FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

B?A Media Monitoring Report 2010 Third Quarter – Full Text

According to the July-August-September 2010 Media Monitoring Report by the Independent Communication Network (BIA) Media Monitoring Desk, the judiciary persecutes independent media and media that voice different opinions on the “Kurdish Problem”. Its justification: “fighting against terrorism.”
B?A 2010 July-August-September Media Monitoring Report – Full Text
The 41-page report compiles the struggles of 517 people regarding violations of freedom of expression. The report on the third quarter of 2010 is subdivided according to the headings “Killed Journalists”, “Attacks and Threats”, “Arrests and Detentions”,
Ongoing Detentions and Imprisonments”, “Trials on Press Freedom and Freedom of Expression”, “Corrections and Legal Redress”, “European Court of Human Rights”, “Reactions to Censorship and Monopolization” and “RTÜK Applications”.
Erol Öndero?lu

Killed Journalists
Trial opened eight months after Hayr?sevener Murder:
Eight months after the murder of journalist Cihan Hay?rsevener, publication director of the Güney Marmara’da Ya?am (‘Life in Southern Marmara’) newspaper, the Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court opened a trial. Journalist Hay?rsevener was killed on 18 December 2009 in Band?rma (south coast of the Sea of Marmara) after he had been threatened because of his articles on corruption. He was shot into his leg on the centrally located Atatürk Avenue and died as a result of blood loss.
Hay?rsevener had reported about detention operations carried out by the police related to alleged corruption in tenders of the Band?rma Municipality. The operations apparently also target the media group. The police detained 29-year-old Serkan Erakku? in the context of the murder. Defendants Tolga Ö. and Ali T. were released pending trial. Tensions had occurred between the regionally publishing Marmara group and the ?lkhaber group prior to the murder.  One of the issues of discussion was the thermal power plant planned to be built in the region. ?lkhaber had criticized in their news items that the Marmara group opposed the building of the power plant. The case related to the Hay?rsevener murder will start on 15 October. Among the twleve defendants on trial are Engin Ar?can, Ilk Haber newspaper publishing coordinator, the Band?rma Deputy Mayor, Talip Y?ld?z, and members of the family who is publishing the Ilk Haber daily, namely ?hsan Kuruo?lu, ?lbey Kuruo?lu and Osman Kuruo?lu.

End of status of limitation for crimes against humanity: On 19 July, the General President of the Contemporary Journalists Association (ÇGD), Ahmet Abakay, announced that the statements of former CIA agent Reza Kahili made to Hürriyet newspaper should be investigated. Kahili is the author of the book “Time of Betrayal” (‘?hanet Zaman?’) published in the USA. He said, “Turkey was the region with the most intensive activities of the Revolutionary Guards during the time I was working. I did not participate in the operations in Turkey. But the Quds Force established within the Revolutionary Guards for assassinations and bombings included the so-called Branch 5000 that was working on Turkey. They were very active in Turkey. The Branch 5000 was behind dozens of assassinations in Turkey until the mid 1990s. They targeted opponents of the Iranian regime in particular. But I know that also secular Turkish writers were targeted in these operations. You asked me about U?ur Mumcu and I heard his name before. I do not know though if the Branch 5000 played any role in his assassination”. Abakay stressed that certain evaluations suggested that Iran was involved in the murders of Muammer Aksoy, Bahriye Üçok, U?ur Mumcu and Ahmet Taner K??lal? in the 1990s. He indicated, “For a government that claims to be working for the truth to emerge it would be useful to discuss this with priority and in detail”. Several trials related to attacks and the murders of lawyer Bahriye Üçok and journalists U?ur Mumcu and Ahmet Taner K??lal? are still pending at the Ankara 11th High Criminal Court, holding the “Tawhid-Salaam Jerusalem Organization” responsible for the incidents. The Public Prosecutor demanded prison terms of between seven years and six months and 15 years for defendant Recep Ayd?n under charges of “membership of an armed terrorist organization”.

The Ankara 11th High Criminal Court is still continuing the trial against the “Tawyhid-Salaam Jerusalem Organization” that is held responsible for many attacks and the murders of lawyer Bahriye Üçok and journalists U?ur Mumcu and Ahmet Taner K??lal?. The Public Prosecutor demands prison terms of 7.5 to 15 years for defendant Recep Ayd?n under charges of “membership of an armed terrorist organization”. Defendants Mehmet Ali Tekin and Hasan K?l?ç are each facing imprisonment of 12.5 to 18 years and nine months under charges of “managing an armed terrorist organization endowing special duties”. Furthermore, the prosecutor demanded imprisonment of between six years and three months and 12.5 years each for defendants Abdulhamit Çelik, Fatih Ayd?n, Yusuf Karaku? and Mehmet Ayd?n on charges of “membership of an armed terrorist organization” and an aggravated life sentence for defendant Ekrem Baytap according to article 146/1 of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK) on the “attempt to change the constitutional order by force”. The Platform for Social Conscience is struggling for lifting the statute of limitation for investigating and prosecuting murders and assassinations of intellectuals. The platform advocates for a referring regulation.

State remains untouched in Dink trial: The 14th hearing of the Hrant Dink murder trial was held before the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court on 12 July. The Turkish-Armenian journalist and founder of the Armenian Agos newspaper was gunned down in front of his office in Istanbul on 19 January 2007. The court once more dismissed the prosecutor’s request to hear Sabri Uzun, former head of the intelligence office, at court. Sabri had stated in previous hearings, “There was the written report notifying about a ‘crucial action to be done’ which referred to the planned murder of Dink. If this report had reached me before it was archived, this would not have happened”. The decision to launch an investigation about five people who allegedly identified Dink as a target at the Istanbul Governorship, in front of the Agos newspaper and in the court room prior to the journalist’s assassination was left to the Istanbul Public Prosecution by the court. These persons are the former Deputy Governor of Istanbul, Ergun Güngör, who had “warned” Hrant Dink; the former National Intelligence Agency (M?T) Istanbul executive, Özer Y?lmaz; the former President of the ultra-nationalist Grey Wolves, Levent Temiz, who had told Dink in front of the Agos newspaper office, “Hrant Dink, from now on you will be a target of the Turkish nation”; Erhan Timuro?lu, who said in police custody after the attack on the Council of State, “If we had not been caught, we would have killed Armenians in Istanbul”; and lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz who identified Dink as a target by certain activities and complaints. Y?lmaz, Timuro?lu and Kerinçsiz are defendants of the Ergenekon trial. The court dismissed the request to take the statements of Erhan Sevil and Mehmet Ali Temelocak who sat next to and behind prime suspect Ogün Samast in the bus when the latter one was on his way to Istanbul to kill Dink. The demand was rejected because “the plaintiff lawyers were not prepared and did not present any documents and information about the persons on subject”. The plaintiff lawyers pointed to the fact that the names of police officers Murat Tekin and Necati Ekinci were also included in the Ergenekon scheme regarding the trial on the clandestine ultra-national Ergenekon organization. The lawyers demanded to take their statements. Tekin and Eknici will be asked to give their statements related to the Hrant Dink murder after an according directive will have been issued by the responsible High Criminal Court. It was said that these police officers were on duty in Trabzon prior to the murder. The court decided to bring witnesses Mesut Kadri and Cemal Y?ld?r?m to court by compulsion in order to take their statements. It was decided that a further writ should be sent again to the Presidency of the Trabzon High Criminal Court on Duty and the Çemi?gezek Criminal Court of First Instance in order to take the statements of Sinan Ra?ito?lu and ?ahabettin ?ahin. The answer of the Amasya High Criminal Court is expected regarding the statement of Erhan Özen who got caught as an informant at the Istanbul Provincial Gendarmerie Command. The court refrained from taking the statement of witness Emsale Çakmakç? and will reiterate the written directive to take the statement of Ergün Ça?atay. The court decided to continue the detention of suspects Ogün Samast, Erhan Tuncel and Yasin Hayal. The court is going to request the Istanbul Bar Association to appoint a lawyer for Tuncel. After the release of Ersin Yolcu and Ahmet ?skender, only three defendants remained in detention. The case will be continued on 25 October.

Attacks and Threats

Stones thrown at TAYAD members: 30 members of the Solidarity Association of Prisoners’ Families (TAYAD) were taken into police custody on 30 September. The TAYAD members had joined a march form Istanbul to Ankara on 18 September to set a sign for the lifting of isolation in prisons. The TAYAD members came from the Gazi District (Ankara) on 29 September under security measures. They were attacked with stones by a group of people who were alleged ülkücü, i.e. nationalist youths associated with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). The group went along the Celal Bayar Avenue under security measures to reach the Abdi ?pekçi Park for a protest action. Cameraman M.V. of the ?hlas News Agency was being assaulted when he recorded footage of the march. The police intervened when the attackers also assaulted ?HA reporter B.C. The Ankara police did not permit the group to continue their march after the incident. 30 people were taken into custody in the course of the harsh intervention by the police.

Threatened when criticizing District Governor: The Çine U?ur newspaper received threats after the article entitled “What is the duty of the District Governor in Çine?” written by Y?lmaz Sa?l?k, publication director of the newspaper, was published on the daily’s internet site www. HaberUgur.com on 14 September.The police filed a criminal complaint upon the instistence of his wife but was only heard by the police eight days later. The article accused the district governor of turning a blind eye to corruption in the district. Certain terms used in the article with the full title “Desolate mountains, desolate streams, what is the duty of the District Governor in Çine”? were found “insulting and ridiculing”. These were expressions such as “to wear blinkers, to be a handler of problems, to turn a blind eye on illegality, to remain silent on gambling”.

BDP member Ak?n Birdal attacked in Bursa: Ak?n Birdal, member of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and Member of Parliament for Diyarbak?r, was attacked by university student Bilgihan ?im?ek in Bursa on 10 September. Birdal was delivering a speech at a meeting in the run-up to the referendum on the constitutional reform package on 12 September. BDP members intervened against the attacker. The police intervened with tear gas against the perpetrator who had to be treated in hospital afterwards. A group of about 500 people had  gathered at the centre of Bursa to call for a boycott of the referendum. The attacker became subject of a lynch attack by the crowd after he had attacked Birdal. ?im?ek was first taken to the Y?ld?r?m District Police Directorate and later on brought to the ?evket Y?lmaz State Hospital. Kurdish politician Sebahat Tuncel made a speech after the situation had cooled down again. She said that the attack was a provocation.

Accused of beating his wife; threating a journalist: Journalist Yakup Önal, owner of the weekly ?arköy Sesi (‘Voice of ?arköy) newspaper published in the ?arköy district of Tekirda? west of Istanbul, claimed to have been threatened and insulted by Ali Bayraktar, President of the ?arköy Association for the Thoughts of Atatürk. Allegedly, Bayraktar, member of the municipality assembly governed by the Republican People’s Party (CHP), verbally attacked Önal at a meeting of the ?arköy Municipality on 6 September. In the issue of 11-17 August, the newspaper had reported about the conviction of Bayraktar because he had beaten his wife. The weekly brought the guilty verdict to the agenda in an article entitled “The CHP member and member of the Municipality Assembly was convicted for beating his wife”. Journalist Önal expressed his view as follows: “We made news in our local newspaper about a trial that was concluded in April. He [Bayraktar] requested permission to speak in the assembly meeting. His complaint about the news in our newspaper was full of threats and insults. The mayor did not interfere. They expelled me from the assembly hall afterwards for a closed session”.

Orhan Miro?lu threatened via the phone: Taraf newspaper writer and Kurdish politician Orhan Miro?lu received a death threat when he was on his way back to Ankara after promoting his latest book entitled “Dead or alive – Letters from the Diyarbak?r Prison” in Istanbul. Miro?lu took the evening flight from Istanbul to Ankara on 3 September. He received the death threat via his cell phone at around midnight when he had arrived at the Ankara bus terminal. An unknown individual called Miro?lu and said, “You can die any moment!” It was announced that Miro?lu hung up angrily. Miro?lu wrote about the incident in his article published in the daily on 6 September. He said that he received threatening e-mails from time to time. Miro?lu continued, “This sort of e-mails is sent to me too. But I received a death threat for the first time, especially to such an effect. Maybe it would have been better not to share this with my family, but it probably was the best to tell them and so I did…” However, Miro?lu makes sure that he has no intention of stepping back because of fear.

Reporter Topsakal threatened by e-mail: Günlük Evrensel newspaper reporter Özgür Topsakal was threatened after the publication of the article entitled “The solution of the problem” on 29 July. Topsakal received an e-mail with a picture showing him amongst other people after the murder of Turkish-Armenian jouranlist Hrant Dink. The mail read, “The Alperen members [islamist/nationalist] will certainly call you to account for what it means to call a great leader a baby murderer. There is no hole to hide in this country for traitors of the fatherland”. Topsakal complained at the Elbistan Prosecution. He said that the police called him twice on the issue, “People introducing themselves as police officers called me and asked questions unrelated to the issue. They asked me for the name and ID number of the person who threatened me and for his/her parents’ names. I actually filed the criminal complaint to find out about the very identity of that person”, he said.

Alada? threatened: “This is our last warning”: The Steering Board Member of the Çukurova  Journalists Associaiton (ÇGC), Özcan Alada?, writer for the local Kent newspaper, was attacked by two unidentified young people on 9 August. Alada? was attacked by two people in their early twenties in the Abidin Dino Park in Çukurova (south-eastern Turkey) when he had left the municipality building after having covered a meeting of the Metropolitan Municipality Assembly. Before beating the journalist, one of the attackers supposedly said, “This is our last warning to you. You will not write again”. It was said that the security staff in the park watched the attack. The attackers ran away after the attack. It was reported that several writings of the journalist published throughout the previous month were seen as the reason of the attack. Alada? gave his statement at the ?ehit Erdo?an Ç?tak Police Centre. He filed a complaint against both attackers and obtained a medical report from the Forensic Medicine Institute documenting the beating. The Çukurova Journalists Association demanded to arrest the attackers as soon as possible. The article “Will you seize the right to trivial peace” published on the AdanaHaberMerkezi.com website and in the Adana Ulus newspaper on 31 August criticized the high contamination of the water supplied to the inhabitants of Adana, a population of 2 million people. It is not clear if the attack was based on that article.

Tekin attacked for depicting accident: On 5 August, it was reported that ?hlas News Agency (?HA) intelligence reporter Edip Tekin was attacked when he attempted to take pictures of a traffic accident that happened in the Osmangazi district of Bursa (north-western Turkey). Apparently, Tekin was attacked by the people involved in the accident. His camera got broken. The Turkish Journalists Association (TGC) condemned the attack that happened in the Yunuseli neighbourhood and emphasized that the number of threats and attacks against journalist was increasing at a fast rate. The TGC pointed out that beating a journalist who is fulfilling his public duty was to be seen as an indicator of intolerance towards press freedom.

Police broke finger of Vahap ??: Vahap ??, reporter for the Hedef Newspaper and the Dicle News Agency (D?HA), filed a criminal complaint at the Nusaybin Prosecution about the police officers who are responsible for beating and arresting him on 25 July in Nusaybin in the south-eastern province of Mardin. In his petition for redress, the journalist argued that subsequent to his arrest, he was taken to the District Police Directorate. One of his fingers got broken when the police took his camera away from him. He also claimed that he had been exposed to several insults. ?? received a sick certificate for ten days. the journalist was going to cover a demonstration in Nusaybin about torture allegations regarding bodies of killed members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). ?? recorded footage with his camera showing intervening police offers beating a child. In the course of the incident, the police apparently also intervened against ?? and seized his equipment. ?? stated that he was also insulted and cursed at the police station. He was able to take back his equipment but the police illegally seized the footage and kept his voice recorder, ?? said.

DHA reporter beaten in teachers house: Journalist Cevdet ?en, Do?an News Agency (DHA) reporter for the city of K?n?k, was assaulted in the local teachers house on 26 July because of a news report he had written about a raid on a pharmacy. 18-year-old F.K. supposedly hit ?en on his head with a hard object in the teachers’ house in the district of K?n?k in Izmir. F.K. immediately fled the scene after the attack. Journalist ?en was wounded and taken to the K?n?k Health Centre where he received first aid. He was then transferred to the Bergama State Hospital. The journalist did not suffer from serious injuries. He apparently said, “I was hit on the head three times in a row. I did not understand what was going on. I do not have any problems with anybody”. Suspect F.K. was taken into police custody.

Provocation and attack against D?HA reporters: Journalists ?smail Eskin and Ça?da? Kaplan from the Dicle News Agency (D?HA) were attacked by a large group of people when they were covering a demonstration in Küçükçekmece, a district on the European side of Istanbul on 18 July. Eskin and Kaplan were taken to hospital. D?HA announced that the incident was directed by a plainclothes police officer. The journalists were in the Kanarya quarter of Küçükçekmece to gather information about a protest march against increased police operations against the Provincial Organization of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and against alleged desecration of bodies of members of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) who got killed in armed conflicts. As reported by D?HA, a group of demonstrators threw a Molotov cocktail and set an office on fire. At the same time, a person who supposedly was a plainclothes police officer, pointed at the journalists and told the others that they had organized the use of Molotov cocktails. Thereupon, a large group of demonstrators attacked Eskin and Kaplan, D?HA announced. The attackers tried to throw Kaplan into the burning office. When Eskin tried to stop them, he was beaten with a rod. It was also reported that the attackers grabbed one of the journalists’ cameras. According to the news agency, the police as the responsible party to take security measures remained passive spectators of the assault. The journalists eventually managed to escape. Eskin suffered two cracks in his head and a broken arm, Kaplan was beaten at various parts of his body. Eskin and Kaplan went to the Taksim First Aid Hospital and underwent medical treatment.

Police violence against journalist at BDP event: On 17 July, DHA reporter and editor-in-chief of the weekly Midyat Habur newspaper, Mehment Halis ??, was exposed to police violence when he was covering a protest action organized by the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). The protest in the Brotherhood Park of Midyat (south-eastern province of Mardin) was attended by about 300 people and drew attention to PKK members who were killed in armed conflicts and supposedly tortured. ?? observed how two elderly people who carried pictures of killed PKK members were taken into custody together with two other people who allegedly chanted illegal slogans. BDP members later on organized a sit-down strike in front of the District Police Directorate and demanded the release of the four people in custody. When ?? took pictures of the protestors, a plainclothes police officer physically intervened against him, it was reported. Footage published on the local newspaper’s website showed a plaincloth person approaching the journalist aggressively and rebuked him, “What are you filming?”. ?? criticized, “A society without press freedom is not a democratic and liberal society. According to he ECHR, a free press plays a vital role in the functioning of democracies. It is the duty of the press to inform the public on all subjects”. 22 non-governmental organizations from the city of Midyat condemned the intervention against the journalist, including representatives from different ethnic and religious groups, e.g. Syrian, Sayyid, Arabic and Kurdish organizations. They were accompanied by members of the Midiyat Civil Society Assembly and many other citizens.

News Director attacked in his car: ?ükrü Gökkaya, news director of the Bizim Radio Television (BR TV) broadcasting in the province of Karabük in northern Turkey, was attacked in his car on 7 July. Gökkaya was attacked by a member of the Turkish Metal Workers Union. The man, who allegedly came to back from work allegedly stopped Gökkaya when the journalist returned from work and punched him with his fist. Gökkaya is in good health. The suspect was arrested. The President of the Contemporary Journalists Association (ÇGD), Mustafa Yan?k, condemned the attack, “An attack on the press is an attack on social peace”. Gökkaya commented, “The punch was not for me in fact. Thank God it did not cause me any serious trouble. But the punch hit the peace of Karabük, which has been known as the most peaceful city for years”. The President of the Karabük Journalists Association, Atilla Karaaslan, said in a written statement, “It is obvious who is responsible for this attack. We remind these officials of whom we know that they are primarily responsible to continue their fight on legal grounds and not to provoke workers and incite them to hatred”.

“Certain newspapers” react to a “certain general”: “A Cerain General” was the headline of Taraf newspaper after General ?lker Ba?bu?, then Chief of General Staff, had referred to the nation-wide daily as a “certain newspaper”. The daily accused Ba?bu? of having violated the law. Ba?bu? had alleged  that information about the “Action Plan against Reactionary Forces” published by Taraf had been leaked by the police.Taraf newspaper asked Ba?bu? whether he had any evidence, writing, “Does he have any evidence or did he just make it up to divert attention from another issue?” The newspaper had previously criticized the general for saying “Either resign as a member of parliament or go to the mountains”, referring to pro-Kurdish MPs in the “Arena” program hosted by U?ur Dündar and broadcasted on 5 July on Star TV. Taraf newspaper reminded the fact that Ba?bu? had said “No Turkish blood is running through their veins” regarding a news item he disapproved of. The daily stated, “This is racism, are you aware of that?” Taraf publications director Ahmet Altan harshly criticized Ba?bu? in a writing published on 7 July. “If you want to carry those stars in an honourable manner, you should learn to respect the ones who wear these stars, do not go beyond the line of politeness” he wrote.

Arrests and Detentions

BDP member Demirel and five children in custody: On 23 September it was reported that Ayhan Demirel, Tutak (eastern Turkey) district chairman of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), and five children were arrested by the police when they were handing out leaflets related to the school boycott campaign initiated in the Kurdish-majority region of south-eastern Turkey. According to BDP A?r? Provincial Chair Mustafa Akyol, Demirel was released later on together with three children.  The other two children were brought to the Children Court Prosecution in Erzurum because of their young age. Akyol argued that Demirel and the children were arrested because they were campaigning for the one-week school boycott. He reported that he had been interrogated by the A?r? Public Prosecution a couple of days before out of the same reason: “I gave my statement to the prosecutor as well because I distributed leaflets. The prosecutors are trying to turn the school boycott into a certain direction. The prosecutor asked me questions such as if the leaflets were printed by the organization [i.e. the militant Kurdistan Workers Party PKK]”. The one-week school boycott for the right to education in the mother tongue was initiated by the Movement for Research on the Kurdish Language, Development and Education (TZP- Kurdi) and started on the first day of the new school year.

US American journalist expelled: US American journalist Jake Hess was taken into police custody by police officers of the Diyarbak?r Anti Terror Branch on 11August. He was supposedly taken into custody because his name is included in the indictment of the “KCK trial” and on the grounds of “spreading propaganda for the PKK”. After having been kept by the Diyarbak?r police, Hess was expelled from the country. The journalist’s lawyer, Serkan Akba?, confirmed that his client was taken into custody in the scope of the KCK trial. However, he assumed that the journalist’s news articles played a role as well. The case against Hess will start on 18 October. He apparently worked for the Inter Press Service (IPS) Agency. It was reported that he was alleged of having made PKK propanda on the grounds of his articles on burning regional forests, emptying villages and the bombing of Kurdish settlements in Northern Iraq by the Turkish Armed Forces.

Journalist convicted under Anti-Terror Law arrested: On 22 July, it was reported that the 5th High Criminal Court of Diyarbak?r in the pre-dominantly Kurdish region of south-eastern Turkey detained journalist Ozan K?l?nç, former concessionaire and editor-in-chief of the Azadiya Welat newspaper. K?l?nç was arrested by the police in the course of a police raid on his home in Kayap?nar, a district of Diyarbak?r. He was detained and taken to the Diyarbak?r D Type Prison after the court had confirmed his identity. On 9 February, the court had decided that contents of the Kurdish daily were opposing the Anti-Terror Law (TMY) and came to the conclusion that K?l?nç “committed crimes on behalf of an illegal organization without being a member of the organization”. K?l?nç was sentenced to imprisonment of 21 years and three months on the grounds of 12 issues of the newspaper published in June 2009.

Ongoing Detentions and Imprisonments of Journalists and Press Members

Publisher and journalist Adan?r remains in prison: On 30 September, the Diyarbak?r 6th High Criminal Court rejected the request for the release of Bedri Adan?r, owner of Aram Publishing and editorial manager of the Kurdish Hawar newspaper. He is tried on the grounds of various news items, articles and photographs. In the hearing on 6 May, the prosecutor had demanded prison terms of up to 50 years in total under charges of “Membership of the PKK” and “making propaganda for an illegal organization”. Adan?r was arrested on 5 January when he entered Turkey from Iraq at the Habur check point in Silopi in the province of ??rnak (south-eastern Anatolia). Since then, Adan?r has been detained in the Diyarbak?r D Type Prison. The defence lawyer was allowed additional time till 30 December for the preparation of his final speech. Adan?r published a book on Abdullah Öcalan’s defence speeches, imprisoned leader of the PKK, made at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The book was audited and approved by the Bursa Execution Justiceship, yet it was not given a revenue stamp by the Ministry of Culture but was forbidden. The prosecutor demanded a seven count sentence for Adan?r according to article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMY) and punishment under allegations of “committing a crime on behalf of a terrorist organization without being a member of the organization” based on articles 314/3 and 220/6 of the Turkish Criminal Code plus article 5 of the TMY related to an increase of the penalty.

Çakar, Kur?un, K?l?nç and Güler in jail for their articles: Gurbet Çakar, editorial manager of the Rengê Hevîya Jinê women magazine, was detained in the middle of March 2010 by the Diyarbak?r Public Prosecution under charges of “making propaganda for the PKK via the media” and “membership of the PKK”. Çakar had actually gone to the prosecution in order to give her statement. She is detained in the Diyarbak?r Prison. Her case will be continued on 7 October before the Diyarbak?r 6th High Criminal Court. Besides Çakar, also former editors-in-chief of the Kurdish Azadiya Welat newspaper, Vedat Kur?un and Ozan K?l?ç, are behind bars because of their articles and books. Kur?un was sentenced to imprisonment of 166 years; K?l?nç received a sentence of 21 years and three months in jail. Kur?un was convicted in three different cases and received a total sentence of 174 years. The Court of Appeals upheld the decision to punish the journalist under charges of “committing a crime on behalf of an organization without being a member of the organization”. He furthermore received a 103-count sentence under charges of “propaganda for an illegal organization” and was convicted of endangering the “integrity of the nation and the country”. His publications were not evaluated within the scope of freedom of thought and opinion. Erdal Güler, the owner and editor of the Devrimci Demokrasi (‘Revolutionary Democracy’) periodical, has been in prison for three years on charges of writing articles praising organisations such as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Maoist Communist Party (MKP). He was arrested on 26 December 2007 and taken to the Amasya Prison. He is now incarcerated in the Kand?ra No. 1 F Type Prison. Güler’s release is not being expected before 2014. Güler is tried in the scope of dozens of files regarding allegations of “spreading propaganda for the PKK or the MKP organizations”. Güler is charged, mainly under the Anti-Terror Law, with “praising crime and criminals” relating to a message, entitled “We commemorate Mahir Çayan and his comrades with respect”, published in the April 2005 issue of the “Özgür Düsün” magazine, of which he is the editor. Güler was also charged in relation to another article, which commemorated communist leader Ibrahim Kaypakkaya, who was killed in 1973. The article was published in the 1-16 May 2006 issue of the “Revolutionary Democracy” magazine.

On 28 June, the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court started the prosecution of Deniz Y?ld?r?m, official of the weekly Ayd?nl?k magazine, and Ufuk Akkaya from the National Channel. The journalists were taken to court for the first time after eight months of detention. Y?ld?r?m and Akkaya were detained on 9 November 2009 because they had reported about illegally recorded telephone conversations between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an and the former President of Northern Cyprus, Mehmet Ali Talat, in 2004.

Balbay and Özkan in prison for 19 months: The 82nd hearing of the Second Ergenekon Case that includes defendants such as retired Generals Hur?it Tolon and ?ener Eruygur was held on 27 September. The audience in the court room had a brief laugh when Mustafa Balbay, former Ankara correspondent for the Cumhuriyet newspaper, said, “I wonder when Ergenekon will be held responsible for global warming as well” and Court President Köksal ?engün replied, “It’s possible”. A total of 108 defendants are being tried in the scope of the trial, 36 of whom are detained, among them journalists Balbay and Tuncay Özkan. Balbay stated, “Ahmet Özal alleges Ergenekon of having killed his father. The raid in Geçitli was supposedly carried out by Ergenekon. I wonder how this trial is going to take shape. I think the detention of a journalist is censorship. It is the unacceptable matter of fact that it is more important to silence the pens than the weapons. I am not holding a grudge but by keeping us here you have a grudge developing against you”. Özkan claimed, “Applications to limit the right to speak inside and outside pave the way to anger. Speaking initiates a dialogue. A dialogue cannot be started without speaking”. President Judge ?engün replied, “Do not say that against the court” whereupon Özkan answered, “You are our only addressee”. The 10 August hearing was attended by the steering board and members of the Izmir Journalists Association (?GC) to support Balbay and Özkan. ?GC President Atilla Sertel, at the same time General President of the Turkish Journalists Federation, his deputy Ali Ekber Y?ld?r?m and Secretary General Misket Dikmen were among the observers. Balbay criticized, “If our screams do not reach your conscience in this judicial year, this must not be called a high criminal court but a “deaf” criminal court. Are you keeping us in arrest by ignoring the ones who have been negotiating with the government outside for the past two years? We are following the developments of the “Sledgehammer” case. They were arrested and released three times. While the coup attempts of force commanders and military commanders of this country were incomplete, did just Mustafa Balbay make a full attempt?” Özkan scathed, “You are keeping me in arrest because there is no army behind me. What is my crime?”

Suzan Zengin imprisoned since 15 months: The trial against Suzan Zengin, journalist and interpreter at the I?çi-Köylü (Workers-Peasants) newspaper, before the Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court started on 26 August. Zengin stands accused of “membership of an illegal organization”. She was detained on 28 August 2009. The request for Zengin’s release pending trial was dismissed because of an alleged “possibility to conceal evidence”. Lawyer Gül Altay criticized the fact that her client was kept in detention despite a lack of concrete evidence. Altay claimed that the evidence brought up against Zengin stems from telephone conversations she made as an interpreter or for the newspaper with union presidents, representatives of the I?çi-Köylü newspaper or publishers of other magazines. “None of these phone talks contain any element of crime, they are not related to the incidents”, she said. Zengin will remain in jail for another six months. The coming hearing is scheduled for 15 February 2011. Prior to the first hearing, Rag?p Zarakolu, President of the Freedom of Publishing Committee of the Turkish Publishers Association (TYB), said that Zengin should be released. The TYB also demanded the release of writer Erdo?an Akhanl? in the same press conference. Akanl? had to leave Turkey in the course of the events around the military coup on 12 September 1980. Zarakolu criticized that the Anti-Terror Law (TMY) was used to oppress the socialist and the Kurdish press.

Karavil, Akyüz and Birsin incarcerated in “KCK trial”: Kenan Karavil, publications director of the Adana Dünya (‘World’) Radio, is being tried in the scope of the case regarding the urban structure of the Democratic Confederation of Kurdistan (KCK), the umbrella organisation that includes the PKK. Karavil has been in the Kürkçüler F Type Prison since 10 December 2009. He is facing prison terms of between eight and 22.5 years under charges of “committing a crime on behalf of an illegal organization” and “spreading propaganda for an illegal organization”. The first hearing will be held on 22 October at the Adana 8th High Criminal Court. Charges are being pressed against a total of 47 defendants, 22 of whom are detained. The indictment presented to the Adana court on 25 June was returned to the Adana Public Prosecutions by reasons of “insufficient evidence” and “not showing concrete offences of the detained defendants”. Azadiya Welat Adana correspondent Seyithan Akyüz was arrested together with Karavil after he had been kept in police custody for four days by the Adana Police Directorate Anti-Terror Branch. The former general publications co-ordinator of Gün TV, Ahmet Birisn, was taken into custody as well in the course of the KCK operation and has remained in the Diyarbak?r D Type Prison ever since. This case is going to start on 18 October. The Diyabak?r Public Chief Prosecution prepared a 7,578-page indictment. It seeks prison sentences of between 15 years and aggravated life sentences for each of a total of 151 defendants, 103 of them detained, under charges of “disrupting the unity and integrity of the state”, “membership and management of an illegal organization” and “assisting an illegal organization”.

Court of Appeal upheld verdict, journalists remain in jail: D?HA reporters Behdin Tunç and Faysal Tunç are incarcerated in the Diyarbak?r D Type Prison after the Diyarbak?r 5th High Criminal Court’s decision for a prison sentence of six years and three month each was upheld by the Court of Appeals 9th Circuit. The decision was communicated on 17 February. Both journalists were taken into custody and arrested on 5 April 2007. D?HA reporter Haydara Hayk?r was taken to the Batman H Type Prison on 12 January 2008 after he had been taken into custody on 8 January 2008 in the city of Cizre (??rnak province).

Journalists Erodo?an, Çiçek and ?eno?lu detained for four years: The Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court continued the trial against 24 defendants accused of membership in or leadership of the illegal Marxist Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) on 29 July. The case was postponed to 10 December, the International Day of Human Rights. Those detained include Füsun Erdo?an, the broadcasting coordinator of the Istanbul Özgür Radyo (“Free Radio”) station, editor of the At?l?m newspaper, ?brahim Çiçek, and At?l?m publications co-ordinator Sedat ?eno?lu. 16 defendants are in detention. Lawyer Mihriban K?rdök requested the release of the defendants and claimed that the file was made up from a police scenario. “By means of the evidence we collected, the evidence presented in the indictment turned out to be fabricated by the police. His is the file of a conspiracy. What kind of power is behind this that these people are not being released?” K?rdök criticized. The lawyer said that the police did not even see the need to search the homes of her clients and put forward that the evidence was readily prepared anyways. She stated that there was no legal ground to continue the detentions. Defendant Erod?an pointed out that the documents allegedly found at the home of Naci Güner were included in the records according to the procedural rules. However, a 40-page printout mentioning the names of the defendants on trial and taken as the basis for all allegations against them was not included in the records, Erdo?an said. “The question has to be asked why the court did not proceed in line with the rules in this case”, she stated. Erdo?an, Çiçek and ?eno?lu have been detained since 8 September 2006.

Released at first hearing after one year: The Rize representative of Birgün newspaper and Show TV, Gença?a Karafazl?, former Rize Branch Manager of the Human Rights Association (?HD), was released on 3 August after 13.5 months in detention. He is alleged of membership of a gang. He had been taken into police custody on 16 June 2009 and was taken to the Rize Kalkandere Prison because of a telephone conversation with his relatives who stand accused of their alleged affiliation with the illegal organization. Karafazl? and another 16 defendants were taken before the Erzurum 2nd High Criminal Court for the first time and were released pending trial. ?HD General President Öztürk Türkdo?an, joint attorney of the journalist, commented the decision, “It was understood that the indictment did not provide concrete allegations. We said that this was an injustice that should be ended today. The court listened to our call”. Journalist Karafazl? is tried under article 220/2 of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK). The ?HD had stated that the indictment did not provide any connections between Karafazl? and the twelve offences allegedly committed by the organization.

Attending a funeral as reason for arrest: The case against Arts and Life magazine publication director Hac? Orman, who is also the head of the Foundation for Science, Education, Aesthetics, Culture and Arts Research (BEKSAV), and another 26 people was continued before the Ankara 12th High Criminal Court. All 27 defendants attended the funeral of Kutsiye Bozoklar who was running the steering commission of the At?lm newspaper and the Arts and Life Magazine. The trial was postponed to 17 February 2011 when the final defence of the defendants will be presented.

Demand for free education became criminal offence: Ferhat Tüzer and Berna Y?lmaz, two of the three young people who displayed a banner saying “We want free education, and we will get it” during the speech of PM Erdo?an at the “Romani meeting” in Istanbul on 14 March 2010, are detained defendants of a case tried at the Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court. Tüzer, Y?lmaz and un-detained defendant Utku Aykar are facing prison sentences of between six and 15 years each under charges of “membership of the illegal Party and Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of the Turkish People (DHKP-C) organization” and “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”. The second hearing of the trial is scheduled for 14 December 2010. The indictment says that Berna Y?lmaz participated in more than ten protest actions such as demonstrations against NATO and the World Bank and supporting the resistance of the Tekel workers. The Law Office explained that both the police and the prosecutor assessed the banner as a “crime”, the legal “Youth Associations Federation” was evaluated as an “illegal organization” and the slogan about free education was seen as a “slogan of an illegal organization”. The Law Office furthermore emphasized that the court approved of all points.

No release for Bar?? Aç?kel: The owner and editor-in-chief of the Workers Peasants newspaper, Bar?? Aç?kel, served his prison sentence of four years and eight months on charges of “membership of an illegal organization”. Yet, he cannot be released from the Kand?ra No. 2 F Type Prison because his press files were finalized. Lawyer Gül Altay stated that the Istanbul High Criminal Courts made a mistake in the calculation regarding monetary fines imposed on the grounds of two press files. Altay said he was informed that the execution file was wrongly sent to the Prosecution of the Court of Appeals after their application to the Enforcement Prosecution. He said that they were waiting for the file to be returned to Istanbul. Aç?kel is in jail since 2004, mainly under charges of “spreading propaganda for an illegal organization”.

Arrested Journalists

Writer Akhanl? accused of “armed robbery”: The Istanbul Public Chief Prosecution demanded an aggravated life sentence for writer Erdo?an Akhanl? in an indictment regarding the author’s alleged involvement in an armed robbery carried out on behalf of an illegal organization. Akhanl? was arrested on 10 August when he entered the country. The indictment was prepared by Public Prosecutor Hüseyin Ayar on 25 August. He demands Akhanl?’s punishment under Article 146 of the former TCK. The writer is detained in the Tekirda? No.2 F Type Prison. He will be tried before the Istanbul 11th High Criminal Court. Akhanl? is considered as one of the culprits involved in a robbery on an exchange bureau in Eminönü (Istanbul) on 23 October 1989. The owner of the exchange office, ?brahim Ya?ar Tutum, was killed in the robbery. His sons, Ünay and Mustafa Tutum,  are included in the indictment as the aggrieved party. The indictment alleges Akhanl? of membership of the “Turkish People’s Liberation Party – Re-Liberation Union People’s Liberation Forces” based on the statements taken from Mehmet Fatih Çal??kan and Hamza Kopal. The indictment is furthermore based on the assumption that “?brahim Ya?ar Tutum was probably killed by Hamza Kopal and his friends”. The court rejected Akhanl?’s release who has been detained since 10 August.

No end of persecution of conscientious objector ?nan Süver: Conscientious objector ?nan Süver was taken into custody on 5 August and imprisoned shortly after. “I am a conscientious objector and I do not want to do even one single day of military service” Süver said at the Ege Army Command Military Court. His trial will be continued on 8 November. Süver is detained in the ?irinyer Military Prison. The court rejected his release. Thereupon, he was transferred to the Buca Prision. His detention started on 6 August in the Kas?mpa?a (Istanbul) Military Prison. On 9 August, he started a hunger strike. He was taken to the Haydarpa?a (Istanbul) Military Hospital on 12 August. Süver was conscripted in 2001but used his right to conscientious objection. The married father of three children was arrested in 2003 and detained in the ?irinyer Military Prison, nicknamed by conscientious objectors as the “?irinyer Military Torture House”.

Trials on Press Freedom and Freedom of Expression

Zarakolu and Güler tried on KCK book: The trial against publisher Rag?p Zarakolu and writer Mehmet Güler on the grounds of the book “The KCK file/Global state and Kurds without a state” has started on 30 September at the Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court. The book was immediately banned and confiscated in May 2010, right after it had been published. Prosecutor Hakan Karaali prepared the indictment against writer Güler and publisher Rag?p Zarakolu, official of the Belge Publishing Company. The defendants are charged with “publishing statements of the PKK”, the militant Kurdistan Workers Party, and “spreading PKK propaganda”. Zarakolu and Güler are facing imprisonment of up to 7.5 years. Author Güler requested to lift the ban which was imposed on the book right after its publication. He demanded his acquittal. The hearing was observed by writer Mavia Modig from the International PEN Writers Association and writer Maureen Freely from PEN. Publisher Zarakolu did not attend the hearing because of health reasons. The court decided to issue a writ to bring him to court by compulsion. Furthermore, the court decreed for an evaluation regarding the final decision of the book ban. The case was adjourned to 2 December.

Ferhat Tunç facing 15 years in jail: Kurdish singer Ferhat Tunç is facing a 15-year prison sentence because of a speech Tunç delivered at the 1st Eruh-Çirav Nature and Culture Arts Festival (south-eastern province of Siirt) on 15 August 2009. He is charged with “spreading propaganda for the PKK organization”, the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party, and “committing a crime on behalf of an illegal organization without being a member of the organization” according to article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) and article 220/6 of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK) respectively. Un-detained defendant Tunç is tried at the Diyarbak?r 4th High Criminal Court. At the hearing on 30 September, his joint attorneys claimed that his speech should be evaluated within the boundaries of freedom of expression and requested their client’s acquittal. The lawyers presented the copy of a letter from the Scandinavian group of the PEN Writers Association to the court. The group had addressed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an in regard to the prosecution of Tunç. 363 intellectuals came together in the “Initiative for Solidarity with Ferhat Tunç” They managed to gather more than one thousand signatures for their request to drop the case. The court adjourned the case to 4 November in order to complete missing documents in the file.

BDP member Demirta? received 10-month prison sentence: On 28 September, the Co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), Selahattin Demirta?, was convicted of “propaganda for an illegal organization” and received a ten-month prison sentence. Demirta?, the then Diyarbak?r branch president of the Human Rights Foundation, was punished for a statement he made about the detention conditions of Abdullah Öcalan, leader of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party. Öcalan is imprisoned on Imrali Island in the Sea of Marmara since 1999. In the hearing on 28 September, the Diyarbak?r High Criminal Court initially handed down a one-year prison sentence which was then mitigated to ten months. The pronouncement of judgement was postponed. Additionally, the court decided for the suspension of the sentence on probation of five years. Demirta? did not attend the hearing and was presented by his lawyer Meral Dan?? Be?ta?. Be?ta? claimed that her client’s statement should be evaluated within the scope of freedom of thought and expression. Demirta? had previously been convicted of “praising crime and a criminal” and received a prison sentence of one year and three months. The Court of Appeal reversed the decision and requested Demirta?’ prosecution over charges of “propaganda for an illegal organization”. Despite Demirta?’ parliamentary immunity, the Court of Appeals decreed for the continuation of the trial under terror charges. The court referred to Article 14 of the Constitution stipulating, “None of the rights and freedoms embodied in the Constitution shall be exercised with the aim of violating the indivisible integrity of the state with its territory and nation, and endangering the existence of the democratic and secular order of the Turkish Republic based upon human rights”. Lawyer Be?ta? criticized the decision: “This is a disgrace of the law. Taking into consideration the political party of the defendant, the people and the thoughts he represented and his thoughts on the Kurdish question, this decision is not based on any legal argument”. Demirta? was prosecuted on the grounds of conveying certain messages in the press release entitled “Tension created by war and isolation increased the number of violations” broadcasted on Roj TV on 7 February 2003.

“Propaganda” trial against journalist Özer: Aziz Özer, editorial manager of the Güney magazine, is indicted for “spreading propaganda for the PKK organization”, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party. As reported on 27 September, the charges are based on the article entitled “The story of an incredible three-day resistance” written by Mehmet Sö?üt and a short picture story called “The Judge” by Meray Ülgen. The Public Prosecution of Mersin (eastern Mediterranean region) had carried out an investigation over both writers and editor Özer on the grounds of contents regarding the 51st issue of the magazine for January-February-March 2010. However, the file was sent to the Büyükçekmece Prosecution due to a decision on lack of jurisdiction and was eventually forwarded to the Istanbul Public Prosecution. As a result of the probe, the Istanbul Public Prosecutor, Hakan Karaali, opened a trial against Özer on 11 May according to Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law. Özer has previously won cases against Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights regarding restrictions of freedom of expression. Now he faces imprisonment of up to 7.5 years once again on the grounds of the magazine writings. A caricature in the 98th issue of the magazine featured a grave stone with crescent and star and the name “Niyazi Martyr”. The caricature is also subject of the trial since it was assessed as an “implication” that a security official who died in conflicts with the PKK “died for nothing”, as “praise of force and violence” and “spreading propaganda for the PKK”. The first hearing is scheduled for 7 October.

44 cases against Taraf in one day: A total of 44 cases against Taraf newspaper employees were heard at the Kad?köy (Istanbul) 2nd High Criminal Court of First Instance on 10 December. Four new trials were opened on charges of “violating secrecy” and “insult via written messages”. General Publications Director Ahmet Altan said in his defence: “The prosecutor does either not read my writings at all or he is prejudiced”. His assistant Yasemin Çongar is sued on charges of “violating secrecy”; editorial manager Adnan Demir is charged with the “attempt to influence a fair trial”, “disclosure of visuals and audible material related to private life”, “violation of secrecy”, “praising crime and a criminal”, “not publishing a disclaimer” and “insulting the memory of Atatürk”. Journalist Ne?e Düzel is charged with “praising crime and a criminal”, Markar Eseyan,  Melih Alt?nok, Mehmet Baransu, Burhan Ekinci, Fikret Karagöz and Bünyamin Demirkan stand accused of “violation of secrecy”, Y?ld?ray O?ur is alleged of “insulting the memory of Atatürk”, ?ahin Bahar of “violating secrecy”, Tuncer Köseo?lu of “violation of secrecy” and “influencing the judiciary”, Rasim Ozan Kütahyal? of “insult”, Emre Uslu of the “attempt to influence a fair trial”, Bahar K?l?çgedik of “violation of secrecy”, the “attempt to influence a fair trial” and “insult via a written, visual or voice message”, Adnan Keskin of “insult” and “insult via a written, visual or voice message”, Nevzat Çiçek of “insult” and “insult via a written, visual or voice message” and Sibel Hürta? of the “attempt to influence a fair trial”, “violation of secrecy” and “influencing the judiciary”.

“Ergenekon” trial generates hundreds of press cases: The Istanbul 11th High Criminal Court started the prosecution against Zaman newspaper reporter Bü?ra Erdal, Ankara correspondent Metin Arslan and responsible editor Hayri Be?er on 22 September. The journalists are tried on the grounds of news articles regarding decisions for the release of detained defendants of the “Ergenekon” and “Sledgehammer” Investigations. Judges of the Istanbul 9th High Criminal Court Y?lmaz Alp and Tuncay Aslan filed a criminal complaint against the journalists by reason of their news about the decisions of release. Erdal, Arslan and Be?er are indicted under Article 6/1 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMY) on “identifying officials on anti-terror duties as targets for terrorist organizations”. They are facing imprisonment of between 1.5 and 4.5 years. The current case is based on Erdal’s news item entitled “The ones appointed in the HSYK crisis intervened – the Sledgehammer investigation is covered up” published on 2 April 2010 and the article “Mass releases were based on ‘pirate’ decree” dated 3 April 2010. The request for lack of jurisdiction submitted by Erdal’s lawyer Hasan Günayd?n was dismissed by the court. After the identities of the defendants were confirmed, the indictment was read out prior to the defence speeches. Erdal put forward that she had not been able to prepare her defence since she recently graduated from the faculty of law and because of the high number of cases filed against her. She requested additional time for her defence. Her request was accepted and the case was adjourned to 2 February 2011. The court accepted the demand of complainant Y?lmaz Alp’s lawyer to join the proceedings. It was furthermore decreed to send a notification to the Ankara High Criminal Court in order to take the statement of defendant Metin Arslan. Journalist Erdal has many cases pending against her under charges of “violating the secrecy of an investigation” and “attempting to influence a fair trial”. Erdal said, “We are tried at the Special Authority High Criminal Court for showing individuals as targets for terrorist organizations but it has not been clarified which terrorist organization the indictment refers to. The prosecutor in the hearing demanded to ask the prosecutor who prepared the indictment to clearly state which terrorist organization is meant. We also want to know this”. The Zaman newspaper reported that the number of investigations launched by the Ministry of Justice increased from 4,139 in November 2009 to a current total number of more than 5,000 throughout the past six months. More than 3,500 of these investigations were opened against Zaman, Taraf, Bugün, Yeni ?afak, Star and Vakit newspapers. According to Zaman, about 2,000 investigations resulted in trials.

Kurdish politician Tu?luk tried for 12 speeches: Kurdish politician Aysel Tu?luk, former co-chair of the banned Democratic Society Party (DTP), is tried over charges of “spreading propaganda for the PPK organization” before the Diyarbak?r 4th High Criminal Court. The charges stem from a total of twelve different speeches delivered by Tu?luk. The case was adjourned to 16 December 2010. Nejdet Atalay, Mayor of Batman, faces imprisonment of up to five months on the grounds of speaking Kurdish on 17 February 2009 in the run-up to the local elections. Atalay is a detained defendant of the KCK case. His lawyer Mustafa Y?ld?z put forward that the Kurdish speech of his client cannot be accounted for as a crime in the course of the amendment of the Elections Law. Hence, he claimed that Atalay could not be punished for his speech made at the opening of an election office. The Kurtalan Criminal Court of First Instance postponed the case to 2 November.

Tried and acquitted in photo trial: On 23 September, it was reported that Haber Türk newspaper reporter Cemal Do?an and Hürriyet newspaper photo reporter Nurettin Kurt were acquitted in the case regarding their coverage of an alleged assassination plot against Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Ar?nç. They had published the picture of Colonel E.Y.B. on his way to the prosecution to give his statement in the context of the assassination plot. The trial was opened upon the complaint of prosecutor Mustafa Bilgili after the photograph of the colonel had been published on 30 December 2009. Haber Türk brought it together with the news entitled “Waiting on foot for 4.5 hours”. The journalists were facing imprisonment of up to three years each at the Istanbul Special Authority 11th High Criminal Court. They were charged with “showing public officials as targets for terrorist organizations” according to article 6 of the Anti-Terror Law. The court ruled that both journalists acted within the scope of their duties of journalism and the aim to inform. The investigation was initiated after the arrest of two military officers on duty in the Mobilization Regional Presidency of the Special Forces Command. Thereupon, prosecutor ?emsettin Özcan conducted a search of the so-called cosmic room on 26 December 2009. It has still not been announced which terrorist organization the indictment actually referred to.s

On trial for criticism of District Governor: The article entitled “What is the duty of the District Governor in Çine?” written by Y?lmaz Sa?l?k, publication director of the Çine U?ur newspaper, is subject to a trial to be started on 14 December. The Çine District Governor, Celalettin Cantürk, filed a compensation claim against the newspaper. The daily is facing a compensation claim of TL 10,000 (€ 5,000). In the article subject to the trial, the district governor was accused of turning a blind eye to corruption in the district. Certain terms used in the article with the full title “Desolate mountains, desolate streams, what is the duty of the District Governor in Çine”? were found “insulting and ridiculing”. These were expressions such as “to wear blinkers, to be a handler of problems, to turn a blind eye on illegality, to remain silent on gambling”. The petition of complaint was submitted to court on 27 September.

Ten guests of journalist Birand’s program tried: The litigation against ten defendants, among them Aysel Tu?luk, former Diyarbak?r Deputy of the dissolved pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP), and Mehmet Ali Birand, journalist and lawyer of Abdullah Öcalan (leader of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party PKK), was postponed to 1 February 2011. The defendants are charged with “spreading propaganda for the PKK”. The trial was continued before the Istanbul 9th High Criminal Court on Tuesday (21 September). The court decided to wait for the execution of the arrest warrant issued upon lawyer Mahmut ?akar. Different files against Tu?luk tried at the Istanbul 9th, 11th and 14th High Criminal Court were merged at the 9th Criminal Court. The Kurdish politician had received a prison sentence of one year and six months and an occupational ban as a lawyer. However, the Court of Appeals overruled the punishment. In the current case, Tu?luk is tried together with DTP Deputy Ayla Ata Akat, and Mehmet Ali Birand, producer at the Turkish television station Kanal D. A total of ten people are involved in the trial, including Tu?luk, Ata, lawyer Mahmut ?akar, ?rfan Dündar, Do?an Erba? and Hatice Korkut. They are prosecuted over a joint letter entitled “A letter to the government” published in the Yeniden Özgür Gündem newspaper between March 2003 and February 2004. The charges are furthermore based on the news items “Peace Call from Öcalan” and “I will defend the South-East”, “Let’s kill all joy” published in the Özgür Politika newspaper, “A message like a threat from Imral? to the summit” published in Milliyet newspaper, “Some tragedies might come” in the Yeni Biny?l magazine, “The whistling continues” in Hürriyet newspaper and news items published in Gözcü newspaper, Akit, Türkiye, the Kanal D Main News Bulletin and the Nasname internet site. The defendants are indicted under article 220/7 of the Turkish Criminal Law on “knowing and willingly aiding and abetting an illegal organization as part of the hierarchical structure of the organization” and article 314/2 TCK on “membership in an armed organization”. Article 220/7 foresees imprisonment of up to three years, article 314/2 demands prison sentence of up to ten years.

Prosecutor demanded prison sentence for journalist Durukan: Milliyet newspaper reporter Nam?k Durukan and editorial manager Hasan Çakkalkurt face a conviction as demanded by the second prosecutor on the case against the journalists. The fifth hearing of the trial was held on 21 September at the Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court after an intermission of five months. Prosecutor Bilal Bayraktar announced that he agreed with the final plea of his predecessor, prosecutor Sava? K?rba?, who had demanded the conviction of both journalists in the previous hearing on 20 April. Durukan and Çakkalkurt are on trial since 30 July 2009 on the grounds of a news item entitled “Even a general amnesty will not make us put down our weapons”. The article was based on an announcement of Duran Kalkan, executive of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), made to F?rat News Agency (ANF). The trial evolved from the following paragraph of the news item: “The second man of the terror organization Duran Kalkan says that in case of a general amnesty the organization will not put down their weapons but they will commit to the responsibility. Regarding to the allegations put forward in a talk between the organization and the state he said ‘I say neither yes or no’. When Kalkan talked to the F?rat News Agency, which is reporting in favour of the organization, he evaluated Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal’s announcement that ‘in case they put their weapon down a general amnesty could be possible’. Kalkan said, ‘The solution of the Kurdish question is not a question of general amnesty. The Kurdish people do not consider such a situation for the PKK and the guerilla. Even if a general amnesty would be granted also anticipating freedom for Apo [imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan], then the PKK would not put down their weapons but may consider declaring a ceasefire, but not to put down weapons, the guerrilla does not put down its weapons.'” The indictment mentions freedom of expressing and publishing thoughts as a right enshrined in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Articles 25 and 26 of the Turkish Constitution. However, it also suggests that “Kalkan’s talks in which he called to resort to violence” do not fall within the scope of this right. Nurcan Çal??kan, lawyer of the newspaper, requested additional time for the preparation of the defence. Judge Zafer Ba?kurt adjourned the case to 23 November.

AKP member F?rat claims compensation from journalist: Adana MP Dengir Mir Mehmet F?rat from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) filed a case against journalist Hac? Bo?atekin, owner of the local Gerger F?rat newspaper published in Ad?yaman. Bo?atekin is facing a 10,000 Turkish Lira (TL) compensation claim (approx. € 4,760). AKP MP F?rat launched the trial on the grounds of an article entitled “Mercy Miro Mercy Piro” published on 20 September 2009. F?rat claims an “attack on his personal rights”. The trial will be continued before the Gerger Civil Court of First Instance on 14 December.

Journalist Miro?lu on trial: Taraf newspaper writer and Kurdish politician Orhan Miro?lu is facing yet another trial because of his article “I cannot sleep with the waxing moon” published in the nation-wide daily on 2 November 2009. He will be tried before the Kad?köy (Istanbul) 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. In the article on subject, Miro?lu claimed that the Republic imposed different kinds of pressure and means of assimilation on Kurds since its foundation until today. The first hearing is scheduled for 12 November. He wrote, “The truth is that Kurds and Turks started to be afraid of each other. Maybe it is the first time in history that the Turks are that much afraid of Kurds after an age-long rebellion. In the end, they sent them to boroughs and villages in the Aegean region and Anatolia on trucks and by train together with their families regardless if young or old”. Miro?lu is charged with “incitement of the people to hatred and hostility”. According to the indictment, the journalist’s column implies that “the Kurds are the oppressed and exploited section of society that has been treated unjustly since the foundation of the republic whereas Turks are shown as the exploiting, oppressing, assimilating part of society that benefits from cheap work power. Hence it is understood that [Miro?lu] committed the crime of inciting the people to hatred and hostility”.

Pelek facing jail for “Ergenekon” news: Former Ak?am newspaper editor Semra Pelek and the daily’s editorial manager, Mustafa Dolu, are being tried before the Bak?rköy (Istanbul) 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. Former Air Force Commander Ret. Gen. ?brahim F?rt?na opened a trial against Pelek and Dolu because of a news item about F?rt?na’s statement given to the prosecutor in the scope of the Ergenekon investigation. The trial will be continued on 1 November. Public prosecutor Pircan Barut Emre demands the prosecution of both journalists under article 285 of the Turkish Criminal Code (TCK) related to the “violation of the secrecy of an investigation” and TCK article 288 on the “attempt of affecting a fair judicial process”. Thus, Pelek and Dolu are each facing prison sentences of up to eight years. Pelek will be prosecuted because she edited the news article entitled “Questions to F?rt?na from Ayd?n Do?an, Rahmi Koç and Akçakoca” published on 5 January 2010. The article was continued on page 16 of the same issue under the heading “I reject, I curse”.

Imprisonment for commemorating Deniz Gezmi?: The Labour Party (EMEP) Provincial Chairman of Ayd?n, Abdurrahman Saran, is tried over charges of “praising crime and a criminal” on the grounds of commemorating revolutionist Deniz Gezmi? on 1 May and at the Newroz celebrations. Saran attended a meeting on Labour Day carrying a banner that featured a picture of Deniz Gezmi?. On 6 May, he took part in a commemoration ceremony for Gezmi? and his friends. On 26 May, Saran carried a banner reading “General Strike, General Resistance” referring to the unions’ decision for a general strike. On 21 September, it turned out that three trials were opened against Saran, one each per event. Saran delivered a speech at the Newroz celebrations in Ayd?n regarding ways to resolve the Kurdish question by democratic means. Thereupon, he was charged with “agitating the public on behalf of a terrorist organization” and “praising [imprisoned PKK leader] Abdullah Öcalan”. That case is tried before the Ayd?n 1st Magistrate Criminal Court. The hearings regarding the allegations of praising Deniz Gezmi? are scheduled for 6 October and 1 November at the Ayd?n 2nd Magistrate Criminal Court. The politician was previously convicted of opposing the Elections Law on the grounds of having posted a banner. The Ayd?n 1st Criminal Court of First Instance sentenced him to six months in jail. The file is pending at the Court of Appeals.

P?nar Sa? in the dock for “praising” Kaypakkaya: The Turkish folk music artist P?nar Sa? is tried for her saying, “Let the armed conflicts on our mountains end, peace should come and nobody should die” at the Düzgün Baba Festival in the Nazimiye district of Tunceli (eastern Anatolia) last year. As reported on 16 September, the Nazimiye Public Prosecutor pressed charges of “praising crime and a criminal” against the artist. Sa? is facing a prison sentence of up to two years according to article 215 of the Turkish Criminal Law. Subject of the trial are the following sentences voiced by Sa? at the festival: “Let the armed conflicts on our mountains end, peace should come and nobody should die. 17 young unarmed people were killed on the Mercan Mountains. This war should finally end. Let us be able to move freely in our homeland, let peace come to this land”. P?nar Sa? attended the hearing at the Nazimiye Criminal Court of First Instance together with her lawyer. She claimed that it should not be a crime to advocate for peace in Turkey and to ask for brotherhood. Sa? is tried under the same charges for a speech delivered at a concert in the course of a meeting for Murat Kur, then independent mayor candidate in the run-up to the local elections on 29 March 2009. Sa? also stands trial at the Tunceli Magistrate Criminal Court under allegations of having praised Ibrahim Kaypakkaya, founder of the Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist Leninist (TKP/ML)-T?KKO organization. She gave a statement at the ?i?li (Istanbul) courthouse upon a directive in the beginning of May 2010. Sa? had indicated that there was no evidence for Kaypakkaya’s guilt. “I thought that if the suspects of the murder of [leftist revolutionary] Deniz Gezmi? apologized today, then starting from this idea Kaypakkaya would not be guilty, because there was no prosecution resulting in a conviction and the legal situation does not require an acceptance of guilt. Saying that the guilt of Kaypakkaya cannot be accepted does not mean that I am praising a criminal”, Sa? had argued.

Complaint and compensation claim against journalist Ri?vano?lu: ?iar Ri?vano?lu, executive of the Gerçek newspaper and the Revolutionary Marxism magazine, is being tried for his statement made on Roj TV on 3 May. He appeared before the Adana 6th High Criminal Court on 16 September. In a program on the Kurdish Roj TV he said, “A commission has to be required to confidentially investigate all political murders in Kurdistan, all conspiracies, the massacres of the Bota? death wells, mass murders and rapes”. Ri?vano?lu, former branch president of the Contemporary Lawyers Association (ÇHD), stands furthermore accused of “spreading propaganda for the PKK or the organization’s aims”. These charges are based on his referring to the group from Habur (refugees affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers Party PKK) as “Peace Group”, describing the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) as “democratic forces carrying out the struggle for freedom of the Kurds” and for calling imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan the “leader of the Kurds”. Ri?vano?lu is facing imprisonment of up to 13 years and six months as a three-count sentence under Article 220 (propaganda for a terrorist organization) of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK). The case will be continued on 28 October. Additionally, the Ministry of the Interior opened another case against the lawyer, claiming TL 10,000 (approx. € 5,000) in compensation by reason of “harming honour and dignity with the press release”. Moreover, the lawyer is indicted at the Adana 2nd Civil Court of First Instance on the grounds of a joint press release regarding the suspicious death of Metin Alata?, distributor of the Kurdish Azadiya Welat newspaper in Adana. The trial was adjourned to 12 April 2011 when the involved parties are supposed to present evidence.

Gökta? tried for book on Dink murder: On 15 September, the Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance continued the case against Vatan newspaper journalist Kemal Gökta? on the grounds of his book “The Hrant Dink Murder: Media, Judiciary, State” related to the background of the assassination. It was claimed at the hearing that the offence he committed was “against the state security”. The court decided to transfer the journalist’s file to the Special Authority High Criminal Court where the suspects of the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink are tried. Turkey was recently sentenced by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to a heavy monetary fine in the scope of the Dink murder. Dink, founder of the Armenian Agos newspaper, was killed in front of his office on 19 January 2007. On 14 September, the ECHR had pronounced the judgement in the Hrant Dink case which was based on the conclusion that the police forces had not fulfilled their responsibility regarding measures to prevent the murder and that the investigations carried out were not sufficient. Gökta?’ lawyer, Filiz Ayd?n, appealed against the court’s decision of lack of jurisdiction. If the appeal should be dismissed, Gökta? will be tried at a special authority high criminal court. On the other hand, the case against the eight gendarmerie officers of Trabzon, who are accused of neglect of duty prior to the Dink murder, is tried at the Magistrate Criminal Court. It will be continued on 25 October.

Case against Kurdish politician Zana retried: The 6th High Criminal Court of Diyarbak?r, a Kurdish majority-city in south-eastern Turkey, retries the case of Leyla Zana, former deputy of the closed pro-Kurdish Democracy Party (DEP), after the Court of Appeals reversed the judgement of the local court. Zana had received a prison sentence of two years based on charges of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”. The case was reopened on 16 June. On 21 March 2007, Leyla Zana had delivered a speech at the Newroz celebrations, the festival to welcome the arrival of spring and to mark the Iranian New Year. She had called Jalal Talabani, the current President of Iraq and a leading Kurdish politician, Massoud Barzani, current President of the pre-dominantly Kurdish region of northern Iraq and leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, and Abdullah Öcalan, imprisoned leader of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the “three leaders of the Kurdish people”. The Court of Appeals 9th Chamber quashed the verdict for a two-year prison sentence under allegations of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”. The Diyarbak?r court complied with the decision of the Court of Appeals and sent the file to the Public Prosecutor in order to have a new plead of the prosecution. The coming hearing is scheduled for 12 October.

Trial against 54 mayors under TMY: The trial against 54 mayors as members of the banned Democratic Society Party (DTP) will be continued on 14 November. The mayors stand accused of “making propaganda for an illegal organization” on the grounds of a joint press release in which they used the expression “Armed Kurdish opposition”. The mayors had held a press conference at the South-East Journalists Association on 4 March 2007 to comment on an alleged attempt to poison imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. The case was postponed in order to complete the case file. Furthermore, the court is waiting for the arrest of former Hakkari mayor Metin Tekçe according to the arrest warrant issued in his name.

Sentence for Kurdish politician Al?nak quashed: The Court of Appeals 7th Chamber unanimously quashed the verdict against Kurdish politician Mahmut Al?nak who had previously been sentenced to six months in jail. He had sent a petition in Kurdish to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an addressing problems in Kars (north-eastern Anatolia) within his duty as spokesperson of the Kars People’s Parliament. The chamber referred to the Criminal Procedural Law that includes the possibility of “postponing the pronouncement of a judgement” according to an amendment of law no. 5728. The superior court requested the Kars 1st Criminal Court of First Instance to consider this regulation and re-evaluate the case. The Court of Appeal’s decision was given on 15 June but was only reported on 16 September. Al?nak said that the cases and convictions on the grounds of petitions made in Kurdish were shown as evidence for the closure of the pro-Kurdish DTP which was supposedly “focusing on separatism”. The local court had applied Articles 81 and 117 of the Political Parties Law and decreed for a six-month prison sentence under allegations of “spreading political propaganda in a language other than Turkish”. However, Al?nak argued that the latest decision of the Court of Appeals was not enough to relief him. “I received prison sentences of 1.5 years in total in the scope of three trials opened against me on the grounds of Kurdish petitions”, he explained. One decision was overruled, the other two are still pending at the Court of Appeals. In total, I was handed down prison sentences summing up to 8.5 years, all files are pending at the Court of Appeals. Additionally, cases against me are pending at special authority courts in Ankara, Erzurum and Kars”.

High Court demanded journalist Dilipak’s punishment: The acquittal of Vakit newspaper journalist Abdurrahman Dilipak was forwarded to the Court of Appeals General Criminal Board upon the request for Dilipak’s punishment made by the Court of Appeals Public Chief Prosecution. The journalist had previously been acquitted of charges of “attacking the personal rights” of former President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. He was tried on the grounds of an article related to the former President before the Ba?c?lar 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. The General Criminal Board ruled by the majority of two votes for the punishment of Dilipak. The file was sent back to the local court. In a different case, Dilpak was sentenced to a severe monetary fine after a trial period of nine years. The compensation claim was filed by the family of General Güven Erkaya, former Commander of the Naval Forces, on the grounds of Dilipak’s article entitled “We have no hard feelings” published in the Vakit daily on 25 June 2000. On 28 Februray, Dilipak was convicted because of criticizing the deceased Erkaya on the grounds of his role in the “postmodern” coup. The journalist was forced to sell his flat for TL 180,000 (€ 90,000) due to the decision of the Kad?köy (Istanbul) 4th Office for Debt Collections. However, the file is currently pending at the Court of Appeals after the selling procedures were cancelled by the court and the decision was appealed against. The ECHR is going to announce its verdict related to three trials against Dilipak soon. Dilipak announced that talks were held to reach an “amicable solution” regarding the Erkaya file. Meanwhile, he is waiting for the decisions of the cases related to Ilgaz Zorlu and Huri? Tolon.

54 pro-Kurdish mayors acquitted: On 14 September, the Diyarbak?r 5th High Criminal Court acquitted 54 mayors, former members of the closed-down pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (BDP), who stood accused of “spreading propaganda for the PKK terror organization”. The mayors had held a press conference at the South-East Journalists Association on 4 March 2007 to comment on an alleged attempt to poison imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. They were tried under article 220/8 of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK) on the grounds of calling the PKK the “Kurdish opposition”. The mayors were facing imprisonment of up to 4.5 years under Article 220/8 of the TCK. The Public Prosecutor stated that the words used by the mayors were “neither organizational propaganda nor praise of a crime”. The prosecutor claimed that taking the text read out at the press conference into consideration as a whole, the sentence on subject “did not contain propaganda for an illegal organization and moreover did not constitute the offence of praising crime and a criminal”. Thus, he demanded the acquittal of all defendants. The court followed the final plead of the prosecutor and decided for the acquittal of all 54 mayors. The current Diyarbak?r Metropolitan Mayor, Osman Baydemir, was among the defendants as well as the Mayor of Sur, Abdullah Demirba?, the former Mayor of Tunceli, Songül Erol Abdil, the former Mayor of Hakkari, Metin Tekçe, the former Mayor of ??rnak, Ahmet Ertak, and the former Mayor of Batman, Hüseyin Kalkan.

Eight trials against Saymaz because of “Ergenekon” news: The eighth trial has been opened against Radikal newspaper reporter Ismail Saymaz on the grounds of his article entitled “Love games in Ergenekon – The Ergenekon prosecutor also took the judge’s statement” published on 8 June. As reported on 8 September, the complaint for the latest trial was filed by the President of the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court, Köksal ?engün. The indictment was prepared for the prosecution of the Bak?rköy (Istanbul) Criminal Court of First Instance. The journalist had reported about the technical surveillance of Kad?r Özbek, Deputy President of the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK). The article mentioned the inquiry report related to lawyer Tülay Bekar who was arrested in the last wave of arrests. It read that Bekar, as a result of her being directed by Oktay, allegedly dominated Court President ?engün by “making use out of her femininity and sexuality” and that she tried to make ?engün withdraw from the case or promote him to become a member of the Court of Appeals or to influence him on releasing some of the defendants. The journalist is tried under allegations of “insult”, “violation of the secrecy of an investigation” and the “attempt to influence a fair trial” according to articles 125, 285, and 288 respectively of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK). The first hearing is scheduled for 28 January 2011. Saymaz, who is following up the Ergenekon investigation and the related trials, had no less than seven trials opened against him before the latest complaint was filed. Under these circumstances, he is facing prison sentences of up to 70 years in total. The ultra-nationalist Ergenekon terror organization is charged with plotting to overthrow the government. Another trial was opened against Radikal newspaper reporter ?smail Saymaz. He is facing a TL 7,000 (€3,500) compensation claim filed by Osman ?anal, Prosecutor of Erzurum (central Analtolia) on the grounds of his book “The Postmodern Jihad”. The book deals with the Erzurum-Erzincan connections of the Ergenekon investigation. ?anal was appointed “Press Prosecutor’ after his special authority had been lifted. He was described as a “supporter of postmodernism” in Saymaz’s book. The trial will start on 13 December before the Ankara 11th Magistrate Criminal Court.

Sentence against 56 mayors approved: The Court of Appeals 9th Criminal Chamber approved the sentences imposed on 56 mayors of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP), as reported on 8 September. The mayors had been convicted because of advocating against the closure of the Kurdish Roj TV channel broadcasted from Denmark. The DTP was closed by the Constitutional Court in December 2009. The 56 mayors were sentenced to imprisonment of three months each by the Diyarbak?r 5th High Criminal Court on 15 April 2008. They had sent a joint letter to Anders Fogh Rasmussen, then Prime Minister of Denmark, requesting not to close down the satellite channel Roj TV. The mayors were convicted of “praising crime and a criminal”. The court punished the defendants according to article 215 of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK) (praising crime and a criminal) and mitigated the sentences to two months and 15 days. The penalties were converted into a monetary fine of 875 YTL (approx. € 435) to be paid by each defendant based on article 52/ 2 of the TCK. Three mayors were acquitted, among them one DTP member and two members of the Social Democratic Populist Party (SHP). No other case had yet been opened against Roj TV at the time. Furthermore, the Denmark Media Secretary had sent a report to the Diyarbak?r Court saying, “We have no evidence that the channel violated the Danish publication laws”. However, the court decreed for the conviction of the mayors. This decision was upheld by the Court of Appeals. Eventually, the Danish Public Prosecutor, Jörgen Steen Sörensen, filed a criminal complaint against Roj TV and the Mesopotamian Broadcast Company, both operating from Denmark, on the grounds of “supporting activities of the PKK”, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Baransu facing 10-year prison sentence: Prosecutor Mustafa Çavu?o?lu from the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court demanded prison sentence of ten years for Taraf newspaper reporter Mehmet Baransu because the journalist published allegedly “classified” documents related to the Aktütün attack. The raid of the militant Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) on the Aktütün police station on 3 October 2008 resulted in the death of 17 soldiers. Public Prosecutor Cavu?o?lu requested Baransu’s punishment according to article 329/1 of the Turkish Criminal Code (Disclosure of information relating to the security and political interests of the State) on the grounds of communicating documents labelled as “classified”. Baransu stands accused of publishing immediate data from reports of the General Staff Presidency in his articles entitled “The Aktütün Secrets” and “What was experienced to the minute at the General Staff” published on 13 April 2009. It is claimed that the articles contain “documents with a classified status related to national security”. The court judge announced in the hearing that a writing sent by the Military Prosecutor of the General Staff Presidency was included in the file. After the prosecutor’s final submission, the journalist’s lawyer Ergin Cinmen requested additional time in order to prepare the final speech of the defence. Thus, the case was postponed to 6 October.

Journalist Balc?o?lu won her case: Journalist Nurgün Balc?o?lu eventually avoided litigation over a TL 20,000 (€ 10,000) compensation claim filed by retired judge Zekeriya Dilsizo?lu, as reported on 7 September. Balc?o?lu had initially been sentenced to pay the compensation which was filed because of her criticizing the judge for his statement that “Of every 10,000 murder trials, 9,000 are due to women.” The Court of Appeals 4th Law Chamber overturned the sentence and the local court complied with the decision, thus the case was dismissed. On 9 June 2009, the Court of Appeals had decided that the Bak?rköy 8th Criminal Court of First Instance “should have rejected the case completely”. The court retried the case and this time decided to reject it on 17 June 2010. On 13 March 2008, the local court had partially accepted the compensation claim of originally TL 100,000 (€50,000) and sentenced Balc?o?lu and the daily’s editor-in-chief, Fethullah Kapkapc?, to paying TL 20,000 in compensation. The Court of Appeals decreed: “The statement of the complainant lacked scientific proof, was based on a subjective opinion and was an offence against women with its generalization. The right to harsh criticism emerging from the statement as voiced in the writings of the defendant must be accepted”. The court decided that the criticism voiced by the defendant remained within legal limits and that she should not be held responsible for the compensation. The court unanimously decided to overturn the decision of the local court. In the meantime, the case tried at the Gaziantep 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance had been closed by prescription on 7 November 2007. In a writing entitled “Is this judge the one?” making the headlines on 15 February 2007, Balco?lu had criticized Dilsizo?lu as an “enemy of women” because he had not even mentioned one name of  the two wives in the obituary notice for his brother which was published in several newspapers.

Second trial against Özbey for criticism of civil servant: Emrullah Özbey, owner of the News 49 (‘Haber 49’) newspaper published in Mu? (south-eastern Turkey), is facing prison terms of two years before the Mu? 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. He is tried on the grounds of having criticized a punishment regarding a news item about an examination for handicapped people that had been allegedly cancelled with a forged signature. The journalist was previously sentenced to a compensation fine because of the article on subject entitled “Signature Scandal” published on 17 January 2005. Once again, the former Provincial National Education Deputy Head Sadettin Y?ld?r?m filed a complaint against Özbey. His case under article 125of the TCK will be heard on 23 December. The journalist also complained about Y?ld?r?m putting forward that he browbeat him in his office for paying him the compensation before the Court of Appeals upheld the verdict. The case is still pending.

Balbay, Özkan and Olcayto accused of “membership”: The 78th hearing of the Second Ergenekon Trial was held by the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court on 2 September in Silivri (west of Istanbul). Retired Generals Hur?it Tolon and ?ener Eruygur are among a total of 108 defendants of the case, 36 of them are detained. The former President of the Turkish Metal Work Trade Union, Mustafa Özbek, was removed from the courtroom after he had raised his voice against the court board. Defendants Mustafa Balbay and Tuncay Özkan, both of them journalists, criticized the court for a “delay of justice”. The Ergenekon organization is a clandestine terrorist organization nested within the state and the military and charged with various crimes staged for the ultimate purpose of triggering a military coup. A total of 108 defendants stand trial, 36 of whom are detained. Ayd?nl?k magazine writer Emcet Olcayto is detained on charges of “membership of the Ergenekon organization”. At the hearing on 3 September, journalist Balbay complained about the lack of progress in the case. “The ‘Detention Report’ of the Bar Association shows that there is a crime of detention. You have almost become defendants yourself in front of the public opinion. Most recently, you requested the files and attachments related to the closure case of AKP [ruling Justice and Development Party]. Thus, another hundred folders were added to the file. Not even our children or grandchildren will be able to see the end of this trial. You are giving advanced punishment and dispense the law in instalments. If it will be decided to include another file upon the demand of a defendant for the defence, how is this case going to progress?” Balbay argued. Defendant Özkan stated, “If you would withdrew from this case, would it not be tried? Why do you insist on this prosecution and hide the politics behind your back? Who appointed you?” A writing sent to the court by Hamdi Selçuk, Deputy Chief of the Ankara Police Directorate, was also subject of the hearing. The writing was concerned with ammunition that was found buried in the Zir Valley. It was registered that no studies had been done on the question when the ammunition had been buried.

Mavio?lu and ??k prosecuted for “Ergenekon” book: The Kad?köy Public Prosecutor opened a case against journalists Ertu?rul Mavio?lu and Ahmet ??k on the grounds of the two volumes entitled “Understanding the counter guerrilla and Ergenekon” and “Who is who in Ergenekon” published by Ithaki Publishing. The indictment puts forward that co-authors Mavio?lu and ??k violated the publication ban imposed on the books on 30 July 2008 by the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court. The Kad?köy (Istanbul) Public Chief Prosecution launched an investigation on the grounds of “violating the secrecy of an investigation” on 14 April 2010, the very day the books were published. The Kad?köy Public Chief Prosecutor, Dursun Y?lmaz, issued the indictment based on article 285 of the Turkish Criminal Code (Violation of Communication) on 1 June. The prosecution of Mavio?lu and ??k will start at the Kad?köy 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance on 8 September.

Community Centres sued for commemorating revolutionists: As reported on 2 September, a trial was opened against Halil Mert, the Community Centres (Halkevleri) Branch President of Samsun on the Black Sea Coast, and another five members of the organization. Mert was taken into custody on 1 June in the scope of an operation against the Community Centres in Samsun. A total of twelve people were arrested in the course of the operation. As a result, members of the “Student Collectives” and the “High School Students Young Hope”, organizations affiliated with the Community Centres, stand accused of ‘membership of an armed organization’ and ‘spreading propaganda for an illegal organization’. The six defendants are facing prison sentences of up to ten years each. The prosecution will start on 21 September at the Ankara 12th High Criminal Court. The indictment seeks prison terms on the grounds of the following actions: showing pictures of Marxist-Leninist revolutionary Deniz Gezmi? and his friends at a demonstration against the military coup on 12 March 1971; commemorating Deniz Gezmi? and his friends on 6 May, posting the photograph of Mahir Çayan, member of the Turkey’s People’s Liberation Party-Front (THKP-C), on a banner on 1 May;  carrying a flag with the silhouette of Mahir Çayan in a demonstration against the military coup on 12 September 1980 on 1 May, throwing eggs at renowned Turkish businessman Ali Sabanc?; protesting former PM and President of Turkey Süleyman Demirel and the current President, Abdullah Gül, and providing financial assistance and initiating a letter campaign for members of the Community Centres organization in Adana. In a statement, the Community Centres organization announced, “This is an operation to silence the opposition. This operation is an attack against people who get organized against the Hydroelectric Power Plants (HES), thermal power stations, neo-liberal policies of impoverishment, paid education and robbery in health care”.

Trial on “Qandil” interview adjourned till November: The trial against the executives of the Kurdish Günlük newspaper, Filiz Koçali and Ramazan Pekgöz, was postponed till the end of the year. The journalists are tried on the grounds of an interview with Murat Karay?lan, head of the Steering Council of the Democratic Confederation of Kurdistan (KCK), the umbrella organizations that includes the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The case was continued at the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court on 2 September. Lawyer Özcan K?l?ç presented the defence for Koçali and Pekgöz, who did not attend the hearing. He said that the interview published in the newspaper has to be accounted for as part of the public’s right to access information on different ideas. The case prosecutor had previously presented his final plead and demanded the punishment of the defendants according to article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMY) on “spreading propaganda for an illegal organization”. Prosecutor Hüseyin Ayar reiterated the same request in Thursday’s hearing. Pekgöz and Koçali are facing imprisonment of up to 7.5 years. Defence lawyer K?l?ç referred to Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights which guarantees the right to hold and express opinions including the people’s right to be informed. K?l?ç requested the acquittal of his clients. Günlük newspaper owner Ziya Çiçekçi is tried in the scope of the same case. In the issues dated 7, 8 and 9 August 2009, the Kurdish Günlük newspaper had published the interview in three different sections entitled “We did what Hasan Cemal wanted”, “I completely agree with Ya?ar Kemal” and “If the state would take one step we would take two”. On the basis of the interview the public chief prosecutor’s office pressed charges of “spreading PKK propaganda”. Further legal grounds of guilt were put forward because the statements conveyed in the interview stemmed from a member of the organization. President Judge Ömer Diken postponed the trial to 23 November.

Radio journalist Karavil involved in KCK trial: As reported on 2 September, the Adana Public Chief Prosecution opened a trial against 47 people who were taken into custody or arrested in the course of the operation against the Democratic Confederation of Kurdistan (KCK) urban structure. 35 defendants are kept in detention, among them Kenan Karavil, former Publications Director of Dünya (‘World’) Radio. The indictment was presented to the Adana 8th High Criminal Court on 25 June. It was sent back to the Adana Public Prosecution by reason of “insufficient evidence” and “not showing the concrete offences of the detained defendants”. The Chief Prosecution reviewed the indictment and sent a new 360-page version to the court on 17 July. This time, the court accepted the indictment. The case will start on 22 October.

Akkaya tried for publishing phone talks: The Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court released detained defendant Ufuk Akkaya pending trial. Akkaya is the Intelligence Chief of the National Channel (‘Ulus Kanal’). Deniz Y?ld?r?m, official of the weekly Ayd?nl?k magazine, and Akkaya were detained on 9 November 2009 because they had reported about illegally recorded telephone conversations between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an and the former President of Northern Cyprus, Mehmet Ali Talat, in 2004. The journalists were taken to court for the first time on 28 June after eight months of detention. On 31 August, the court decided to release Akkaya pending trial pointing to the “possibility of changing the classification of the offence” and the “situation of evidence included in the file”. The journalist is not allowed to leave the country. He was detained in the Silivri Prison west of Istanbul. Akkaya announced that he was going to advocate for the release of journalists in detention such as former Cumhuriyet newspaper Ankara correspondent Mustafa Balbay, journalist Tuncay Özkan and Ayd?nl?k magazine writer Emcet Olcayto. In the 156th hearing of the “Ergenekon” trial on 28 August, detained defendant Tekin Ir?i was released pending trial. He is alleged of having thrown the first hand grenade into the garden of Cumhuriyet newspaper without pulling the lever in 2006. The decision for his release considered the “possibility of changing the classification of the offence” and the “period of detention”. Y?ld?r?m from Ayd?nl?k magazine has been in detention since 9 November 2009.

Mayor Baydemir sued under Article 301: Mayor Osman Baydemir of the Diyarbak?r Metropolitan Municipality in the pre-dominantly Kurdish region of south-eastern Turkey stands trial on the grounds of a speech in which he harshly criticized the operations against the Democratic Confederation of Kurdistan (KCK) carried out in December 2009 in eleven different provinces. The KCK is the outlawed umbrella organisation that includes the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Baydemir cursed in his speech. He is prosecuted under Article 301 of the Turkish Criminal Code under charges of “insulting Turkishness”. The mayor is facing a prison sentence of up to three years. According to the indictment, a total of seven people filed a complaint against Baydemir: three people from Samsun (Black Sea coast), one from Edirne (Thrace), one from Istanbul, one person residing in Bal?kesir (southern coast of the Sea of Marmara) and one person detained in the Tekirda? Closed Prison (Thrace). The complainants are merely mentioned as “plaintiffs” in the indictment. Baydemir is a member of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). In his statement made on 25 December 2009, Baydemir referred to the KCK operations in eleven provinces and criticized the categorization of “hawks” and “doves” in this context. He said, “Damn the ones who are saying this”, using a rather rude Turkish expression.

Case on criticism of Forensic Medicine official: The trial filed by Nur Birgen, chair of the Institute for Forensic Medicine 3rd Specialization Chamber, against Prof. Dr. ?ebnem Korur Fincanc?, board chair of the Turkish Human Rights Foundation (T?HV) and Bar?? Yarkada?, chief editor of “Gerçek Gündem.com”, was continued on 30 September before the Kad?köy 2nd High Criminal Court. Birgen is pressing charges of “insult” against Fincanc? and Yarkada? on the grounds of the contents of an interview with Fincanc?. The T?HV board chair and the editor-in-chief are each facing two years and eight months in prison. After a heated discussion between Birgen’s lawyers and the defence lawyers escalated, the court president adjourned the case and had the court room emptied by the police. Tension rose even further when the lawyers of the defence claimed that the judge had no authority to proceed this way. The judge cancelled the hearing without giving a new date. Birgen did not attend the last three hearings. Thereupon, the defence lawyers requested to bring her to court by compulsion. Another case against Fincanc? and Adnan Demir, responsible manager of the www.taraf.com website, is still pending before the Kad?köy (Istanbul) 4th Criminal Court of First Instance. The next hearing is scheduled for 13 October.

Litigated for term “leader of the Kurds”: Journalist Mehdi Tanr?kulu stands trial on the grounds of “spreading propaganda for an illegal organization” based on an article published in the Kurdish Azadiya Welat newspaper on 23 January 2010. In his article, Tanr?kulu had described imprisoned leader of the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Adullah Öcalan, as the “Leader of the Kurdish People”. Moreover, he referred to the PKK as the “Kurdish Freedom Movement”. Tanr?kulu is the owner of Tevn Publishing and a former executive of the Kurdish Azadiya Welat newspaper. He is tried before the Diyarbak?r 4th High Criminal Court. The journalist requested to present his defence in Kurdish as his mother tongue but the Prosecution rejected his request. This situation was included into the investigation records as having made “use of the right to remain silent”. Tanr?kulu was arrested on 4 April 2010 and detained for a while on the grounds of “insisting on presenting his defence in Kurdish”. His lawyer demanded the journalist’s acquittal, putting forward that in the scope of freedom of expression and thought a speech that did not contain any elements of violence could not be punished. The trial was postponed to 28 October.

One acquittal not enough for Nedim ?ener: The Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance prosecutes Milliyet newspaper reporter Nedim ?ener over allegations of “identifying officials on anti-terrorist duties as targets” on the grounds of his book entitled “The Dink murder and the intelligence lies”. The trial will be continued on 12 October. ?ener is facing prison terms of up to 12.5 years. He was sued by Ramazan Akyürek, then Chief of Police in Trabzon (Black Sea coast), Ali Fuat Y?lmazer, Deputy Chief of the Istanbul Police, intelligence police officer Muhittin Zenit and Intelligence Branch Manager of the Trabzon Police Directorate Faruk Sar?. At the hearing on 4 June, intelligence officer Zenit demanded to punish ?ener, putting forward that he was being harmed because his codename used for 15 years had been disclosed in the book. ?ener remarked at the hearing, “I do not accept that the people involved in this case wash their dirty hands with this file”. The court announced that the names of the complainants and some of their code names were included in the Hrant Dink murder trial file at the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court and thus confidentiality had been lifted anyways. The court board decided for ?ener’s acquittal.

Writer Demirer exempt from reform of Article 301: Writer Temel Demirer has been tried for three years now under the controversial Article 301 of the TCK (“insults” to the Turkish state) on the grounds of his statement that Turkish-Armenian journalist “Hrant Dink was not killed for being Armenian, but for recognising the genocide [of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915].” The case will be continued before the Ankara 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance on 27 October. Saying “I do not let anybody call my state a murderer”, Demirer tries to annul the approval for his case which was issued by former Justice Minister Mehmet Ali ?ahin at the Administrative Court.

Kurdish politician Türk faces imprisonment for seven speeches: Ahmet Türk, former Co-Chair of the banned pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP), is tried before the Diyarbak?r 4th High Criminal Court on the grounds of seven speeches he delivered between 2006 and 2009 in the cities of Diyarbak?r, Batman, Siirt, Mardin and on Roj TV. According to Türk, the trial was adjourned to 2 December.

Ziya Çiçekçi convicted, four journalists still in the dock: Ziya Çiçekçi, concessionaire and editor-in-chief of the Günlük and Aç?l?m newspapers, received a prison sentence of eight years and seven months and a monetary fine of TL 16,000 (€8,000) on charges of “spreading propaganda for the PKK organization” and “publishing PKK announcements”. The conviction is based on news items, articles and photographs published in 2009. His lawyer Özcan K?l?ç applied to the Court of Appeals. The case was initially launched on the grounds of the article entitled “Glorious Final” and the referring photograph published in the Günlük newspaper on 1 June 2009. The picture showed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and read, “The dream of this people will come true”. Another trial was opened under allegations of “propaganda for an illegal organization” stemming from the articles “One must say ‘Stop’ to the operations” and “PKK; PeKeKe or PeKaKa?” written by Hüseyin Ali and published on 2 June 2009. The newspaper’s General Publications Director, Filiz Koçali, was acquitted related to the 2 June article. Çiçekçi on the other hand was sentenced to 1.5 years imprisonment. Lawyer K?l?ç applied to the ECHR because of a one-month publication ban imposed on the newspaper. The Istanbul 11th High Criminal Court handed down prison terms of 2.5 years to Çiçekçi  by reason of the article “Obama seen from the place I stopped” by Delil Karakoçan published on 10 April 2009. Newspaper editor Yüksel Genç was acquitted in a case opened by reason of an interview with Essa Moosa, the lawyer of Nelson Mandela, and of the article “One outcome of the elections” by Veysi Sar?sözen. Retired Brigadier General Korkmaz Ta?ma sued Günlük newspaper on charges of “insult” on the grounds of an article about peasant Necmi Çaçan from the Düzcealan village (south-eastern city of Bitlis) who allegedly died of torture. The daily held Ta?ma responsible for Çançan’s death. The writing was published on 15/16 June 2010. The newspaper executives are being tried before the Beyo?lu (Istanbul) 2nd High Criminal Court. An interrogation is scheduled for 17 February 2011. Other trials opened against Çiçekçi, newspaper writers Veysi Sar?sözen, Filiz Koçali, Yüksel Genç and news editor Ramazan Pekgöz are still pending.

34 DTP members on trial: 34 members of the banned pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (BDP) will be tried under charges of “spreading propaganda for the PKK organization”. The 34 defendants were exposed to a political ban after the closure of the DTP by the Constitutional Court in December 2009. Among them are Taraf newspaper writer Orhan Miro?lu as well as former Democracy Party (DEP) member Leyla Zana and Selim Sadak. The Ankara Public Chief Prosecution opened a second trial on the grounds of activities that are already the base of another trial against the politicians. The indictment prepared on 13 July 2010 seeks prison terms of between six months and 20 years for the 34 suspects according to Article 117 of Law No. 2810 on Political Parties. The trial will start on 25 November before the Ankara 13th Criminal Court of First Instance. Defendant Miro?lu was previously tried at the Ankara 11th High Criminal Court on charges of ‘propaganda for an illegal organization’ by reason of a speech delivered on 25 March 2007 as Deputy Chairman of the DTP. The court handed down a 25-month prison sentence to the Kurdish politician. The case is still pending at the Court of Appeals.

Six years in jail and heavy monetary fine for column: Mustafa Koyuncu, editorial manager of the Afyonkarahisar Emirda? newspaper, is facing imprisonment of up to six years and a TL 440,000 (€ 220,000) compensation claim on the grounds of the article entitled “Did we have to enter the EU like that? They are abusing their position” published on 12 March 2007. In his column, Koyuncu alleged the Police Directorate of prostitution, beating and insult. He was arrested over allegations of “insult via the media” on 13 March and released pending trial one week later upon the condition of publishing a disclaimer. The journalist is being tried at the Emirda? Criminal Court of First Instance and also at the Civil Court of First Instance. The court requested an expert report from a member of faculty of the Ankara University School of Law and Communication upon the objection of the defence lawyer against a previous expert report issued by a person without particular expertise in the field of communication. The trial before the criminal court will be continued on 30 December.

Ertosun sues Tanay and Kürkçü: Ali Suat Ertosun, member of the Judges and Prosecutors Supreme Council (HSYK) and former Prisons and Arrest Stations General Manager, filed a compensation claim against Taylan Tanay, official of the Contemporary Lawyers Association (ÇHD), and bianet website co-ordinator Ertu?rul Kürkçü. Ertosun claims TL 15,000 (€ 7,500) for an alleged attack on his personal rights based on the article entitled “Ali Suat Ertosun’s place is not in the HSYK but in the dock”, published on 31 July 2009. The complaint was submitted to the Ankara Criminal Court of First Instance by Ertosun’s lawyer on 2 August. The petition requested to remove the article from the website, publish the decision to be given on the site and to decide in favour of the compensation claim. The first hearing is scheduled for 2 November.

Members of EMEP and DTP jailed for “propaganda”: The Izmir 8th High Criminal Court handed down ten-month prison sentences to both Cabbar Demirci, the Izmir Provincial Chairman of the Labour Party (EMEP), and Pervin Oduncu, Member of Parliament for the pro-Kurdish DTP. They were convicted on charges of “making propaganda for the PKK organization”. Oduncu and DTP party executives had been taken into custody together with several party members when they were about to send a letter to the Turkish Parliament that included the term “Respected Mr. Öcalan”, referring to imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. Demirci and Oduncu attended a press release to express their protest against the custody. The court based its verdict on the slogan “The PKK is a right, the people are here” chanted during the press release. Demirci had stated, “I spoke at an event I was invited to as the provincial chairman of the party. It is impossible that I shouted unlawful slogans at a press release that I attended to support”. However, after a trial period of two years, the court did not accept this defence. Demirci’s lawyer Hasan Hüseyin Evin put forward that the decision was lacking concrete evidence and announced to file an appeal. Evin was optimistic that the appeal would be accepted by the Supreme Court.

Trial on “Qandil Interview” against Birgün still pending: Human rights advocator Hakan Tahmaz and journalist ?brahim Çe?mecio?lu from the Birgün newspaper are facing imprisonment of up to three years each on the grounds of an interview with executives of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) held on the Qandil Mountain, the location of the PKK’s base in Northern Iraq. The interview was published in the Birgün daily on 9 August 2008. Both defendants stand accused of “publishing statements of PKK/KONGRAGEL” according to article 6/2 of the Anti-Terror Act (TMY). Reason for the prosecution is the interview entitled “Unilateral Ceasefire Amplifies the Problem”. The charges against Birgün owner Bülent Y?lmaz were dropped. The trial against Tahmaz and Çe?mecio?lu will be continued on 2 December.

Chief editor Eker tried under Anti-Terror Law: The former Editor-in-Chief of the Renge Heviya Jine (‘The colour of the woman’s hope’) magazine, Berivan Eker, is facing prison terms. The charges pressed against the journalist are based on her calling imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan the “leader of the Kurdish people”, a “leader” and “leader Apo” (Öcalan’s nickname), describing the PKK as the “leadership movement”, glorifying Zekiye Alkan who allegedly shot herself upon the illegal organization’s directive and praising alleged PKK member Nazan Bayram. The magazine copies on subject are the issues of June and July 2010.

Melih A??k acquitted: Melih A??k, columnist for Milliyet newspaper, was acquitted of charges of insult against Ali Uluduru, Civil Aviation General Manager on the grounds of the column entitled “Red telephone” published on 24 July 2008. In a paragraph entitled “What has Binali done?”, A??k had criticized Transportation Minister Binali Y?ld?rm because he had not responded to Tarhan’s complaint regarding Uluduru’s demand for $ 800,000 for the flight licence for his company. On 30 July, it was reported that the daily’s writer and responsible editor Hasan Çakkalkurt was acquitted in another issue by the Ankara 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance.

Reasoned decision for sentence of Fehmi K?l?ç issued: As reported on 25 July, Fehmi K?l?ç, editorial manager of the Revolutionary Movement (‘Devrimci Hareket’) magazine, received a prison sentence of one year and three months from the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court on the grounds of praising members of the Revolutionary Path (‘Devrimci Yol’) organization, namely Veysel Güney, Behçet Dinlerer and Ali Ba?p?nar, in the magazine’s writings. The court decided the case on 1 July but announced the reasoned decision only recently. The articles subject to the sentence were entitled “Behçet Dinlerer is the revolutionary path”, “Following Ali Ba?p?nar” and “We cherish Veysel Güney”. The punishment was based on an evaluation report about the Revolutionary Path organization sent by the Ministry of the Interior on 9 February. The report of the ministry stated, “After having passed through several stages, the organization carried on under the name of ‘Revolutionary Movement’. For their actions they used the signature Dev-Yol to show that they were the continuation of the ‘Revolutionary Path’ terror organization”.

Trial start for Be?ikçi and ?im?ek: The first hearing of the trial against sociologist ?smail Be?ikçi and laywer Zeycan Balc? ?im?ek under charges of “spreading propaganda for the PKK” was held on 28 July at the Istanbul 11th High Criminal Court. Members of the Ankara Initiative for Freedom of Thought gathered in front of the Be?ikta? Courthouse (Istanbul) prior to the hearing. They posted a banner featuring “?smail Be?ikçi is our conscience, we will not allow to silence our conscience”. 250 signatures of a total of more than 2,000 were crammed on the banner. Be?ikçi and ?im?ek face prison sentences of up to 7.5 years each on the grounds of an article entitled “The right of nations to self determination and the Kurds”. The defendants drew attention to breaches of the law which occurred in the course of the opening of the trial. The case was postponed to 12 November. When Be?ikçi was interrogated, he stated that even though Turkey wanted to gain influence in the Caucasus, the Middle East and in the Balkans, the country would not be able to become a solid power without resolving the Kurdish Question. Be?ikçi emphasized that the Kurdish question was not the business of the prosecutors but instead an issue to be tackled by academics, journalists and philosophers. “Everybody can talk about it except the prosecutors”, he said. Defendant ?im?ek pointed out that aspects of the trial were against the law. He said that the basic aim of the writing subject to the allegations was a contribution to the ‘opening process’ [initiated by the government] and that there were no armed conflicts at the time the article was published. “The trial was opened when the conjuncture changed”, ?im?ek put forward.

Detained journalist Çakar facing 20 years in jail: Gurbet Çakar, editorial manager of the Renge Heviya Jine women magazine, is facing prison terms of up to 20 years. She has been detained since March 2010 when she went to the Diyarbak?r Public Prosecution to give her statement. The Public Prosecutor demanded Çakar’s punishment under charges of “membership of the PKK”, the militant Kurdistan Workers Party, and “spreading propaganda for the PKK via the media”. The case will be continued on 7 October before the Diyarbak?r 6th High Criminal Court.

Ertosun claims heavy compensation from Koza?açl?: One out of two cases against Selçuk Koza?açl?, President of the Contemporary Lawyers Association (ÇHD) started on 28 July. He is sued for compensation by Ali Suat Ertosun, member of the Judges and Prosecutors High Council (HSYK) because of an alleged attack on Erotsun’s personal rights. More than 200 lawyers presented a petition to represent Koza?açl?. About 50 of them attended the hearing. The ÇHD President is facing a TL 25,000 (€12,500) compensation claim at the Ankara 21st Criminal Court of First Instance. Koza?açl? is tried on the grounds of a speech delivered on the occasion of the 9th anniversary of the “Return to Life” operation. The prosecution is based on his saying, “According to us, the ones who awarded the Prisons and Arrest Stations General Director, Judge Ali Suat Ertosun, with a medal during the massacre, have not considered the judgeship of his suspicious qualification but his bloody role in the prison massacre. The most suitable promotion for Ali Suat Ertosun would be the dock”. Koza?açl? harshly criticized that Ertosun, in whose term more than a hundred detainees were killed, was awarded the Medal for Excellent State Service. This application can be considered as the “protection of Ertosun” in Koza?açl?’s opinion. The case was postponed to 4 October.

Ministry stops trial against Armenian Agos newspaper: The Ministry of Justice did not issue permission for a further prosecution of Sarkis Seropyan, concessionaire of the Armenian Agos newspaper, and Arat Dink, editorial manager of the Armenian daily regarding a trial due to Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink’s recognizing the events in 1915 as genocide. The Ministry of Justice did not issue permission for the prosecution and decreed, “freedom of expression shall be applied not only to favourable news and thoughts that are harmless and not worth to be considered, but also to news and thoughts that disturb a part of the state or the society”. The 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance of ?i?li (Istanbul) had sentenced Dink and Seropyan to imprisonment of one year each on 11 October 2007 because they had been found responsible of publishing the related contents. The penalty was postponed due to a lack of criminal record. The Ministry’s decision read, “This is required by a democratic order and pluralism and the source of criticism stemmed from that freedom. The harshness of the criticism did not constitute a crime and the criticism was not praise. The criticism was of course harsh, hurtful and injurious. In these aspects, the statements subject to the trial remained within the borders of criticism. […]”Hrant Dink, founder of the Agos newspaper, gave an interview to the Reuters News Agency before he was assassinated on 19 January 2007. The interview was published by Reuters on 14 July 2006. Dink had said, “Of course I call this genocide because the outcome defines the term itself. Together with these events we see the disappearance of a people that had lived on this land for 4,000 years. That says it all”.

Sued under Articles 285 and 288: The number of investigations launched by the Ministry of Justice increased throughout the past six months from 4,139 in November 2009 to a current total number of more than 5,000. More than 3,500 of these investigations were opened against Zaman, Taraf, Bugün, Yeni ?afak, Star and Vakit newspapers. About 2,000 investigations resulted in trials. It was announced that Star newspaper writer ?amil Tayyar stopped his column for the time being. The journalist received a 50-month prison sentence and another 40 cases are pending against him. Journalist Dicle Ba?türk was allegedly told “You will be called to account for that” by a judge he had written about. Ba?türk reported about the Erenekon case for Taraf newspaper during the past three years. Adem Yavuz Arslan, Ankara correspondent for the Bugün (‘Today’) newspaper, criticized that the trials against journalists were censorship. “?amil Tayyar will not be the only one if legal regulations will not be enforced immediately. We will all be afraid of writing articles”, he argued. It was reported that 553 trials are pending against Zaman, 300 against Star newspaper, Yeni ?afak newspaper is facing 95 cases and Vakit daily 200 trials.

Court requests expert report from Prime Ministry Board: An expert report has not proved enough to convince the Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance that the three books included in the “Sexual books” series of Sel Publishing are not obscene. At the 21 July hearing, the court decided to acquire the opinion of the Prime Ministry Board for Protecting Children from Obscene Publications. The previous expert report, delivered to court on 25 May, states that “The Fairy’s Pendulum,” by Ben Mila, “The Exploits of a Young Don Juan” by Guillaume Apollinaire, and “Letters of a Well-Mannered and Informed Bourgeois Woman” by French P.V. are literary works and added that they could not be the subjects of a trial. The expert report prepared by the expert committee made up of Prof. Dr. Osman Senemoglu, the dean of the Science Literature Faculty of Galatasaray University, Assistant Associate Professor Dr. Atilla Demircioglu and Associate Professor Dr. Ali Kemal Yildiz from the Law Faculty of Bahçe?ehir University, stated that the books have a “literary” nature; it was added that “original and free design in artwork should be overseen.” Publisher ?rfan Sanc? is facing prison terms of nine years on charges of “obscenity”, interpreter ?smail Yerguz is facing up to six years in jail. The European Council of Literature Translators’ Establishments (CEATL) had sent a letter protesting the trial of publisher Irfan Sanci and the referral to the aforementioned board. The trial was postponed to 2 November.

10,000 TL compensation fine for writer Ergündo?an: On 17 July, Birgün newspaper writer Yalç?n Ergündo?an received a monetary fine of TL 10,000 (€ 5,000) in compensation from the Istanbul 7th Civil Court of First Instance because he was found guilty of personal insult via the media of the Chairman of the Independent Party of Turkey (BDP), Haydar Ba?, who is also the Sheikh of the Kadiri religious order. The court partially accepted Ba?’s claim for a compensation of TL 20,000 (€ 10,000). It decreed that the fine should be paid with an according interest starting from 26 April 2005 when the article on subject, entitled “Disciples revolted against Haydar Ba?”, was published in the left-wing daily. This was the third trial opened against him on the grounds of the very article. He said that the original amount claimed by the complainant amounted to TL 30,000 (€ 15,000). Ergündo?an stated that he found it newsworthy that disciples who had supported Ba? for a long time quitted the order as it was published on the ‘The true face of Haydar Ba?’ web site. The writer said that he wanted to inform the public about the separations and the related reasons. On 28 January, the Beyo?lu (Istanbul) 2nd High Criminal Court had already handed down a TL 2,000 (€ 900) converted judicial fine to the writer and journalist. The penalty, converted from a 105-day prison sentence, was suspended for five years. However, Ergündo?an has to pay a total of TL 5,000(€ 2,500) for costs and expenses. His lawyer Eren Keskin was going to apply to the European Court of Human Rights since the domestic remedies for this trial are exhausted.

Sued for criticism of handling of Hrant Dink case: Referans newspaper writer Cengiz Çandar is facing a prison sentence of between one and three years under allegations of “insulting a public servant because of his duty”. The charges are based on Çandar’s criticism of the fact that the secret witness of the Hrant Dink murder case was not taken to court in the hearing on 8 February. In the 12th hearing of the case in February, certain information about the “secret witness” had been exhibited in the minutes of the hearing. Furthermore, the President Judge of the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court, Erkan Canak, had said that “the secret witness does not know Turkish very well”. Thus, the safety of the witness’s life was being discussed. In an article entitled “Mocking Hrant and the justice” published on 9 February 2010, Çandar wrote, “Well, no justice is going to happen in that court room, it just cannot happen. The Hrant Dink murder case is being tried in such an informal manner, justice will not happen from being to free-and-easy, it cannot happen”. After it had become clear that the secret witness had not been summoned to court, the President Judge said, “I received a note saying that ‘the secret witness arrived’ but s/he did not come. The secret witness is waiting for the police at home. The police are waiting here for the secret witness. What shall I do?” Çandar criticized: “Is a Court President who announces his own helplessness by saying ‘What shall I do’ in any situation going to give a just verdict?” “The same Court President continuously polemicizes the involved lawyers, turns to them with a sarcastic smile and opens his hands to both sides as if he was complaining about the situation. Instead of being a neutral judge who does his best for the faith of justice, he gives the impression of a hidden closeness with the defence lawyers. […]”Çandar’s trial at the Bak?rköy (Istanbul) Criminal Court of First Instance will be continued on 13 December.

Ergenekon defendant claims compensation from journalist Il?cak: Prosecutor Alper Tunga Akgülen from the Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance demanded a prison sentence for journalist Nazl? Il?cak on the grounds of “insulting” Hasan Atilla U?ur, detained defendant of the Ergenekon case, “via the media”. In his final plea, the prosecutor requested imprisonment of between three months and two years because of an article entitled “Unsolved murders on the agenda once again” published in the nation-wide Sabah newspaper on 2 December 2008. Subject of the allegations is the fifth paragraph of Il?cak’s article which read as follows: “Much more disinformation to obscure the actual incidents may emerge. Yet, it is obvious that the ways are continuously crossing with Ergenekon suspects like Veli Küçük and Atilla U?ur. Many unsolved murders were committed in the region of Kocaeli [east of Istanbul], where Veli Küçük was on duty as the Regional Gendarmerie Commander. It was said that the order to kill R?dvan Özden, Regiment Commander of Mardin [south-east], was organized by Atilla U?ur” In her article, Il?cak also quoted Tomris Özden, wife of Colonel R?dvan Özden, Regiment Commander of the Mardin Gendarmerie, who was allegedly killed by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Tomris Özden said, “My husband did not die in clashes with the PKK, he was killed”. Il?cak had furthermore mentioned Tomris Özden’s opinion that the murder of her husband was related to Ergenekon. Il?cak was recently convicted in both a compensation case and a criminal trial by reason of her article “The immunity of the President”, in which she had described Osman Kaçmaz, President Judge of the 1st High Criminal Court of Sincan (Ankara) as “officious”.

Journalists acquitted of charges for using the term “murderers”: On 7 July, the Ankara 17th Criminal Court of First Instance acquitted F?rat News Agency (ANF) and Yeni Özgür Politika (‘New free politics’) newspaper reporter Ali Bar?? Kurt and Mehmet Nuri Kökçüo?lu. Kurt and Kökçüo?lu were tried since 10 March under charges of “praising crime and a criminal”, “inciting hatred and hostility amongst the public” and “alienating the public from military service via the media” because of news items published on the internet site GunesinCocuklari.com (‘Children of the Sun’). Both journalists were tried under articles 318, 215 and 216 of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK) upon a complaint filed by the General Staff Presidency. The decision for the acquittal referred to the journalists’ advocacy for the right to conscientious objection and furthermore calling the people who killed 12-year-old U?ur Kaymaz in a military operation “murderers”. In a statement made after the hearing, Kurt put forward that the trial had been forced against them, saying that “this stemmed from not recognizing the right to conscientious objection and from constraining people in Turkey to be interested in warfare”.

Prosecutor demands prison sentence for Kurdish politician Tu?luk: On 6 July, the prosecutor of the Ankara 11th High Criminal Court, Harun Yüksel, demanded imprisonment of up to ten years for Kurdish politician Aysel Tu?luk on the grounds of “spreading propaganda for the PKK organization”. Tu?luk is currently banned from politics as the former co-chair of the Democratic Society Party (DTP), which was closed by the Constitutional Court in December 2009. The prosecutor requested a two-count punishment according to article 7/2 of the Anti-Terrorism Law (TMY) on “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”. Tu?luk is facing imprisonment of between two and ten years. Her lawyer, Mehmet Nuri Özmen, said that they are going to prepare Tu?luk’s defence for the coming hearing on 5 October. Tu?luk is tried for a speech delivered at the DTP Extraordinary Congress held on 28 February 2007 in the Kocatepe Culture Centre and a press release made at the DTP Headquarters on 2 March 2007. In her speeches, Tu?luk allegedly “did not recognize the PKK/KONGRA-GEL as a terrorist organization, she appreciated the illegal actions of the organization and referred to the [imprisoned] leader of the organization, Abdullah Öcalan, as ‘respectable'”.

Possibility to appeal if pronouncement of judgement was postponed: Journalists who were convicted with the decision to “postpone the pronouncement of the judgement” have the opportunity to appeal against the verdict until 9 August due to an amendment in the Criminal Procedure Law (CMK) enforced on 25 July. The “rule of postponing the pronouncement of the judgement” refers to offences that carry prison terms of up to two years. The TGC journalists association announced that now there is the new condition that the “defendants should accept the application”. It was emphasized that until now, journalists were deprived of the right to say “I am not guilty”. The amendment was the result of the efforts of the TGC, it was said. This article can only be applied if the defendant agrees.

Vakit newspaper applies to Court of Appeals: Vakit newspaper applied to the Court of Appeals against the TL 616,000 (€ 308,000) compensation fine handed down by the Ankara 20th Criminal Court of First Instance. The punishment was based on the column entitled “The country where people not even qualified as corporal become generals” published on 25 August 2003. A total of 308 generals had complained about Vakit newspaper officials Harun Aksoy and Nuri Aykon. The article was signed by As?m Yenihaber but was alleged to have been written by former RTÜK member Mehmet Do?an. The court dismissed a compensation claim filed against Do?an because of “lack of enmity”. Newspaper lawyer Hac? Ali Özhan announced that including the interest that accumulated during the seven-year trial period, the fine amounted to TL 1.3 million. He argued: “An article written by a writer is the reason for a compensation claim of that enormous amount. This case is very important in terms of press freedom and its legal dimensions. It has to be investigated.

Corrections and Legal Redress

Beki convicted for targeting journalist: The Ankara 8th Criminal Court of First Instance handed down a TL 7,500 (€ 3,750) monetary fine to Akif Beki, former spokesman of the Prime Ministry. The compensation is to be paid to Hürriyet newspaper reporter Hasan Tüfekçi. Beki was found guilty of identifying Tüfekçi as a target on the grounds of the article entitled “Security is left to God during the breaking of the fast”. The legal procedures started upon Tüfekçi’s article and pictures revealing weaknesses of security in the Prime Ministry. The article was published in 2007. One year after the article had made the headlines, the Prime Ministry Press Centre annulled Tüfekçi’s accreditation. Beki on the other hand had issued a writing to explain the procedures and principles for the accreditation. He had given the article as an example and announced that “the photographs were unreal, the news was made up and a lie and created at the desk”. Thereupon, Tüfekçi filed a compensation claim against Beki because of “insult”. If Beki should appeal, the file will go to the Court of Appeals; if not, the decision will be finalized.

Colonel’s hand slipped across Aydemir’s face: Colonel Mustafa Özmen stands trial for the alleged torture of detained conscientious objector Enver Aydemir. Özmen apparently tortured Aydemir in the Maltepe (Istanbul) Military Prison. In his defence he said: “Maybe my hand slipped across his face”, as reported on 23 September. Complainant Aydemir, his lawyer and un-detained defendant Özmen attended the first hearing of the case at the Selimiye (Istanbul) 1st Military Court. Apparently, defendant Özmen was previously convicted of beating a subordinate; the punishment had been converted into a monetary fine. The lawyers requested to open a further trial against him on the grounds of forgery of documents but the court board dismissed this demand saying that it was not of concern in the current case. In a cross-examination, the defence lawyers referred to the fact that the defendant forced Aydemir to lie down on the floor by bending his hands and arms. They asked why Colonel Özmen did not draw up a record instead of resorting to violence. They furthermore questioned whether the regulations include an article on “making somebody wearing military clothes by force”. Defendant Albay refused to answer the questions. Thereupon, the lawyers stated that there is no such article in the regulations.Colonel Özmen put forward that the report of the Maltepe Prison military physician attested the conscientious objector to be in good health. Aydemir was examined in Eski?ehir after he had been taken there from the Maltepe Prison.  The medical report referred to Aydemir’s condition after he left the Maltepe Prison and stated that “beating marks started to heal”. When asked on this topic, defendant Özmen replied: “You have to ask this to the doctor”. Özmen called it a “standard application” that the according camera records of the prison were erased. Upon the insisting questions of the lawyers, Özmen admitted: “I watch the records and if there is no element of crime I have them deleted”. “I got very angry when he called the soldiers ‘cruel’. I am a human being. I may have cursed. I held him by the shoulders to lead him out of the room, maybe my hand slipped across his face”. Defendant Özmen declined allegations of “kicking Aydemir on his chest”, and applying a “bastinado” punishment as “defamation”. He said that Aydemir was forced to sit down on a chair by two soldiers. The colonel claimed that Aydemir only filed a criminal complaint about him instead of suing the soldiers who tortured him. In his opinion, this “was a political and ideological attitude to fray out the Turkish Armed Forces”. Aydemir gave a reason for the complaint against Özmen and said that the torture was carried out within the chain of command and that the other soldiers apologized to him later on. The second hearing of the case is scheduled for 29 November.

Bask?n Oran applies to prosecution for “wiretapping”: The General Staff Military Prosecution launched a judiciary investigation over allegations related to illegal wiretapping ordered by General Aslan Güner, Deputy Chief of General Staff. Güner allegedly purchased wiretapping equipment to eavesdrop on “members of the PKK”, the militant Kurdistan Workers Party. Prof. Bask?n Oran from the Ankara University Faculty of Political Science was among the approximately 2000 people who were wiretapped. Oran filed a criminal complaint on 1 September. Oran’s lawyer Oya Ayd?n said that they filed a complaint against Güner and the other perpetrators who signed the wiretapping decision and who are to be ascertained by the prosecutor. Lawyer Ayd?n requested the punishment of all people responsible according to Article 257 of the Turkish Criminal Code (TCK) on “misconduct in office”, Article 134 on “violation of privacy” and Article 132 on “violation of the confidentiality of communication”. The petition also demanded an increase of punishment as stipulated by law in case the offence was committed by a public official. Accordingly, Güner and the other persons responsible who are still to be ascertained are facing prison sentences of up to 10.5 years each. The petition includes the allegations put forward by Taraf newspaper. The daily had reported that Güner purchased wiretapping equipment for the General Staff Electronics System (GES) Command from Israel in 2007 when he was on duty in the General Staff Intelligence Presidency as a lieutenant general. According to Taraf, the equipment was ordered to “wiretap PKK members” but was used to eavesdrop on well-known public people.

Municipal employee supports violence against journalist: The Deputy Head of the Adana Metropolitan Assembly, Mustafa Tuncel, approved of the attack against journalist Özcan Alada?, writer for the local Kent newspaper and Financial Secretary of the Çukurova Journalists Association (ÇGC) (south-eastern Turkey). He was attacked after he had criticized the Koza Inc. Company which is connected to the municipality. Tuncel was quoted as saying, “I would beat a member of the press if he would write a negative article about me without consulting me, learning the truth from me or without taking my statement and my opinion beforehand. The people coming here should be careful in this aspect”. Tuncel was criticized for his open threat to journalists in the session on 11 August chaired by Deputy Mayor Zihni Ald?rmaz. Atilla Sertel, Head of the Turkish Journalists Federation (TGF), filed a criminal complaint against Tuncel. The TGC journalists association announced that it was the most important duty of journalists to report about corruption. The association demanded to bring the attackers to court. Journalists protested against Tuncel in a joint action on 13 August. The ÇGC, and the Adana Branches of the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) and the Anatolian Sports Journalists Association (ASGD) condemned Tuncel’s statement. ÇGC President Cafer Esendemir, TGS Adana Branch President Mustafa Gümü?damla, ASGD Adana Branch President Bar?? Ba? and attacked journalist Özcan Alada? wore helmets when they protested in front of the Metropolitan Municipality building. Esendemir emphasized that the press in Adana would not be silenced by attacks and that they were going to lodge a criminal complaint at the prosecution.

Investigation after two attacks on Journalist Çelik in two weeks: D?HA reporter Ömer Çelik was assaulted in the Istanbul district of ?i?li by a group of attackers who called themselves üklücü (‘idealists’) in reference to the “Grey Wolves”, an ultra-nationalist and neo fascist youth organization of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). An investigation was launched only after two weeks when Çelik had been attacked for the second time. Nobody was taken into custody in the scope of the first attack, even though footage of the incident was presented to the prosecution. After the second assault, the MHP ?i?li District Mayor was taken into custody and released again. Çelik was called to the prosecution to give his statement in the end of August. No trial has been opened against the perpetrators yet. Çelik, student at the Faculty of Communications, was severely injured in the first attack. He underwent medical treatment in the brain surgeon ward and the orthopaedic ward of the Etfal Hospital. Çelik has got two cracks in his skull and his left arm is broken in three places below the elbow.

Journalist Bo?atekin persecutes his attackers: The case launched by Haci Bo?atekin, owner of the Gerger F?rat newspaper, against Mayor Arif Karatekin and his brother ?lhan Karatekin will continue on 8 December. Bo?atekin was attacked when he was trying to record a fire that had broken out in the area of a municipality waste dump. Mayor Karatekin and his brother are tried at the Gerger Criminal Court of First Instance. The court investigates whether the fire was the reason for a court case between the directorate and the municipality and whether the District Governorship had initiated any procedures about Karatekin.

No detentions after heavily injuring journalist Tuna: None of the four people who were arrested for attacking journalist Durmu? Tuna is currently in prison. Tuna, owner of the Söke Gerçek newspaper (‘Truth in Söke’) published in Ayd?n (west coast), was assaulted on 26 July 2009. However, the Söke 2nd Magistrate Criminal Court handed down different prison sentences to four out of twelve defendants altogether. Tuna’s lawyer filed an appeal in the end of September. He said that they might consider filing a compensation claim against the perpetrators.

Trial on assault of journalist Yarayan still pending: The trial regarding the attack on journalist Diya Yarayan who was severely injured is still pending at the Siirt High Criminal Court. Defendants Feyzi Aldemir, Hamit Kurt, Feyaz Aldemir and Tahir Aldemir were arrested and released after about ten months in detention. According to Yarayan, the prosecutor objected the releases because they stand accused of “attempted murder”. Yarayan, owner of the Birlik newspaper published in Siirt (south-eastern Anatolia), was severely injured when he was attacked in front of his home in the Bahçelievler District on 17 February 2009.

Manager of Provincial Public Education Branch threatens newspaper: Dilek Karakoyun, official of the Tunceli Emek newspaper, was threatend by e-mails sent by Süleyman Çakmak, Manager of the Provincial Public Education Board. Karakoyun criticized that legal procedures went very slow as far as Çakmak is concerned but were signifacantly accelerated regarding an investigation to be launched against Karakoyun, columnist Helin Karakoyun and Mustafa Elveren. It was previously reported that the local newspaper had received the e-mails sent under the alias of “striking cobra” (‘vurucu kobra’) after publishing the article entitled “Public education and a strange education” written by Dilek Karakoyun. Karakoyun had criticized the public education system in her article. Right after the publication of the article on 6 August 2009, the newspaper received an e-mail in the evening hours of the same day. It read: “How come that even in a province like ours there are executives who are R.E. teachers or who are foreigners, even though there just a few with three to five teachers. Just say it, they should be from us a hundred percent, they should be form our origin and believe in our religion… Just tell that we cannot bear it, that we are full of envy. You are the real fascists! You are racists. (…) I feel sorry for you! (…)” An trial was opened against Çakmak. She wrote that the judiciary waited more than 40 days for Çakmak whereas she was brought to court by compulsion within three days to give her statement. Karakoyun is working as a teacher in Isparta. Çakmak will be tried at the Tunceli Magistrate Criminal Court on 12 October.

Reactions to Censorship and Monopolization

District Governor Sued out Censorship: Copies of the Çine U?ur newspaper were seized by a decision of the Çine Criminal Court of First Instance (south-western province of Ayd?n). Even before the seizure, the court decreed for an access ban on the daily’s internet site www. HaberUgur.com. The decision was taken at the hearing on 28 September but has not been implemented yet. The sanctions stem from an article entitled “What is the duty of the District Governor in Çine?” written by Y?lmaz Sa?l?k, publication director of the newspaper. The Çine District Governor, Celalettin Cantürk, had filed a compensation claim against the newspaper and also demanded to seize its issues. The daily is still facing a compensation claim of TL 10,000 (€ 5,000). In the article subject to the trial, the district governor was accused of turning a blind eye to corruption in the district. Certain terms used in the article with the full title “Desolate mountains, desolate streams, what is the duty of the District Governor in Çine”? were found “insulting and ridiculing”. These were expressions such as “to wear blinkers, to be a handler of problems, to turn a blind eye on illegality, to remain silent on gambling”. The trial was opened on 14 September. In the first hearing, the court requested the Telecommunication Communication Presidency (T?B) to stop the online publication of the article about the district governor and to block access to the website by 27 September as a precautionary measure. The court furthermore requested T?B to evaluate the contents of the publications. Moreover, the court demanded the Çine Police Directorate to stop the sale of the newspaper’s issue dd. 28 September 2010 in which the article on trial was published. The police in Çine immediately seized one thousand copies. Journalist Sa?l?k complained at the police about the precautionary measures from 14 September, the day the article was posted online. However, the police took his statement only after another eight days had passed. The trial against Sa?l?k will be continued on 14 December.

Journalist Bekir Co?kun sacked: Habertürk newspaper writer Bekir Co?kun was made redundant on 20 September. At a meeting of the Platform for Freedom of Journalists on 24 September chaired by Orhan Erinç of the TGC, it was criticized that Co?kun’s lay-off had put into practice what President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an had announced in a speech on 26 February. He said, “Columnists cannot write whatever they want. You are paying your writers so get them under control. Don’t let them write, sack them”. It was emphasized that this was proven by the fact that Ço?kun was laid-off even though his employer and the newspaper administration were happy with him and his work but could not stand the immense pressure any longer. “The incident of Co?kun does not concern only him but all journalists. This example conveys that all journalists have entered a time of ‘auto-censorship’, the most insidious and worst form of censorship. Our country still ranks on 122nd place in terms of ‘press freedom’ among 175 countries. This example and similar incidents are just as horrifying as bringing our country down to the same level as countries like North Korea, Iran and Saudi Arabia” it was said.

OSCE calls Turkey to reforms: On 14 September, Dunja Mijatovic, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, called upon Turkey to release imprisoned journalists and implement the much needed media legislation reform in the country. “My Office has been monitoring with growing concern the increase in number of ongoing lawsuits that threaten journalists with imprisonment in Turkey,” Mijatovic wrote in a letter to Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu. “Currently there are more than 40 journalists in prison, and hundreds of others are facing lawsuits with potential imprisonment if convicted.” Referring to prison sentences for publishing classified information, Mijatovic said that “criminal sanctions for breach of secrecy should only apply to the officials who have a duty to protect the secrets. The criminalisation of breach of secrecy committed by non-officials, including journalists, could deprive the people of important information of public interest, and thus it endangers investigative journalism.”  In an announcement previously issued by the European Turkish Journalists Association (ATGB), signed by President Gürsel Köksal, the association drew attention to the fact that 48 journalists are in prison. The ATGB declared their support for journalist organizations struggling for press freedom.

Nedim ?ener awarded by IPI: On the occasion of its 60th anniversary, the International Press Institute (IPI) rewarded 60 journalists from all over the world as “Press Heroes”, among them also the Turkish journalist Nedim ?ener, reporter for the nation-wide Milliyet daily. ?ener attended the award ceremony on 14 September at the historic Vienna City Hall. In his speech he said, “Hrant Dink struggled his whole life for becoming a citizen with equal rights in Turkey. The state made him a target. They took no precautionary measures for the safety of his life. Eventually, he was murdered”. Meeting at their 59th Annual General Assembly on 13 September in Vienna, IPI members unanimously passed a number of resolutions regarding press freedom in different countries. The IPI also condemned the continued imprisonment in Turkey of dozens of journalists and called on the Turkish authorities to release all journalists jailed because of their work. “IPI hopes that the government will honour IPI’s pledge that recent constitutional changes will facilitate the process”.

Kurdish media banned from watching Prime Minister: The application of the D?HA News Agency submitted to the Diyarbak?r Governorship Press Directorate to follow the meeting of Prime Minister Erdo?an in Diyarbak?r on 2 September was declined. The directorate replied, “The D?HA News Agency is not included in the list of media institutions allowed to follow the Prime Minister’s program issued by the Prime Miniter’s press advisors. Therefore, you are not allowed to follow the program”. The Governorship Press Directorate apparently also refused permission to the broadcast institutions of the F?rat News Agency (ANF), Günlük and Azadiya Welat newspapers and Roj TV.

Friends of Hrant initiate campaign to obtain information: The “Friends of Hrant” group, formed to bring light into the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, initiated a campaign to resolve the murder and to call the responsible people to justice. The “Friends of Hrant” initiative called everybody to send their questions to the Presidency of the Republic, the Judiciary, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and of the Interior and to the Prime Ministry. The campaign allowed a legal period of 15 days for the replies to their questions regarding the “deadlocks” of the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink and the “wrong steps taken by the government that forced the limits of endurance during the three-year trial period”. The responses will be published. Caricaturist Kemal Gökhan Gürses, dancer Zeynep Tanbay and lecturer Garo Paylan are among the members of the initiative. The campaign was initiated at a meeting in Taksim/Istanbul on 1 September and reiterates unanswered questions asked by witnesses of the Dink murder, victims and the ones who are following up the case.

Journalist K?l?çç?o?lu calls on Foreign Minister: The Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davuto?lu, said in an interview on NTV that he found it disturbing that Turkey, taking the lead in terms of reforms in the European Council, comes up frequently on the agenda of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Journalist Cumhur K?l?çç?o?lu applied to the ECHR the previous year because he had been convicted for drawing attention to problems at the Siirt Faculty of Education belonging to the Dicle University. The 72-year-old journalist called on Davuto?lu, “We want an amicable agreement first of all and justice after that”. Rag?p Zarakolu, Head of the Turkish Publishers Association (TYB) Freedom of Publishing Committee, said that Davuto?lu’s self-criticism regarding freedom of expression could not make sense without a real change of ideology.

One-month publication ban for Rojev newspaper: The Istanbul 11th High Criminal Court suspended the publication of the Rojev newspaper for one month because of alleged “propaganda for the PKK”. The paper had only started publishing on 24 August. The decision is based on the 36th issue dated 28 August. It featured a large picture of imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and a flag of the PKK on the issue’s front page. Furthermore, the ban stemmed from a picture printed on page 8 showing Öcalan and other members of the illegal organization.

Publication of Azadiya Welat newspaper suspended: On 21 August, the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court suspended the publication of the Azadiya Welat newspaper, the only nation-wide Kurdish daily published in Turkey, on the grounds of “spreading propaganda for an illegal organization” and “praising criminals”. Reason for the decision is the issue published on the very same day. This was the 8th publication ban for the Kurdish daily. In 2010 only, the daily was closed down three times. Kurdish media institutions were banned at least 16 times from 2009 till the present. The Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court based its decision on allegations of publishing “PKK/KONGRA-GEL propaganda”. The decision read, “It was decided to suspend the publication of the Azadiya Welat newspaper printed and published in the province of Istanbul on the grounds of articles in the issue 1252 dated 21 August 2010 that contained propaganda for the PKK/KONGRA-GEL organization and the praise of criminals. The publication of the newspaper was banned for the duration of one month according to Article 6/last paragraph of the Anti-Terror Law and Article 25/2 of Law No. 5187 of the Press Law. Copies of the aforementioned issue shall be seized”. The paper’s responsible editor-in-chief, M. Nedim Karadeniz, said that the newspaper “faced unlawful bans” for eight issues within the past four years the daily was published.

Güney magazine seized: The issue of the first quarter of 2010 of the three-monthly Güney magazine was confiscated upon a decision of the Mersin 2nd Magistrate Criminal Court given on 19 August. However, the article on subject does not mention the name of any illegal organization. The police seized the copies on 26 August from the printing house of the magazine in Mersin (eastern Mediterranean coast), informing the staff about the confiscation decision. The police delivered a written notice about the court decision to the magazine’s central office in the Esenyurt district of Istanbul. The article entitled “Children Rights of (Kurdish) children in the dungeon” written by Ali Da?deviren was given as the reason for the seizure. However, the article does not mention the name of any organization. The writing criticized the “treatment of thousands of Kurdish children” despite the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Declaration of the Rights of the Child both singed by the Turkish government.

Oran and Tuncel criticized “wiretapping”: The Presidency of the General Staff announced to have launched an investigation into allegations related to General Aslan Güner, the Deputy Chief of General Staff. Güner is alleged to have illegally wiretapped about 2,000 people in 2007. Intellectual Prof. Bask?n Oran and Istanbul Deputy of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Sebahat Tuncel are supposed to be among the many people whose phones were bugged. They declared, “If the allegations should be confirmed, we will make use of our legal rights”. Oran commented the allegations as follows: “If they want to obtain any further information about me, they should read my articles in the weekly Radikal 2”, a supplement of Radikal newspaper. Kurdish politician Tuncel said, “They interfered in people’s private lives as well as they show each of these persons as potential enemies. This will cause serious social harm for the coming term. This is also very grave in terms of Turkish politics”.

Professional organizations criticize arrests of journalists: Under the direction of the Turkish Journalists Association (TGC), 14 professional press organizations came together to emphasize that no journalist should be kept in detention on the grounds of his/her writings. After discussing “disadvantageous provisions” related to freedom of press and communication in the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK) in a meeting at the Press Council, the participating organizations decided to establish a “Freedom for Journalists Platform” and a “Commission for Action”. TGC President Orhan Erinç became the first head of the newly founded platform. Erinç pointed out that the trials against journalists were not in line with the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The meeting was attended by Turkish Journalists Association (TGC) President Orhan Erinç, Turkish Union of Journalists (TGS) President Ercan ?pekçi, Turkish Journalists Federation (TGF) President Atilla Sertel, Press Council President Oktay Ek?i, Press Council Secretary General Oktay Huduti, Press Institute Association President Ferai T?nç and Secretary General Yurdanur Atadan, Contemporary Journalists Association (ÇGD) President Ahment Abakay, Economy Reporters Association Deputy President Mehmet Kaya, Newspaper Owners Association Secretary General Rü?tü Bozkurt, Haber-Sen Board Member Mehmet Demir, Izmir Journalists Association Deputy President Ali Ekber Y?ld?r?m, Culture, Tourism and Environment Newspapers Association President Ali Tar?k Hatipo?lu, Turkish Sports Writers Association Deputy Chair ?lyas Namo?lu, Media Ethics Council President Halit Esendir and the Professional News Cameramen Association. The TGC, TGS, TGF, TGF and the Press Institute Association demanded a fair trial for journalists and criticized the lengthy period of detentions which were transformed into punishments. On 18 August, they called on the government to care for press freedom and the public’s right to be informed.

Initiative to re-open Playboy website: Yaman Akdeniz, member of the Bilgi University School of Law, and Kerem Alt?parmak, lecturer at the Ankara University Faculty for Social Sciences, took the access ban imposed on the Playboy website to court. The Telecommunication Communication Presidency (T?B) used its executive authority to ban access to the www.playboy.com website. Access to the site was suspended without a related court decision. The academics emphasized that only the courts were able to use their judicial authority. They demanded to remove the access ban. T?B based their decision taken on 6 August on “a legal evaluation and a technical investigation carried out in the scope of index crimes according to Law no. 5651”. The website of the Playboy magazine was banned according to Law No. 5651 on the “Regulation of Publications on the Internet and Suppression of Crimes Committed by means of Such Publication”.

Güney magazine seized: The Mersin 2nd Magistrate Criminal Court decided to seize the 53rd issue (July/August/September) of the three-monthly Güney magazine under allegations of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” in several articles. The application was based on Article 25 of the Press Law (Confiscation and Prohibition of Distribution and Sale).

Tayyar: “I gave a break to writing”: On 25 July, the Media Association expressed their regret about journalist ?amil Tayyar‘s announcement to give a break to writing articles because of the trials opened against him. Tayyar is a columnist and the Ankara correspondent of the Star newspaper. In the announcement on 22 July, the association said, “It is worrisome in terms of freedom of expression that thousands of journalists are being tried for their articles in this country that is negotiating for EU accession. It is alarming that journalists are given monetary fines and prison sentences”. Tayyar was sentenced to a total of 50 months imprisonment in the scope of three trials on the grounds of articles regarding the Ergenekon investigation and Colonal Dursun Çiçek, alleged creator of the “Action Plan against Reactionary Forces”. The Association emphasized that Tayyar could not carry out his profession as a journalist freely because of the trials opened against him, the punishments handed down to him and the potential punishments. The Media Association expressed their particular concern about the fact that in cases and investigations like “Ergenekon”, the “KCK trial” or the “Sledgehammer Coup Plan” which are followed closely by the public, “journalists were punished before the suspects”. These journalists are mostly tried according to Article 285 of the TCK on charges of “violating the secrecy of an investigation” the association added and continued, “When the judges use their right to comment, they have to consider the freedom of obtaining information and the freedom to inform. Freedom of opinion is crucial for the existence of the diversity and integrity of a healthy democracy”.

bianet rewarded with TGC Press Award: The Journalists Association of Turkey  (TGC) distributed this year’s Prize for Press Freedom on 24 July. The personal award went to Hürriyet newspaper writer Sedat Ergin. Journalists ?rfan Aktan, ?smail Saymaz and Vedat Kur?un were awarded on behalf of all journalists facing imprisonment or currently being detained. The institutional award was given to bianet. bianet was awarded for “their work in the field of alternative and rights-based journalism and for their efforts in the fields of developing democracy, the right to be informed and establishing awareness among the people”. Freedom of Expression editor Erol Öndero?lu accepted the award on behalf of bianet from Vahap Munyar, Vice President of the TGC, at the ceremony at the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul. Öndero?lu said, “I accept this award on behalf of my twelve colleagues working at bianet. We would like to thank the members of the TGC Jury. We have been warning about anti-democratic regulations for the last ten years, yet our voices did not reach the politicians. With the current violations of press freedom we went back to the 1990s”. Öndero?lu emphasized that even if prison threats would be lifted from the Press Law, sentences handed down under the Criminal Law are being postponed for various reasons and at the same time the number of people punished under the Anti-Terror Law is rising day by day. And these convictions, Öndero?lu warned, show the concealed power of the political leadership. “Unfortunately, we are not far away anymore from the days when we have to leave our colleagues at the prison doors”, he continued. TGC President Orhan Erinç indicated that 45 journalists are detained and tried under allegations of having committed crimes on behalf of an illegal organization in the scope of their journalistic work. Erinç criticized the postponement of the pronouncement of the judgement and called it “the beginning of a controlled freedom of expression”. He continued, “Our colleagues are facing imprisonment and compensation claims in 700 cases opened against them under various articles of the Turkish Criminal Law. We cannot call this a free society. Despite the fact that the existence of free journalists is possible, we have to warn the authorities once more”. The award for imprisoned journalist Vedat Kur?un, former chief editor of the Kurdish Azadiya Welat newspaper, was received by his father, ?ükrü Kur?un. His father greeted the guest of the ceremony in Kurdish and said, “My son Vedat Kur?un did not kill anybody and did not violate anybody’s rights. He was sentenced to 166 years and six months in prison because he wrote the truth. I call upon the people in Turkey and all over the world, everybody has to protect freedom of thought. Unfortunately, this award will go to prison”.

Kurdish media condemns oppression: Employees of Günlük and Azadiya Welat newspapers, the F?rat Distribution Company and the Dicle News Agency (D?HA) released a press statement in the place of the Turkish Journalists Association (TGC) to draw public attention to the oppression they have been facing throughout the past couple of months when they were covering different incidents. In the meeting on Wednesday (21 July), the Ankara correspondent of Günlük newspaper, Hüseyin Aykol, pointed out that the “customs of a free press” encountered various forms of harassment during the first six month of 2010. He furthermore said that the publication of the Azadiya Welat daily was suspended twice during this period of time for 30 days each. The press conference was attended by many journalists, among them D?HA reporters Ömer Çelik, Ça?da? Kaplan and ?smail Eskin who were attacked twice in the recent past, human rights advocator and representative of attacked journalists Eren Keskin, Günlük newspaper general publication director Filiz Koçal? and writer Y?lmaz Sezgin. Aykol summarized the attacks against employees of the participating media organizations during the last six months as follows: Metin Alata?, working for the Azadiya Welat newspaper in Adana, was found hung in a tree on 4 April. On 14 June, D?HA reporter Ersin Çelik received a prison sentence of six years and three months. He was tried with another 30 defendants who were alleged members of the Patriotic Democratic Youth. On 20 May, D?HA reporter Murat Altunöz was refused permission to cover a boycott action organized by the Students Association of the Mustafa Kemal University in Hatay (eastern Mediterranean coast). He was made to enter the car of plainclothes gendarmerie officers who tried to seize Alt?nöz’s camera. D?HA reporter P?nar Ural was attacked by unidentified persons in a public bus after she had covered an event on 17 May. On 25 May, D?HA reporter Ömer Çelik was attacked by a group calling themselves “idealists” (üklücü) in reference to the “Grey Wolves”, an ultra-nationalist and neo fascist youth organization of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Çelik’s left arm got broken in the attack. D?HA reporters Ça?da? Kaplan and ?smail Eskin were attacked by a group of people after covering a press release of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) on 18 July. Eskin suffered two cracks in his head. His camera was seized by the attackers. Vedat Kur?un, former editor-in-chief of Azadiya Welat newspaper, was handed down a prison sentence of 166 years and six months at the hearing on 13 May. Ozan K?l?nç, former concessionaire of the Azadiya Welat daily, received a prison sentence of 21 years and three months in February this year. Bedri Aand?r, owner of Aram Publishing and chief editor of the Hawar newspaper, is facing imprisonment of up to 50 years. The case is still pending. Owais Aslam Ali, Secretary General of the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), condemned the physical violence imposed on the D?HA reporters in a letter sent to President Gül. He demanded to determine the perpetrators and punish them.

Journalists not allowed into courtroom: Journalists in Zonguldak (Black Sea coast) were stopped from attending the first hearing of the case against Seçkin Özdemir, mayor of the Kilimli Municipality of Zonguldak on 16 July. Özdemir stands accused of illegally selling 114 tonnes of scrap iron and embezzling TL 50,000 (€ 25,000) obtained in the sale. Representatives of the Zonguldak mainstream media were not allowed into the court room. When they insisted on entering, they were made to leave by rough means of physical force. Some of the journalists called 155 for help from the police but no team was sent to the court. The press people claimed that the police staff in the court room remained impassive, too. However, the prosecutor commented, “This is not my business, the police should take care of it”. The following day (17 July), the local Halk?n Sesi (The People’s Voice) newspaper titled on the front page “The embezzlement trial against Kilimli Mayor Seçkin Özdemir started yesterday but…” The subheading read “This news has been censored”. Upon the publication of the news, the Zonguldak Branch of the Contemporary Journalists Association (ÇGD) and the Karaelmas Journalists Association made critical statements in which they called the authorities on duty.

TouTube ban finalized: The Ankara 13th Criminal Court of First Instance dismissed the appeal filed against the decision of the Ankara 1st Magistrate Criminal Court regarding the access ban to 44 IP addresses that provided access to the global video sharing site YouTube. The appeal had been filed by the Internet Technology Association (INTED). The decision finalized the ban imposed on YouTube two years ago. The Ankara 1st Magistrate Criminal Court banned access to YouTube on 5 May 2008 on the grounds of videos allegedly containing insults against the memory of statesman Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey. However, the block had been circumvented in the meantime by using different IP addresses. While the access ban was reasoned with videos insulting the memory of Atatürk, Transport Minister Binali Y?ld?rm in particular announced on different occasions that YouTube as a company did not pay its part on advertising revenues. He furthermore pointed out that YouTube had not opened a representation in Turkey and that access to the site was banned because this was a breach of Turkish law. INTED lawyer Nihad Karsl? said that they are going to apply to the European Court of Human Rights once all means of a domestic remedy will be exhausted.

Demonstration against Internet Censorship: About 2,000 people gathered in the popular Taksim Square on Istanbul’s European side to protest against restrictions on the internet on 17 July. Non-governmental organizations calling for freedom of the internet, professional organizations, representatives of internet sites and their readers, employees of private enterprises who are negatively affected by internet censorship and human rights activists were among the demonstrators. The demonstration went along the centrally located Istiklal Avenue. The participants shouted slogans like “raise, raise, raise your voice on the street”, “There is no escape on your own – either all together or none”. Banners read “Don’t click away our freedom” or “no censorship for political sites”. The Initiative for a Censorship-free Internet issued a statement at the Galatasaray Square on Istiklal Avenue before the demonstration headed to Taksim square. The Initiative announced that they got organized via the internet because they think that the citizens’ freedom of expression and right to be informed could not be restricted. The Initiative emphasized that they were going to seek a solution on the street. The statement was read out by Deniz Kaynak. He said, “We can no longer accept the mindset of unlawful and arbitrary applications in order to control the internet”. Kaynak also referred to Law No. 5651 on the “Regulation of Publications on the Internet and Suppression of Crimes Committed by means of Such Publication”.

Principles for “terror” coverage: The Television Broadcasters Association (TVYD) as part of the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) determined in compliance with all national channels that certain “principles of news should be followed in situations of terror and other extraordinary circumstances”. It was agreed to put a time limit on “breaking news” flashes on television and not to announce the names of people killed in armed conflicts before their families have been informed by the authorities. Another principle announced was to “refrain from all sorts of broadcasts that deliver a justification of terror, that could be perceived as propaganda for the attackers and that encourage to further attacks”. The President of the Contemporary Journalists Association (ÇGD), Ahmet Abakay, criticized that the principles are “open to abuse”. Abakay said that the principles have their positive sides but that journalists should be careful about certain aspects. He emphasized that broadcasts provoking people to war are forbidden in Turkey anyway by the Constitution. He stressed that the statutes of the ÇGD, the Charter on Rights and Responsibilities of Turkish Journalists and the International Journalists Federation are in line with the principles.

Journalist Altayl? had 97 entries about him removed from Ek?i Sözlük: Jouranlist Fatih Altayl? demanded via his lawyer to ban 97 entries about him on the Ek?i Sözlük (‘Sour Dicitionary’) website that were supposedly targeting his personal rights. The lawyer of Altayl? Publications Director of the Habertürk newspaper, requested the Beyo?lu (Istanbul) 4th Magistrate Criminal Court to remove the contents on subject from the website. On 9 July, the court decreed to remove the 97 entries from publication based on Law No. 5651 on the “Regulation of Publications on the Internet and Suppression of Crimes Committed by means of Such Publication”. The ban fuelled criticism voiced on Ek?i Sözlük by internet users. The decision was announced in the 1221st entry of the dictionary. One Ek?i Sözlük writer argued, “A few of my writings about him were deleted upon the court decision. If you would not ask him but a hundred other people, they would say the entries were legal. In one of them I even quoted his own words. So, judge gg said there is nothing he can do. There is a dark stain in my history”. Another user wrote in favour of Altayl?, “Thank you for defending our freedoms again via the news channels and for letting us dream about a more liberal Turkey. It’s good to have him”. Thereupon, another user called Altayl? “the best journalist ever”.

Access to internet site banned by court decision: Access to the ?anl?urfa.com internet site has been banned because of news related to the Deputy Governor of ?anl?urfa, Y?ld?ray Mal?aç, and referring reader comments. The 1st Civil Court of First Instance of ?anl?rurfa in south-eastern Turkey decided to take precautionary measures on 2 July. An appeal against the access ban filed ten days later was dismissed. The decision was based on Article 24 of the Civil Law (No. 4721) on attacks on personal rights. Court President Judge ?brahim Balkan dismissed the appeal filed by Muhammet Ta?ç?lar reasoning that he was not the owner of the site and did not hold any authority for the website. Assoc. Prof. Yaman Akdeniz from the Law School of Bilgi University in Istanbul evaluated the situation: “The court’s decision of the access ban is entirely contrary to the law. It cannot be accepted that this site, which contains political statements, is censored in an unlawful manner. Freedom of the press and the media cannot be restricted. It must not be restricted by courts”. Akdeniz indicated that Article 9 of Law No. 5651 on Internet Crimes provided a guideline how to resolve problems related to “personal rights”. The censorship was caused by an article entitled “Mal?aç silent and cowering” published on the website on 25 March 2010. The article read, “Deputy Governor Y?ld?ray Mal?aç made a statement last week. He created confusion in the public when he said that the TL 1.5 billion spent in the last year were met by various sources”. Subject to the decision were furthermore two reader comments, one of them written by the news site official, Metin Çinar, who said, “This is Mr Mal?aç’s dilemma; those expenditures were not met by the Social Aid Foundation, were they?” The other comment referred to an article published on 9 February, saying, “Shame on Mal?aç; Mr Mal?aç meddled around a lot, it will explode soon. We beg the Governor. You should check the signatures under some of the tenders, they are signed by his proponents”.

Access will be banned to incorrect e-versions of the Quran: Audible and visual materials of the Holy Quran “incorrectly or incompletely published on the internet” will be added to the items of censored contents in the internet. Prof. Yaman Akdeniz from the Istanbul Bilgi University School of Law and Prof. Kerem Alt?parmak from the Ankara University Faculty of Social Science announced in a joint statement that a new commission to be established within the Department of Religious Affairs will decide on the contents to be removed. In accordance with the Law on the Establishment and Duties of the Department of Religious Affairs and the Law on the Amendment of Certain Laws, a magistrate law court shall decide on an access ban regarding publications in the internet upon the application of the Department. The law was published in the Official Gazette on 13 July (No. 27640). According to the new Rule on the Review and the Recitation of the Quran, “audible and visual publications of fragments or of the complete Holy Quran” shall be seized and destroyed by decision of the referring magistrate law court upon the application of the Department if the publication is deemed to be “incorrect and incomplete”.

Flotilla Free Press: A meeting was held in the Sütlüce Congress Centre in Istanbul on 13 July related to the journalists on board of the flotilla carrying humanitarian help that was attacked by Israel on its way to Gaza. The meeting aimed at making the voices of the journalists heard and seeking their rights. About 20 journalists from different countries organized a press conference under the name of the Flotilla Free Press (FFP). They gave testimony of their experiences on the flotilla. The Israeli Army stopped the vessels on 31 May in international waters. On the Mavi Marmara vessel coming from Turkey, eight protestors and Cevdet K?l?çlar, responsible journalist for the internet site of the Human Rights and Freedoms (?HH) Humanitarian Help Foundation died in the attack. It was said that the attack on the journalists and their experiences later on constituted violations of human rights and press freedom but that Israel was not able to win their propaganda battle this time. Taraf newspaper reporter Ay?e Sar?o?lu who was on the vessel as well read out the joint statement. She claimed that the attack was contrary to international law. She added that the journalists’ material and their personal belongings had been seized and that most of it was still not returned. Sar?o?lu said that they were searched, handcuffed and kept in prison. About 60 journalists had joined the flotilla, she added.

European Court of Human Rights – Applications and Decisions

State responsible for Hrant Dink murder: The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) convicted Turkey of a violation of the right to life, the right to an effective remedy and freedom of expression in the scope of the trial on the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. Dink, then editor-in-chief of the Armenian Agos newspaper, was killed in front of his office on 19 January 2007. The family of the slain journalist will receive a total of € 133,595 in compensation. One of the files tried in the scope of this case was related to the punishment handed down to Dink prior to his death based on Article 301 of the Turkish Criminal Law which bans “insults” to the Turkish state. The ECHR saw a violation of freedom of expression in the sentence. The decision was announced on 14 September. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced not to file an appeal against the decision. “All possible precautions will be taken to avoid the repletion of similar violations”, the ministry declared.

Two magazine executives won: On 6 July, the ECHR convicted Turkey of an illegal restriction of freedom of expression on the grounds of the trials held against Aylin Güzel, owner and editor-in-chief of the Maya magazine, and Aziz Özer, chief editor of the Yeni Dünya için Ça?r? magazine (Call for a new world). The ECHR unanimously decided for a violation of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights on Freedom of Expression. Turkey has to pay a total of € 2,170 and another € 3,120 in compensation for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage to applicants Gözel and Özer, respectively. In February 2003, the Maya magazine published an article entitled “Imminent war in Middle East threatens Turkish Bourgeoisie!” It contained a statement by an executive of the illegal Marxist-Leninist/Turkish Communist Party (TKP/ML), concerning hunger strikes by prisoners of F type prisoners. Güzel was acquitted of charges of “spreading propaganda for an illegal organization” but she was sentenced to a monetary fine on the grounds of publishing a statement of an illegal organization. The Yeni Dünya ?çin Ça?r? magazine published an article entitled “The Great Workers’ Resistance of 15 and 16 June and the Revolutionary Movement in Turkey” in June 2002. The anonymously published article dealt with peaceful demonstrations by workers on 15 and 16 June 1971. It particularly looked at the role of left-wing movements in those demonstrations, focussing on the leading contribution of Ibrahim Kaypakkaya, founder of the TKP/ML. In the same issue, a statement by eight prisoners entitled “To our people” was published. Aziz Özer was sentenced to a monetary fine under the Anti-Terror Law. The publication of the magazine was suspended for two weeks on the grounds of having “undermined the national security”.

Conscientious objector on hunger strike: Conscientious objector ?nan Süver started a hunger strike after about one month in detention. He had stated, “I am a conscientious objector and I do not want to do even one day of military service”. Süver is an activist of the Kurdish Conscientious Objection Movement. An arrest warrant was issued in his name in the scope of an investigation into alleged desertion. He was taken into custody at his home in Istanbul on 5 August 2010. He was arrested by the military prosecution and taken to the Kas?mpa?a (Istanbul) Prison. He had started a hunger strike by the time he was transferred to the Izmir ?irinyer Military Prison on 24 August. His lawyer Davut Erkan said that his client started a hunger strike on 9 August. He gave a break when he was released from hospital and resumed the hunger strike on 31 August. Erkan said that an investigation was launched about his client under allegations of “absence without permission”. “He reacted this way because he considers his arrest and prosecution as contrary to the law, so he started the hunger strike”, Erkan explained. The lawyer announced that he is preparing an application to the European Court of Human Rights together with his colleagues form Izmir in order to end this “injustice that has been going on for ten years”. He said to refer to the ECHR decision on the case of Osman Murat Ülke as a precedent.

Minister Davuto?lu sorry about defence in Dink case: In an interview with Milliyet newspaper, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu said that he could not come to terms with the defence Turkey submitted to the ECHR regarding the trial opened by the family of slain Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. Davuto?lu stated that he could not come to terms with his own Ministry’s defence that blamed Dink of “hate speech” and “incitement of the people”. He said that he was really bothered when he heard about the defence. The Minister explained that he was abroad at the time and hence was not able to see the defence for the Dink case and did not sign it. “I cannot come to terms with it, we got our hands on Hrant Dink, we will not accept what we do not believe, we cannot withdraw the defence anymore, we accept our guilt, freedom of expression files are saddening”, Davuto?lu said.

RTÜK Applications

Two RTÜK members oppose punishment for Channel D: On 7 September, RTÜK imposed an administrative fine on Channel D on the grounds of the Main News Bulletin broadcasted on 7 July. The fine was based on Law No. 3984 as amended by Law No. 4756 (Establishment of Radio and Television Enterprises and their Broadcasts). The principles defined in Article 4 paragraph (z) were allegedly repeatedly violated. The law stipulates, “Programs, which could impair the physical, mental, and moral development of young people and children shall not be broadcast within the time intervals that they may be viewing”. RTÜK member Mehmet Dadak claimed that the two-minute news item showed blurred pictures and did not feature any pictures of blood. “It is the duty of the press to convey applications of violence that are criticized and continuously on the agenda of our country to the audience as soon as possible in order to increase the awareness of violence in society”, Dadak indicated.  Esat Ç?plak argued, “Encouragement to violence and its publication is inexcusable and not to be shown, regardless of the images. The news has also to be considered according to Article 4(b) of Law No. 3984”. Ç?plak demanded to fine the television channel for a different reason. RTÜK member Hülya Alp abstained from voting.

Dadak opposed warning for Marmaris Sun TV: On 29 July, RTÜK issued a warning to Marmaris Sun TV broadcasting in Mu?la (south-western Turkey) for a News Bulletin from 4 April. The warning stemmed from an alleged violation of Article 4 (k) of Law No. 3984 anticipating, “Broadcasts shall not present or declare no one as guilty unless there is a court decision; any program item that leads people to commit a crime or raise the feeling of fear shall not be broadcast”. RTÜK member and lawyer Mehmet Dadak voted against the decision. He reasoned his vote as follows: “The news did not mention the name of any political party. It was understood that the complainant went inside by breaking the seal of the municipality and had already started with what he was going to do. Thus, the news conceding that the incident had already started was true and up-to-date. It is the requirement of local television stations to broadcast current local news. Broadcasting news about an incident in the district and about the related press statement of the Mayor remains within the freedom of information and right to inform. Therefore, I think that the broadcast did not contain any subject that opposed the principles of neutrality and reality”.

RTÜK demands defence from Show TV: On 20 July, RTÜK demanded a defence from Show TV regarding two episodes of the series “Made in Turkey” broadcasted on 7 and 14 June. Reason for the defence is the alleged faulty use of the Turkish language. The defence had to be submitted within 15 days and referred to the characters “Abiye” and “Erman Kuzu”. RTÜK was going suspend the series from broadcasting in case the defence would not be found convincing. The procedure was based on Article 4 (z) of Law No. 4756 on the “Establishment of Radio and Television Enterprises and their Broadcasts”. The article regulates, “Programmes, which could impair the physical, mental, and moral development of young people and children shall not be broadcast within the time intervals that they may be viewing”. RTÜK claimed that the TV channel violated this principle for the second time. Radikal newspaper had the RTÜK sanction on their agenda and wrote that RTÜK listed 81 expressions assessed as “wrong Turkish”. According to Radikal, these words were proverbs, aphorisms, special names, titles, locations, technical terms and words derived from foreign languages. The RTÜK expert report read, “Many proverbs, aphorisms, special names, titles, locations, technical terms and words derived from foreign languages are being used wrongly in the series. The dialogues contain many slang words. Thus, the series is a bad example for children and young people. The 444 1 179 RTÜK Contact Centre is receiving complaints about the series”.

Program of Edirne ETV suspended: Also on 20 July, RTÜK suspended the news program “Analysis” of ETV in Edirne (north-western Turkey) because of the broadcasts on 31 May and 7 June. The punishment was decided according to Article 4(i) of Law No. 3984 as amended by Law No. 4756: “Broadcasts shall not offend the personality of individuals beyond the limits of criticism, shall respect the right of reply and rectification; the news, which the investigation of their accuracy is possible within the framework of code of conduct of media, shall not be broadcast without proper investigation or without being sure of their truthfulness (…)”. RTÜK member Hülya Alp opposed the decision. She argued, “The Edirne Public Chief Prosecution dealt with this matter as well. Additionally, some information and documents were obtained on the procedures related to the matter carried out by the Edirne National Estate Directorate and the municipality. It would be unnatural if a journalist would not give a meaning to this information and the documents”.


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