Turkish court arrests journalist over reporting on judicial corruption

A Turkish court on Nov. 1 arrested journalist Tolga Şardan of the online news outlet T24 for his reporting on the corruption of the Turkish judiciary. Journalist Dinçer Gökçe from Halk TV was also detained and later released on the same day for “overt propagation of misleading information.” 

This collage shows Dinçer Gökçe (L) and Tolga Şardan while being detained (R)

Duvar English

An Istanbul Court on Nov. 1 arrested journalist Tolga Şardan for “overt propagation of misleading information” in his reporting on corruption of the Turkish judiciary. Journalist Dinçer Gökçe from Halk TV, on the other hand, was detained on the same day and released under judicial control measures regarding the same charge. 

Police searched Şardan's Ankara residence after detaining him from there earlier in the day. 

Şardan’s Oct. 31-dated article “What is in the Jurisdiction Report the MİT submitted to the Presidency?” outlined the content of a National Intelligence Agency (MİT) report which drew attention to the malpractice allegations at the Bakırköy Courthouse in Istanbul.  

Şardan made a brief statement as police took him to prison. "We are journalists, we will continue being journalists," he said.

On the same day, the Bakırköy prosecutor’s office detained Gökçe, editor of online news outlet Halk TV for Oct. 26-dated reporting “Release verdict for brothers charged with mob leadership.” The statement released by the prosecutor’s office claimed that the news content was “false and misleading information that aimed to discredit the judiciary in the public eye.”

Head of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu criticized the detainment of journalists on his social media. He said, "The [Presidential] Palace has turned jurisdiction into its own playground, suspended the honest and hardworking judges and prosecutors, and is now after journalists. Instead of investigating the allegations in the MİT report, this prosecutor detains journalist Tolga Şardan who has exposed this corruption. The journalists must be released immediately."