Dursunoğlu, the chief editor of the news portal Yakın Doğu Haber, accused of “incitement to hatred and animosity” over his social media posts
CANSU PİŞKİN, ISTANBUL
Journalist Alptekin Dursunoğlu, who was arrested over the weekend as part of an investigation launched on 28 February 2020 by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office concerning social media posts about the attack on Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in Syria’s Idlib, has been jailed pending trial.
Dursunoğlu, the chief editor of the news portal Yakın Doğu Haber (Near East News), was arrested during evening hours on 29 February. After spending the night at the Police Department, Dursunoğlu was brought to the Istanbul Courthouse on 1 March. There, he was referred by the prosecutor to a criminal judgeship of peace on allegations of “incitement to hatred and animosity” and “publicly degrading the State of the Turkish Republic and its institutions.”
Istanbul’s 8th Criminal Judgeship of Peace ruled to jail Dursunoğlu pending trial. Two Twitter posts by Dursunoğlu, dated 22 February and 28 February, were held as evidence against him. One of the posts featured a video titled “Hunting down terrorist and Turkish tanks in IDLIB.” The judgeship cited flight risk among grounds for Dursunoğlu’s arrest. The arrest order also said “judicial control measures would be inadequate.”
The judgeship rejected the prosecution’s request for Dursunoğlu’s arrest on the charge of “publicly degrading the State of the Turkish Republic and its institutions” under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. The Justice Ministry’s permission is a prerequisite for an investigation to be conducted on TCK 301.
Dursunoğlu’s lawyer Kemal Aytaç told P24 that his client’s arrest was unlawful and that it was politically motivated, adding that political arrests were being used by the political authority as a tool to intimidate dissidents and the public in general.
Dursunoğlu was sent to the Silivri Prison in Istanbul.
The indictment issued against Dursunoğlu several days after his arrest was immediately accepted by Istanbul’s 49th Criminal Court of First Instance, which set 16 March 2020 as the date for the first hearing.