Nine journalists detained for using ByLock arrested and sent to prison. Two journalists imprisoned in Gaziantep released
On August 16, nine out of 11 journalists who were detained six days ago in an investigation being conducted by the Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office into the “media arm of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ)” were arrested by court order.
The nine journalists now imprisoned awaiting trial were among 35 for whom arrest warrants were issued on July 21 on charges of using ByLock — an encrypted chat application which Turkish authorities say was used by members of the Fethullah Gülen network, which is allegedly the group behind the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey.
Eleven out of the 35 were taken into police custody, while 24 others could not be found at their residential addresses.
The journalists were charged with “membership in a terrorist organization” after being interrogated first by prosecutors and then being arraigned by a judgeship on the request of the prosecutor in charge of the probe. Those who were arrested are: BirGün newspaper’s internet editor Burak Ekici, Zaman and Cihan reporter Muhsin Pilgir, İhlas News Agency (İHA) editor Ömer Faruk Aydemir, Cihan reporter Sait Gürkan Tuzlu, former Samanyolu television news editor Cüneyt Seza Özkan, Ahmet Feyzullah Özyurt, Cihan reporter Mutlu Özay, Mehmet Ali Ay and former Fenerbahçe TV news manager Yasir Kaya.
Vatan daily’s page designer Yusuf Duran and former Turkiye columnist Ahmet Sağırlı were released under judicial control measures.
The imprisonment of 9 journalists follows arrest warrants issued on July 21, 2017 for 34 former employees of media institutions closed down by emergency decrees, again for using ByLock. None of the 34 people was identified in the news reports.
On July 19, eight former Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) employees were also sent to jail pending trial on ByLock-related charges in Istanbul while on July 12, arrest warrants were issued for 34 former TRT employees. No names were released to the media.
Two Gaziantep journalists released
Two local Gaziantep journalists who were sent to prison on August 2 for “violating a confidentiality order” imposed on the case of a businessman who was imprisoned in an investigation into the Fethullah Gülen network were released on August 15.
Murat Güreş and Furkan Gökşen were arrested for publishing testimony from the businessman. They were released following objections filed by their lawyers to their arrest ruling.
İleri Haber editor briefly detained
İzgen Gökçe, an editor for the İleri Haber news website was detained in a home raid on August 15 in Bartın. Gökçe was taken to Ankara and was released later in the same day after giving statement to the authorities.
According to media reports, four members of the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) and a member of the socialist Federation of Idea Clubs (FKF) are wanted in the same investigation as Gökçe.
A statement from İleri Haber noted that Gökçe currently studies journalism in university and has no affiliation with any group and only practices journalism.
Dihaber reporter Deniz Nazlım released
Dihaber journalist Deniz Nazlım who was detained along with nine members of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) was released on August 16. The HDP members in custody were also released.
For full lists of journalists in prison, the outlets shut down under State of Emergency as well as lists of associatons and foundations shuttered under emergency decreese, click here.