Journalists Düzel and Adnan Prosecuted over PKK Interview

Taraf newspaper journalists Düzel and Demir are facing imprisonment of 7.5 years for an interview with executives of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party. Düzel rejected the charges of “propaganda for an illegal organization” and claimed to have made “political propaganda”.

Journalists Ne?e Düzel and Editor-in-Chief Adnan Demir of the Taraf newspaper are facing prison sentences on the grounds of interviews with Zübeyir Aydar and Remzi Kartal, executives of Kongra Gel, a parliament-like structure of the Democratic Confederation of Kurdistan (KCK) as the umbrella organization which includes the outlawed armed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The interviews were part of the series “Monday Talks” of the nation-wide daily. The first hearing was held before the Istanbul 11th High Criminal Court on Wednesday (10 November). The interview lead by Düzel was published in three parts on 5-7 April 2010 and entitled “A period of conflict was entered”. Imprisonment of up o 7.5 years is demanded by the prosecution for each of the defendants. Defence lawyer Veysel Ok claimed at court that his clients used their right to freedom of the press as it was enshrined in the provisions of the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights. Düzel: I made political propaganda Düzel and Demir are charged under Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law on “making propaganda in connection with an illegal organization”. Düzel stated in the hearing, “I did not make propaganda for an illegal organization. To the contrary, I made political propaganda”. He pointed out that also the government was talking to the “organization” (PKK/KCK). The trial was adjourned to 2 March 2011. Düzel talked to Aydar a few days after several people had been arrested and releasedsubsequently in Belgium in the course of a police operation against the Kurdish television satellite channel ROJ TV. Aydar too was residing in Belgium at the time. He left Turkey 16 years ago after the pro-Kurdish Democracy Party (DEP) had been banned by the Constitutional Court in 1994. He lived abroad ever since. The Istanbul Public Prosecutor, Hakan Karaali, put forward that “the contents of the interviews imply to the readers that resorting to violence was a necessary and rightful measure”. The indictment claims that the thoughts voiced in the interviews cannot be evaluated within Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (Freedom of Expression). The prosecution stated that this freedom could be restricted in case it serves the national security, the territorial integrity, the protection of public safety, securing the public order and to prevent crimes.
Düzel had trials pending for years at the State Security Court (DGM) on the grounds of interviews published in Radikal newspaper held on the issues of the Kurdish or the Armenian questions.
Aktan Erol convicted by the same court
It was again the Istanbul 11th High Criminal Court that sentenced journalist ?rfan Aktanfrom the Express magazine to 1 year and three months behind bars by reason of his article entitled “Weather Conditions in the Region and in Qandil / No Solution without Fighting”.
Merve Erol, chief editor of the Express magazine, received a TL 16,000 (€ 8,000) monetary fine on the grounds of an article published in the 99th issue of the magazine on 15 October 2009.
The Anti-Terror Law was one of the main areas of concern in the context of press freedom and freedom of expression mentioned in the 2010 Turkey Progress Report issued by the European Union Commission this week (9 November).  


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