The President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, scolds media in Turkey and international media, teaches journalism; doesn’t like to be criticized, files a suit for libel against journalists; points journalists, especially female journalists, as a target.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and the ministers behave likewise. The government legalized the censoringregulation by some excuses like ‘protecting security of life and property by right to live ‘, ‘national security’ and ‘protecting public order’, ‘preventing offence’ or ‘protecting public health’ by the “Internet law”.
In second half of 2014, 87% of the requests for Twitter content removing came from Turkey.
Even though Erdoğan reduced verbal attacks against media and media representatives day by day after the elections, the world can see how it is hard and dangerous to be a journalist and to criticize in Turkey when they look at 8 journalists, 2 newspapers and a lawyer who were fined 31 thousand 860 Turkish liras, sentenced to 4 years 6 months and 10 days in prison and filed 35 thousand Turkish liras as a claim for compensation and 5 journalists who were sued against according to Article 299 of Turkish Penal Code (TCK) related to insulting the President.
In the last three months, Constitutional Court was the only constitutional institution secured freedom of thought with 7 individual application related to 5 journalists and 1 magazine while Anti-terror Law (TMK) and TCK increase the pressure on media.
BIA Apr-may-Jun 2015 Media Monitoring Report, reveals that destructions made against media which presents the President Erdoğan’s ruling and bribery and corruption claims and bad intentions by wearing journalists down and targeting them as “spy”, “pro-coup minded” and confidential document publisher”.
Five journalists were sued by Article 299 of TCK
The President made an allegation against Can Dündar, Editor-in-Chief of Cumhuriyet Daily who was allegedly spying and published the images of weapons carried by National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Trucks. Five journalists were sued for “insulting the President”.
Highlights from Media Monitoring
BİA Media Monitoring Report includes “murdered journalists”, “incarcerated journalists”, “attacks, threats and bans”, “investigations, opened-ongoing lawsuits, verdicts”, “insults, personal rights and indemnity cases”, “interdictions, closures, withdrawals”, “ECHR” and “RTÜK”.
Jailed journalists: Majority from Kurdish media
For the period of 3 months, prosecutions against journalists for charges related to violating Turkish Penal Code and Anti-Terror Act resumed. Some of the charges against journalists and publishers included “being a member of an illegal armed organization", “aiding an illegal organization”, “forming or controlling an illegal organization”.
23 journalists and 9 distributors entered July of 2015 behind bars. 13 of jailed journalists and all jailed publishers were affiliated with the Kurdish media and were in prison related to “illegal organization” within the scope of TMK and TCK. Last year, 23 journalists and 14 distributors were in prison. 18 of 23 jailed journalists were convicted, 5 of them had ongoing trials.
At the end of 2014, 22 journalists and 10 distributors were in prison. 18 of them were convicted, 3 of them were defendants; one of them had ongoing trial.
In July 2015, 13 of the 23 journalists are incarcerated for the lawsuits, “Group of Communities in Kurdistan-Turkey” (KCK), “PKK” and “DYG”; others are for the cases of “Marxist Leninist Communist Party” (MLKP)(2); “The Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front” (DHKP-C)(2); “The Resistance Movement”(1), “Communist/Leninist Labor Party of Turkey” (TKEP/L)(1); the “Parallel State” (1) and one of them is in prison for using confidential documents.
Another is in jail for having linkages with three illegal organizations. One of them is on trial for being a member of illegal organization.
18 of 23 journalists are sentenced and the lawsuits of 4 are ongoing and another journalist is facing investigation.
Last year in the same period, 14 of the 23 journalists were incarcerated for the lawsuits, Marxist Leninist Communist Party” (MLKP); “The Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front” (DHKP-C); “The Resistance Movement”, “Communist/Leninist Labor Party of Turkey” (TKEP/L) and İBDA-C. A caricaturist was in prison for insulting Adnan Oktar, a journalist was in prison for “espionage”. 18 of 23 journalists were sentenced and the lawsuits of 5 were ongoing.
At the end of 2014, 14 of the 22 jailed journalists were incarcerated for lawsuits related to KCK/PKK/PYG’; MLKP (2), DHKP-C (1), The Resistance Movement (1), (TKEP/L) (1), İBDA/C (1), the Parallel Structure (1). Another was in jail for having linkages with three illegal organizations.
18 journalists, a writer and media tool were attacked
In Apr-Jun 2015, 18 journalists, a writer and a media tool were attacked. There was a verbal attack. 7 journalists, a social media activist and 5 newspapers or magazine were threatened.
In the same period of 2014, 54 journalists and a local newspaper were attacked. At the end of 2014, 142 journalists, 2 newspapers, a newspaper printing house, 6 websites and a twitter account were attacked; there were 23 verbal attacks against journalists and media.
In Apr-Jun 2015, 169 news and article, a website, a film, an election movie, a documentary, a poster, 12 videos, a twitter account were censored. There was a confidentiality order. In at least 5 incidents, 20 media organs were discriminated, there were 3 censorship.
166 news related to a prosecutor held by gunmen from newspapers like The Independent, The Mirror, Cumhuriyet, Radikal, Milliyet and Birgün were closed to access, 39 newspapers were forbidden from publishing advertisements.
Last year in the same period, 15 news website, a dating site, a book advertising poster were censored, a news related to ISIS capturing 49 people in Turkish Consulate in Mosul, Iraq was banned. A painting named “Maraş Massacre” was removed from exhibition, 2 newspapers were sealed, a journalist wasn’t allowed to enter Soma district of Manis province.
In 2014, 17 journalists, 2 newspapers, 30 websites or news, 3 Facebook accounts, 3 films, 2 posters, a painting exhibition, a concert and a book were censored. There were 7 broadcast bans and 4 accreditation discrimination. Communications were interrupted in prison (2).
In Apr-Jun 2015, 30 journalists and media workers were detained; there were two attemps of detention. When Governor of Urfa province, İzzettin Küçük Akçakale got angry with a question asked by journalists, Hasan Akbaş from Evrensel and Hayat TV, Pınar Öğünç from Cumhuriyet Daily, Deniz Yücel and Gamze Topçu from Die Welt and Onur Burçak Belli were detained. 7 international media representatives were detained and then deported for allegedly “trespassing Syrian-Turkish border illegally”
In the same period of 2014, 9 journalists were detained. At the end of 2014, the number was 72.
“Terror” trials against 12 journalists and 7 newspapers
In Apr-Jun 2015, 4 journalists were sentenced to 127 years and a month in prison according to TMK. One of them, Dutch Frederike Geerdink wasn’t released.
12 journalists (Oktay Candemir, Hakan Yılmaz, Fatih Polat, Mirgün Cabas, Banu Güven, Ceyda Karan, Asım Yıldırım, Emre Uslu, Önder Aytaç), 7 newspapers (Hürriyet, Cumhuriyet, Posta, Bugün, Sözcü, Ortadoğu and Milli Gazete) and 4 activists (Pelin Batu, Barış Atay, Ferhat Tunç and Koray Çalışkan) were launched investigation and made allegations according to TMK.
24,630 Turkish liras for “libel suit” against 5 journalists
In Apr-Jun 2015, 5 journalists and a website were fined 24,630 Turkish liras for “insulting”, 8 journalists have ongoing trials. 3 of them were released, 3 of them were sued again or made allegations. 4 journalists, a columnist and a newspaper’s trials are going on. Total number for libel suit is 1 million 315 thousand Turkish liras.
Last year in the same period, a columnist and a caricaturist were sentenced to 1 year 5 months and 20 days in prison.
Criticizing PM results 4 years 6 months and 10 days in prison!
According to BIA Apr-Jun 2015 Media Monitoring Report, 8 journalists, 2 newspapers and a lawyer were convicted to pay 66, 860 Turkish liras totally and were sentenced to 4 years 6 months and 10 days in prison for “insulting Recep Tayyip Erdoğan “ according to Article 125/3 of TCK:
Journalist Yaşar Elma was sentenced to 1 year, 11 months and 10 days, Bülent Keneş was sentenced to 21 months, Mehmet Baransu was sentenced to 10 months; Barış İnce was convicted to pay 10,620 Turkish liras, Merdan Yanardağ, Hakan Gülseven and columnist Barış Atay were convicted to pay 7,080 Turkish liras. Müşerref Seçkin from Halk TV and Mümtazer Türköne from Zaman daily were released. Journalist Aytekin Gezici has an ongoing trial.
Last year in the same period, there weren’t jailed journalists. However, 38 people were convicted to pay 277,400 Turkish liras and were sentenced to 2 months and 15 days in prison for “insulting PM”. At the end of 2014, 2 journalists were sentenced to 11 months and 20 days in prison and were convicted to pay 7 thousand Turkish liras; 61 people were convicted to pay 332,660 Turkish liras and were sentenced to 31 years 2 months and 15 days in prison.
The President files 7 suits in six months
According to BIA Apr-Jun 2015 Media Monitoring Report, five journalist were sued for “insulting the President” according to Article 299 of TCK. Journalists: Özgür Mumcu, Bekir Coşkun, Barış Pehlivan, Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu and Cüneyt Arat.
In Jan-Feb-Mar 2015, journalist Barış İnce and Ender İmrek were sued according to Article 299. At least 7 journalists were sued since the beginning of the year.
545 lawsuits in 7 years from Abdullah Gül, 105 lawsuits in 7 months from Tayyip Erdoğan
Upon the request of Republican People’s Party (CHP) İstanbul deputy Melda Onur related to cases “insulting the President”, Ministry of Justice stated that former President Abdullah Gül filed 1359 lawsuits in 7 year but 545 of them were acknowledged while Recep Tayyip Erdoğan filed 236 lawsuits in 7 months but 105 of them were acknowledged and 8 people were arrested accordingly.
Another wave of trial and investigations
46 media workers are on trial for “being a member of terrorist organization” for 460 years in prison related to KCK Press case 10 journalists are on trial for “aiding terrorist organization” for 30 years in prison related to Odatv case.
2 journalist will be on trial for “insulting religion”. 3 journalists are on trial for “violating privacy and attempting to influence judgment”, 2 journalists and a humor magazine were sued for “breeding bad blood”.
7 journalists were sued for “espionage”, “publishing confidential documents”, “being a membership of terrorist organization”, “breeding bad blood” and “violating privacy”.
New summary wasn’t served
In Apr-Jun 2015, a new summary related to Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies and Peoples’ Democratic Congress (HDK) wasn’t served to Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM).
Last year in the same period, 12 summaries related to HDP deputies and Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) were served. At the end of 2014, the number was 129.
ECHR issued one conviction
In the last three months, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) found Turkey guilty of Convention Article 10 on freedom of expression in suit filed by a retired military officer but didnt order Turkey to fine since the amount was uncertain. Arrested Hidayet Karaca, General Manager of Samanyolu Publishing Group appealed to ECHR.
Around the same period last year, the court ordered the Turkish state to pay 5 journalist, 2 academicians and 4 inmates a combined 55,259 euros for damages.
At the end of 2014, the court ordered the Turkish state to pay 9 journalists, a media organ and other person or institutions a combined 135,612 euros for damages.
3 million Turkish liras as penalty fine and 15 warnings from RTÜK
In Apr-Jun 2015, Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) issued 14 warnings, 53 monetary fines on TVs and 1 warning and 1 monetary fine to radios. The combined fines were 2,137,334 liras.
Around the same period in 2014, RTÜK issued 28warnings, 133 monetary fines on TVs and 3 warnings and 3 monetary fines to radios. At the end of 2014 when two elections were held, RTÜK issued 78 warnings, 254 monetary fines on TVs and 12 warnings and 7 monetary fines to radios. (EÖ/BD)
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This publication has been produced within the partnership with Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso for the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), co-funded by the European Commission. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of IPS Communication Foundation and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.
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