Chronology of Events

June 2012

29 June 2012

Publishers call for action against the head of library
Source:  Hurriyetdaily
Date: 29 June 2012
The Turkish Publishers’ Union issued a written statement yesterday about the Elazığ Public Library’s ban of the theater magazine Mimesis.

27 June 2012

Source:  Indexoncensorship
Date: 27 June 2012
A court in Turkey has sentenced a man with speech and hearing impairments to eight years in prison for spreading propaganda on behalf of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Court Sentences Singer to Two Years in Prison for Speech
Source:  Bianet
Date: 27 June 2012
A specially authorized court in the eastern province of Malatya sentenced Kurdish-Alevi singer Ferhat Tunç to two years in prison on terrorism related charges due to his invocation of the names of deceased Turkish leftists during a speech on May 1, 2011.

Journalists Protest Police Raid into Their Offices
Source:  Bianet
Date: 27 June 2012
Employees of the Atılım Newspaper and the Etkin news agency (ETHA) staged a protest in Istanbul’s Taksim Square on Tuesday by selling newspapers on the street in response to a police raid into their offices the same day.

Singer sentenced to two years in prison
Source:  IFEX
Date: 27 June 2012
A special court in the province of Malatya sentenced Kurdish-Alevi singer Ferhat Tunc to two years in prison on terrorism-related charges because he referred to three deceased Turkish leftists in a speech that he gave in May 2011. 
The decision was unexpected and politically motivated, Tunc told BIANET. Lawyer Ercan Kanar, who represents Tunc in court, said the court also convicted his client on the claim that he was making propaganda for the Maoist Communist Party (MKP) because of a reference he made to Ibrahim Kaypakkaya during the speech. 

Tunc said his statements ought to be regarded as freedom of speech. Such a verdict represents a worrying development for democracy and freedoms in Turkey right at a time when the status of special courts has come under question, he added.

“I was invited to the festivities in Dersim (Tunceli) on May 1 last year as an independent deputy candidate of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP.) I was put on trial because I had said 'I greet you all in the revolutionary spirit of Deniz Gezmis, Mahir Cayan and Ibrahim Kaypakkaya,' during the speech I delivered there. Based on this statement, [authorities] then claimed I was making propaganda on behalf of the Maoist Communist Party (MKP) without being a member of it,” Tunc said. 

The court's verdict has smothered universal principles of law, according to Kanar. The decision also demonstrated the extent that freedoms of thought and expression have been dismantled under fire by way of special courts, he said. 

“This verdict goes to show that Turkey is almost revisiting the state of emergency in the 1990s and the period of martial law in the 1980s,” Kanar said. They were going to appeal the decision to Turkey's Supreme Court of Appeals, he said. If the Supreme Court of Appeals also ratifies the verdict, however, then the defendant party will bring the case before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR,) lawyer Kanar added. 

Kanar said they were certain the ECHR would convict Turkey as in previous cases, as the court issued the verdict solely because of Tunc's invocation of Ibrahim Kaypakkaya's name.

26 June 201

UN Action Plan to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists
Source:  Bianet
Date: 26 June 2012
The United Nations’ (UN) Special Rapporteur Frank La Rue announced they were working on an action plan to end impunity for crimes committed against journalists and welcomed the IFEX’s decision to mark Nov. 24 as the International Day to End Impunity.

Two More Journalists Under Custody
Source:  Bianet
Date: 26 June 2012
Law enforcement officials detained journalists İbrahim Çiçek and Ziya Ulusoy, as well as Ali Hıdır Polat, an advisor to the head of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP,) on terrorism related charges Sunday.

Nationalist group attacks Taksim transsexual parade
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 26 June 2012 An ultranationalist group attempted to attack participants in Turkey’s third transsexual pride parade in Istanbul’s central Taksim Square on June 24, but police stopped the group before anyone suffered serious injuries.

Deaf and mute protester sentenced to eight years' imprisonment
Source: IFEX
Date: 26 June 2012
(BIANET/IFEX) - A court in the southern province of Adana sentenced speech and hearing impaired Mehmet Tahir Ilhan to eight years and four months in prison for spreading propaganda on behalf of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), and sentenced Ugur K., another suspect in the same trial, to 11 years and 11 months in prison, according to the Firat news agency.
Mehmet Tahir Ilhan, 37, and Ugur K. had been in pre-trial detention for a year on the grounds they had attended a demonstration in the southern province of Mersin on April 2011.
Ilhan, a porter at the local food market, issued his plea in court through the a sign language translator and said that a friend of his among the demonstrators on the street had called him in, after he had encountered them by chance.
The police intervened in the crowd right at this time, he said, adding that he had purchased the scarf that bore red, green, cream and orange colors, and which he was wearing at the time of the demonstration, from the food market.
Ilhan also said that he was not involved in the stone throwing and Molotov cocktail attacks and requested that he be released on the grounds there was no one else to look after his family. Ugur K. also rejected the claims against him. The court went on to sentence Ilhan to eight years and four months behind bars on charges of “committing a crime on behalf of a terrorist organization without being a member,” “making propaganda for the PKK,” “resisting security forces to prevent them from fulfilling their duties” and “contravening the Law of Assembly and Demonstration” in accordance with the 314th article of the Turkish Penal Code and the Seventh article of the Anti-Terror Law. The court also sentenced Ugur K. to 11 years and 11 months in prison.
The prosecutor had requested a total of 25 years in prison for Ilhan. “He involuntarily mixed in with the demonstrators after he left the food market for home. I am in tatters with my children [now,]” said Necmiye Ilhan, his wife and a mother of six. Lawyer Tugay Bek also said the charges leveled against his hearing and speech impaired client were incompatible with reason and logic.
“Ilhan is hearing and speech impaired from birth, and he is illiterate. It is impossible for him to accompany the slogans. It is incompatible with reason and logic that such accusations be leveled against the suspect who has absolutely no physical capacity to spread propaganda for the [PKK,]” Lawyer Bek said, adding they were going to appeal the verdict.

22 June 2012

Journalist Bedri Adanır Still Under Arrest After Three Years
Source:  Bianet
Date: 22 June 2012
Journalist Bedri Adanır’s lawyers requested more time from the court where he is standing trial to avert a possible guilty verdict, as Parliament left deliberations on the Third Judicial Reform Package dragging until October. The next hearing is scheduled for Sept. 13.

Court Sentences Mute Suspect to Eight Years for Making Propaganda
Source:  Bianet
Date: 22 June 2012
A court in the southern province of Adana ruled to sentence speech and hearing impaired Mehmet Tahir İlhan to eight years and four months in prison for making propaganda on behalf of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK.)

21 June 2012

“I Testify That My Friend is a Journalist”
Source:  Bianet
Date: 21 June 2012
Journalists once more gathered before the Istanbul Courthouse to lend their support for their colleagues behind bars as the “Witness Days” initiated by the Freedom for Journalists Platform (GÖP) entered its 12th day.

Racist Twitter attack on Turkish player is 'revolting': German minister
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 21 June 2012
German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich has decried recent racist attacks over Twitter against Turkish-German football player Mesut Özil, describing the comments as "revolting," private broadcaster NTV reported on its website.

Source: RSF
Date: 21 June 2012
Reporters Without Borders is outraged that only one of the five Oda TV journalists still in detention, reporter Müyesser Ugur, was released during the 12th hearing in their trial in Istanbul on 18 June and that the other four – Oda TV owner Soner Yalçin, managing editor Baris Pehlivan, news director Baris Terkoglu and reporter Yalçin Küçük – are now beginning their 16th month in detention.,42844.html

20 June 2012

Journalist in Oda TV trial released from prison
Source: IFEX
Date: 20 June 2012
(IPI/IFEX) - ISTANBUL, June 19, 2012 – The International Press Institute (IPI) today welcomed the release of another journalist from prison in Turkey and urged the country to free the rest of the nearly 100 journalists it currently holds behind bars, the vast majority of whom have been convicted of no crime.

19 June 2012

Magazine journalists to honor Ahmet Kaya
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 19 June 2012
The Magazine Journalists Association (MGD) has unveiled a special new honor named after the late Ahmet Kaya as a posthumous apology to the singer after he was attacked at the group’s 1999 awards for declaring his wish to write songs in Kurdish.

Turkish journalist released in OdaTV case
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 19 June 2012
Müyesser Yıldız, a journalist who had been held under arrest as a suspect in the OdaTV case for the past 16 months, was released from custody late June 18.

Turkey Releases Another Journalist
Source: IPI: International Press Institute 
Date: 19 June 2012
Proceedings in ‘Oda TV’ Case Resume, But Still No Report on Key Evidence 
Photo: Steven M. Ellis/IPI
ISTANBUL, June 19, 2012 – The International Press Institute (IPI) today welcomed the release of another journalist from prison in Turkey and urged the country to free the rest of the nearly 100 journalists it currently holds behind bars, the vast majority of whom have been convicted of no crime.

A court in Istanbul late yesterday afternoon ordered the release of Muyesser Yildiz – who had been imprisoned for 16 months – following the resumption of proceedings in the “Oda TV trial” after a three-month pause.

The case is named for a news website that has been fiercely critical of the government. Prosecutors say the website was at the centre of a purported effort to use the media to advance the alleged “Ergenekon” plot to use terrorism to sow chaos that would lead elements of the military and security services to stage a coup against Turkey’s current Justice and Development Party (AKP)-led government.

The head of IPI’s Turkish National Committee, Milliyet columnist Kadri Gursel, said: “The release of Muyesser Ugur Yildiz yesterday following the latest hearing in the Oda TV case is a positive, but small, step. Positive, because she was kept most of the time during her 16 months in custody in conditions of isolation, despite her poor health. It’s a small step, however, because there are other journalists who still remain in custody in the same case. This case, where the accused have effectively been questioned and put on trial for their journalistic activities, has put a dark stain on the reputation of the Turkish justice system, which has criminalized journalism.”

Yildiz was released from the Silivri prison outside Istanbul last night and joins five co-defendants in the case who are currently free pending trial. IPI World Press Freedom Hero Nedim Sener, along with journalists Ahmet Sik, Sait Cakir and Coskun Musluk, was released in March, while Dogan Yurdakul was freed in late February for health reasons. Four other journalists and authors in the case – Soner Yalcin, Yalcin Kucuk, Baris Pehlivan and Baris Terkoglu – remained behind bars yesterday. 

The defendants were all taken into custody in early March 2011. Although their trial began in November, it has been punctuated by numerous delays. Observers said yesterday that no end appeared in sight given that a government agency still has not given the court its report on a key piece of evidence – an assessment requested some five months ago.

The government contends that documents found on computers following a February 2011 raid of Oda TV’s offices provide evidence of the alleged plot, and they have centred their case on those documents, as well as on news reports and writings by the defendants and on snippets of wiretapped telephone conversations. The defendants allege that the documents were fabricated and placed on the computers by hackers. They have submitted experts’ conclusions supporting that argument, but the court asked the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) to conduct an independent analysis. As of yesterday, the court still had not received that report.

Some of the defendants’ supporters, citing alleged weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, accused authorities of intentionally withholding the report in order to “punish” the defendants by delaying the trial’s conclusion. They claimed there was little, if any, evidence linking all of the defendants other than past criticism of the Fethullah Gulen religious movement.

The Gulen movement is named for its leader, a Turkish author, educator and Muslim scholar who fled the country in 1999 for Pennsylvania shortly before he was accused of attempting to overthrow the government. The group was at one time a base of support for current Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but a rift has reportedly developed between the movement and the AKP. 

Critics say the movement’s members occupy high positions in Turkey’s judiciary and some accuse it of being the “new deep state”, a reference to the traditional label identifying an alleged group of influential anti-democratic forces within the government purportedly made up of high-level elements within security and intelligence services, the military and the judiciary.

In Rome, Don't Be Different, Be One Of Us!
Source: The Istanbulian
Date: 19 June 2012
What is the most dangerous trend in our world?
I believe that it is the increasingly popularized attitude, which can be summarized with the following motto:
"Don't be different. Be one of us."

8 June 2012

Yıldırım: Turkey among top ten countries in Europe in terms of internet usage.
Source: TRT
Date: 08.06.2012
Transport, Navigation and Communication Minister Binali Yıldırım said that Turkey is among the top 10 countries in Europe in terms of internet usage.
Binali Yıldırım was presented the honorary doctorate title by Pamukkale University in Denizli.

7 June 2012

Armenian- Turkish journalist Dink's verdict goes to Court of Appeals
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 7 June 2012
The court verdict in the case of the murder of Hrant Dink was sent to the Supreme Court of Appeals yesterday.

6 June 2012

Journalists, unions stand watch for jailed colleagues in Turkey
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 6 June 2012
Dozens of journalists and activists came together before an Istanbul court to “act as witnesses to the innocence” of imprisoned journalists yesterday.

“All Journalists Here Are Witnesses”
Source:  Bianet
Date: 6 June 2012
Journalists attested for their imprisoned colleagues Çağdaş Kaplan, Mustafa Balbay, Naciye Yavuz, Ömer Faruk Çalışkan and Sultan Şaman as part of the “Witness Days” initiated by the Freedom for Journalists Platform (GÖP.)

5 June 2012

1 TV employee dies, 1 injured in car accident
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 5 June 2012
A Kanal D technical service employee, Harun Baydar, died in a car accident late June 3 after a drunk driver hit his vehicle on Eskişehir Avenue. Kanal D reporter Yasemin Doğan was also seriously injured in the accident.

1 June 2012

Magazine for disabled in difficulty
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 1 June 2012
Turkey’s first magazine for visually challenged people is having difficulties due to lack of financial support, its owner said.