Journalists in Turkey
Turkish law enforcement detained some 38 journalists in the first eight months of 2020, a report by the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) revealed. Meanwhile, access to 53 news stories and 75 websites was blocked. Charges of insulting the president resulted in the detention of 24 people, the arrest of three and an investigation into one person.
A report penned by CHP lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu has said that 29 journalists, writers and publishers have received jail terms during January-September period of this year, 20 of whom have been arrested. "The animosity against journalists that is on the rise during the AKP rule is due to the government's stance against freedom of press,” Tanrıkulu said.
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.
Turkish court orders journalist Yıldız to compensate Defense Minister over reporting deemed ‘insulting’
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.
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."
Jailed journalist Murat Ağırel refused healthcare after being forced to wait for hours in large crowds. He was taken to an infirmary instead of a hospital, and transferred in handcuffs.
A Turkish public prosecutor ruled sexual assault threats against journalist Nevşin Mengü, politician Canan Kaftancıoğlu, lawyer Feyza Altun and actress Berna Laçin were "harsh criticism." The court said they didn't have legal grounds to prosecute the defendant for making a threat.
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.
A Turkish court on June 16 arrested Voice of America reporter Arif Aslan hours after he was detained in the southeastern province of Van. The reason for the detention and arrest remains unknown. Media reports said that he was arrested over a previous case into him.