The following questionnaire, conducted by P24 Platform for Independent Journalism, is part of a survey aimed at revealing the conditions faced by journalists in prison in Turkey, either in pretrial detention or under a sentence. In addition to documenting the problems journalists might be facing during their time in prison, this survey is also aimed at helping improve their prison environment.

Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu filled out the questionnaire in early June 2018.

 

Name: Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu 

Prison: Silivri Prison 

Detained since: September 3, 2016

In pretrial detention or under sentence: In detention pending conclusion of appeal process

 

1. Are you detained with other inmates or are you in solitary confinement? How many people do you share the prison ward/cell with?

I am detained in a “ward” for three inmates.

2. How many hours a day are you allowed to go out to the courtyard or prison yard?

We go out on the cell’s courtyard, meant to be used by the three inmates in that cell, from 08:00 a.m. until 08:00 p.m.

3. Have you had any problems regarding the food served in prison? Does the food meet your health and/or dietary requirements? 

I do not eat the food served here. I prepare my own food using products available in the prison commissary.

4. Have you had any problems in meeting your day-to-day needs such as heating, warm water for shower/bath, laundry, cleaning, etc.?

There have been no problems concerning heating and warm water. Laundry [service] is available once a week, but it’s not very reliable. As for cleaning, we clean our own cell, there is no cleaning service.

5. Do you suffer from any chronic illnesses? Do you have to take regular medication? Do you have access to a medical doctor and/or psychiatrist whenever you need? Have you had any difficulty obtaining your prescribed medicines?

I have been able to obtain the medicines I’m prescribed whenever I’m out.

6. Have you had any problems sending/receiving letters?

The [prison management] makes arbitrary decisions. There is no censorship, but they are trying to interfere by way of delaying our correspondence, etc.

7. Have you faced any limitations concerning books, newspapers or other publications you asked for? How many books are you allowed in your prison ward/cell? 

I read nine different dailies on a regular basis. There is some restriction concerning some of the books that I had written (although none of them are banned). I wasn’t given my own books.

8. How often can your lawyers or your immediate family visit you? Are other relatives or friends allowed to visit you?

No friends are allowed visitation. I haven’t been able to see my nephews, not even once, in 22 months. For the past 10 months, there has been no restriction on visits by lawyers.

9. Have you been visited by a member of the parliament? If yes, could you please name those who came to your visit?

Yes, deputies from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) visited me.

10. Have you faced any problems preparing your defense statement? Do you have access to a computer, to the library, and to your case file while working on your defense statement?

I had access to a computer, but because of time restrictions, it did not work for me.

11. Have you been subject to ill-treatment or any physical or verbal harassment? If so, have you filed a complaint, and if yes, what happened following your complaint?

No. The correctional officers are mostly polite.

12. Have your demands in your petitions been met? Which of your requests have or have not been met? 

I was not allowed to purchase stationery, such as adhesives for paper, or a decent thick lead pencil.

13. Please name any other problems/demands/shortcomings not mentioned above.

[I am annoyed with] the ideologically motivated viewpoints of so-called rights defenders who see [jailed] journalists as mere numbers! We may be imprisoned by the government, but sadly, it is those journalists and intellectuals [who ignore us] who are actually placing us in solitary confinement!