The journalists welcome the
May 3 World Press Freedom Day writing under the threat of imprisonment, with
publications bans that threaten the right to access knowledge and information, and 29 cases, 12 of which are for
the infamous Article 301 that punishes
“Denigrating Turkishness, the Republic, the institutions and organs of
the State” with jail sentence. Last year there were 4 new cases in the same
In an atmosphere where the
demands for its removal are on the rise, the new 301 will continue restricting
the freedom of expression like before.
That the journalists İlhan
Selçuk, Adnan Akfırat, Ferit İlsever and Serhat Bolluk were taken from their
homes in the middle of the night, before dawn to be exact, as part of the
“Ergenekon Operation” received reactions.
Communication Network (BİA) Media Monitoring Desk’s first quarter report of 38pages, which covers the months of January, February and March, takes up thecondition of the 270 people, including journalists, publisher and activists,
under the titles of “attacks and threats”, “detentions and arrests”, “the
freedom of press and expression trials”, “regulation and seeking for justice”,
“the European Court of Human Rights”, "reactions to censorship” and “RTÜK
Attacking the reporters
is allowed; murders remain “mysteries”
The daily “Cumhuriyet
Gazetesi”, the Oğuz Aral statue, and seven journalists, mostly from local media
(Senar Yıldız, Hamit Erkut, Necip Çapraz, Erkan Çobanoğlu, Şevket Yılmaz, Sami
Yılmaz, Behçet Dalmaz) were attacked. Gümüşpala Kortağ was threatened because
of his articles about AKP, the Justice and Development Party. Sakarya chief of
police stated that the journalists were to be classified according to their
news. Hrant Dink International Fund
received e-mail threats. In the same period in 2007, 9 media institutions were
attacked and two internet sites were hacked.
Journalists and seekers of
rights are concerned that the security personnel who resort to violence are not
punished. The police officers who bludgeoned nearly 10 journalists, who were
assigned to cover last year’s May Day parade, did not stand trial.
Similar to the case of the “instigators”
of the murders of Abdi İpekçi, Uğur Mumcu and Ahmet Taner Kışlalı who were not
found, the Hrant Dink case has not gone further than “triggermen youths” in one
and a half year, either.
186 people are still being
According to the report, 186
people, 71 of whom are journalists, some of them with more than one case, are
culprits in 92 litigations.
In last three months, 42
people have been brought to court from Article 301, 12 of whom were new cases:
Ali Haydar Güneş, Esma Yavuz, Sabit Çiçek, Şahin Kösedağı, Nadide Toker, Ali
Bozkına, Can Aydemir Sezer, Atilla Aka, Esra Sönmez, Nihal Samsun, Nurettin
Demirtaş, Selma Irmak, M. Kemal Çelik, Aytekin Dal, M. Sadık Aksoy, M. Reşat
Yiğiz, Temel Demirer, Banu Uzpeder, Ahmet Şık, Mahmut Alınak and Ahmet Türk. Only
Ali Rıza Vural was acquitted. In 2007, this number was 55.
In three years that Article
301 was in effect, more than 120 journalists, publishers, activists and
politicians were tried. However, the minister of Justice Mehmet Ali Şahin
stated that in 2006, there were 1533 people with 835 litigations, 12 of whom
were children, and in the first quarter of 2007, there were 1189 people with
74 people are culprits for
“praising”, 13 for “propaganda” and 7 for “alienating”
74 people, among who are
the 53 mayors from DTP, the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, who sent a
letter to the president of Denmark Anders Rasmussen with the message that “Roj
TV should not be shut down”, are on trial for “praising crime”; 12 people are
new. In this period, Gökhan Türkan, Sancar Yamaç and Zekai Sarıca were
13 people were tried for
the crime of “making propaganda for a terror organization”. The owner of the
periodical Çağrı Aziz Ömer, Aydın Bulak of DTP and Selahattin Demirtaş were
sentenced to 15 months, 2 years 6 months and one year 6 months, respectively.
Among the 7 people who are
on trial for “alienating people from military service” are Yıldırım Türker,
Halil Savda, Mahmut Alınak, Gökhan Gençay, Perihan Mağden, Birgül Özbarış and
The prime minister cannot
take a joke: The weekly comic magazine Leman is on trial
Four of the eight people
who are on trial for Article 288, “the attempt to influence the process of just
trial”, faced this crime for the first time. Tahir Elçi, the lawyer who
demanded fair trial in the case of Kaymazlar, was discharged of the accusation.
Among the four people who
were on trial for Article 216, “inciting hatred and hostility”, the publisher
Erol Karaaslan and the radio broadcaster Cemal Doğan were acquitted, but the
politicians Nurettin Demirtaş and Mahmut Alınak are still on trial.
In three months, 39 people
were tried for insult and defamation with a total charge of one million 274
thousand YTL in fines and 51 years 8 months in jail time. The prime minister
Erdoğan opened a lawsuit for 20 thousand YTL against the weekly comic magazine
Leman and the publishing editor Zafer Aknar for carrying his words “We could
not get the West’s science and technology, but its immorality” to the cover of
The law suits regarding the
journalists İbrahim Tığ, Cumhur Kılıççıoğlu, Tuncay Özkan and Emin Çölaşan were
denied or resulted in acquittals. The British collage artist Michael Dickinson
will appear before court for “insulting”.
After arrested for “insulting”,
the journalist Faruk Aktaş was released since his condition needed to be
evaluated according to the new Turkish Penal Code (TCK). Vedat Kurşun, who is
responsible for the newspaper Azadiye Welat was arrested for the allegation
of “propaganda” and is still in jail. Why
the DİHA reporters Sıddık Güler and Haydar Haykır were arrested is still not
The director of Özgür Radio
Füsun Erdoğan and the four representatives of the daily Atılım, who were
arrested last year, are accused of “MLKP membership”.
Censorship is everywhere;
whole world is talking about the banning of You Tube
The court punished Haftaya
Bakış, Yedinci Gün, Yaşamda Demokrasi and Toplumsal Demokrasi publications by
stopping their publication six times for allegation of “PKK propaganda”. The
access to Indymedia-İstanbul site was banned by the decision of the Military Court. The
same ban was applied to the global video sharing site youtube.com for having
videos that insulted Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic.
RTÜK, the Radio and
Television Supreme Council, reprimanded Star TV for the words of the famous
singer Bülent Ersoy, who said “If I had given birth to a child, I would not
send him to dying”, implying that she was against military conflict. Ümit
Kardaş, the retired military judge known for his critiques of what happens to
be on public agenda, was not allowed in Fenerbahçe Officers Club. On TRT-1, the
main official television channel, the previously announced program titled Abhazya Republic was not allowed. The members of
the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) who made statements in Kurdish are
on trial for the infringement of the law regulating political parties.
Publication bans; an
increase in the amount of fines in ECHR
İstanbul 11th High
Criminal Court declared publication ban regarding the BOTAŞ operation. Likewise,
the Gendarmerie Military Court
declared publication ban for the court case of the eight soldiers who were
arrested after their release by PKK, which had taken them as hostages after the
Dağlıca engagement with the Turkish forces. The publication ban of last year
about the Ergenekon Operation was reminded to the media. Gerger public
prosecutor Sadullah Ocaklı implemented a temporary injunction for the news in
the internet sites of gergerim.com and bianet.org.
The European Court of Human
Rights convicted Turkey for violating the freedom of expression and the right
to fair hearing and sentenced her to paying compensation of 36 thousand 150 YTL
(21 thousand euro) in cases opened by ten people. Last year the amount paid for
the same period was 18 thousand YTL.
A few good news
The court convicted Zafer
Filiz for sending racist and threatening messages to the e-mail address of
weekly newspaper Agos twelve days after the Dink murder and Mert Şahin for
threatening to kill Necati Abay for his comment about the Dink murder. (EÖ/TB)