Chronology of Events

December 2011

30 December 2011

BİA Media Monitoring Report 2011 - Third Quarter Full Text
In July, August and September 2011, 66 journalists were in jail, 11 of whom because of their writings and utterances. 13 people are facing imprisonment of 334.5 years in total. Most of the trials are based on Articles 7/2 of the Anti Terror Law and 314 and 220 of the Criminal Law.

29 December 2011

Journalist Mavioğlu Acquitted
Radikal daily editor Ertuğrul Mavioğlu has been acquitted on charges related to an interview he made with the rebel group PKK's leader Murat Karayılan.
Journalist Ertuğrul Mavioğlu has been acquitted at the trial where he was charged with "making propaganda of a terrorist organization". He argued that conducted interviews is a part of his profession and the court ruled that he had no intention of committing a crime when talking to the head of the rebel Kurdish group PKK.

Court acquits journalist who interviewed jurdish separatist
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders hails journalist Ertugrul Mavioglu’s acquittal by an Istanbul court today on a charge of “propaganda in support of a terrorist organization” for interviewing Murat Karayilan of the Union of Kurdistan Communities (KCK), which the authorities regard as the urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Listening to the 'Real' Egemen Bağış
29 DECEMBER 2011
The Istanbulian
Egemen Bağış, Turkey's EU Minister, visited Hürriyet today.
With other newsroom editors, I also had the opportunity to ask a couple of questions, regarding the EU negotiations, as well as other foreign policy issues like the genocide denial law in France.

28 December 2011

IPI reviews 10 states with poor press freedom records, on whose strategic support the West depends
At the close of the year, the International Press Institute (IPI) takes a look at 10 states that have poor records on press freedom, but on whose strategic support the west depends. These 'Friends' of the West, Enemies of Press Freedom are listed in no particular order below. TURKEY
Relations between the west and Turkey - a NATO member since 1952 and still theoretically a candidate to join the European Union - have cooled in recent years, but U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta earlier this month said on a visit to Turkey that the country remains a "key ally". Western powers have often turned to Turkey, which serves as a bridge between the west and the Muslim world, for help in supporting the transitions to democracy in Iraq, Egypt and Libya, and in confronting the regimes in Syria and Iran. Press Freedom Enemy:
Turkey presented one of the worst press freedom pictures in Europe, with a judge from the European Court of Human Rights saying in November that the country had taken the lead among Council of Europe members in violations of freedom of expression, including press freedom. The Freedom for Journalists Platform, an umbrella group representing 94 national and local groups in Turkey, said early this month that the government was holding 64 journalists in jail, a number that increased last week with the arrest of 29 Kurdish journalists following raids across the country that have heightened an ongoing climate of fear. Most jailed journalists are accused of terrorism-related offences, often on the grounds of spreading propaganda. While the majority are accused of ties to banned Kurdish or Marxist groups, the government has implicated a significant number in the ongoing probe of the alleged "Ergenekon" plot by secularists and ultra-nationalists to use terrorism to overthrow the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)-led government.

Time for Turkish Prosecutions to End, Says EFJ President
Independent journalism in Turkey cannot survive unless action is taken to halt the use of anti-terror laws to silence journalists. That's the message from the President of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) after the latest trials of some of the dozens of journalists currently behind bars in Turkey.

Tweeting from court
This week a few important court cases were continuing in Turkey. In Istanbul there was a hearing in the case against the murderers of Hrant Dink (read some more here and here) and also the Balyoz case continued (read more here), in Diyarbakir the KCK trials continued (more info in the same article). In another Istanbul court room, the case against jailed journalists Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener was starting. All important cases, in which the reliablility of the judicial system in Turkey is at stake. Unfortunately, I, and some others, got a bit distracted from the importance of these cases.

27 December 2011

Journalists' trial moves forward
Journalists gather outside the Caglayan Justice Palace in Istanbul on 22 November for the start of a hearing in the Oda TV case.
International Press Institute (IPI) World Press Freedom Hero Nedim Sener and nine other Turkish journalists accused in the Oda TV case of aiding a coup plot remained in custody yesterday as their trial moved forward.

26 December 2011

Police arrests 40 journalists on suspicion of being Kurdish separatist links
Reporters Without Borders
Update: One the night of 23 December, an Istanbul court ruled that the 35 journalists and media workers who were arrested in a series of raids three days earlier must remain in detention until their trial, for which no date has so far been set. They are accused of membership of the Union of Kurdistan Communities (KCK), an umbrella group allegedly linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

23 December 2011

Responding to Turkey's appalling press freedom record CPJ
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would like to take credit for Turkey's economic growth and increasing regional influence, but when challenged on his country's abysmal  press freedom record he tends to blame others, including the media itself which, he says, exaggerates the problem.

22 December 2011

Editor of "Yeni Musavat" receives death threats for republishing article
On 21 December 2011, the founder of the "Yeni Musavat" newspaper, Rauf Arifoglu, reported to IRFS that his editorial office has repeatedly received insulting and threatening phone calls. 

According to Arifoglu, an unknown person who has alternately identified himself as "Erdogan" and "Kurdish son" verbally abused both Arifoglu and Nasimi, the author of an article published in the newspaper under the title "Apprehended terrorist reveals shameful life of PKK" , and issued death threats against them. 
"The article was originally published in the 'Milliyet' newspaper operating in Turkey. Moreover, the online and print media in Turkey reported on it. It is not clear why this person targeted 'Yeni Musavat'. If this person is disappointed, he should go to the press outlets that originally published the news," said Arifoglu. 

Arifoglu appealed to law enforcement bodies requesting that they find and bring the individual behind the threats to justice. 

"Yeni Musavat" has been publishing daily since 1989.  

CPJ condemns journalist arrests

In a letter to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, CPJ condemns the arrests of as many as 29 journalists and the ongoing media repression in Turkey: 

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan 
Ceyhun Atif Kansu Caddesi No. 122 
Ankara, Turkey 
Via facsimile: +90 312 473 64 55 

Dear Prime Minister Erdogan, 

The Committee to Protect Journalists is writing to condemn the arrests of as many as 29 journalists in raids on Tuesday as well as the ongoing media repression that has earned Turkey a reputation as one of the world's worst press freedom violators and done grave damage to the consolidation of Turkish democracy. 

In coordinated raids that stretched from Istanbul to Diyarbakir, and from Ankara to Izmir, police detained 40 individuals, according to state-run media. News reports said many are journalists, although the precise number is not clear. So far, CPJ has been able to identify 29 journalists by name and affiliation, and it continues to examine 11 others. Your government claims that the operation targets "the press and propaganda" arm of the Union of Kurdistan Communities (KCK), but it provides no evidence supporting this assertion. Authorities maintain that the KCK is the "urban wing" of the banned Kurdistan Workers Party, a claim that has been widely disputed.


21 December 2011

Journalists in Police Custody - Crackdowns on Homes and Offices
More than 25 journalists were taken into police custody on 21 December during crackdowns on offices of news agencies and newspapers in several cities. The raids and custodies are part of the "KCK operation".

Morning raids sweep up pro-Kurdish journalists nationwide
At least 25 journalists were among more than 40 people arrested in a nationwide sweep in Turkey yesterday, allegedly for having links to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), report the IPS Communication Foundation (BIANET), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The arrests bring the number of journalists in Turkish jails to more than 90, making Turkey one of the world's worst for detaining journalists, says BIANET. 

Turkish journalist sends message from prison

World press freedom hero Nedim Sener extends wish for “A world of freedom”
International Press Institute (IPI) World Press Freedom Hero Nedim Şener, a Turkish investigative journalist and writer and winner of the Freedom of Expression Award, last week sent holiday greetings to colleagues and supporters from the Silivri prison.

EFJ Condemns New Wave of Repression, Arrests of Journalists in Turkey IFJ
Today the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) condemned the arrest of 38 journalists in Turkey, after a massive police operation that took place yesterday (see full list below).
"We are shocked by the scale of this latest example of state repression against journalists in Turkey" said EFJ President Arne König. "It shows again that despite public declarations about democratic standards by the Turkish authorities, the country is actually becoming one of the worst places in the world for journalists".

TV ratings suspended as TİAK seek alternative

The Television Audience Research Committee (TİAK) has announced that it is severing its agreement with the rating-measurement company AGB Nielsen in a move that has plunged the future of television ratings in Turkey into uncertainty. More:

Strong Reaction to Journalists' Arrest

Thousands gathered in Istanbul and Ankara, protesting the arrest of journalists in relation to the infamous KCK operations. Journalists, MPs, rights activists, union leaders condemn the latest police operation as the final nail on the coffin of freedom of expression in Turkey.

20 December 2011

Turkey arrests journalists in alleged terror plot CNN
Turkish police detained dozens of people in a wave of raids targeting suspected members of the "press and propaganda wing" of a banned Kurdish separatist group accused of committing acts of terrorism, the semi-official Anatolian Agency reported Tuesday.

OSCE media freedom representative asks for justification of mass arrests of journalists in Turkey

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, said she was alarmed by the mass arrests of journalists in Turkey today and called for swift investigations. More:

Journalists among dozens detained in multiple KCK operations
Haber turk Police have detained 36 people in operations carried out against the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), which prosecutors say is a political umbrella organization that includes the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorist organization The detained include a photographer for the French news agency Agence France Presse (AFP) and a reporter from Turkish mainstream daily Vatan, news reports said. 

Turkey must justify widespread arrests of journalists 2 CPJ
The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by reports of the arrests of journalists in a nationwide sweep today in Turkey, and calls on authorities to immediately disclose the names of those detained along with any charges being filed against them.

19 December 2011

OSCE focus on media freedom in Turkey Rapid-TV news
The challenges to media freedom and revisions in the criminal law in Turkey have been under the spotlight following a meeting between Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Dunja Mijatović of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
"We discussed media freedom challenges in Turkey that require immediate attention, more specifically imprisonment of journalists and Internet restrictions," said Mijatović, after her first official visit on 16 December. "I asked the Government to improve the situation of imprisoned journalists, for example, through alternatives to pre-trial detention, such as release on bail."
More: OSCE focus on media freedom in Turkey | News | Rapid TV News

The Committee to Protect Journalists Is Mistaken About Turkey
by the Freedom for Journalists Platform of Turkey

According to the tally of the American Committee to Protect Journalists, there are only eight journalists in jail in Turkey.  We, as members of the Freedom for Journalists Platform, comprised of 94 national and local media associations, would like to point out that this is a grave error, unless of course it is deliberate deception.  We call on the CPJ to correct its mistake.

18 December 2011

DigiSHOCK: Broadcaster is seeking compensation for losses
Haber Turk Officials for biggest digital broadscaster of Turkey (Digiturk): We may apply to the courts to lower the broadcast fee Digiturk, Turkey's biggest digital broadcaster, is seeking compensation from soccer authorities and clubs for losses it says it incurred from a probe into alleged match-fixing, state news agency Anatolia reported. The company, controlled by Cukurova Holding AS, is in talks with the Turkish Football Federation in Istanbul over losses it puts at over $100 million, the agency reported, citing unidentifiedDigiturk officials. 

Journalist associations slam CHP member for attacking reporter
Professional journalist unions and associations have been lambasting Republican People's Party (CHP) Youth Branches President İrfan İnanç Yıldız after he threatened a parliamentary reporter from the Bugün daily and verbally harassed her.
On Friday, CHP Youth Branches President Yıldız, together with an aide to a CHP deputy, angrily walked into the parliament office of the Bugün daily to confront Bugün reporter Ezelhan Üstünkaya about a story she had covered concerning the CHP. The two men started hurling insults at the reporter and threateningly moved towards her. They were stopped by other journalists in the press hall of Parliament, and although they later apologized, media organizations say apologizing is not enough.

AGB founder sold TV ratings company in face of network pressure

A businessman who was one of the founding partners of the AGB television ratings company, which is currently at the heart of a ratings scandal, has said he and his partners were forced to sell the company in the face of pressure from network owners and producers to present ratings for their stations and shows higher than they actually are.

17 December 2011

The real number of Turkish journalists in prison
Source: Turkeyemergency
Date: 17 December 2011
This is going to be quick, painless and rather easy. The Committee to Protect Journalists has perhaps found the number of journalists imprisoned in Turkey a bit too high to protect, so they’ve gone for a single digit amount – eight. They count the number based on journalists who’re imprisoned for their journalistic activities, yet they’ve included Nedim Şener and Ahmet Şık (rightly), who’re accused of being part of an organisation to overthrow the government. Also, if Şener and Şık made their list, then why didn’t Soner Yalçın, in prison (oh sorry, “judicial custody”) as part of the same investigation. Şık, Şener and Yalçın are all colleagues at OdaTV and were all great journalists and great criticisers of Turkey’s winding road to Islamocapitalist darkness at the helm of the AKP and a religious sect commanded from Pennsylvania. OdaTV’s remaining editors alsoquestioned CPJ’s list (Turkish).

16 December 2011

"Additional Information" Landed Journalist in Jail BİA News Center
Birgün reporter Aşam was sentenced to one year in jail on the grounds of supportive information of a news item published in January this year. Her signature was not under the main news but under a box with additional information.
On 13 December, the Beşiktaş (Istanbul) 10th High Criminal Court sentenced Birgün newspaper reporter İlkem Ezgi Aşam to imprisonment of one year on the grounds of supportive information added to a news item. The verdict was based on Article 6 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) on "identifying officials on anti-terror duties as targets".

Journalist jailed for publishing quotes
Journalist İlkem Ezgi Aşam has been sentenced to a year in prison for publishing a four-sentence quote in daily BirGün. More:


15 December 2011

OSCE media freedom representative expresses concern over detention of journalists and censorship
During her first visit to Turkey, Dunja Mijatovic, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, participated in a panel discussion entitled "Turkey and Freedom of Expression". The event was organized by the Ankara University Faculty of Political Sciences (SBF) and hosted by Ass. Prof Kerem Altiparmak. 

OSCE envoy voices worry on journalists

As international bodies increasingly voice concerns on freedom of press, imprisonment of journalists and Internet restrictions in Turkey, an OSCE representative is currently having talks with Turkish officials, jailed journalists and civic society over the issue. More:

14 December 2011

Turkish police attack on woman caught on CCTV - video The guardian
Two plain-clothes police officers are seen slapping a female prisoner. The incident was captured on a CCTV camera inside a police station in Izmir. The footage was filmed on 16 July and broadcast by Turkish media last week. Fevziye Cengiz, 37, claims she was arrested because she did not have her ID
Video link:

57 Percent of Population Do not Use Internet

According to a study into the "Use of the Internet and Social Media" of the KONDA research company, 57 percent of the Turkish population do not use the internet at all. 41 percent deems it harmful and the section of society using it the least is the electorate of the AKP.

Danish court to decide on Roj TV on January 10

A Danish court will decide on a closure case filed against Roj TV, believed to have ties with terrorist organization PKK, on January 10, 2012.

13 December 2011

How Many Turkish Journalists Are Really Jailed? Simply, Sixty-Four.
The Istanbulian
New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)released its annual prison census, which tracks cases of journalists jailed for their work globally.
The report alleges that Iran is the world’s worst jailer, with 42 journalists behind bars, while "imprisonments were also reported in the stable democracy of Turkey, which was holding eight journalists."

12 December  2011

Myths and Facts: 'Imprisoned Journalists' in Turkey
The Huffington post
As Turkey's accession negotiations with the EU enters their seventh year, alarm bells become louder in the domain of freedom of expression and justice being served for those who are put on trial. Concerns are raised also because of the increasing gap between Ankara and Brussels on the reform process, mainly because the latter has lost almost all leverage over the implementation of the Copenhagen Criteria.

"Free Agenda", Free Press

About 50 journalists and intellectuals sold the Özgür Gündem newspaper on Human Rights day in Istanbul to speak up for press freedom and freedom of expression.

10 December 2011

Darwin censored by the Turkish government's porn filter
Worrying news from Turkey, where a government body has moved to block sites that mention evolution or Charles Darwin.
The Council of Information Technology and Communications (BTK) released the "Secure Internet" filtering system on 22 November.

Journalist says he cannot keep up with trials
Journalist Ertuğrul Mavioğlu said he could not keep up with all the lawsuits filed against him after missing a trial Dec. 8 regarding a news article he wrote in 2008 for the daily Radikal titled “Troops blacklist each other.” More:

09 December 2011

‘48 people on TGS‘s list of arrested journalists are terrorists’
The justice minister has said a list prepared by the Turkish Journalists' Union (TGS) showing 72 journalists under arrest is not correct as it includes 48 members of the PKK, internationally accepted as a terrorist organization.

08  December 2011

Several tallies, one conclusion on Turkish press freedom
Press freedom in Turkey is under assault. Thousands of criminal cases have been filed against reporters, the Criminal Code and Anti-Terrorism Act are used routinely to silence critical news coverage, and Kurdish journalists face constant persecution.

Nedim Şener Acquitted of Charges on "Interesting Scheme"

Journalist Nedim Şener was acquitted in a trial related to the Ergenekon investigation. Charges of breaching the confidentiality of the Ergenekon investigation had been pressed against the detained journalist.

07 December 2011

Ankara tries to defy EU media criticism
Weary of continual EU criticism over Turkey’s media freedom record, EU Minister Bağış says he as well as the PM are uncomfortable of questions.
More: criticism.aspx?pageID=238&nID=8697&NewsCatID=338

ROJ TV promotes PKK, says Danish prosecutor

Denmark-based Roj TV, a broadcaster with alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), is spreading propaganda on behalf of the militant organization, according to a Danish prosecutor.

06 December  2011

Owner of daily newspaper detained in Ergenekon probe
Law enforcement officials detained four people yesterday within the scope of the ongoing Ergenekon probe, including Mehmet Sabuncu, the owner of daily Aydınlık, while around 100 supporters of the Workers’ Party (İP) gathered before Sabuncu’s flat to protest the raid.

05 December 2011

Internet Filtering System Combined with Censorship
The 16th Turkey Internet Conference was held in Izmir last week. Internet censorship and filtering were the themes of more than 100 activities. A free internet was the common demand of internet users and technology developers.

03 December 2011

Am I the First Target of Turkey's Internet Filter
The Istanbulian I'm suspecting that I become the first target of the new "Internet filter," adopted by our democracy-loving government.
Despite all efforts,, which I directed tomy profile, cannot be accessed from Turkey at the moment. It can be accessed in any other country. Neither the domain name registrar, nor Turkish ISPs could help me solve the problem.

2 December 2011

New Internet filtering system condemned as backdoor censorship
Reporters Without Borders
An Internet content filtering system that Turkey’s Information Technologies and Communications Authority (BTK) introduced on 22 November is proving controversial both domestically and abroad. The outcry has coincided with a conference on the Internet in Turkey that began in the southwestern city of Izmir on 30 November.

Anti Terror Law on the Job - Journalists in the Streets
In July, August and September 2011, 66 journalists were in jail, 11 of whom because of their writings and utterances. 13 people are facing imprisonment of 334.5 years in total. Most of the trials are based on Articles 7/2 of the Anti Terror Law and 314 and 220 of the Criminal Law.

"Safety of Life Comes First Before the News"
The Anadolu News Agency sends five reporters to London for a war correspondence training. Journalists' Union President İpekçi commented, "Training for correspondents who report from conflict zones is essential. They also have to contract a life insurance" More:

Why dozens of Turkish journalists are in jail

Political observers who follow Turkish democracy often get confused with the contradictory phenomena they face. On the one hand, Turkey has free and fair elections, competing political parties, a robust civil society and a very colorful media. Moreover, since 2002, successive Justice and Development Party (AKP) governments have realized important liberal reforms that have been hailed by the European Union.

1 December 2011

BİA Media Monitoring Report 2011 Second Quarter - Full Text
BİA News Center
According to the BIA Media Monitoring Report for the second quarter of 2011, 68 journalists went to jail till July, 12 of them because of their news, writings and utterances. Turkish courts decided for prison sentences of 44 years and 8 months in total in April, May and June.

Turkey’s record on press freedom worst among European countries, ECHR Judge says
Remarks come as journalist spends 1000th in detention
Turkey has the worst record on press freedom and freedom of expression among all member states of the Council of Europe, according to a judge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which operates under the Council's auspices.  The Council of Europe has 47 members and includes all sovereign states with territory in Europe, except for Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Vatican City. 

Blockade on the OdaTV Trial

Pointing to "the right to a fair trial" and the "principle of publicity", representatives from national and international rights organizations criticized the congestion at the first hearing of the Oda TV trial. Most of the journalists could not enter the courtroom.