Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Ankara, Türkiye / Turkey has filed charges against Kurdish journalist Sedat Yılmaz, accusing him of “membership in an illegal organization” and “establishing or leading a terrorist organization.” Yılmaz, who serves as an editor for Mezopotamya Agency (MA) (http://mezopotamyaajansi35.com/en) and contributes to the BİA Children’s Library, faces these charges based on an indictment primarily focusing on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the group he is alleged to be associated with. PKK is designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey, EU, United States and some other countries
The indictment categorizes MA, along with Jin News (https://jinpanel.com/en), Artı TV (http://artitv.tv/), YeniYaşam newspaper (https://yeniyasamgazetesi5.com/), and the Kurdish-language children’s TV network Zarok TV (https://zaroktv.com.tr/en/home/), as the “broadcasting and publication committee” of the PKK. It also incorporates statements from two confidential witnesses with one of them serving as a confidential witness in an ongoing case against the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) for purported “PKK connections.”
Furthermore, the prosecutor’s case includes Yılmaz’s HTS (cell phone location data) records, revealing 2,176 calls made to 11 individuals, including his brother and colleagues. Yılmaz is claimed to have communicated with 49 individuals linked to other “terrorism” cases.
The indictment highlights Yılmaz’s minimal banking transactions and unusual cash deposits into his account after September 2016, as well as his lack of cash withdrawals or deposits since 2018, considered deviations from normal financial activity and adherence to PKK’s “organizational secrecy.”
Social media also plays a role in the case, with Yılmaz’s Facebook profile, last updated in 2017, scrutinized. The prosecutor alleges that Yılmaz embraced the ideologies of various organizations. Additionally, the case contains information that between 2012-2015 when the government was engaged in talks with the PKK, Yılmaz allegedly stayed at the same hotel as individuals close to PKK.
According to his statement several months ago, Yilmaz finds himself incarcerated not for a crime committed, but for his work as a reporter.
The Penal Court in Ankara, Türkiye / Turkey transferred the case to Diyarbakır,Türkiye / Turkey citing a “lack of jurisdiction.” Sedat Yılmaz has been in custody at Sincan Prison in Ankara, Türkiye / Turkey. When Yilmaz was arrested on Saturday 29 April in Diyarbakır, he was allegedly mistreated and beaten according to the pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya news agency.
The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) calls again the. Turkish authorities to investigate the mistreatment of Yılmaz when he was arrested. Additional SEEMO stands in solidarity with Sedat Yılmaz for his professional journalism work.
South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non-profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.
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