Turkish prosecutor describes news outlets critical of gov't as 'so-called'

A Turkish prosecutor dubbed three news outlets critical of the government, Demokrat Haber, the daily Evrensel and Bianet, "so-called media outlets that are sponsored by the PKK."

Duvar English

The Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor's Office called the news outlets critical of the government, Demokrat Haber, Evrensel daily and Bianet, "so-called media outlets" that are supposedly backed by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), accepted as a terrorist organization by Ankara.

The prosecutor said the news outlets were "so-called media outlets" in an indictment into journalist Cihan Ölmez, in which he's accused of conducting terrorist propaganda, Mesopotamia Agency reported on April 13.  

Ölmez was detained in October 2020 as part of a mass investigation conducted by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor's Office for sharing news stories where he was quoted as a source. 

Ölmez was quoted to say in 2016 that "journalists are only alive by luck" in southeastern Cizre, that journalists in the heavy military conflict zone were "making historical records" and that he was no longer the same person after witnessing the army operations. 

Ölmez was also quoted to liken the conflict between the PKK and the Turkish army in Cizre in 2016 to a war, which the prosecutor's office said was a criminal act because it "legitimized terrorism by giving the impression that the events that took place were a massacre."

The prosecutor's office asked for Ölmez's sentencing also for praising violent methods and scheduled the first hearing of the case for July 13. 

Meanwhile, Ölmez said that the indictment against him was merely another attempt by the government to "terrorize anyone who isn't conducting propaganda in their favor." 

Terrorism charges are commonly deployed by Turkish prosecutors against critics of the government and against those who defend human rights.