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Arrested for "praising the coup"?

Turkish Supporters are silhouetted against a screan showing President Tayyip Erdogan during a pro-government demonstration in Ankara, Turkey 17 July 2016
Turkish Supporters are silhouetted against a screan showing President Tayyip Erdogan during a pro-government demonstration in Ankara, Turkey 17 July 2016

REUTERS/Baz Ratner

The following is an excerpt from the Initiative for Freedom of Expression's Weekly Bulletin No. 29/16, 22 July 2016. Some of the content has been edited and condensed.

Attacks against press during and after the coup attempt

Reporter Göksel Göksu, Fulya Öztürk and cameraman Onur Özel were beaten while covering developments at Taksim Square. Their cameras were broken on the night of the coup. Hürriyet newspaper photojournalist Selçuk Şamiloğlu was attacked by a group of 20 people while photographing the moment the detained soldiers were being attacked at Boğaziçi Bridge. Cameraman Ahmet Akpolat was attacked during the raid at CNN Türk, and his camera was broken.

Following the suppression of the coup, Mediascope, Can Erzincan TV, Gazeteport, Haberdar and ABC Newspapers were banned by the Telecommunications Communication Presidency. Haberdar Ankara representative Arzu Yıldız was taken into custody.

The office of Gazetem Istanbul was also attacked on July 17.

The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) has announced that all broadcast rights and licenses of all radio and television channels that allegedly have ties to Fethullah Gülen's community have been annulled.

Police prevented the distribution of of humor magazine Leman's “coup special issue.”

Press-Media Information General Directorate (BYEGM) cancelled 34 people's press cards, who allegedly have ties with the Gülen community, because “they pose a threat to national security.”

Bakırköy 4th Criminal Judicature of Peace confiscated the 20 July 2016 issue of Meydan Newspaper, and called for the publication to be stopped. As for the reason behind this decision, it has been stated that the headline news of the newspaper can be considered within the crimes of terror. Following the court decision, police officers arrived at the newspaper's headquarters and searched the place. Editor-In-Chief Levent Kenez and Managing Director Gülizar Baki were detained and taken to the Security Directorate.

Last June, Fikret Bila resigned from his duty as Milliyet Newspaper's Editor-In-Chief and Coordinator Ercüment Erkul was assigned to replace him. Now, Erkul has been dismissed.

Valentin Trushinin, a reporter for REN TV in Russia, arrived in Turkey to cover the coup attempt. He was deported after being detained at Istanbul's Atatürk Airport.

Güneş Newspaper's Editor-In-Chief Turgay Güler called for the closure of the independent online newspaper T24, via posts on Twitter. He wrote, “terrorist website called T24 continues to make coup publications. What kind of a business is this!!!” and, “Why is coup base T24 still open?” T24's lawyer, Fikret İlkiz, has filed a criminal complaint against Güler. reporter Mehmet Tiğrek – who wanted to follow the commemoration demonstration to be organized in Adana for the 33 people who lost their lives in Suruç Massacre – was fended off from the area by police force. Tiğrek's camera and phone were confiscated and all of the visual records of those devices were deleted. It has also been indicated that Tiğrek was exposed to physical attacks by the police until the end of the demonstration.

Access ban on Wikileaks

Wikileaks, known to leak confidential government documents, has published 300 thousand internal e-mails of the AKP [Turkey's Justice and Development Party]. Following this, access to the website has been banned in Turkey.

Social media arrests

Engin Zaman, who had been detained with the charge of insulting President Tayyip Erdoğan on social media following the coup attempt, has been arrested.

Erkan Y., who resides in France and had been on vacation in his hometown, Edirne, was detained and arrested due to the social media posts he made following the coup attempt.

4 people, who published social media posts “praising the coup” and “insulting President Erdoğan” were arrested in Düzce, Karaman and Zonguldak.

Murat Süer, from the Derik district of Mardin, was taken to the Criminal Court of Peace for having insulted AKP executives in his Facebook posts, then arrested and sent to Mardin Type-E Closed Prison.

Village headman arrested over not allowing call to prayer

The Headman of Musababa Village in Düzce, Ahmet Yılmaz, was arrested for allegedly “praising the coup” for not allowing the village imam to make a call to prayer on the night of July 15, during the coup attempt.

Lawyer Meriç Eyüboğlu has stated that there is no such crime as “praising the coup,” indicating that arrests regarding the coup attempt may only be conducted in line with Article 309 of the Turkish Penal Code, which refers to “violating the Constitution.”

On the same night, 19 people allegedly reacted verbally against the call to prayer in Torbalı district of İzmir. They were all detained, and 8 of them have been arrested. A warrant has been issued against 4 people.

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