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Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay not released despite Constitutional Court ruling

A journalist poses with a portrait of Ahmet Altan on 19 June 2017 in front of an Istanbul courthouse where 17 suspects, including jailed journalists Nazli Ilicak, Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan, were due to appear
A journalist poses with a portrait of Ahmet Altan on 19 June 2017 in front of an Istanbul courthouse where 17 suspects, including jailed journalists Nazli Ilicak, Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan, were due to appear

OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images

This statement was originally published on platform24.org on 14 January 2018.

The Constitutional Court on January 11, 2018 ruled that the rights of jailed journalists Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay, and Turhan Günay, who was released in late July after spending months in prison, were violated as a result of their pre-trial detention. Alpay and Altan, however, remained in prison when the penal courts where the journalists are standing trial refused to put the ruling into process.

The Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court, where Alpay is on trial on "coup" and "terrorism" charges, and the Istanbul 26th High Criminal Court, which oversees the trial of Mehmet Altan along with his brother Ahmet Altan and journalist Nazlı Ilıcak, first refused to release the journalists, saying the top court's reasoned judgments had not yet been formally communicated and their detentions would be reviewed thereafter.

On January 12, the Istanbul 13th Criminal Court released a new decision after reviewing the reasoned judgement of the Constitutional Court, refusing to implement the top court's ruling saying it overstepped its jurisdiction and usurped tthe trial court's authority.

The Istanbul 26th High Criminal Court was yet to deliver a new decision as of Saturday, January 13.

Ruling on individual applications filed on behalf of Alpay and Altan, the Constitutional Court said their detentions led to violations of the "right to personal liberty and security," enshrined under Article 19 of the Constitution, and "freedom of expression and the press," protected under articles 26 and 28. The decision was taken by an 11-6 majority vote. Both journalists have been imprisoned for more than a year.

Ahmet Altan sentenced for "insulting" the president

The fifth hearing of a trial against journalist and writer Ahmet Altan, in which he was accused of "insulting the president," was held on January 11 at the Istanbul 32nd Criminal Court of First Instance.

The court convicted Altan, sentencing him to a fine of TL 7,000 at the end of the trial. Altan's lawyers said they would appeal the ruling.

Journalist Ersin Özdemir arrested while covering protest

Police arrested Managing Editor of Kızıl Bayrak newspaper Ersin Özdemir on January 13 as he was following a demonstration by a solidarity group for families of inmates and detainees held in Taksim, Istanbul.

Özdemir was reportedly beaten by the police as he was being arrested and was accused of "resisting the police." He was released later in the same day after giving his statement to the police.

Radio station, TV channel closed down by new emergency decree

Local radio station Hatmar FM and television channel YEK TV, both broadcasting in the southern province of Hatay, were closed down under a new emergency decree that went into effect on January 12.

According to the decree, which was published in the Official Gazette, Hatmar FM and YEK TV were shuttered due to their links to groups "that have been determined to be operating against the national security of the state."

DİHA reporter remains behind bars after hearing

Şerife Oruç, a former reporter for the shuttered Dicle News Agency (DİHA), on January 11 appeared at the third hearing of a case in which she is indicted for "membership in a terrorist organization."

Oruç, in prison now for more than a year-and-a-half, was taken into custody on July 3, 2016 in the southeastern province of Batman, and was arrested two days later, on July 5, 2016.

Oruç took part in the hearing, held at the Batman 2nd High Criminal Court, via the court video-conferencing system SEGBİS from the Mardin Prison, where she is currently held.

Selman Keleş detained again after objection to his release

Selman Keleş, a reporter and photojournalist for the shuttered Dihaber News Agency who had been released pending trial in November 2017 after eight months of pre-trial detention, was detained again on January 12 in Diyarbakır by anti-terror police after a prosecutor objected to his release.

Keleş was released on January 13 after giving a statement to the Van High Criminal Court on duty via court video conferencing system SEGBİS from Diyarbakır.

Keleş is standing trial at the Van 2nd High Criminal Court. Keleş was taken into custody on March 20, 2017 in the eastern province of Van, where he works as a journalist, as he was taking photos of the municipal building, and was sent to jail pending trial on March 31.

Taraf MGK document report trial postponed to March

The 13th hearing of a case where former Taraf reporter Mehmet Baransu and the newspaper's former Responsible Managing Editor Murat Şevki Çoban are on trial for a news report published on November 28, 2013 was held on January 9 at the Istanbul Anadolu 10th High Criminal Court.

Baransu, who is yet to present his defense statement, was not brought to the courtroom as he was attending another hearing at the Istanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan. The court decided to adjourn the trial until March 21, 2018 to allow time for Baransu to make his defense statement.

The case concerns publication of a report on a National Security Council (MGK) decision in the shuttered Taraf newspaper. The report, headlined "Decision to finish off Gülen was taken by MGK in 2004," said the Fethullah Gülen network was listed as a threat in a MGK meeting on August 25, 2004.

The indictment says the report exposes a MGK document that should remain confidential. The defendants are accused of "Acquiring documents pertaining to the security of the state," "Exposing documents that should remain confidential for reasons relating to the security and political interests of the state," and "Exposing documents that pertain to the missions and activities of the National Intelligence Agency (MİT)," charges that carry between 26 to 52 years in prison.

Cumhuriyet reporter indicted for 2017 story

Alican Ulucan, a reporter for the Ankara office of the Cumhuriyet daily, has been indicted for his news report headlined Evetçi Savcı FETÖ toplantısında (“es Vote Supporter Prosecutor Attended FETÖ Meeting), published in the March 20, 2017 edition of the newspaper.

On January 8, a court in Ankara accepted the indictment against Ulucan, in which he is charged with "violating the confidentiality of the investigation" into the said prosecutor and four other members of the judiciary through secret witness accounts in his report.

Ulucan will stand trial at the Ankara 37th Criminal Court of First Instance.

ODHA reporter acquitted in case concerning 2015 news report

Doğan News Agency (DHA) reporter Felat Bozarslan on January 11 was acquitted in a case against him held at the Diyarbakır 2nd High Criminal Court that sought four-and-a-half years in prison for Bozarslan for a news story published in 2015.

In that news report, Bozarslan reported about a court's decision in 2015 to give a reduced sentence for good conduct to a suspect who was convicted of child molestation. The Diyarbakır 2nd High Criminal Court acquitted Bozarslan on the ground that the elements of criminal offense were not present.

Artı Gerçek writer detained for "terrorist propaganda"

Fadıl Öztürk, an author and poet who is a contributor to the online news portal Artı Gerçek, was taken into custody on January 5 from his home in İzmir by the anti-terror police due to a search and arrest warrant against him on charges of "writing articles that spread propaganda for a terrorist organization."

Öztürk, who was taken into custody alongside seven others as part of the investigation, was released on judicial control on January 9.

Speaking to Artı Gerçek following his release, Öztürk said the charges against him included "being a member of TİKKO, PKK, THKP, THKO and Dev-Yol, all at once." He also noted that many of his articles that have been published by Artı Gerçek have been included in the file against him but that neither the police nor the prosecutor asked any questions regarding those articles during the interrogations, but that they rather focused on his social media posts in which he talked about Selahattin Demirtaş or Abdullah Öcalan.

TV10 executive taken into custody

Veli Büyükşahin, the executive board director of the shuttered TV10 and an Artı Gerçek news portal contributor, was arrested on January 10 during a raid in İstanbul by the anti-terror police.

Author Güneş Daşlı and Veysi Altındaş, one of the signatories of 2016's Academics for Peace petition, were among the 30 people who were taken into custody during the operation, for which no official explanation has been provided.

Reporter for pro-Kurdish daily detained

Yüksel Azak, a local reporter for the Diyarbakır-based pro-Kurdish newspaper Özgürlükçü Demokrasi, was detained on January 12 in the eastern province of Bingöl during a police raid on his home.

During the search, police seized Azak's laptop computer, his mobile phone and a book. Azak was taken into custody in connection with a complaint filed against him in 2016, his family told the Mezopotamya Agency.

Press Council marks "Working Journalists" Day in Silivri

The Turkish Press Council High Committee held its first regular meeting of this year on January 10 - marked in Turkey annually as the Day of Working Journalists - in Silivri, a district of İstanbul that is home to the infamous prison where dozens of journalists in Turkey are currently imprisoned.

The committee's members reiterated the plea for the release of jailed journalists during the convention, held at the Yaşar Kemal Cultural Center in Silivri.


List of journalists currently in prison in Turkey

1 Abdulkadir Turay, DİHA reporter
2 Abdullah Kaya, DİHA
3 Abdullah Kılıç, Habertürk
4 Abdullah Özyurt, Zaman reporter
5 Abdulvahap İş (Freelance journalist)
6 Ahmet Altan
7 Ahmet Feyzullah Özyurt
8 Ahmet Memiş, Gazeteci, Haberdar news website
9 Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Zaman journalist
10 Ahmet Şık, Cumhuriyet reporter
11 Ahmet Turan Alkan, Zaman
12 Ahmet Yavaş, TRT (Erzurum)
13 Akın Atalay, Pres. of Cumhuriyet Foundation Executive Board
14 Alaattin Güner, Cihan media director
15 Ali Ahmet Böken, TRT News coordinator
16 Ali Aşikar – Azadiya Welat
17 Ali Babür Boysal, Zaman page designer
18 Ali Bulaç, Eski Zaman columnist
19 Ali Ünal, Zaman columnist
20 Ali Yüce, TRT Radio broadcasts chief
21 Arafat Dayan, Demokratik Ulus
22 Aslı Ceren Aslan, Özgür Gelecek
23 Ayhan Demir, Çaldıran News Agency
24 Ayşe Nazlı Ilıcak
25 Ayşenur Parıldak, Zaman, Haberdar
26 Aytekin Gezici, journalist/writer
27 Aziz İstegün, Diyarbakır Zaman representative
28 Bayram Kaya, Zaman reporter
29 Behram Kılıç
30 Beytullah Özdemir, Zaman Düzce bureau chief
31 Burak Ekici, Birgün
32 Burçin Dokgöz, former Zaman and Çorum reporter
33 Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Journalists and Writers' Foundation
34 Ceren Taşkın, Hatay'ın Sesi
35 Cuma Kaya, Zaman
36 Cuma Ulus, Millet newspaper's publications coordinator
37 Cüneyt Seza Özkan, Samanyolu TV
38 Çağdaş Erdoğan, Photojournalist
39 Deniz Yücel, Die Welt
40 Emin Demir, Freelancer
41 Emre Soncan, Zaman defense reporter
42 Ercan Gün, Fox TV
43 Erdal Süsem, Eylül magazine editor
44 Erdal Şen, former Meydan managing editor
45 Erdoğan Alayamut, Dihaber reporter
46 Erol Yüksel (TRT News Department vice president))
47 Erol Zavar, Odak magazine, owner and newsroom director
48 Fahrettin Kılıç, Özgür Toplum
49 Faruk Akkan, Cihan news agency
50 Ferhat Çiftçi, Azadiya Welat Gaziantep bureau chief
51 Fevzi Yazıcı
52 Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Türksolu columnist
53 Gurbet Çakar, Hevi women's magazine
54 Gültekin Avcı
55 Habip Güler, Zaman reporter
56 Hakan Aksel, TRT producer-director
57 Hakan Ergün, Azadiya Welat and Özgür Gündem distributor
58 Hakan Taşdelen
59 Halil İbrahim Mert, TRT (Erzurum)
60 Hamit Dilbahar, Azadiya Welat columnist
61 Hamza Günerigök, TRT
62 Hanım Büşra Erdal, Zaman reporter and columnist
63 Hasan Duman, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi distributor
64 Hatice Duman, Atılım newspaper's owner and managing editor
65 Havva Cuştan, ETHA reporter
66 Hayati Yıldız, Azadiya Welat
67 Hidayet Karaca, Samanyolu Media Group President
68 Hüseyin Aydın, Cihan reporter
69 Hüseyin Turan, Zaman columnist
70 İbrahim Balta, Zaman business editor
71 İbrahim Kareyeğen, responsible editor for Zaman
72 İdris Okur, Cihan New Agency Çorum reporter
73 İdris Sayılgan, DİHA
74 İsmail Efe, local press advisor in İzmir
75 İsmail Ersan, Anatolia news agency
76 İsminaz Temel, ETHA editor
77 Kamuran Sunbat, DİHA Çukurova reporter (formerly)
78 Kemal Demir, TV 10
79 Kemal Özer, Evrensel
80 Kenan Karavil, Radyo Dünya editor-in-chief
81 Mehmet Ali Ay
82 Mehmet Altan
83 Mehmet Baransu, Taraf columnist/reporter
84 Mehmet Dener, Şanlıurfa.com editor-in-chief
85 Mehmet Güleş, DİHA
86 Mehmet Gündem
87 Mehmet Kuru, Zaman Eskişehir reporter
88 Mehmet Özdemir, Zaman columnist
89 Meltem Oktay, DİHA reporter
90 Mikail Barut, Özgür Halk former editor
91 Miktat Algül, Mezitli FM General Publications Coordinator
92 Mizgin Çay – Radyo Karacadağ
93 Muhammet Taşçılar, Şanlıurfa.com editor-in-chief
94 Muhsin Pilgir, Zaman and Cihan news agency
95 Murat Avcıoğlu, Zaman
96 Murat Çapan, Nokta
97 Murat Dağdeviren (Demokrat Gebze owner)
98 Murat Sabuncu, Editor-in- Chief
99 Mustafa Erkan Acar, Bugün news editor,
100 Mustafa Gök, Ankara bureau chief for Ekmek ve Adalet magazine
101 Mustafa Ünal, Zaman
102 Mutlu Çölgeçen, Millet, newsroom coordinator
103 Mutlu Özay, Cihan reporter
104 Mümtazer Türköne, Zaman columnist
105 Nadir Yücel, Çorum Yıldız (local) Editor-in-Chief
106 Nedim Türfent,DİHA
107 Nizamettin İzgi (Batman Newspaper's owner)
108 Nuh Gönültaş
109 Nur Ener, Yeni Asya
110 Nuri Durna, TRT
111 Nuri Yeşil, Azadiya Welat Dersim bureau chief
112 Nurullah Kaya, G.antep Zaman representative
113 Oğuz Usluer, Habertürk former broadcasts coordinator
114 Osman Yakut, Zaman Antalya
115 Ömer Oruç, Cihan newspaper
116 Özcan Keser (TRT reporter)
117 Özkan Erdoğan, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi
118 Rabia Özkaya, Özgür Halk
119 Ramazan Alkan, Yeni Akit reporter
120 Resul Cengiz, Denizli reporter with Zaman
121 Sadık Demir – Radyo Karacadağ
122 Sait Gürka Tuzlu, Cihan reporter
123 Salih Erbekler – Radyo Karacadağ
124 Sami Tunca, Mücadele Birliği magazine Managing Editor
125 Semiha Mete, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi reporter and distributor
126 Serhat Şeftali, Zaman regional bureau chief for the Med region
127 Serkan Aydemir, Bitlis Aktüel reporter
128 Serkan Erdoğan, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi
129 Seyid Kılıç, TRT News
130 Seyithan Akyüz, Azadiya Welat Adana bureau chief
131 Şahabettin Demir, DİHA reporter
132 Şahin Alpay, Zaman columnist
133 Şeref Yılmaz, Irmak TV
134 Şerife Oruç, DİHA reporter
135 Tahsin Kürklü, Zaman – head of Logistics Department
136 Togay Okay, Özgür Gelecek
137 Tuncer Çetinkaya, Zaman Antalya
138 Turgut Usul, TRT reporter
139 Ufuk Şanlı, former Vatan columnist
140 Ünal Tanık, Rota Haber editor-in-chief
141 Vahit Yazgan, İzmir Zaman bureau chief
142 Yakup Çetin, Zaman reporter
143 Yakup Şimşek, Zaman, marketing director
144 Yalçın Güler, TRT (Erzurum)
145 Yasir Kaya, Fenerbahçe TV, formerly
146 Yener Dönmez, Habervaktim news website
147 Yetkin Yıldız, Aktif Haber website editor
148 Yılmaz Kahraman, Özgür Halk editor
149 Zafer Özsoy
150 Zehra Doğan, Jinha
151 Ziya Ataman, DİHA reporter

For a full list of all the imprisoned journalists in Turkey, visit this spreadsheet. Lists of all of the foundations and associations as well as media outlets shut down can also be found at the same link, although on different tabs of the same spreadsheet.

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