Turkish Medical Association members taken into custody on charges of “terrorism propaganda” and “provoking the public to hatred and hostility”

Members of the Turkish Medical Association’s (TTB) Central Committee were taken into custody on January 30, 2018 in early morning raids on their homes and offices.

The detentions came as part of an investigation launched by the Ankara Police Department into the members of the committee after the TTB issued a declaration on January 24, 2018 against the Turkish military’s ongoing “Operation Olive Branch” on the Syrian town of Afrin.

The TTB’s full declaration, headlined “War is a public health problem,” can be seen here.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan slammed the members of the TTB for the declaration during a speech he delivered on January 26 at a convention of his Justice and Development Party’s provincial chairs, denouncing the association as “terrorist lovers.”

Bianet reported on January 30 that Professor Raşit Tükel, the president of the TTB, and committee member Taner Gören were taken into custody in their Istanbul homes during morning raids while Hande Arpat was taken into custody in Ankara, Funda Obuz was arrested in İzmir and Bülent Nazım Yılmaz was arrested in Eskişehir.

Search and arrest warrants have been issued against all the 11 members of the committee in eight cities on charges of “conducting propaganda for a terrorist organization” and “provoking the public to hatred and hostility.”

Appeals Court rescinds ruling against Perihan Mağden

The Supreme Court of Appeals on January 29, 2018 rescinded a 2014 court decision which ruled that journalist Perihan Mağden pays TL 5,000 in compensation to TV show host and producer Acun Ilıcalı for “violating his personal rights.”

Ilıcalı had filed a lawsuit against Mağden for her comments about him during an interview with Hakan Gence published in the Hürriyet daily. Mağden and Gence were each sentenced to paying a compensation of TL 5,000 to Ilıcalı.

In its decision concerning Mağden’s appeal, the Supreme Court of Appeals held that freedom of the press was enshrined in Article 28 of the Turkish Constitution and Articles 1 and 3 of the Turkish Press Law, adding that the comments Mağden voiced during the interview regarding Ilıcalı’s persona as a TV programmer were based on her personal views and that the views expressed in the interview were within the limits of criticism and that Ilıcalı, as a public personality, had to deal with criticism.

“Twitter” case against Ahmet Şık adjourned 

The second hearing in a case where journalist Ahmet Şık stands trial on account of a number of comments he made in 2015 and 2016 on Twitter was held on January 30, 2018.

Şık, already in prison on pre-trial detention as part of the ongoing criminal case against Cumhuriyet newspaper journalists and executives, is accused in this trial of “Publicly degrading the Turkish nation, the State of the Turkish Republic and the bodies of the state” as per Article 301 of the Constitution. The indictment seeks a prison term of up to two years for Şık. The case had been launched following a complaint filed by a reporter for the state news agency Anadolu.

Şık did not appear in the hearing on account of his health issues. His lawyer told the court that Şık had been having problems with his health due to his lengthy pre-trial detention and that he would like to make his defense statement personally during a later hearing. Taking into account the statements by Şık and his lawyer, the court adjourned the trial to May 22, 2018.

Journalist Oktay Candemir detained in Van

Journalist Oktay Candemir was taken into custody on January 29 in the eastern province of Van after he had been called to testify at the local police station as part of an investigation over a news report. Candemir was detained based on his journalistic work following his testimony, the Mesopotamia news agency reported.

Access to Jin News blocked for fourth time

Access to the website of Jin News was blocked once again on January 29 by the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK), marking the fourth access ban since January 24 on the Diyarbakır-based pro-Kurdish feminist online news outlet.

The BTK banned access to Jin News in three separate occasions during the week of January 22. The first ban came on January 23 on account of the website’s reports concerning the National Intelligence Organization (MİT).

The news portal was founded on September 25, 2017 by an all-female group of journalists.

 

For a full list of all the imprisoned journalists in Turkey, visit this spreadsheet. Lists of all of the foundations and associations as well as media outlets shut down can also be found at the same link, although on different tabs of the same spreadsheet.