and her lawyer Buket Yazıcı were present. Alev Coşkun did not attend. Mehmet Cengiz’s lawyer Ahmet Mutlu asked the court to reject Yazıcı’s request to hear witnesses.

Yazıcı also addressed the court, saying a correction sent to Cumhuriyet about the news story was published in the newspaper and asked the court to dismiss the case. 

In its interim ruling, the court ruled to hear witnesses as requested by HAzal Ocak’s lawyer and adjourned the lawsuit until 4 March.

Trial of Hayri Demir adjourned until April

The third hearing in the trial of journalist Hayri Demir on charges of “membership of a terrorist group” and “terrorism propaganda” took place on 23 January 2020 at the 15th High Criminal Court of Ankara. The court adjourned the trial until 28 April.

A report about the hearing, monitored by P24, can be accessed here.

Prosecutor seeks prison term for journalist Kenan Kırkaya

The second hearing of a trial where Yeni Yaşam columnist Kenan Kırkaya is accused of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist group” over his social media posts took place on 23 January 2020 at Ankara’s 32nd High Criminal Court.

The prosecution presented their final opinion of the case during the hearing, asking the court to convict Kırkaya as charged.

Granting Kırkaya’s lawyer additional time for the preparation of their final defense statement, the court adjourned the trial until 5 March.

Yeni Asya executives convicted of “propaganda”

The third hearing in a trial where Yeni Asya newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief Kazım Güleçyüz and responsible Managing Editor İbrahim Özdabak were charged with “terrorism propaganda” took place on 23 January 2020 at the 29. High Criminal Court of Istanbul. Both journalists were accused over reports and articles published in the newspaper as well as several social media posts.

Issuing its verdict at the end of the hearing, the court sentenced Güleçyüz to 1 year and 8 months and Özdabak to 1 year, 6 months and 22 days in prison.

Journalist Gülşen İşeri briefly detained over anonymous tip

Journalist and writer Gülşen İşeri was arrested on 22 January 2020 at the registration office where she had gone to renew her passport. After being kept in custody for hours, she was told to give her statement and was released later on the same day.

It turned out that an arrest warrant had been issued against İşeri for allegedly “disseminating propaganda” in her two books, in which she wrote about gentrification projects. The warrant had been issued after an anonymous academic filed a complaint against İşeri’s books with the Prime Ministry’s Communications Center (BİMER) in 2017.

İşeri filed a complaint against the anonymous informer.

Journalist Faruk Arhan’s appeal hearing adjourned until February 

The appeal hearing in the trial of Faruk Arhan, who was acquitted of “insulting the president,” was held on 22 January 2020 at the 3rd Criminal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice. During the hearing, the prosecutor requested the appeals application of Erdoğan’s lawyers to be rejected as per 280/2 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CMK.) The hearing was adjourned until 26 February 2020.

Hacı Yusuf Topaloğlu released at first hearing 

Former Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter Hacı Yusuf Topaloğlu, who was jailed pending trial on 27 October 2019 for allegedly “being a member of a terrorist organization,” was released at the end of his first hearing overseen by the 2nd High Criminal Court of Adıyaman on 21 January 2020.

List of journalists and media workers in prison updated

P24 has updated its list of journalists and media workers in prison, compiled using information available in open sources.

Latest research revealed that Ali Aşikar, Cüneyt Seza Özkan, Erol Yüksel, İdris Okur, Mehmet Ali Ay, Muhsin Pilgir, Nadir Yücel and Sait Gürkan Tuzlu have been released. Accordingly, as of 24 January 2020, at least 97 journalists and media workers are in prison in Turkey, either in pre-trial detention or serving a sentence.

The full list can be accessed here.

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