Three more journalists have been arrested in Turkey as of January 23, bringing the number of imprisoned journalists in the country to at least 156
Three more journalists have been arrested in Turkey as of the beginning of the week of January 22. Van-based journalist Idris Yılmaz, who was taken into custody on January 21; Mesopotamia News Agency reporter Seda Taşkın, who was detained on January 22 in Ankara; and Haydar Ergül, an editor for the Demokratik Modernite (Democratic Modernity) magazine, who had been in detention since January 16, were arrested on January 23.
Yılmaz, who was arrested on “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” charges, was sent to the Erciş Prison, Bianet reported. The journalist, based in the Eastern province of Van, had previously become the target of an assault while he was trying to get in touch with a local contractor for an interview.
Mesopotamia agency reporter Taşkın, who was initially taken into custody on December 20, 2017, and released four days later on judicial control terms, was detained again on January 22 during a police raid on her home in Ankara. Taşkın was interrogated by the Bitlis Criminal Judicature of Peace on January 23 via the court video-conferencing system SEGBIS, after which she was arrested on “membership in a terrorist organization” charges and sent to the Sincan Prison in Ankara. Sources said Taşkın’s latest detention followed the prosecutor’s objection to her release.
Demokratik Modernite editor Ergül, who had been in police custody since he had been detained at the Diyarbakır Airport on January 16, was arrested by an Istanbul court on January 23. Ergül was brought to Istanbul following his detention, where he appeared before a prosecutor at the Istanbul Courthouse early on January 23. Ergül was arrested on “membership in a terrorist organization” charges by a Criminal Night Judge.
The latest arrests brought the number of journalists in prison in Turkey to at least 156. You can see the full list here.
Sibel Hürtaş released on judicial control terms
Artı TV Ankara Representative Sibel Hürtaş, who was taken into custody on January 22 in Ankara during a police raid on her home, was released on January 25 on judicial control terms.
There was no official explanation as to the grounds for Hürtaş’s detention but lawyer Nuray Özdoğan told reporters that Hürtaş was detained for sharing her reporting on Afrin on social media.
Mesopotamia news agency reporter in custody
Mesopotamia news agency reporter Hayri Demir was taken into custody on January 22 in Ankara during a police raid on his home. Demir was expected to appear before the prosecutor on January 26. Demir is allegedly in detention on account of his social media posts concerning Turkey’s military operation on Afrin.
Pro-Kurdish daily employees briefly detained
On January 20, Suat Karagöz, a reporter for the Diyarbakır-based daily Özgürlükçü Demokrasi was briefly detained in the eastern province of Van. Karagöz was detained following a tip off, police said. He was released shortly after his interrogation.
Another employee of Özgürlükçü Demokrasi, Mizgin Fendik, who was taken into custody on January 23 in Yüksekova as she was distributing the newspaper to subscribers, was released on January 24. Fendik was detained on grounds that the newspaper was an “illegal” publication and therefore could not be distributed.
Mersin Radyo Ses Director Semra Özlü released
Semra Özlü, the director of programming for the shuttered Mersin-based local radio station Mersin Radyo Ses who was taken into custody on January 17, was released on judicial control terms on January 24. Özlü was detained during a police raid on the homes of the former employees of the station, which had been shut down by an emergency decree.
Distribution of pro-Kurdish daily prevented
The January 20, 2018 edition of the Diyarbakır-based Kurdish daily Özgürlükçü Demokrasi was prevented from distribution in the town of Yüksekova, the biggest urban area in the southeastern province of Hakkâri. According to the Mesopotamia news agency, military officers seized the dailies at a checkpoint as they were being transferred to Yüksekova by vehicle.
Printed hours after the Turkish military launched its ongoing “Operation Olive Branch” against Syria’s Afrin, the headline of the daily said “No to warmongering.” Özgürlükçü Demokrasi is the offshoot of the influential Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem, which was shut down in September 2016 by a statutory decree.
Angry crowd attacks Northern Cyprus daily
On January 22, 2018, the Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika was attacked by angry crowds a day after being pointed as target by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over a headline blasting Turkey’s military operation on Afrin.
“Another invasion by Turkey,” the daily said in its headline in its January 21 edition. On the morning of January 22, around 300 people carrying Turkish flags gathered in front of the newspaper building. They raided the newspaper building, breaking windows and storming the newsroom.