Expression Interrupted

Journalists and academics bear the brunt of the massive crackdown on freedom of expression in Turkey. Scores of them are currently subject to criminal investigations or behind bars. This website is dedicated to tracking the legal process against them.

Journalists in State of Emergency - 81

Journalists in State of Emergency - 81

Prosecutor seeks up to 15 years for journalist Meşale Tolu, a German passport holder


An indictment charging Meşale Tolu – a reporter and translator for the Etkin News Agency (ETHA), who is a German citizen – on terror-related accusations has been accepted by a court.

Tolu was detained in a raid on her home on April 30 and arrested on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization” and “conducting propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization” on May 6.

ETHA reported that the indictment, which charges a total of 18 people, 15 of whom are imprisoned including Tolu, was accepted by the Istanbul 29th High Criminal Court.

The indictment seeks up to 15 years for Tolu. The first hearing in her trial will be heard on Oct. 11 -12, sixth months into her incarceration.

The prosecutor cites some magazines found during a search of her home and her attendance in protest marches as evidence for the charges against her.

An anonymous witness cited in the indictment has claimed that Tolu is part of the Gazi Neighborhood branch of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP): ETHA has reported that Tolu resides in Kartal, a district on the Anatolian side significantly far off from Gazi, and that ETHA’S office is located in Aksaray.

Writer Mihemed Ronahî imprisoned in Diyarbakır

Mihemed Ronahî, a writer and a publisher, was sent to prison in Diyarbakır on August 5 on charges of working as a member of the Culture and Language Commission of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) – an umbrella organization for pro-Kurdish civil society groups – in 2013. 

Fatih Polat testifies in presidential insult trial

Evrensel’s Editor-in-Chief Fatih Polat testified to prosecutors over a column he wrote about a news report titled “Turkish President Erdoğan’s family in secret offshore deal”, published in May on the investigative journalism website The Black Sea.

On May 28, Polat shared the news report in full in his columns saying he believed it carried massive significance for Turkish readers. A court later issued a decision to block access to the URL of the article.

In his testimony to the Bakırköy Chief Prosecutor, Polat said neither the title for his column nor the report, penned originally by journalist Craig Shaw, included any expression that could be considered an insult.

IPA Voltaire Award given to Turhan Günay and Evrensel Publishing

The International Publishers House (IPA) awarded its Voltaire Prize to Turkish journalist Turhan Günay and the Evrensel Publishing House.

Günay was released on July 28 after being imprisoned for 268 days in the Cumhuriyet trial.

In a statement about the award, the organization said: “The IPA Freedom to Publish Committee’s decision to jointly award the 2017 IPA Prix Voltaire comes amid the Turkish government’s remorseless purge of all critical voices, in the media, academia, and all areas of cultural life. It is the first time in the prize’s 11-year history that it has been awarded to two separate recipients.”

The 2017 IPA Prix Voltaire presentation will take place at the Gothenburg Book Fair gala dinner, on September 29. Günay is currently out of prison, but he is barred from international travel. His next hearing is scheduled for September 11.

Major error concerning dates in journalist's indictment 

It has emerged that the prosecutor who compiled the indictment into Ozan Kaplanoğlu, a Bursa journalist who was arrested on May 5 on “terror propaganda” charges and released on August 2 made a massive mistake in his accusations.

The indictment accuses Kaplanoğlu of having used the pseudonym Uğur Gündüz, a name which appears in booklets which the prosecution deems “incite the public to act with hatred and hostility against the state.” Kaplanoğlu’s lawyers have established that Uğur Gündüz’s booklet titled “Marxism and Civil War,” which is the subject of the indictment was published in 1994. Kaplanoğlu, who was born in 1991, was only three years of age at the time.

PEN International organizes campaign in support of imprisoned writer

PEN International has started a campaign for the release of Kurdish Pen member Hasip Yanlıç, a writer who was placed in pre-trial detention on July 12 on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization.”

“PEN International fears that Hasip Yanlıç is being targeted for his writings and outspoken stance on linguistic rights and Kurdish education. The organisation calls on the Turkish authorities to release Yanlıç immediately,” the organization said in a statement.

PEN International called on its supporters to send letters or postcards in a show of support and solidarity addressed to Hasip Yanlıç, who is currently being held in Diyarbakır Closed D Type Prison.


Lists of all journalists in prison and the media institutions, associations and foundations closed down under the State of Emergency can be viewed here.