Turkish journalist Melis Alphan faces terror charges for sharing picture from 2015 Newroz

Journalist Melis Alphan faces over seven years in jail on terrorism charges for sharing a picture from the 2015 Newroz celebrations in southeastern Diyarbakır. The celebration was completely legal and was broadcast across national television.

A Diyarbakır Newroz celebration from previous years is seen in this file photo.

Duvar English

A prosecutor has accused journalist Melis Alphan of making terrorism propaganda for sharing a picture from the 2015 Newroz celebrations in majority-Kurdish Diyarbakır.

"A lawsuit was filed against me as a result of an utter-nonsense investigation," Alphan tweeted on Jan. 13. "I will be tried in the Istanbul 32nd Heavy Penal Court for propagating terrorism for a Newroz photo I shared six years ago. The aim is to silence me."

"Do you think I would care if you put me in prison?" she asked, while adding that the investigation was launched due to a Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) flag being visible in the picture. 

The images in Alphan's posts from the Newroz celebration were simultaneously broadcast across mainstream media outlets, Alphan had noted after the investigation into her social media started.

The posts about Newroz, celebrated most widely among Turkey's Kurdish community, have become criminal elements as a result of the change in the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) approach to Kurds in Turkey, Alphan has also said previously. 

Any activity related to Kurdish politics, culture, or even language, can be used as grounds for legal action against the government's critics in AKP's Turkey.

At the time of the 2015 Newroz celebrations, the state was in the midst of "peace talks" with the PKK, which collapsed later that year.