Daily Evrensel columnist Ayşen Şahin was detained late on Feb. 8 at home, as she was taking part in a meeting of the March 8 Women's Platform (“8 Mart Kadın Platformu”).
The platform shared the video showing the moments of Şahin's detention.
The journalist wrote on her Twitter account: “The police are at the door. I am being taken to the Vatan Police Headquarters.”
Arkadaşlar polis kapıda, Vatan Emniyete götürülüyorum. Üstümü değiştirip çıkıyorum. Herkese tek tek haber veremedim.— Ayşen Şahin (@temcikterelelli) February 8, 2021
She later told Evrensel Editor-in-Chief Fatih Polat on the phone that she was probably detained in connection with Boğaziçi University protests.
“I have now talked with Ayşen. She is now at Taksim İlkyardım [Hospital]. She is being taken to Vatan [Police Headquarters]. She has not been yet told the reason [of her detention]. She told me, 'I have seen the tip of the paper. It seems to be about Boğaziçi protests.' We are keeping a watch [on developments],” Polat wrote on Twitter.
Ayşen ile şu an telefonda konuştum. Şimdi Taksim İlkyardım'da. Vatan'a götürülüyor. Henüz sebep söylenmemiş. 'Kağıdın ucundan gördüm. Boğaziçi protestoları ile ilgiliymiş' dedi. Takip ediyoruz.— Fatih Polat (@fpolat69) February 8, 2021
Lawyer Tuban Torun said that Şahin is facing charges for her tweets and is accused of "instigating public hatred and animosity" as per Article 216 of the Turkish Criminal Code.
"There are absolutely no elements of crime in [her] tweets," Torun wrote on Twitter.
İfadeye giriyoruz. Suçlama TCK m.216 Halkı Kin ve Nefrete Tahrik. Katiyen suç unsuru taşımayan twitler. Bu gece bekletecekler gibi duruyor. Ayşen iyi merak etmeyin. Herkese selamı var. #AyşenŞahiniSerbestBırakın— Tuba Torun (@avtubatorunn) February 8, 2021
Daily Evrensel later announced that Şahin was released from police custody after giving her statement at the Istanbul Police Headquarters.
#SondDakika | Sosyal medya paylaşımları gerekçe gösterilerek "halkı kin ve düşmanlığa tahrik" suçlamasıyla gözaltına alınan yazarımız Ayşen Şahin serbest bırakıldıhttps://t.co/Nmfi0HUOUV pic.twitter.com/bJc4L0speJ— Evrensel Gazetesi (@evrenselgzt) February 8, 2021
Under the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, journalists in Turkey face an oppressive environment. Critics say that the AKP uses the judiciary as a tool against dissent in an attempt to strengthen its grip on power.