Journalism in Turkey
Turkish prosecutors are seeking to have four journalists arrested for working on a news story about soldiers throwing two Kurdish men off a military helicopter. Considering journalists' meetings with their anonymous sources as “an act of crime,” the prosecutors issued a confidentiality order on the investigation file.
An Istanbul court on Oct. 7 declared exiled journalist Can Dündar a “fugitive” and ruled for the seizure of his assets. Cumhuriyet daily former editor-in-chief Dündar had been granted a period of 15 days to appear before the court in his ongoing trial over coverage of alleged arms shipments to Syria.
A Turkish court has blocked access to the Turkish website of Erbil-based news media group Rudaw. The ban was announced by Free Web Turkey, which tracks access bans in the country. Rudaw is based in Iraqi Kurdistan and broadcasts in multiple languages.
Turkish police have detained four journalists in the eastern province of Van for reporting the throwing of two Kurdish men from a military helicopter. Police raided the journalists' houses, as well as the Van office of the Mesopotamia News Agency, and seized all cameras and technical equipment.
An Ankara court on Sept. 10 ordered OdaTV journalist Müyesser Yıldız to pay 20,000 Turkish Liras in compensation to Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on the grounds of “insulting” him, after she cited a secret witness in a trial related to the coup attempt who said Akar a was a member of the Gülen movement, T24 reported.
An Ankara court on Sept. 8 rejected the appeal against the arrest of OdaTV Ankara News Editor Müyesser Yıldız, who was jailed in June on espionage charges. OdaTV said that the court gave its decision without waiting for Yıldız's lawyer Erhan Tokatlı to attend the hearing.
Top executives of the independent news portal Diken were acquitted of terrorism charges they faced for reporting on anonymous Twitter user Fuat Avni, who accurately predicted several events before they happened. Diken Founder Harun Simavi, Editor-in-chief Erdal Güven and former Deputy Editor-in-chief Semin Sezerer were accused of "aiding a terrorist organization without being a member."
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Yüksel Mansur Kılınç has submitted a draft bill to parliament that proposes giving digital media journalists press cards. The press law in Turkey doesn't allow digital media journalists to have press cards. They also lack significant advantages that print media outlets have.
Journalist Ender İmrek appeared in court on June 24 in the case that he is accused of "insulting" First Lady Emine Erdoğan "by not attributing nice qualities to her" in a piece that he criticized her for using a Hermes handbag worth $50,000. "This is a crime that doesn't exist. According to the indictment, not praising Emine Erdoğan is equal to insulting her," İmrek told the court.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has once again targeted a journalist over a report revealing nepotism in the municipality in the Black Sea province of Trabzon that's run by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Soylu, who on May 18 targeted journalist Müyesser Yıldız - who was arrested a short while later - on Twitter, praised the couple in the story, while slamming journalist Saygı Öztürk.
International press groups, including the International Press Institute (IPI), PEN International and Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA), on June 15 urged Turkey to release Kurdish journalist Nedim Türfent from prison ahead of June 21 that marks his 1,500th day behind bars. "We call on Turkish authorities once again to stop this injustice!" they said.
Forty-five prominent rights groups have urged Turkey to release journalist Nedim Türfent ahead of his 1500th day in jail on June 21. "Evidently, he is imprisoned for simply doing his job as a journalist, and he must be released, unconditionally and without delay," Salil Tripathi, Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee said.
A court has ruled for the arrest of Oda TV Ankara News Editor Müyesser Yıldız four days after she was detained over "political and military espionage." TELE 1 Ankara correspondent İsmail Dükel, who was detained on the same day, was released on condition of judicial control.
Turkish police on June 8 detained two journalists, TELE 1 Ankara correspondent İsmail Dükel and Oda TV Ankara News Editor Müyesser Yıldız, over unknown reasons. According to Oda TV, Yıldız was detained as part of an ongoing military espionage case launched by Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office. It also said that searches were carried out at her house and all of her digital materials were seized.
duvar englis podcasts
In this edition of Turkey: The Long View, Duvar English columnist Luke Frostick is joined by the president of P.E.N. Turkey, an international organization dedicated to protecting the rights of writers around the world.
Editor's Pick
duvar englis podcasts
Duvar English’s editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel and pollster Can Selçuki discuss whether the recent crackdown on the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) portends a possible closure case against the party. They attempt to analyze who in the Turkish political landscape would benefit from antagonizing Kurdish voters; President Erdoğan or his alliance partner Mr. Bahçeli or both?
Politics
Turkey's Presidential Symphony Orchestra will thrive thanks to the completion of its long-awaited music hall, Conductor Cemi'i Can Deliorman said. Having been in the works for 25 years, the music hall's large auditorium can seat more than two thousand viewers.
A committee of main opposition CHP politicians said that the construction of a visitors' center on southeast Turkey's iconic Mount Nemrut was a betrayal to nature. The CHP committee noted that the site was pending assignment as a UNESCO geopark and that the construction was putting it in jeopardy.
The NATO has criticized a possible test by Turkey of its Russian-made S-400 missile launcher and stepped up calls on Ankara to opt for a different defense system. “Any test of the S-400 air defense system by Turkey, if confirmed, would be regrettable. It is important Turkey continues to work with other allies to find alternative solutions," it said in a statement.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu sent congratulatory messages to HDP co-chairs Mithat Sancar and Pervin Buldan on the party's eighth foundation anniversary. "I underline once again that we will never give up on building peace and fraternity," İmamoğlu said.
Five health workers have died of COVID-19 in just one day, the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) said on Oct. 18, as it criticized the government for not being able to manage the pandemic properly. The names of the health workers were revealed as Dr. Salih Kanlı, Dr. Turan Yıldırım, Ferhat Gencer, Harun Dönmez and Yasemin Çolak. The number of health workers who died of COVID-19 in the past eight days rose to 13.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has cancelled his planned visit to Turkey after Ankara said it was restarting operations of a survey ship that it withdrew last month. Maas said that Ankara's renewed push "severely damaged" the atmosphere of trust and said that Turkey can't have any interest in the long-term continuation of the conflicts that it's involved in.
Denizli Governor Ali Fuat Atik has prompted fury for ordering a restaurant to be closed because a waiter working there didn't recognize him. Following criticism on social media, Atik apologized, saying that he was saddened by his approach to the man. Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu also commented on the incident, saying that he found it appropriate for the governor to apologize.
Some 2,500 academics worldwide, including famed international scholars Judith Butler, Noam Chomsky, Silvia Federici, Etienne Balibar and Enzo Traverso, have signed a petition for Turkey to release Cihan Erdal, a PhD candidate and researcher at Carleton University in Canada and an LGBT activist, who was detained in Istanbul on Sept. 25.
A show owner in Denizli has told the governor of the province that he wants to die because of the worsening economy when asked why he was not wearing a mask. "I've had enough. I want to die. Look at the economy. I gained 15 liras on Tuesday and 100 liras on Wednesday. What use does it have even if that 100 liras is all profit?" the shop owner said.
In the government's latest attempt to criminalize the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), summary of proceedings have been prepared against 18 of its deputies, bringing charges against them for attending demonstrations and for making statements including the word "Kurdistan."
Osman Kavala remains behind bars as one of Turkey's most high-profile political prisoners, while President Erdoğan appointed the prosecutor who prepared Kavala's indictment to the post of Deputy Justice Minister. The appointment came within seven days of the indictment's preparation, and removed the prior appointee by presidential decree.
Hale Gönültaş reports: Turkey's financial crimes unit has determined that Afghan criminals engaged in drug smuggling and in the funding of terror operations are exploiting Afghan refugees in Turkey via bank transfers. As migrants are unable to transport large sums of money and often cannot open bank accounts in Turkey, they rely on moneychangers who transfer cash for a fee, and this is usually the only option.
A missile was fired into the sky on Oct. 16 on Turkey's Black Sea coast where the military was expected to test its Russian-made S-400 defense systems, according to local video obtained by Reuters. "If confirmed, we would condemn in the strongest terms the S-400 test missile launch as incompatible with Turkey’s responsibilities as a NATO  Ally and strategic partner of the United States," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.
Health Ministry failed to deliver an Oct. 15 data release that was designed to offset the repercussions of the revelation that Ankara's official COVID-19 numbers had been excluding asymptomatic patients. The ministry said that Fahrettin Koca's promise to release all data starting on Oct. 15 had been "misunderstood," and that they would only share certain numbers with the WHO.
Former President Abdullah Gül said that he was "appalled" by the attacks on Turkey's Constitutional Court, the most recent of which accused a member of threatening a military coup. The coup debate closely followed discussions on overhauling the Constitutional Court, which many members of the governing bloc in Ankara voiced support for.
Alterations on Istanbul's iconic Hagia Sophia reportedly violated guidelines mandated under the site's "UNESCO World Heritage" status. Converted within two weeks of the legal ruling that allowed Muslim worship, the ancient structure's mosaics were unlawfully covered up, and any work on it was deemed practically impossible, architectural publication Mimarlık Magazine reported.
Economy
President Erdoğan on Oct. 17 announced the discovery of an additional 85 billion cubic meters of natural gas in the Black Sea, following a similar find in August. As a result of testing, analysis and detailed engineering work, another 85 billion cubic meters were added to the reserves we had discovered. The total amount of natural gas reserves in the TUNA-1 well of the Sakarya Gas Field reached 405 billion cubic meters," Erdoğan said.
Turkish exporters are struggling with shrinking markets as Morocco appears to have joined the countries that are effectively boycotting all products made in Turkey. Sources from the Moroccan Ministry of Trade indicate that measures have been put in place to prevent unfair competition from Turkish textile producers who are dominating the local market.
Data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) revealed a dip in real estate sales vis-a-vis last year in September, dropping by 6.9 percent for some 136,744 residences sold. Meanwhile, the total volume of sales between January and September was larger than the number in 2019.
Urban Beat
Kurdish artist Zehra Doğan's work that she created during her two prison sentences between 2016 and 2019 are on display in Turkey for the first time. The artist was jailed on terrorism charges and gained international fame after finishing her second sentence and holding a show at London's Tate Modern.
CHP deputy Mustafa Adıgüzel has found a lost letter penned by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Turkey's founding father, to a U.S. child called Curtis La France. "My advice to the intelligent and hardworking children of the U.S. is to not perceive everything they hear about Turks as true and attach importance to basing their opinions on scientific and sound examinations. I wish you success and happiness," Atatürk said in the letter.
The 39th Istanbul Film Festival will offer viewings both online and in-person, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) noted. While tickets will become available on Oct. 2, showings will start a week later and last for 10 days.