Number of imprisoned journalists reaches 168 with two recent arrests; Cumhuriyet trial continues into fifth day
On July 27, Evrensel columnist Yusuf Karataş was arrested as part of a Diyarbakır-centered operation into the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), a union of pro-Kurdish civil society organizations.
Karataş was put under arrest by the 1st Criminal Judgeship of Peace after visiting the Diyarbakır Police Station for a police interrogation. He was then referred to a prosecutor, who asked the judgeship to arrest the journalist.
Evrensel reported that Karataş was asked questions such as why he joined demonstrations held in protest of the Roboskî massacre — where 34 Kurdish citizens were killed in a bombing by Turkish Air Force jets in 2011.
Dihaber reporter arrested
Erdoğan Alayamut, a reporter for the Kurdish dihaber news agency, was arrested on July 27 on terror charges.
Alayamut was detained on July 13, together with fellow dihaber reporter Nuri Akman, while working on a news report. The two were referred to a court on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization.”
The court released Akman on judicial probation terms but ruled to arrest Alayamut.
Karataş and Alayamut’s arrests bring the total number of imprisoned journalists in Turkey to 168.
Şerife Oruç remains in prison
Journalist Şerife Oruç, who was detained by police in Batman province on July 3, 2016 on terror charges and later imprisoned pending trial, appeared before a court for the first time on July 27.
Oruç, who was arrested on July 5 , 2016 on suspicion of “membership in a terrorist organization” is being tried by the Batman 2nd High Criminal Court.
The journalist, who testified through video-conferencing, denied the accusations and said she was a journalist.
The panel of judges adjourned the session until Oct. 26 and ruled for Oruç to remain in prison.
Indictment into Zaman journalist submitted to court
An indictment accusing former Zaman columnist Ali Ünal of being an administrator of the “FETÖ/PDY” — the name given by Turkish authorities to the organization allegedly behind the July 15 coup attempt — was submitted to the Uşak 2nd High Criminal Court on July 24.
The indictment seeks two life sentences for Ünal for being an administrator of “FETÖ/PDY” and an additional 29.5 years in prison.
The columnist was detained on July 14 in Uşak province and arrested two days after this date.
Cumhuriyet trial first session
The trial of 19 suspects, including 17 Cumhuriyet journalists and executives, one former correspondent of the newspaper and a teacher unrelated to the media, began on July 24 and continued through the week with the 27th High Criminal Court holding its fifth session on July 28, when an interim ruling from the court is expected.
Sendika news website blocked for 55th time
The news website Sendika.org, which is frequently blocked by Turkey’s Information Technologies and Communications Agency (BTK) was shut down for the 55th time on July 27.
Sendika.org announced that it is now accessible at the address sendika56.org. The news website increases the number before the “.org” segment of its domain name by one with every access ban.