Why are so many journalists arrested in Turkey?

Journalists Erol Önderoglu , Ahmet Nesin and Physician Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı were arrested on June 20, 2016. Why? The Freedom of Expression Network-Turkey explains the basics.

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Journalists Erol Önderoglu , Ahmet Nesin and Physician Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı were arrested on June 20, 2016. Why?

Background information:

 

  1. Daily “Özgür Gündem” is the main newspaper of Kurdish opposition in Turkey. Against it, there have been 149 investigations –and at the end- 110 cases opened, to silent the voice of Kurds (Since July 1995- State Security Council’s declaration). An imprisonment between 2 years 9 months and 13 years 9 months is demanded for each responsible editor.
  2. “Responsible Editor” is the person to be held responsible for each and every article published in the newspaper. Newspapers have been using the method of “declaring their voluntary supporters’ names as Responsible Editors,” so that they would face the investigations, trials, even sentences while the professional staff could continue publishing.
  3. Özgür Gündem has launched the “Co-Editorship-in-Chief Campaign” and invited prominent individuals to show solidarity to defend press freedom against oppressions, investigations and cases, by taking the risk, just like a “Lightning Rod”.
  4. Since May 3, 2016 –the World Press Freedom Day- 55 volunteers participated –each for one day- and investigations were opened for 41 of them, but no one was arrested before Önderoğlu, Nesin and Fincancı.
  5. Judicial tricks of JDP (AKP): Justice and Development Party (One man party of Erdoğan) has changed many articles of laws to control the judiciary, completely. Depending on those changes, they reassigned the judges and prosecutors. New (partisan) prosecutors forwarded defendants to new (partisan) judges to have them arrested easily. In the last example, the partisan prosecutor invited those 3 people -whom he wanted to get arrested- for interrogation, exactly on the day his most trusted judge was on duty First he interrogated(!) them, then sent them to the court on duty(!) and had them arrested.

The accused’s and and their lawyers’ defenses base on:
(Only one example tells the story, all others are the same)

  1. Erol Önderoğlu: I am a journalist; my duty is to defend the right to freedom of information. For that matter I help to distribute every kind of information – no matter which tendency it has- to the society.
  2. Lawyer Özcan Kılıç: According to Anti – terror Law, Code of Criminal Procedure Article 100 this is not included in defined crimes. Accusation is misplead in terms of procedure.
  3. Lawyer Meriç Eyüboğlu: After the decision against Turkey by ECHR, with the amended article 7/2 of Anti-terror Law, the scope of the offence is limited to the cases of making the propaganda for the methods of a terrorist organization constituting coercion, violence or threats through legitimizing or praising or encouraging the use of these methods. There is no such situation in this case.

Detention decision bases on:

  1. Erol Önderoğlu is declared as the Responsible Chief Editor (at the editorial tag of the newspaper’s issue dated 05/18/2016) so he takes the legal responsibility for all anonymous articles and news.
  2. In the issue dated 05/18/2016, there is PKK/KCK propaganda in the articles on the first page titled “Gendarme special operations team rebels at Akar” and on the 9th page with the headline “Gendarme special operations team – Police special operations team crack at Nizebin”
  3. There is a strong suspicion that Erol Önderoğlu committed the crime of terrorist propaganda.
  4. For the reason the crime is committed through the press it exceed the upper limit required for arrest.
  5. There is not any condition mentioned in Code of Criminal Procedure that prevents detention.
  6. “Judicial control measure” described as a light control measure would be a half measure in this case, therefore the decision is ARREST.

For further and actual information: Dusun Think

2016: Norsk PENs kollega Erol Önderoglu fengslet i Istanbul

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En nær venn av Norsk PEN, Erol Önderoglu og hans to kolleger, Ahmet Nesin og Sebnem Korur Fincanci ble i går varetektsfengslet fordi de har vært aktive i en solidaritetskampanje for den kurdiske dagsavisen Özgür Gündem. Tiltalen har vært kjent en stund, men i går dømte en domstol i Istanbul dem til varetekt fram til rettssaken skal finne sted.

Johann Bier, leder for Reportere Uten Grensers Østeuropa- og Asia-desk, kaller dette en «svart dag for ytringsfriheten» og sier at «Erol Önderoglu har kjempet utrettelig for å forsvare forfulgte journalister de siste 20 årene. Han er en leder i dette arbeidet på grunn av sin ærlighet og integritet, noe som er anerkjent i presse- og ytringsfrihetsmiljøer over hele verden.»

Bakgrunnen for tiltalen mot Önderoglu og hans to kolleger er tre artikler som ble publisert i Özgür Gündem 18. mai om maktkampene innen de tyrkiske sikkerhetsstyrkene, samt om de pågående militære operasjonene mot Kurdistans Arbeiderparti (PKK) i Anatolia.

Önderoglu er en nær kollega av Norsk PEN. Han har rapportert til RSF om ytringsfrihetssituasjonen i Tyrkia via nettavisen BIANET siden 1996. Han er medlem av rådet til ytringsfrihetsnettverket IFEX og deltok også på et seminar om ekstremisme og journalistikk ved Institutt for journalistikk og mediefag på Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus i mars i år.

William Nygaard, styreleder i Norsk PEN, kaller fengslingene sjokkerende og uakseptable. De viser nok en gang et Tyrkia i rettslig oppløsning.

Den norske regjeringen må reagere overfor Tyrkias regjering med krav om at de tre settes fri.