Chronology of Events

October 2012


16 October 2012

Q&A: Yavuz Baydar on Turkey's press freedom climate
Source: CPJ
Date: 16.10.2012.
Under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's government, Turkey has been one of the world's top jailer of journalists.
For the past several months, CPJ staff has been researching pervasive press freedom problems in Turkey, including the criminal prosecution of journalists, the use of governmental pressure to engender self-censorship, and the presence of a repressive legal structure. This month, CPJ will release an in-depth report on Turkey's press freedom crisis. In advance of our report, we are publishing this illuminating interview with Yavuz Baydar, ombudsman for the Turkish newspaper Sabah and columnist for Today's Zaman. The interview was conducted via email.
http://www.cpj.org/blog/2012/10/qa-yavuz-baydar-on-turkeys-press-freedom-climate.php#more


ERDOĞAN REPLIES TO NEWSMEN IN ANKARA
Source: TRT Turkey
 Date: 16.10.2012
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said the cargo on board the Syrian aircraft forced to land at Ankara's Esenboğa airport last week contained war material.
Replying to questions posed by newsmen before leaving for Azerbaican, Prime Minister Erdoğan said the material impounded on board the Syrian plane is certainly illegal and war material and there is no point in distorting the reality by trying to present that material as radar equipment ,and added that the radar equipment functioned as war material anyway.
http://www.trt-world.com/trtworld/en/newsDetail.aspx?HaberKodu=9bdc70eb-6314-460c-9dbc-f7d015951e1a


Turkish Supreme Court of Appeals ratifies life sentence against editor
Source: IFEX
Date: 16 October 2012
 Turkey's Supreme Court of Appeals has ratified a life imprisonment sentence against Atilim newspaper editor-in-chief Hatice Duman. At the same time, the court overturned a sentence of nearly 19 years in prison for journalist Necati Abay, who stood trial in the same case.
The specially authorised 12th High Criminal Court in Istanbul had sentenced Abay, a former Atilim editor and the spokesman for the Solidarity with Arrested Journalists Platform (TGDP), on an accusation of being the manager of a terrorist organization. The verdict was based on a court "legal opinion", despite a lack of any evidence.
The Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that Abay should still be penalized for being a member, but not the manager, of a terrorist organization.
Lawyer Ozlem Gumustas told BIANET that verdicts were pending against the other individuals in the case, Ali Gul Alkaya, Ahmet Dogan, Gulluzar Erman and Hasan Ozcan.
In a written statement, Abay said the Supreme Court of Appeals' decision represents a massive blow to freedom of speech, adding that he was also among the plaintiffs involved in a suit against the Turkish state in the case of Sedat Selim Ay.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) issued a ruling against Turkey in relation to shortcomings in its investigation against Sedat Selim Ay, a police officer who was appointed as the Deputy Chief of the Istanbul Police and the Anti-Terror Department, despite allegations that he was involved in previous acts of torture.
"[They] are promoting torturers while punishing those who get them convicted. Through this decision, the state is showing me the way either toward an F-Type prison or to exile, wanting to silence me under all circumstances," Abay said.
Abay also added that the TGDP believes the appeals court's decision against the two journalists was politically motivated.
"[As the TGDP], we are calling on all individuals and institutions who advocate for freedom of the press, particularly professional journalists' institutions and human rights defenders, to [react] to this unfair decision," he said.
Abay first stood trial at the now-defunct Istanbul Fourth State Security Court (DGM). He faced a demand for life imprisonment on a charge of attempting to overturn the constitutional order by force of arms. He was released pending trial during the first hearing on 3 October 2003.
The specially authorized 12th High Criminal Court sentenced Duman, Alkaya, Dogan and Erman to life imprisonment, while Ozcan and Abay received sentences of 18 years and nine months behind bars in accordance with article 168/1 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), relating to allegations of being a manager of a terrorist organization.
The 39-year-old Erman, who is currently being held at the Gebze Women's Prison in Istanbul, was accused of robbing a bank and stealing a weapon. Alkaya's testimony was advanced in court as evidence of these allegations, but Alkaya told the court that he had testified under torture. The court, however, simply ignored his plea.
Journalist and BIANET writer Fusun Erdogan penned an article about Duman, with whom she spent time inside the Gebze Women's Prison:
"Hatice was born [in the eastern province of Malatya] on April 5, 1974. Her family had moved to [the southeastern province] of Antep for economic reasons. She finished elementary and middle school in Antep. She graduated from Trakya University's Vocational School of Higher Education in 1996 and began working as a reporter for Atilim the same year. In 1997 she started working at the editor-in-chief's desk.
"She explains her situation as follows: 'The state employed all its violent and repressive means to prevent us from perceiving and writing the truth. All the editions we published were confiscated, and we were prevented from following the news. Our cameras and recorders were broken. They seized our computers. They filed lawsuits based on the confiscated issues of our [newspaper. The accused individuals] received sentences of up to hundreds of years as a result of these trials.'
"(. . .) Their homes were raided on 9 April 2003 at around 16:00. They depicted Hatice as the other female [culprit] they were searching for in two robberies, while they also portrayed Erman as a partner in crime through testimony the police wrote down and which her then husband had signed under torture!"
http://www.ifex.org/turkey/2012/10/16/journalist_life_sentence/


Journalist Receives Life-Time Imprisonment
BIA News Center
 16 October 2012
Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals ratified a life-time imprisonment sentence against Atılım newspaper’s editor-in-chief Hatice Duman, just as it overturned a sentence of nearly 19 years in prison for journalist Necati Abay who was also standing trial in the same case.
The Ninth Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals ratified a life-time imprisonment sentence against Hatice Duman, the editor-in-chief of Atılım newspaper, just as it overturned a sentence of 18 years and nine months of imprisonment for journalist Necati Abay who was standing trial in the same suit.
http://bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/141497-journalist-receives-life-time-imprisonment

15 October 2012

Turkish judges get training on freedom
Hürriyet Daily News
15.10.2012.
There will be fewer such cases taken to the ECHR at the end of the freedom of expression training process, Council of Europe’s Gabriella Dragoni says. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL
The Council of Europe has been providing training to Turkish judges and prosecutor to ensure that the article of the European Convention of Human Rights on freedom of expression is correctly applied and interpreted in Turkey, according to Council of Europe Deputy Secretary-General Gabriella Battaini Dragoni.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-judges-get-training-on-freedom.aspx?pageID=238&nID=32425&NewsCatID=338

14 October 2012

İstanbul Forum: From troubled region to Arab Awakenin
14 October 2012
Todays zaman
A panel titled “Woman and Leadership in the East” was held on Oct. 10 in Beşiktaş as part of Forum İstanbul 2012.
As İstanbul becomes a hub for international forums, seminars, workshops and conferences, a fairly new non-governmental organization has been determined to steal the stage in autumn since 2009, and the issue on which it concentrates, the Middle East, has been ever changing since the Arab protests started.
http://www.todayszaman.com/news-295242-istanbul-forum-from-troubled-region-to-arab-awakening.html

12 October 2012

European Commission concerned about free expression in Turkey
Date: October 12, 2012
Source: IFEX
The yearly progress report freshly published by the European Commission on potential accession of Turkey to the European Union has found that the reforms initiated by the Turkish authorities in the area of human rights "fall short of a significant improvement regarding freedom of expression."
The "Turkish Progress Report", which includes a section on human rights, criticised the treatment of journalists, including frequent cases of detention for lengthy periods before trial.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its European group the Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcome the report's findings, urging the European Commission to support the on-going campaign by European journalists to secure freedom for all journalists detained on terror charges.
"We have said all along that the charges against our colleagues in Turkey are politically motivated from a government bent on gagging independent media," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. "This report's findings have confirmed that view and we look to the EU to pile pressure on Turkey to drop these bogus accusations and free all journalists."
The EFJ says that at least 78 journalists remain in Turkish jails, some of whom are standing trials for terrorism related charges. The Federation is spearheading a Europe-wide campaign to secure their freedom and its representatives regularly attend the trials in Ankara and Istanbul to show solidarity with the detained colleagues.
"This report clearly shows not only the deterioration of press freedom in Turkey but also the deep flaws in the country's justice system which has denied our colleagues their right to due process and fair trial," added EFJ President Arne König. "We are determined to continue our campaign until we secure freedom for each one of them."


European Journalists Share EU Concerns over Freedom of Expression in Turkey
Date: 12 October 2012
Source: IFJ
The yearly progress report freshly published by the European Commission on potential accession of Turkey to the European Union has found that the reforms initiated by the Turkish authorities in the area of human rights "fall short of a significant improvement regarding freedom of expression."
The ‘Turkish Progress Report', which includes a section on human rights, criticised the treatment of journalists, including frequent cases of detention for lengthy periods before trial.
http://europe.ifj.org/en/articles/european-journalists-share-eu-concerns-over-freedom-of-expression-in-turkey

10 October 2012

ISTANBUL FORUM KICKS OFF
Date: 10.10.2012
Source: TRT Turkey
Istanbul hosts another important meeting.
Istanbul Forum kicks offThe third Istanbul Forum organized by the Center for Strategic Communication has started.
Istanbul forum that takes up the Arab Spring and developments in the Middle East brought together many politicians, academicians and experts from Europe, the U.S. and the Middle East.
http://www.trt-world.com/trtworld/en/newsDetail.aspx?HaberKodu=247c18b5-9764-44d9-af87-10a4fa8a4a61

9 October 2012

Q&A: Nedim Șener, a Turkish journalist under fire
CPJ
09.10.2012.
For the past several months, CPJ staff has been investigating pervasive press freedom problems in Turkey, including the widespread jailing of journalists. This month, CPJ will release an in-depth report on press conditions in Turkey. In advance of our report, we are publishing this interview with Nedim Șener, an investigative reporter who was jailed for more than a year in 2011-12. The interview was conducted via email and translated from the original Turkish.
http://www.cpj.org/blog/2012/10/qa-nedim-sener-a-turkish-journalist-under-fire.php


Golf boss attacks reporter during Turkish golf event
9 October 2012
TODAYS ZAMAN
Cihat Ünal (L) was attacked by the president of the Turkish Golf Federation on Tuesday. (Photo: AA)
President of the Turkish Golf Federation Ahmet Ağaoğlu headbutted a reporter on Tuesday during the World Golf Final featuring world champion Rory McIlroy and 14-time major winner Tiger Woods.
Before a game between Woods and 2011 US Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, a dispute broke out between reporters and security officials. Ağaoğlu came to the scene and after becoming engaged in the dispute headbutted Cihat Ünal, a reporter for the Cihan news agency and Today's Zaman.
http://www.todayszaman.com/news-294751-golf-boss-attacks-reporter-during-turkish-golf-event.html


Media Owners Talk on Military Interventions
BİA News Center
09 October 2012
 The parliamentary commission investigating military interventions continues talking to influential media figures about their perceptions and memories of the events in 1997 and 2007.
The parliamentary commission on military interventions and coups continue listening to journalists and media owners. Lastly, prominent columnist Hasan Cemal went before the commission.
According to Parliamentary News, former owner of Sabah daily, Dinç Bilgin, owner of Akşam daily and Show TV, Mehmet Emin Karamehmet, former editor-in-chief of Sabah daily, Zafer Mutlu and journalists Mehmet Barlas and Canan Barlas already talked to commission members.
http://bianet.org/english/media/141344-media-owners-talk-on-military-interventions