A Turkish prison in the eastern province of Van withheld a letter sent to Kurdish journalist Nedim Türfent for its coverage of how the phrase “Look down” was used by a police officer during Boğaziçi University protests, the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) reported on April 14.
The letter sent to Türfent was penned by MSLA project coordinator Aslı Ece Koçak.
Koçak talked about the most recent developments concerning Turkey in her letter and shared with Türfent also an article written by Gazete Duvar Editor-in-Chief Ali Duran Topuz titled “A brief history of the command ‘look down’ in Turkey.”
Topuz's February-dated article draws a parallelism between the images of the police's assault on Boğaziçi University protestors and Türfent's news piece titled “You will see the power of Turks.”
The administration of the Van High-Security Prison also did not give Topuz's article to Türfent.
Türfent told his family in a phone call that the prison administration had found both the letter and article “unfavorable,” but that he would appeal this decision.
The MLSA shared a part of Koçak's letter to Türfent.
“You must have followed; after a trustee was appointed to Boğaziçi University, a big student movement here took place. One of the police officers who was unlawfully admitted to the campus in the protest's initial days had told a student, 'Look down, look down.' After this incident, solidarity has been built around the 'We will not look down' phrase and everyone started to share this phrase on social media,” Koçak's letter read.
“After this incident, Ali Topuz wrote a column in Duvar about this incident by comparing it to your video news of 'You will see the power of Turks.' I am attaching this Feb. 2, 2021-dated article titled 'A brief history of the command ‘look down’ in Turkey' to the letter,” Koçak's letter further read.
Türfent, who was predominantly reporting on the Kurdish issues, was detained on May 12, 2016, shortly after reporting on Turkish special police forces’ ill-treatment of around 40 Turkish and Kurdish workers in the southeastern city of Hakkari in spring 2016.
A day after his arrest on May 13, 2016, Türfent was charged with “membership of a terrorist organization." The indictment was first produced 13 months after his arrest, at the first hearing on June 14, 2017.
On May 21, 2019, Turkey’s Supreme Court of Cassation upheld his sentence. His case is now pending before the European Court of Human Rights.