Chronology of Events

November 2011

30 November 2011

Delegation of free expression organisations witnesses political trial IFEX
As the trial began for 10 journalists accused of an anti-government conspiracy, free expression organisations visited Turkey to witness the case and investigate the deteriorating state of press freedom, which has led to a total of 64 imprisoned journalists, say IFEX members. 

29 November 2011

Turkey: from one dictatorship to the other
The AKP government of Prime Minister Erdoğan has effectively decreased the once unlimited power of the army. The power of the judiciary was strengthened. But now that power has too strong a grip on society.
Why did you visit wounded demonstrators in hospital? Why did you give interviews to so many TV and radio stations? Why did you attend that press conference? Why did you help get bodies of PKK members back to their families? ‘All legal activities’, says human rights lawyer Reyhan Yalcindag, based in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, ‘but Kurdish politicians and activists are being questioned and jailed for it.’

BLOG: Chaos in the Courthouse - Turkish Journalism on Tria
IPI Recounts First Hearing in 'Oda TV' Case
As a law student working in prosecutors’ offices in the United States, I found myself present at a number of criminal proceedings. But I never attended one where I thought an innocent person was being railroaded until last Tuesday, when I was in Istanbul for the first hearing in the “Oda TV” case against International Press Institute (IPI) World Press Freedom Hero Nedim Şener and nine other journalists.

28 November 2011

Groups Demand Turkey Release Journalists
International Organisations Renew Call in Statement Following Visit
The International Press Institute (IPI), following a three-day visit to Istanbul and Ankara, has joined with other international groups in demanding that Turkey release imprisoned journalists.

24 November 2011

International mission delegates renew demand to release imprisoned journalists IFJ
A mission of international journalists and media organisations - including the European Federation of Journalists and its affiliate, the Türkiye Gazeteciler Sendikasi (TGS - Journalists' Union of Turkey), and a delegation of the German Deutscher Journalisten Verband (DJV), the International Press Institute (IPI), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), and the European Association of Journalists (AEJ) - on a visit to Turkey from 22-24 November to witness the deteriorating state of press freedom in the country today denounced the fact that 64 journalists are still in jail. 

Turkey: International Journalists and Media Organisations Renew Demand to Release Imprisoned Journalists IFJ
A mission of international journalists and media organisations - including the European Federation of Journalists and its affiliate, the Türkiye Gazeteciler Sendikası (TGS - Journalists' Union of Turkey), and a delegation of the German Deutscher Journalisten Verband (DJV), the International Press Institute (IPI), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), and the European Association of Journalists (AEJ) - on a visit to Turkey from 22-24 November to witness the deteriorating state of press freedom in the country today denounced the fact that 64 journalists are still in jail.  

23 November 2011

Court refuses to free Ergenekon case journalist, adjourns until end of December
Reporters Without Borders
The trial of 10 journalists accused of involvement in the ‘Ergenekon’ anti-government conspiracy began yesterday in the Istanbul district of Caglayan with the court rejecting a defence request for their immediate release and then adjourning until 26 December.

22 November 2011

EFJ Mission to Turkey Demands Immediate Release of Journalists in Prison
Over 60 journalists currently in jail in Turkey must be set free immediately, says the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) ahead of a trial in Istanbul starting today.

IPI Launched Campaign for Journalist Şener BİA News Center
IPI launched a signature and letter campaign for detained journalist Nedim Şener in order to draw attention to journalists in Turkish prisons. Şener was included to the IPI "List of World Press Freedom Heroes" in 2010.
The International Press Institute (IPI) launched an international signature campaign for detained journalist Nedim Şener. The IPI aims at collecting 10,000 signatures.
On the 60th anniversary of the organization in 2010, the IPI rewarded Şener as one of 60 World Press Freedom Heroes alive added to the IPI "List of World Press Freedom Heroes". The organization also called on the people to support Şener by writing letters.
Both IPI campaigns on behalf of journalist Şener focus on drawing attention to all journalists imprisoned in Turkey. "He understood the peril faced by journalists in Turkey" The following letter was published in the internet and sent to the "world press freedom heroes" and IPI members in more than a hundred countries:
"I was ready to pay the price to reveal the truth." When Turkish author, investigative reporter, and International Press Institute (IPI) World Press Freedom Hero Nedim Şener published his 2007 book on the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, he understood the peril faced by journalists in Turkey.
Mr. Şener is now paying that price. Last week, he spent his 250th day in prison, though he has not been convicted of any crime. Next week, on 22 November, he is scheduled to face a first hearing on apparently baseless charges that he belongs to an armed terrorist group.
This March, Mr. Şener was arrested and accused of being part of the so-called Ergenekon plot, in which an alleged clandestine ultra-nationalist organisation with ties to military and security forces is said to have plotted to use terrorism to overthrow the government. The investigation against Mr. Şener is being carried out by the same law-enforcement figures whom he accused of neglect in his book on Hrant Dink.
Mr. Şener's case is the Turkish government's latest salvo in its assault on press freedom. By the government's own admission, at least 50 other journalists are behind bars in the country, making Turkey one of the world's leading jailers of journalists.
In a 26 October letter to IPI, Mr. Şener wrote, "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." He resolved to fight for the pursuit of truth "until the end of my life".
No journalist should be imprisoned for reporting the truth. That Mr. Şener sits behind bars is a tragedy and casts a dark shadow over Turkey's professed commitment to an open and democratic society.
IPI stands with Mr. Şener and is fighting to do all it can to free him and all others who are in jail for practising journalism. IPI Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie said of Mr. Şener, "I want him to know that neither I nor IPI will rest until we are able to see him face-to-face, no bars in sight." (AS)

Imprisoning Journalists on Christmas in Turkey
The Istanbulian I first met Nedim Şener when he accepted the International Press Institute's (IPI) World Press Freedom Hero award last year in Vienna City Hall.
While I was still doing my obligatory military service in Cyprus on March, Şener was being arrested at his home in Istanbul.

RSF travels to Istanbul, monitors trial of leading investigative journalists IFEX
The trial of investigative journalists Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener on a charge of participating in an anti-government conspiracy opens today in Istanbul. Oda TV news website owner Soner Yalçin and eight of his journalists - news editor Baris Terkoglu, managing editor Baris Pehlivan, news coordinator Dogan Yurdakul and reporters Müyesser Yildiz, Coskun Musluk, Sait Cakir and Yalçin Küçük - are being tried along with them. 

Journalists sent back to detention IFEX
A court in Istanbul today sent International Press Institute (IPI) World Press Freedom Hero Nedim Şener and other journalists accused of supporting a coup plot back to pre-trial detention while another panel reviews a motion to recuse the presiding judge for bias. 

Free press on trial in EU aspirant Turkey
BRUSSELS - The trial of 11 journalists - including Turkey's "last investigative reporter" - begins on Tuesday (22 November) in a country which says it wants to join the EU.
Nedim Sener, Ahmet Sik and nine other journalists will face the court after spending six months in pre-trial detention on charges they support Ergenekon - an alleged conspiracy against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan named after a fairy tale palace.

21 November 2011

Just before the start of filtering regime, Conservative/Islamist campaign against Ekşisözlük
Erkan’s field diary
Mehmet Baransu, who is known to have published leaked military documents at Taraf daily, and Rasih Yılmaz, a Bugün columnist, movie critic and an author, led a campaign yesterday against Ekşi Sözlük. Ekşi Sözlük with more than 10,000 thousand contributors is the biggest online forum and one of the few independent sites against increasing conservative hegemony in Turkish media.

18 November 2011.

Council of Europe Criticises Turkey
Secretary General Calls on Government to Change Attitude Towards Media Freedom
The International Press Institute (IPI) today joined with the Council of Europe’s leadership in calling on Turkey to change its attitude toward media freedom.
Reuters reported on Tuesday that the Council’s secretary general, Thorbjorn Jagland, said Turkey had approximately 16,000 cases pending before the European Court of Human Rights, 1,000 of which concerned media freedom.

17 November 2011

Anti-Terrorism Law Obstructs Freedom of Expression BİA News Center
Problematic areas of freedom of expression and detained journalists were the main topics discussed at the Freedom Express attended by journalists Nadire Mater, Wilco van Harpen and Faruk Mercan. The event was hosted by television journalist Banu Güven.

Journalist Şık's "Unpublished" Book Launched on Book Fair BİA News Center
The book "The Imam's Army" by detained journalist Ahmet Şık was now printed under the title "000Book". 125 writers claim responsibility for the book that was introduced to the public in a press conference at the PEN booth at the TÜYAP Book Fair on 16 November.
The book originally planned to be entitled "The Imam's Army" written by journalist Ahmet Şık was finally introduced to the public under its new title "000Book" at the TÜYAP Book Fair in Istanbul on Wednesday (16 November). Writer Şık has been detained for 260 days now after he was arrested on 6 March 2011 in the scope of the Ergenekon investigation.

16 November 2011

Reporters without borders
Reporters Without Borders is worried by the way the Istanbul court that is trying journalist Hrant Dink’s accused murderers seems to be rushing the trial to a premature conclusion. The 21st hearing was held on 14 November and the next is scheduled for 5 December. There used to be at least three months between each hearing.

Court's verdict not performed by the prison in the Zirve Publishing case
Haber turk Recent development shows that prison administration was ignoring the court order, in the Zirve Publishing murders case It turns out that the court order concerning the 3 suspects of the Zirve Publishing House murders case, held under custody within the Malatya closed prison, were being ignored the whole time.
It has come to attention that the prison administration were not following the court orders as a result of the recent turn of events.

Writers' and publishers' groups call for abolition of restrictive anti-terror laws on Day of the Imprisoned Writer IFEX
In a joint statement issued on 15 November, the Day of the Imprisoned Writer, the Writers Union of Turkey (TYS), the PEN Turkey Centre and the Publishers Association of Turkey demanded the abolishment of Articles 6 and 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Law (TMK) on "Disclosure and Publication" and "Terrorist Organizations", respectively.

Lawsuit filed against government-proposed Internet filtering system IFEX
The Alternative Information Association launched a trial against the Prime Ministry Telecommunication Association (BTK) on the grounds of a central internet filtering system that the BTK wants to implement. The lawsuit is calling for the revocation of the "Principles and Procedures for Safe Internet Service" published by the BTK and the corresponding decision. 

14 November  2011

Two journalists killed in second earthquake  IPI
Two Turkish journalists died last week in eastern Turkey when their hotel collapsed in the region's second major earthquake in the past month. 

"The murderers of Hrant Dink are within the state"
Haber Turk The trial has been adjourned to December 5 The trial for the murder of Hrant Dink, then Chief Editor of Agos Newspapers, concerning the 19 suspects amongst which 2 are under arrest, had its 21st hearing today.
Erhan Tuncel and Yasin Hayal, the two arrested suspects have been brought to trial while the other suspects remained absent, in the hearing that took place in Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court.

Draft bill risks stifling Internet freedom IFEX
The Alternative Information Association drew attention to an amendment in the Press Law regulating the online media and warned that the new change risks placing the internet under official control. According to the association, the work on the draft bill should be made public. 

07 November 2011

TMK and TCK Dismissive of ''News" and ''Journalists''
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.
Twelve people went to prison in the scope of freedom of expression until July 2011: Vedat Kurşun, Ruken Ergün and Ozan Kılıç, former chief editors of the Kurdish Azadiya Welt newspaper; Azadiya Welat Batman representative Deniz Kılıç; Dicle News Agency (DİHA)Batman representative Erdoğan Alkan; Diyarakır representative Kadri Kaya; Batman Post newspaper writer Mehmet Karabaş; Aram Publishing owner Bedri Adanır who is also in charge of the Hawar newspaper; Barış Açıkel as editor-in-chief of the Devrim Yolunda İşçi Köylü newspaper ('Revolutionary Workers and Peasants'); Saadet Irmak, owner and chief editor of the Yeni Yorum ('New Comment') and Ülkede Yorum ('Comment in the Country') newspapers and university students Berna Yılmaz and Ferhat Tüzer.

04 November 2011

 Detained Turkish Journalist Sends Letter to IPI
Turkish author and investigative reporter Nedim Şener has been convicted of no crime, but next week he will spend his 250th day in prison.
Şener, a journalist with the Milliyet newspaper who was named an International Press Institute (IPI) World Press Freedom Hero in 2010 following the publication of his book on the 2007 murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, sits in pre-trial detention in Silivri Prison on allegations that he belongs to an armed terrorist organisation.

03 November 2011

Turkish Publisher Detained
Ragip Zarakolu Arrested in Crackdown on Kurdish Groups
The International Press Institute (IPI) today condemned the arrest and pre-trial detention of Turkish publisher and free speech activist Ragip Zarakolu.
Zarakolu – director of the Belge Publishing House, a member of the Turkish PEN Center and chair of the Freedom to Publish Committee of the Turkish Publishers Association – was among approximately 40 suspects detained Friday under anti-terror laws.

02 November 2011

Dozens arrested in government crackdown on free speech
A professor and a well-known publisher and his son were arrested as part of a recent crackdown on dissent and free speech, report the IPS Communication Foundation (BIANET), Initiative for Freedom of Expression (Antenna-TR) and other IFEX members. Around 50 people have been detained in the past week. 
Professor Busra Ersanli and publisher and human rights activist Ragip Zarakolu were taken into custody when police raided the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democratic Party (BDP) offices in Istanbul on 28 October. They have since been formally charged under the Anti-Terror Law and remain in detention. Zarakolu is charged with "membership of an illegal organisation," after giving a speech at a BDP event, reports the Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International. 
The International Publishers Association (IPA) notes that "these arrests are part of a larger crackdown initiated in 2009 and still on-going against Kurdish political parties." 
Ersanli lectures at Marmara University in constitutional law and is a member of the Assembly of the BDP, reports BIANET. Though the BDP is a legal and democratic political party, the government treats its members as criminals by claiming they support the banned Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK). 
Zarakolu is a renowned activist, the chair of the Freedom to Publish Committee of the Turkish Publishers Association. IPA called Zarakolu, recipient of the 2008 IPA Freedom to Publish Prize, "a man whom many view as Turkey's most prominent freedom of expression and minority rights activist." He has spent a lot of time in court for speaking out on controversial subjects and IPA is concerned that prison would impact his already poor health. 
One of Zarakolu's sons, Deniz Zarakolu, editor of the Belge Publishing House, was also previously arrested on 2 October after giving a lecture on political philosophy at the BDP political science academy, and has been detained since then, report IFEX members, who say more arrests are sure to occur. 

EFJ Condemns Arrest of Ragıp Zarakolu as New Press Freedom Campaign is Launched in Turkey IFJ
The European group the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European group of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the arrest of Ragıp Zarakolu, Turkish columnist and writer.
"The arrest of a journalist and well-known intellectual under the pretext of terroristic activities is clearly arbitrary and abusive," said EFJ President Arne König. "It shows how eager the government is to muzzle any critical voice by using anti-democratic methods. Unless there is clear evidence showing the allegations of the Turkish authorities, we call for the immediate release of Mr. Zarakolu and of all other Turkish journalists currently detained in jail".

01 November 2011

Sign a petition to free prisoners of opinion.
After a professor and well-known publisher were arrested as part of a series of unjust arrests, IFEX members are asking supporters to put pressure on the Turkish government to release its political prisoners and stop its war on dissent and free speech.