Chronology of Events

March 2012


30 March 2012

Court removes ban on Turkish newspaper
Source:  Hurriyet
Date: 30 March 2012
An Istanbul court overturned today an earlier decision to close daily Özgür Gündem for a month following objections by the daily’s lawyers.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/court-removes-ban-on-turkish-newspaper-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=17268&NewsCatID=339


RedHack Supported KESK Protest - Quarrel at Parliament
Source:  Bianet
Date: 30 March 2012
RedHack hacked the websites of dozens of police directorates all over the country in support of the KESK protest against the education draft law. Demonstrators were constantly exposed to tear gas and water cannons during the two-day protest. The related debate at parliament had to be interrupted twice due to tensions between the MPs.
http://bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/137301-redhack-supported-kesk-protest---quarrel-at-parliament  


15 Years in Jail for 7 Speeches
Source:  Bianet
Date: 30 March 2012
Former BDP Deputy Halis was handed a prison sentence of more than 15.5 years on charges of "membership in an illegal organization" and "propaganda" due to seven speeches he made during his election campaign and term as Member of Parliament.
http://bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/137298-15-years-in-jail-for-7-speeches

29 March 2012

Dink case may go back to trial
Source:  Hurriyet
Date: 29 March 2012
Prosecutor Hikmet Usta has appealed the ruling in the Hrant Dink murder trial, arguing that the crime was an organized hit. 
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/dink-case-may-go-back-to-trial.aspx?pageID=238&nID=17234&NewsCatID=339


Two Journalists Released, 101 still behind Bars
Source:  Bianet
Date: 29 March 2012
The number of imprisoned journalists in Turkey went down to 101. DİHA Batman representative Altan and Diyarbakır representative Kaya were released on 28 March.
http://bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/137265-two-journalists-released-101-still-behind-bars


Freed Turkish journalist at European Parliament
Source:  Hurriyet
Date: 29 March 2012
Journalist Ahmet Şık sharply criticized Turkey’s anti-terrorism laws and the religious Fethullah Gülen community while addressing the Liberal Democrat Group in the European Parliament in Brussels yesterday, only 16 days after his release from prison.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/freed-turkish-journalist-at-european-parliament.aspx?pageID=238&nid=17136&NewsCatID=338

28 March 2012

Atılım Newspaper Seized 3 Times in 1 Month
Source: Bianet
Date: 28 March 2012
The 24 March issue of the weekly Atılım newspaper was confiscated on the grounds of "making propaganda for an illegal organization". Also the issues from 3 and 10 March were seized for the same reason.
http://bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/137239-atilim-newspaper-seized-3-times-in-1-month


Journalist knew about Feb. 28 coup in advance
Source: Todayszaman
Date: 28 March 2012
Veteran journalist Yavuz Donat from the Sabah daily has revealed that he was informed about the Feb. 28, 1997 unarmed military intervention a week in advance by then-Naval Forces Commander Adm. Güven Erkaya during a soccer game.
http://www.todayszaman.com/news-275682-journalist-knew-about-feb-28-coup-in-advance.html


Ahmet Şık speaks about Turkish media in Brussels
Source: Todayszaman
Date: 28 March 2012
Journalist Ahmet Şık, who was recently released pending trial in a coup plot case, has spoke about Turkish media in Brussels and accused Turkish government of trying journalism, not journalists, urging authorities to avoid trying to silence members of Turkish media.
http://www.todayszaman.com/news-275728-ahmet-sik-speaks-about-turkish-media-in-brussels.html


Turkish deputy PM: Missing Turkish journalists in Syria alive
Source: Todayszaman
Date: 28 March 2012
Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ has stated that two Turkish journalists who have been missing in Syria for over half a month are alive. Adem Özköse, a reporter for the İstanbul-based Gerçek Hayat (Real Life) magazine and the Milat daily, arrived in Syria on March 5 with cameraman Hamit Coşkun. The two men were last heard from on March 10.
http://www.todayszaman.com/news-275697-turkish-deputy-pm-missing-turkish-journalists-in-syria-alive.html


Photo journalists receive awards of 2011 competition
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 28 March 2012
Organized by Turkey Photo Journalists Association (TFMD), the “Vakıfbank-TFMD Journalism Photography Competition,” has concluded with an award ceremony. President Abdullah Gül attended to the ceremony, as well as Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek and European Union Minister Egemen Bağış.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/photo-journalists-receive-awards-of-2011-competition.aspx?pageID=238&nid=17013&NewsCatID=341


Daily News staff win journalism awards
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 28 March 2012
Hürriyet Daily News journalists Vercihan Ziflioğlu and Selahattin Sönmez received awards from the Contemporary Journalists Association (ÇGD) at a March 26 ceremony marked by the main opposition leader’s criticism of restrictions on the media.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/daily-news-staff-win-journalism-awards.aspx?pageID=238&nid=17019&NewsCatID=341


Ahmet Şık addresses the European Parliament
Source:  NEWSETC.
Date: 28 March 2012
Habervesaire editor Ahmet Şık addressed the group of Liberal Democrat Coalition at the European Parliament Thursday after spending 376 days in prison in Turkey.
http://en.habervesaire.com/haber/2338/

27 March 2012

Human Rights Foundation threatened, its website hacked
Source: IFEX
Date: 27 March 2012 (BIANET/IFEX) - 22 March 2012 - The website of the Human Rights Foundation (IHD) was subject to a hacker attack on Wednesday, 22 March. The association announced in a statement made on Thursday that the attack was related to the press release entitled "Newroz Piroz Be!" regarding this year's Newroz celebrations.

In the press release published on their website, the IHD condemned the attack on Kurdish politician and MP Ahmet Turk during the celebrations in Batman. The organization had further declared that it would document the rights violations that occurred during the Newroz celebrations in a public report. They demanded the launch of an effective investigation regarding the deaths and injuries.

The IHD believes that the hacking of their website is related to this press release. They announced in their statement, "Condemning the attack against Ahmet Turk is the duty of anybody who wants peace and democracy to be established in this country." It was emphasized that the attackers threatened the organization by stating "one night we might suddenly come".

The IHD requested that the judiciary "take this threat seriously and launch an effective investigation". Twenty-four members and executives of the human rights organization were killed in armed attacks since the IHD was founded in 1986, the organization reminded.

The armed attack on Akin Birdal in 1998, then President of the IHD, was particularly emphasized. On 12 May 1998, two people arrived at the IHD office to talk to Akin Birdal. As they were about to leave, following their discussion, they suddenly turned around and shot at Birdal before they escaped. A total of 13 bullets were shot at Birdal, who was hit by six of them and was taken to a hospital.
http://www.ifex.org/turkey/2012/03/27/ihd_website_hacked/


Journalists Association Urges Kofi Annan for Support
Source: Bianet
Date: 27 March 2012
The Journalists Association of Turkey addressed UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for support to release journalists Coşkun and Özköse who have been missing in Syria since 22 March.
http://bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/137218-journalists-association-urges-kofi-annan-for-support


Human Rights Foundation threatened, its website hacked
Source: IFEX
Date: 27 March 2012
(BIANET/IFEX) - 22 March 2012 - The website of the Human Rights Foundation (IHD) was subject to a hacker attack on Wednesday, 22 March. The association announced in a statement made on Thursday that the attack was related to the press release entitled "Newroz Piroz Be!" regarding this year's Newroz celebrations.

In the press release published on their website, the IHD condemned the attack on Kurdish politician and MP Ahmet Turk during the celebrations in Batman. The organization had further declared that it would document the rights violations that occurred during the Newroz celebrations in a public report. They demanded the launch of an effective investigation regarding the deaths and injuries.

The IHD believes that the hacking of their website is related to this press release. They announced in their statement, "Condemning the attack against Ahmet Turk is the duty of anybody who wants peace and democracy to be established in this country." It was emphasized that the attackers threatened the organization by stating "one night we might suddenly come".

The IHD requested that the judiciary "take this threat seriously and launch an effective investigation". Twenty-four members and executives of the human rights organization were killed in armed attacks since the IHD was founded in 1986, the organization reminded.

The armed attack on Akin Birdal in 1998, then President of the IHD, was particularly emphasized. On 12 May 1998, two people arrived at the IHD office to talk to Akin Birdal. As they were about to leave, following their discussion, they suddenly turned around and shot at Birdal before they escaped. A total of 13 bullets were shot at Birdal, who was hit by six of them and was taken to a hospital.
http://www.ifex.org/turkey/2012/03/27/ihd_website_hacked/


Academic, publisher formally indicted
Source: IFEX
Date: 27 March 2012 (WiPC/IFEX) – 23 March 2012 – Istanbul's chief prosecutor has ordered the indictment of Büşra Ersanlı and Ragıp Zarakolu this week. PEN International's Writers in Prison Committee protests the charges facing the writers and their continuing detention.

On 19 March 2012, Istanbul Public Prosecutor Adnan Çimen issued an indictment charging Professor Ersanlı with "leading an illegal organisation" and publisher Zarakolu with "aiding and abetting an illegal organisation". The prosecutor has demanded between 15 and 22.5 years for Ersanlı and 7.5 and 15 years for Zarakolu. The 2,400-page indictment was sent to the Istanbul 15th High Criminal Court and includes a total of 193 defendants, 147 of whom are currently in detention.

Background:
Professor Büşra Ersanlı and Ragıp Zarakolu were arrested on 28 October 2011. Forty one people were also arrested around the same time under what is known as the Democratic Society Congress (Koma Civaken Kurdistan – KCK) operation, which has been under way since 2009 and has lead to several hundred – some say over 1,000 – arrests and trials. The KCK is seen as the civil-political wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), and thus also illegal.

Ersanli is an academic based at Marmara University's Faculty of Political Science and International Relations in Istanbul. She is an expert on constitutional law and at the time of her arrest was working with the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party's (BDP) Constitutional Commission.

Zarakolu is a well-known publisher and political activist who has been fighting for freedom of expression and human rights in Turkey for over 30 years. Last month he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2012 by Swedish Members of Parliament. He is facing trial under the ATL for “membership in an illegal organisation” over a speech he made to the BDP and articles he has written.

Deniz Zarakolu, an academic and translator, was also arrested under anti-terror legislation after giving a lecture at the BDP's Political Science Academy. He was moved to Metris prison where his father, Ragip Zarakolu, is currently being held. Several other scholars linked to the Academy have also been arrested under anti-terror legislation, including Ayşe Berktay. Berktay, a scholar, author and woman's activist, has been held in pre-trial detention since October 2011; a formal indictment is yet to be issued.

Professor Büşra Ersanlı, Ragıp Zarakolu and Ayşe Berktay are honorary members of PEN Turkey.

Please send appeals:
- Expressing alarm at the continued detention of Ragıp Zarakolu, Professor Büşra Ersanlı, Ayşe Berktay and Deniz Zarakolu as well as other writers and journalists detained because of their alleged affiliation with Kurdish political parties.
- Referring to concerns that the arrests flout international standards protecting the rights to freedom of expression and association as guaranteed by both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention on Human and Democratic Rights, to which Turkey is a signatory.
Send appeals to:
Mr. Sadullah Ergin
Minister of Justice
06669 Kizilay
Ankara
Turkey

Fax: 00 90 312 419 3370
Email: sadullahergin@adalet.gov.tr

Appeals may also be sent to the Turkish ambassador in your country.
http://www.ifex.org/turkey/2012/03/27/ersanli_zarakolu_indicted/

26 March 2012

Newspaper banned for one month in Turkey
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 26 March 2012
An Istanbul court has ordered the closure of daily Özgür Gündem for a month on allegations that it “promotes a terrorist organization.”Police raided the daily’s Istanbul headquarters late March 24 and seized the newspaper’s addition for yesterday, according to the daily’s website.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/newspaper-banned-for-one-month-in-turkey.aspx?pageID=238&nID=16859&NewsCatID=339


Publication Ban for Özgür Gündem Newspaper
Source: Bianet
Date: 26 March 2012
The publication of the Özgür Gündem newspaper was suspended for one month. The Gün Printing Company was raided by the police and the Sunday's issue of the newspaper was confiscated.
http://bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/137188-publication-ban-for-ozgur-gundem-newspaper


Turkish TV station fined for sex scenes in Oliver Stone’s ‘Alexander’
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 26 March 2012
The Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK) has fined a private broadcaster 50,000 Turkish Liras for airing suggestive scenes from Oliver Stone's famous “Alexander,” daily Akşam reported today.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/tv-station-fined-for-sex-scenes-in-oliver-stones-alexander.aspx?pageID=238&nid=16889&NewsCatID=381


One-month suspension for daily newspaper
Source: IFEX
Date: 26 March 2012
(BIANET/IFEX) - 24 March 2012 - On 24 March, the front page of the pro-Kurdish newspaper Ozgur Gundem ("Free Agenda") ran with a headline about the Kurdish question. On the same day, the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court handed the newspaper a one-month suspension, and the police raided the Gun Printing Company, which prints Ozgur Gundem, and confiscated copies of that day's and the subsequent day's edition.

As reported by the Firat News Agency (ANF), the court issued a one-month ban based on allegations that the newspaper was publishing "propaganda for an illegal organization". The ruling stemmed from news, comments and photographs that appeared on pages 1, 8, 9, 10 and 11 of the 24 March issue.

Ozgur Gundem began publishing on 30 May 1992. Seventy-six employees of the daily were killed, among them 30 journalists. Ozgur Gundem was closed down on 14 April 1994. The newspaper subsequently came out under the name Ozgur Ulke ("Free Country") and started publishing on 28 April 1994. Three of the newspaper's offices were bombed on 3 December 1994. Ozgur Ulke employee Ersin Yildiz died in one of the attacks; 21 employees were wounded. Ozgur Gundem resumed publishing on 4 April 2011 after a 17-year hiatus.

According to the Media Monitoring Report released by BIANET, 12 of the 104 journalists who are detained in Turkish prisons are current or former employees of Ozgur Gundem.
http://www.ifex.org/turkey/2012/03/26/ozgur_gundem/


One-month suspension for daily newspaper
Source: IFEX
Date: 26 March 2012
(BIANET/IFEX) - 24 March 2012 - On 24 March, the front page of the pro-Kurdish newspaper Ozgur Gundem ("Free Agenda") ran with a headline about the Kurdish question. On the same day, the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court handed the newspaper a one-month suspension, and the police raided the Gun Printing Company, which prints Ozgur Gundem, and confiscated copies of that day's and the subsequent day's edition.

As reported by the Firat News Agency (ANF), the court issued a one-month ban based on allegations that the newspaper was publishing "propaganda for an illegal organization". The ruling stemmed from news, comments and photographs that appeared on pages 1, 8, 9, 10 and 11 of the 24 March issue.

Ozgur Gundem began publishing on 30 May 1992. Seventy-six employees of the daily were killed, among them 30 journalists. Ozgur Gundem was closed down on 14 April 1994. The newspaper subsequently came out under the name Ozgur Ulke ("Free Country") and started publishing on 28 April 1994. Three of the newspaper's offices were bombed on 3 December 1994. Ozgur Ulke employee Ersin Yildiz died in one of the attacks; 21 employees were wounded. Ozgur Gundem resumed publishing on 4 April 2011 after a 17-year hiatus.

According to the Media Monitoring Report released by BIANET, 12 of the 104 journalists who are detained in Turkish prisons are current or former employees of Ozgur Gundem.
http://www.ifex.org/turkey/2012/03/26/ozgur_gundem/

23 March 2012

Journalist recently released from prison is under investigation again
Source: IFEX
Date: 23 March 2012
(BIANET/IFEX) - 21 March 2012 - Journalist Ahmet Sik is facing an investigation for statements he made to the press when he was released from prison. He is alleged to have identified judges and prosecutors as a target.

The investigation was launched by Special Authority Public Chief Prosecutor Muammer Akkas as a result of statements Sik made when he was leaving the Silivri Prison in the evening of 12 March. According to the Sabah daily, Prosecutor Akkas initiated the investigation against Sik on allegations that he was "threatening and identifying judges and prosecutors as targets to terror organizations". The prosecutor's office has asked the Istanbul Police Directorate to supply video records of the statements Sik gave to the press when he left the prison.

Sik was a defendant in the Oda TV trial and was released pending trial on 12 March, after 375 days in detention. Also released were journalists Nedim Sener, Coskun Musluk and Sait Cakır.

In a statement made to the press after he left prison, Sik said, "Incomplete justice is not going to bring justice and democracy. About one hundred journalists are still in prison. Just related to my trial there are five detainees. The issue of freedom of expression is not only a problem of journalists. There are approximately 600 students. We are going to continue the struggle. The police officers, prosecutors and judges who plotted and carried out this complot will go to prison. Justice will be served when they enter this prison."
http://www.ifex.org/turkey/2012/03/23/sik_new_investigation/


Newspaper's Rotterdam offices attacked
Source: IFEX
Date: 23 March 2012
(BIANET/IFEX) - 20 March 2012 - BIANET reports that the Steering Board of the Journalists Association of Turkey (TGC) condemns the assault on the offices of "Zaman" newspaper in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The office was attacked in the very early morning hours of 19 March.

The building was damaged in the attack. The TGC announced, "Unfortunately, this sort of attacks against press freedom that try to inflict pressure on journalists are still being continued. However, these efforts are not going to yield any result. The attacks on the offices of the "Zaman" newspapers are attacks on the people's right to information. We expect the Dutch authorities to arrest the assailants and their instigators as soon as possible. We send our best wishes to the employees of the Zaman Newspaper and the Rotterdam Office".

The offices of "Zaman" newspaper in Germany and France have been attacked in the past.

Ismail Erdem, Netherlands Director of the newspaper, said that according to records of the security cameras of the Rotterdam office, five disguised people smashed all windows at the front side of the building at around two o'clock in the morning on 19 March.

Erdem reported that the employees informed the police when they arrived at the office in the morning. The police investigated on the scene and launched an investigation to find the attackers.

"As far as we understood from the footage. this was not an ordinary attack. We think it was a planned assault. This attack is not only an attack against the 'Zaman' newspaper. This was an attack against an official institution in the Netherlands. We want the assailants to be arrested as soon as possible. We hope that the Dutch authorities will quickly deal with this incident," Erdem said.
http://www.ifex.org/turkey/2012/03/23/zaman_newspaper/

22 March 2012

Erdoğan Scolds Media: 'Are You Deaf?'
Source: Bianet
Date: 22 March 2012
At a meeting of the AKP Faction, Prime Minister Erdoğan made statements about this year's Newroz celebrations and the government's new regulations for relatives of "martyrs" with reference to the recent helicopter crash in Afghanistan. A side blow also went to the media.
http://bianet.org/english/minorities/137116-erdogan-scolds-media-are-you-deaf

21 March 2012

Daily Zaman’s office attacked
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 21 March 2012
The office of daily Zaman in the Dutch city of Rotterdam was attacked by unidentified assailants early on Tuesday.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/daily-zamans-office-attacked.aspx?pageID=238&nid=16480&NewsCatID=341


Turkish jail term suits to Euro court on halt until panel decision
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 21 March 2012
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has announced that it will not accept any case from Turkey in connection to long detention periods until September because Ankara is currently drafting formulas to address the issue.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-jail-term-suits-to-euro-court-on-halt-until-panel-decision.aspx?pageID=238&nID=16473&NewsCatID=339


Attack on Zaman Newspaper Office
Source: Bianet
Date: 21 March 2012
The Journalists Association of Turkey condemned the attack on the office of the Zaman newspaper in Rotterdam on 19 March.
http://bianet.org/english/world/137092-attack-on-zaman-newspaper-office

20 March 2012

Freed journalist Şık to go under new probe
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 20 March 2012
An Istanbul prosecutor has launched an investigation into “threatening” comments uttered by journalist Ahmet Şık as he was leaving prison March 12 after having spent over a year behind bars in the ongoing OdaTV trial.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/freed-journalist-sik-to-go-under-new-probe.aspx?pageID=238&nid=16387&NewsCatID=339


Rights group alarmed as newly freed Turkish scribes threatened online
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 20 March 2012
Turkish journalists Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener, who were released from jail on March 12 in the ongoing OdaTV case, were threatened via Twitter on March 16.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/rights-group-alarmed-as-newly-freed-turkish-scribes-threatened-online-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=16424&NewsCatID=339 


Academic Ersanlı Alleged of Being KCK Executive
Source: Bianet
Date: 20 March 2012
According to the indictment of the trial related to the Union of Kurdish Communities prepared by Prosecutor Çimen, Prof Ersanlı is facing imprisonment of 22.5 years on charges of leadership of an illegal organization. Nobel Peace candidate Zarakolu is facing 15 years in jail.
http://bianet.org/english/minorities/137062-academic-ersanli-alleged-of-being-kck-executive


Ahmet Şık Facing New Investigation
Source: Bianet
Date: 20 March 2012
Journalist Ahmet Şık is facing an investigation on the grounds of his statements made to the press when he was released from prison after 375 days in detention. He is alleged of having identified judges and prosecutors as a target.
http://bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/137058-ahmet-sik-facing-new-investigation


Turkish Authorities Attack TGS, the Largest IFJ and EFJ Affiliate in the Country
Source: IFJ
Date: 20 March 2012
Türkiye Gazeteciler Sendikasi (TGS), the largest IFJ and EFJ affiliate in the country, is playing a leading role in the Press Freedom Forum, the campaign to release over 100 journalists currently in jail in Turkey.
http://europe.ifj.org/en/articles/turkish-authorities-attack-tgs-the-largest-ifj-and-efj-affiliate-in-the-country


Two investigative journalists threatened on Twitter
Source: IFEX
Date: 20 March 2012
(RSF/IFEX) – 19 March 2012 – Reporters Without Borders is very disturbed by a message posted on Twitter on the night of 16 March about an alleged plot by the shadowy ultranationalist network Ergenekon to murder Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener, two investigative journalists who were released conditionally on 12 March after a year in detention.

“It is not alarmist to say that these threats should be taken seriously,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The source of this Tweet, which is still unknown, needs to be investigated thoroughly. We call on the Turkish authorities to launch an investigation at once in order to shed light on this matter.”

Posted by someone using the pseudonym “Faiz Düsmani” (Enemy of Interest), the message read: “Attention, attention. I warn the government and those that can should also inform it. Ergenekon is planning to assassinate Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener. [The organization] is going to kill them and then blame the [Fethullah Gülen religious] community.”

Sik told Reporters Without Borders he took the threat seriously and thought it was the work of “the circles responsible for the conspiracy” that led to his being detained for a year on a terrorism charge. “They want to silence me. They will be responsible for anything that happens to me.”

He added that the comments he made outside Silivri prison on the night of his release had upset certain people who were now trying to silence him. The speech is meanwhile the subject of a new judicial investigation by Istanbul prosecutor Muammer Akkas.

Several journalists have received death threats in recent years, for the most part coming from ultranationalist circles. Despite the lengthy trials of many persons accused in connection with the January 2007 murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, those who masterminded his murder have never been identified.

Sik has been spending time with his family since his release but plans to resume working within a few days for Habervesaire.com, a website run by the students of the communications faculty at Istanbul's Bilgi University. After a short rest, Sener plants to work for the daily Posta.

Sik and Sener are being tried along with eight journalists working for the Oda TV website, five of whom are still being detained. Those detained include site owner Soner Yalçin, academic Yalçin Küçük, publisher Baris Pehlivan, news editor Baris Terkoglu and reporter Müyesser Ugur. They will not have an opportunity to be granted a conditional release until the next hearing in the trial, which is scheduled for 18 June.
http://www.ifex.org/turkey/2012/03/20/sik_sener_death_threats/


Turkish Journalist Nedim Şener Thanks IPI Members for Support
Source: International Press Institute (IPI)
Date: 20 March 2012
VIENNA, Mar. 20, 2012 – Recently-released Turkish journalist Nedim Şener yesterday sent a letter to the International Press Institute (IPI) thanking the group and its members around the world for their ongoing support. Şener, who was released from prison on Mar. 12 after spending more than a year in custody on charges that he supported an alleged coup plot, described the support he received from IPI and its members around the world as his greatest source of strength “during those hard days”.
http://www.freemedia.at/home/singleview/article/turkish-journalist-nedim-sener-thanks-ipi-members-for-support.html

19 March 2012

Freed scribe urges debate on ‘fabricated evidence’
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 19 March 2012
Academic and columnist Coşkun Musluk, who was released from jail last week after more than one year in jail says people in Turkey are arrested on the basis of fabricated evidence or at least insufficient evidence
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/freed-scribe-urges-debate-on-fabricated-evidence.aspx?pageID=238&nID=16325&NewsCatID=339


Missing reporters' location unknown: Turkish foreign minister
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 19 March 2012
There were no confirmed information on the whereabouts of two Turkish journalists who went missing in Syria, Turkey's foreign minister has said today. 
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/missing-reporters-location-unknown-turkish-foreign-minister.aspx?pageID=238&nid=16349&NewsCatID=338


104 Journalists and 35 Distributors in Prison
Source: Bianet
Date: 19 March 2012
After the release of journalists Şık, Şener, Musluk and Çakır, there are still 104 journalists and 35 newspaper distributors in Turkish prisons. 74 out of 104 journalists and the entire number of distributors are form Kurdish media outlets.
http://bianet.org/english/minorities/137036-104-journalists-and-35-distributors-in-prison


RSF Urges Syrian Authorities for Release of Turkish Journalists
Source: Bianet
Date: 19 March 2012
Reporters Without Borders called on the Syrian authorities to release Turkish journalists Özköse and Çoşkun who went to Syria last week. Both journalists were abducted and reportedly handed over to Syrian authorities.
http://bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/137028-rsf-urges-syrian-authorities-for-release-of-turkish-journalists

16 March 2012

Joint Struggle for Release of Journalists Must be Continued
Source: Bianet
Date: 16 March 2012
Renowned Turkish writers, lawyers and journalists drew attention to the situation of arrested and laid-off journalists in Turkey at the Symposium on Freedom of Thought and Expression from 12 to 12 held in Istanbul on 15 March.
http://bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/136981-joint-struggle-for-release-of-journalists-must-be-continued


Journalists handed over to Syrian intel
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 16 March 2012
Two Turkish journalists missing in Syria have been handed over to Syrian intelligence by pro-regime militia, Deputy Foreign Minister Bülent Arınç told reporters yesterday.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/journalists-handed-over-to-syrian-intel.aspx?pageID=238&nid=16157&NewsCatID=359


Head of Turkish Journalists' Union Ends Hunger Strike
Source: International Press Institute (IPI)
Date: 16 March 2012
VIENNA, Mar. 16, 2012 - The head of a union representing Turkish journalists has ended a hunger strike he began last week to protest alleged efforts by management of a state-run news agency to pressure employees to quit the union.  Turkish Union of Journalists (TGS) President Ercan Ipekçi said Wednesday that he was ready and willing to continue the hunger strike he began last Friday in front of the headquarters of the Anadolu News Agency in Ankara, but was ending it at the urging of union members.  
http://www.freemedia.at/home/singleview/article/head-of-turkish-journalists-union-ends-hunger-strike.html

15 March 2012

Journalists Özköse and Coşkun Missing
Source: Bianet
Date: 15 March 2012
Journalists Özköse and Coşkun disappeared in Syria five days ago. Foreign Minister Davutoğlu assured to take every effort for a safe return of the journalists.
http://bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/136958-journalists-ozkose-and-coskun-missing

14 March 2012

Journalists enjoy first day of freedom after release
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 14 March 2012
Upon release from prison on March 12, journalist Nedim Şener enjoyed his freedom by taking his daughter to school first thing in the morning yesterday.
More: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/journalists-enjoy-first-day-of-freedom-after-release.aspx?pageID=238&nid=15958&NewsCatID=339


Two Turkish journalists missing in Syria
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 14 March 2012
Two Turkish journalists who traveled to Syria to cover the clashes there have been missing for the last four days, broadcaster NTV reported on its website.
More: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/two-turkish-journalists-missing-in-syria-.aspx?pageID=238&nid=15981&NewsCatID=341


Journalists enjoy first day of freedom after release
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 14 March 2012
Upon release from prison on March 12, journalist Nedim Şener enjoyed his freedom by taking his daughter to school first thing in the morning yesterday.
More: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/journalists-enjoy-first-day-of-freedom-after-release.aspx?pageID=238&nID=15958&NewsCatID=339


"Laughable" Internet Bans
Source: Bianet
Date: 14 March 2012
Reporters Without Borders criticized the application of the internet filtering system in Turkey and also the access bans to many sites. Even though the list of banned words was described as "laughable" it still constitutes a restriction of freedoms, RSF warned.
More: http://bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/136916-laughable-internet-bans

13 March 2012

Turkish journalists freed from prison amid concerns for press freedom
Source: EJC
Date: 13 March 2012
Four Turkish journalists were freed from jail Monday, a year after they were detained in a case that has raised fears for press freedom in the country.
More: http://www.ejc.net/media_news/turkish_journalists_freed_from_prison_amid_concerns_for_press_freedom/


Four journalists released but fight goes on for dozens still held
Source: Reporters Without Borders
Date: 13 March 2012
Reporters Without Borders warmly welcomes the release on bail of the investigative journalists Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener and the OdaTV news website columnists Muhammet Sait Cakir and Coskun Musluk. However, their release should not hide the fact that dozens more media workers are still held.
More: http://en.rsf.org/turquie-four-journalists-released-but-13-03-2012,42106.html


Turkey: Journalists’ Releases Welcomed but Fight for Press Freedom Continues
Source: EFJ
Date: 13 March 2012
The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today welcomed the release of four jailed journalists in Turkey but has warned campaigners that efforts must continue in support of these and other journalists under pressure in the country.
http://europe.ifj.org/en/articles/turkey-journalists-releases-welcomed-but-fight-for-press-freedom-continues


Turkey releases journalists, but trial remains
Source: Doha Centre for Media Freedom
Date: 13 March 2012
Turkey has released four journalists who will now face their trial, on charges of plotting against the government, as free men. http://www.dc4mf.org/en/content/turkey-releases-journalists-trial-remains


Prominent Turkish journalists freed, but trial continues
Source: Cumhuriyet
Date: 13 March 2012
An Istanbul court on Monday ordered two prominent journalists to be freed, a year after their arrest for allegedly plotting against the Islamist-rooted Turkish government, TV reports said.
More: http://en.cumhuriyet.com/?hn=321864


Why I’m unhappy about the release of Şık and Şener
Source: Journalistinturkey
Date: 13 March 2012 So much for the world wide attention for press freedom in Turkey. The two most famous Turkish journalists in jail, Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener, were set free on Monday night, pending trial. Joy all over the place and I’m happy for them too; but in a way it also makes me hopeless. Before these two men with well known, influential colleagues and friends were jailed, there was no attention whatsoever paid to the dozens of other jailed journalists. I see no reason why Turkey won’t be going back to that situation. More: http://www.journalistinturkey.com/blogs/why-i%E2%80%99m-unhappy-about-the-release-of-sik-and-sener_2998/


Journalists Şık and Şener Released
Source: Bianet
Date: 13 March 2012
Four defendants of the Oda TV case were released pending trial: Journalists Nedim Şener and Ahmet Şık and Odat TV writers Çoşkun Musluk and Sail Çakır. Şık and Şener presented their defence at the 12 March hearing.
More: http://bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/136889-journalists-sik-and-sener-released


Journalists freed after 375 days behind bars
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 13 March 2012 Journalists Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener are free after 375 days in prison after an Istanbul court ordered their release in the ongoing OdaTV case late yesterday.
More: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/journalists-freed-after-375-days-behind-bars.aspx?pageID=238&nid=15872&NewsCatID=339


Parliamentary report: Gender-based violence doubled in 4 years
Source: Todayszaman
Date: 13 March 2012
The parliamentary Human Rights Commission, in a report released on Tuesday, revealed that domestic violence and violence against women have doubled in the last four years in Turkey.
More: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-274200-.html


Turkish politicians, EU pleased with release of journalists Şener, Şık
Source: Todayszaman
Date: 13 March 2012 The release of four journalists on Monday who were jailed pending trial last year on charges of links to Ergenekon has pleased Turkish politicians and the EU, which interpreted the court decision as a “positive development.”
More: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-274202-turkish-politicians-eu-pleased-with-release-of-journalists-sener-sik.html


Nedim Şener and three others released from prison
Source: IFEX
Date: 13 March 2012
(IPI/IFEX) - VIENNA, Mar 12, 2012 – Turkish investigative journalist and International Press Institute (IPI) World Press Freedom Hero Nedim Şener was released from prison today pending trial, after spending more than a year behind bars on charges of aiding a terrorist group.

An Istanbul court late this afternoon ordered the release of Şener and three others in the so-called Oda TV trial: investigative journalist Ahmet Şık, Sait Çakır and Coskun Musluk. Details of the court's order and its reasoning were not immediately available.

IPI Press Freedom Adviser for Europe & North America Steven M. Ellis, who was present with members of IPI's Turkish National Committee outside Silivri Prison when Şener emerged, said Şener told an assembled crowd: “When they took me to prison, I said, for [slain Turkish journalist] Hrant Dink, for justice.”

The four are accused of involvement with a news website, Oda TV, that authorities allege acted as the media wing for the alleged “Ergenekon” conspiracy, in which ultra-nationalists and elements of the Turkish security services are said to have plotted to use terrorism to bring down the government of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

"I am beyond delighted to hear that Nedim has been released from prison along with Ahmet Şık and two others. IPI continues to support him and all of the journalists confined in Turkish prisons for doing their job. We will not rest until all journalists jailed in Turkey for practicing journalism are released," said IPI Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie.

"While this latest development is great news, we continue to call on the government to drop all charges against Mr. Şener and to free the journalists who remain in jail," added Bethel-McKenzie.

Dunja Mijatović, the OSCE's Representative on Freedom of the Media, joined IPI in celebrating the release of Şener and his co-defendants. “I am very happy that the journalists are free. This is a long-awaited moment not only for them, their families and their loved ones, but for all of us who have been following their trial in and outside of Turkey,” said Mijatović.
More: http://www.ifex.org/turkey/2012/03/13/oda_journalists_released/ Turkey's enlightenment languishes, like the journalists in its prisons
Source: Guardian
Date: 13 March 2012
The record number of reporters imprisoned in Turkey threatens to extinguish the flame of democratic reform. year ago, police burst into the homes of two of Turkey's best investigative journalists, Nedim Sener and Ahmet Sik, and carted them off to prison where they remained until last night, charged with crimes so nebulous even prosecutors can't explain them.
More: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2012/mar/13/turkey-enlightenment-journalists-prisons?newsfeed=true

12 March 2012

OSCE media freedom representative welcomes release of Turkish journalists

VIENNA, 12 March 2012 – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, today welcomed the release of four Turkish journalists from prison, including award-winning journalists Nedim Şener and Ahmet Şık.

“I am very happy that the journalists are free. This is a long-awaited moment not only for them, their families and their loved ones, but for all of us who have been following their trial in and outside of Turkey,” said Mijatović

According to the first media reports, the court's reasoning for the release was the probability of the crime's qualification being subject to change and the time suspects spent under arrest. The Representative expressed hope that the trial will be finalized soon and the charges will be dropped.

“Democracy can not properly function without the right to free expression. I hope that very soon we will have positive news from the other ongoing trials against journalists,” she added.

The four released journalists, Sait Çakır, Coşkun Musluk, Nedim Şener and Ahmet Şık were all detained on 3 March 2011 and accused of being members of the alleged Ergenekon organization.

Mijatović visited Şener and Şık in Silivri prison in December 2011, during her official visit to Turkey. She emphasized that her Office is
continuously monitoring all cases of incarcerated journalists, and she will publish updated list of journalists currently in prison in Turkey in the near future. She stressed that her Office is ready to assist Turkey in any media-related reforms.


Journalists in Turkey coup plot trial freed
Source: BBC
Date: 12 March 2012
Four Turkish journalists accused of involvement in a plot to topple the government have been freed. Ahmet Sik, Nedim Sener, Coskun Musluk and Sait Cakir were accused of being part of Ergenekon, allegedly a secret military-backed organisation.
More: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17346923


Being fair to Turkey is in the EU's interest
Source: Euobserver
Date: 12 March 2012
Every year, hundreds of thousands of Turks queue in front of EU consulates, spending time and money in exchange for a chance to travel to the EU. In 2010, their number was 625,000. Often they receive a single-entry visa valid for only a few days.
More: http://euobserver.com/7/115560


FEMEN member talks about time under Turkish police custody
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 12 March 2012
Ukrainian Inna Shevchenko, a member of the FEMEN activist group, said Turkish police refused to communicate with them in a language they understood during their time in detention in Istanbul.
More: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/femen-member-talks-about-time-under-turkish-police-custody-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=15818&NewsCatID=339


Turkey 'under surveillance' in 'Enemies of the Internet' list
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 12 March 2012
Reporters Without Borders placed Turkey "under surveillance" in its annual "Enemies of the Internet" report today. The media watchdog listed countries that curtail freedom of expression on the web, as well as access to it.
More: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-under-surveillance-in-enemies-of-the-internet-list-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=15810&NewsCatID=339


Women Stake Their Claims on International Women's Day
Source: Bianet
Date: 12 March 2012
Thousands of women took the streets of Istanbul on the International Women's Day meeting to call for the end of violence against women, for making their labour visible and to give an end to taking women into custody and arrest.
More: http://bianet.org/english/gender/136859-women-stake-their-claims-on-international-womens-day


Turkey releases journalists, grave concerns remain
Source: CPJ
Date: 12 March 2012
New York, March 12, 2012--The release of Turkish journalists Nedim Şener, Ahmet Şık, Muhammet Sait Çakır, and Coşkun Musluk, who are among dozens of journalists imprisoned in Turkey for alleged participation in a purported antistate plot known as Ergenekon, is a welcome development, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
http://cpj.org/2012/03/cpj-welcomes-release-of-turkish-journalists-demand.php


Turks get new faces for women’s rights
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 12 March 2012
Turkey’s 2002 Miss World Azra Akın and actress Songül Öden have become the voice and the face of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Turkey Office’s campaign to prevent violence against women.
More: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turks-get-new-faces-for-womens-rights.aspx?pageID=238&nid=15756&NewsCatID=339

10 March 2012

Women ready to take wings against violence
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 10 March 2012
A social responsibility project called “Taking Wings” was launched March 8 at a press conference at Istanbul’s Ritz Carlton Hotel. The project is supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and seeks to draw attention to violence against women, with a photo exhibit featuring images of 32 famous Turkish women.
More: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/women-ready-to-take-wings-against-violence.aspx?pageID=238&nID=15654&NewsCatID=339

9 March 2012

EFJ Concerns over Turkish News Agency's Anti-union Tactics
Source: EFJ
Date: 9 March 2012
Today the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has hit out at the management of state-run Anatolian Agency after reports of severe management pressure on members of the Turkish Union of Journalists (TGS), which has driven the union's President to threaten a hunger strike.
More: http://europe.ifj.org/en/articles/efj-concern-over-turkish-news-agency-s-anti-union-tactics


The Sexist State of the Media
Source: Bianet
Date: 9 March 2012
On International Women's Day, journalists Nadire Mater, Prof. Hülya Uğur Tanrıöver, and actresses Yeşim Büber and Asiye Dinçsoy discussed the "sexist state of the media".
More: http://bianet.org/english/gender/136809-the-sexist-state-of-the-media


JİNHA - Turkey's First Women's News Agency
Source: Bianet
Date: 9 March 2012
"We launch JİNHA on 8 March. As women journalists from Diyarbakır, we want to be part of the women's voice with our video and photo cameras and we want to rise within that voice", said Jin Haber founders Pelek and Özbey.
More: http://bianet.org/english/gender/136800-jinha---turkeys-first-womens-news-agency


Prevention of Violence against Women Draft Approved in Parliament
Source: Bianet
Date: 9 March 2012
The Turkish Parliament unanimously approved the "Draft Bill to Protect the Family and for the Prevention of Violence against Women" in their session on 8 March.
More: http://bianet.org/english/gender/136802-prevention-of-violence-against-women-draft-approved-in-parliament

7 March 2012

Turkey: Adopt Strong Domestic Violence Law
Source: Human Rights Watch
Date: 7 March 2012
(Istanbul) – Turkey’s parliament should adopt a strong, comprehensive law to curb domestic violence, Human Rights Watch said today. Parliament is debating a draft bill and is likely to vote on March 7, 2012.
More: http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/07/turkey-adopt-strong-domestic-violence-law

6 March 2012

Prisoner remains in jail for singing Kurdish song
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 6 March 2012
Authorities have refused to release a political prisoner despite the completion of her seven-year sentence at a prison in the northwestern province of Kocaeli on the grounds that she sang a song in Kurdish. 
More: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/prisoner-remains-in-jail-for-singing-kurdish-song-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=15370&NewsCatID=339


Draft law combating violence against women half pleases women's groups
Source: Todayszaman
Date: 6 March 2012
As a new draft law concerning violence against women is about to be accepted in Parliament on the eve of International Women's Day with the intention of pleasing women, concerned groups feel a bittersweet joy because the process of making the law has involved so many zigzags and the bill has crucial deficiencies.
More: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-273478-draft-law-combating-violence-against-women-half-pleases-womens-groups.html


USAK: Turkey should adopt ‘gender equality’ action plan
Source: Todayszaman
Date: 6 March 2012
Turkey's International Strategic Research Organization (USAK) has called for a national “gender equality” action plan to put an end to violence against women in a report to be released today.
More: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-273483-usak-turkey-should-adopt-gender-equality-action-plan.html


Feb. 28 coup junta manipulated TV series during coup era, documents show
Source: Todayszaman
Date: 6 March 2012
Documents included among the evidence of the ongoing Ergenekon coup plot case have revealed that the Feb. 28 postmodern coup junta, which toppled a democratically elected government in 1997, attempted to manipulate TV shows broadcast during the coup era to ingrain secularism in public consciousness.
More: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-273441-feb-28-coup-junta-manipulated-tv-series-during-coup-era-documents-show.html


Turkish politics in focus of Islamic video artists
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 6 March 2012
Calling themselves an iconoclastic action group, Kontrart members come from a religious school background; however they say they are interested in contemporary art and use it as a tool to criticize politics
More: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-politics-in-focus-of-islamic-video-artists.aspx?pageID=238&nid=15300&NewsCatID=385

5 March 2012

One year on, prominent reporter and IPI World Press Freedom Hero languishes in prison
Source:  IFEX
Date: 5 March 2012
(IPI/IFEX) - Vienna, 2 March 2012 - Journalists around the world today joined the International Press Institute (IPI) in condemning Turkey's continued imprisonment of investigative journalist and IPI World Press Freedom Hero Nedim Şener, one year after he was detained in connection with an alleged coup plot.

IPI Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie said: “The fact that Nedim Şener has been taken away from his family and locked up for a year on allegations that his journalism was a sham designed to protect those whose wrongdoing it exposed is both tragic and absurd. We call on Turkey's authorities to immediately release Mr. Şener and his co-defendants in the Oda TV case pending trial, and to ensure that their trial is fair and fully in line with international standards of due process.”

Police detained Şener on 3 March 2011 in a raid targeting journalists and others connected with nationalist news website Oda TV. Authorities say the website acted as the media wing for the so-called “Ergenekon” plot, in which secularists and ultra-nationalists allegedly planned to use terrorism to overthrow the government of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Prosecutors accuse the defendants of seeking to advance the plot by using media to discredit the government's probe into it.

Şener and his fellow defendants in the Oda TV case – including investigative journalist Ahmet Şik, writer Yalçin Küçük, Oda TV executive Soner Yalçin and six other journalists –were not informed about the specific charges against them until nearly seven months after they were detained. Şener was originally accused of membership in an armed terrorist organisation, but he was ultimately charged with aiding such an organisation. He faces seven-and-a-half to 15 years in prison if convicted.

According to a recent report by news website Bianet.org, the Oda TV defendants are among 104 journalists imprisoned in Turkey as of 1 January 2012, all for alleged violations of Turkey's Anti-Terror Law and the Turkish Penal Code.

Dr. Carl-Eugen Eberle, chair of IPI's Executive Board and the former director of legal affairs for German Broadcaster ZDF, and Ferai Tinç, also a member of IPI's Executive Board and the chair of IPI's Turkish National Committee, both expressed strong support for Şener and the other detained journalists.

Fellow IPI Executive Board member and BBC Scotland Director Ken MacQuarrie noted that Şener has now been imprisoned for more than half of the time that has passed since he received his IPI World Press Freedom Hero award at a ceremony in Vienna in September 2010.

“Given the anniversary of Mr. Şener's incarceration is upon us, it is essential that those of us who can, mark such a dark day by highlighting as widely as possible the appalling nature of his detention,” MacQuarrie said. “With more than 100 other journalists also imprisoned in Turkey and their human rights so completely denied, Mr Şener's unedifying situation is sadly and shamefully not an isolated case.”

Tinç's colleague on the board of IPI's Turkish National Committee, Kadri Gürsel, a columnist for Turkish daily Milliyet, added: “Exactly one year ago, authorities took Nedim Şener into custody claiming that he is member of terrorist organization. This claim was dropped in the indictment and now he is accused of aiding and abetting. The judiciary is having great trouble defending and justifying his imprisonment, which has turned into extra-judicial punishment. To free Turkey from this shame, Nedim Şener has to be set free immediately.”

Şener and his co-defendants have argued that they are being targeted for the content of their writings and that purportedly incriminating files found on Oda TV computer hard drives were placed there by hackers. Turkey's government maintains, however, that the journalists have not been targeted because of their work.

Oliver Vujovic, secretary general of the South and East Media Organisation (SEEMO), an IPI subsidiary that has also been active in Turkey, said his group was still waiting to see evidence of any wrongdoing.

“If it exists, it should be provided,” Vujovic said. “If it does not, Mr. Şener should be freed. I fully support Mr. Şener and I would like to remind the Turkish authorities that keeping Mr. Şener and dozens of journalists in jail is not the best way to consolidate democracy.”

Şener was an investigative journalist with Milliyet before his arrest and he has written extensively about government corruption in his 20-year career. Recently, he has been active in documenting the “deep state” in Turkey, 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.

He also has actively criticised the state's failure to prevent the 2007 murder of his friend and fellow IPI World Press Freedom Hero, Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, and he consistently points out the contradiction in the government's suggestion that he worked on behalf of the shadowy group he blames for Dink's death. In a letter to IPI last October from the Silivri Prison, Şener wrote that those investigating the Ergenekon plot were “the same police officers who I wrote were involved in the Dink murder with their neglect”.

He added: “Whatever the Turkish state alleges, I'd like to assure you that I didn't conduct any activity outside the domain of journalism. . .At the end of the day, the indictment and its appendix show that the prosecution's only charge against me is journalism. Therefore, it is journalism that will be tried in court.”

Many of Şener's fellow IPI World Press Freedom Heroes expressed support for their colleague.

Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab, who was honoured in 2000 and who has fought for media freedom in the Palestinian Territories, noted: “Arrest and restrictions on journalists for their work is a violation of the 19th article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

South African editor and publisher Raymond Louw – a 2011 honouree who battled apartheid and censorship in his country – labelled Şener's detention “unjustified”. Louw urged Turkish authorities “to heed the denials of Mr. Şener and his colleagues of the allegations that have been brought against them and release them.”

Journalist Doan Viet Hoat, a 2000 honouree and one of Vietnam's most prominent dissidents who was held as a prisoner of conscience for almost 20 years, commented: “I strongly condemn the Turkish government in detaining Mr. Şener and I demand his release immediately and unconditionally.”

Liberian journalist Kenneth Best, who was honoured in 2000 for his work toward media freedom in West Africa, said: “Oppressive governments all over the world would use every opportunity to persecute those, especially journalists, who have the courage to speak and write about injustice and oppression taking place around them…Many are those daring journalistic souls who dare to re-echo the thoughts and feelings of dissidents. Journalists usually become victims of the 'blame the messenger' syndrome. That seems to be the fate of our esteemed colleague in Turkey, Nedim Şener.”

Şener's wife, Vecide, described to IPI the toll her husband's plight has taken on their family.

“What we have passed through has been a very sad and hurting process,” she said. “I received from the prosecutor a formal letter saying that 'your husband is detained, he is a member of a terrorist organisation'. But when we finally saw the indictment, it said 'aiding a terrorist organization'. Now my husband has three identity cards at the prison, two of them are international identity cards for journalists and one identity card says 'terrorist organization member' on it. We believed in law, but nothing has changed during this whole year. It is now clear that my husband is a real journalist.”

Şener remains incarcerated in the Silivri Prison in Turkey. Tomorrow will mark one year since his detention.
More:  http://www.ifex.org/turkey/2012/03/05/one_year_on/


IPI urges Turkish journalists' release in alleged coup plot
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 5 March 2012
Media watchdog IPI urged Turkey today to release prominent journalists detained over an alleged coup plot, slamming the country's treatment of reporters as "sad and shameful."
More: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/ipi-urges-turkish-journalists-release-in-alleged-coup-plot.aspx?pageID=238&nID=15269&NewsCatID=339


"You Cannot Silence Us by Putting Journalists behind Bars"
Source: Bianet
Date: 5 March 2012
On 3 March, the ANGA organization and activists for freedom of journalists demonstrated in Istanbul to mark the first anniversary of the arrest of journalists Şık and Şener. Their message: "You cannot silence us by imprisoning journalists and laying them off".
More: http://bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/136672-you-cannot-silence-us-by-putting-journalists-behind-bars

4 March 2012

Turkish TV viewers upset most by hate speech and discrimination on screen
Source: Sundayszaman
Date: 4 March 2012
Most of the complaints filed at the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) by viewers in 2011 were against TV hosts who were allegedly involved in hate speech or discriminatory behavior based on religion, language or ethnicity on the screen, a 2011 RTÜK report has shown.
More: http://www.sundayszaman.com/sunday/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?newsId=273283

3 March 2012

Rally to mark jailing of scribes
Source: Hurriyet
Date: 3 March 2012
Colleagues, friends and supporters will demonstrate their solidarity with four Turkish journalists who are still in prison one year after their arrest on charges of participating in an alleged plot to overthrow the government, with two separate protests on March 3 in Istanbul’s central Taksim Square.
More: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/rally-to-mark-jailing-of-scribes.aspx?pageID=238&nID=15145&NewsCatID=339


A year in prison for no reason
Source: Reporters Without Borders
Date: 3 March 2012
Reporters Without Borders reiterates its call for the immediate release of investigative journalists Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener, who complete their first year in detention today, and the immediate release of the Oda TV news website’s journalists, who have been held for just over a year on a similar terrorism charge.
http://en.rsf.org/turkey-a-year-in-prison-for-no-reason-03-03-2012,41991.html

2 March 2012

"After victory for free speech in France, Turkey's turn next?"
Source: Bianet
Date: 2 March 2012
Reporters Without Borders appreciated the French Constitutional Court's decision against the law proposal related the denial of genocide. The international organization now urged Turkish authorities to fulfil their responsibilities regarding free speech.
More: http://bianet.org/english/minorities/136610-after-victory-for-free-speech-in-france-turkeys-turn-next


EFJ Backs "Decisive" Mass Protests in Istanbul for Press Freedom on 3 March
Source: EFJ
Date: 2 March 2012
The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and its Turkish affiliate the Türkiye Gazeteciler Sendikasi (TGS) today backed the demonstration due to take  place tomorrow 3 March in Istanbul to defend press freedom in Turkey. Given the grave situation of press freedom in Turkey, a popular support to denounce the systematic violation of journalists' rights is now decisive," said EFJ President Arne König. "It is sad but also encouraging that the anniversary of detention of journalists provides an opportunity for people on the street to ask for justice".
More: http://europe.ifj.org/en/articles/efj-backs-decisive-mass-protests-in-istanbul-for-press-freedom-on-3-march

1 March 2012

BIA Media Monitoring Report 2011/Full Text
Source: Bianet
Date: 1 March 2012
Journalist murders/trials, imprisoned journalists, attacks, threats, and restraints, inquiries, trials, decisions, publication bans, defamation, personal rights and compensation cases, RTUK and ECHR decisions.
More: http://bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/136599-bia-media-monitoring-report-2011-full-text