Number of journalists in prison reaches 154 following two most recent arrests
Ünal Tanık, the owner of the Rota Haber news website shuttered under a State of Emergency decree was arrested on Jan. 18 and Mehmet Bozkurt, a former responsible managing editor for the Aydınlık newspaper was arrested on Jan. 31.
P24 has updated its list to include Hakan Ergün, a distributor for the shuttered Özgür Gündem and Azadiya Welat dailies, who has been in prison since Aug. 16, 2016. With Ergün’s inclusion and the two recent arrests, the number of journalists in Turkish prisons has risen to 154. The full list, which includes reporters, correspondents, editors, columnists, owners as well as media employees such as print workers, can be viewed here.
Ünal Tanık was detained on Jan. 17 as part of the investigation into the Fethullah Gülen network, which the Turkish government accuses of being responsible for the July 15 coup attempt. He was arrested under an order issued by the Istanbul 11th Criminal Judicature of Peace on Jan. 18.
Mehmet Bozkurt, formerly Aydınlık’s responsible managing editor — a position whose holder assumes legal responsibility for libel cases and other legislative troubles for stories that appear without a byline – – was detained in Niğde province on Jan. 31. His detention, and subsequent arrest, occurred in relation with a news story criticizing the Turkish Businessmen and Industrialists Confederation (TUSKON), a business organization known to have connections with the Fethullah Gülen network. Aydınlık failed to obey a court order to publish a correction to the story in a legal process initiated by TUSKON — which was shut down on July 24, 2016. It emerged that a capture warrant had been issued for Bozkurt on Jan. 11. “TUSKON is no more! But I am about to be arrested if TL 50,000 can’t be found because of a court case they initiated in 2011,” Bozkurt tweeted shortly before his arrest.
Other trials and rights violations concerning journalists
Hakan Ergün, a distributor for Azadiya Welat and Özgür Gündem, appeared before a court on Jan. 31 in what was the first session of the trial where he is accused with terror-related crimes. The court ruled to keep Ergün under prison.
A prosecutor has asked for up to 20 years in prison for Mehmet Güleş, a DİHA reporter who was arrested on Dec. 7, 2016. Güleş stands accused of membership in a terrorist organization.
On Jan. 30, Barış İnce, an executive board member of the Birgün daily, was detained briefly at the Çağlayan Courthouse in Istanbul on the grounds that there had been an arrest warrant issued for him in relation with another trial. He was let go after testifying to a prosecutor.
A local Bursa journalist, Rabia Deniz, was fired from her position in Bursa Hakimiyet and the news station AS TV allegedly for delivering a speech in an event to commemorate the slain investigative journalist Uğur Mumcu on Jan.24, on the 24th anniversary of his assassination.