To the arrangements that limit the freedom of communication was added No. 5651 Law on Internet Crimes, after the Law on Struggle against Terror, the Turkish Penal Code and the Law for Protection of Atatürk.
The global vide sharing site youtube.com has been banned for six months now for having videos insulting to the memory of Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic. The internet site of dailymotion was banned for one month. Geocities.com has been banned for eight months. The internet site of gundemonline.com was banned by a court order, too.
Internet censorship is widespread, the judiciary is following Oktar’s lead
Creationist Adnan Oktar’s “insult to one’s personality” complaints led the courts to ban the internet sites egitim-sen.org.tr (of the education and scientific workers union), turandursun.com (of Turan Dursun) and anarsist.org. The internet users are raising their voices against closing of the whole sites because of one particular content.
BIA Media Observation Desk’s July-August-September 2008 Media Monitoring Report determined that 116 people, 77 of whom journalists, are being prosecuted for expressing their opinions, reporting rights violations by the state or condemning such violations in 76 different cases.
According to the 32 page report, daily Yeni Şafak was attacked, Turan Aktaş, reporter for daily Taraf, was manhandled by the police and the internet sites antenna.org and ortakpayda.org were hacked.
A reader of daily Birgün’s, Tutku Türkol, was taken into custody and harassed. Journalists Mustafa Balbay and Ufuk Büyükçelebi were taken into custody in connection with the Ergenekon investigation.
Writer Murat Coşkun received prison sentence of one year and fifteen days for committing the crime of “provoking hostility among people” with his book titled “Acının Dili Kadın” (Woman, Language of Pain), published by Peri Publishing in January 2002 with. He is still in prison. Local journalist Hacı Boğatekin of Gerger, who was in prison for 109 days after arrested for his critical publications against the local prosecutor, Kurdish politician Mahmut Alınak, who was arrested for proposing Musa Anter’s name for a street in the city of Tunceli, and unionist Meryem Özsöğüt, who was arrested for taking part in Kevser Mızrak’s commemoration, were released.
Attacks against the journalists go unpunished, Dink’s murder trial is in its second year
Discussing the cases of the 220 people, the report presents the violations under the following headings: “Attacks and threats”, “Custodies and arrests”, “Cases and attempts”, “Arrangements and seeking of rights”, “European Court of Human Rights”, “Reactions to censorship”, and “RTÜK implementations”.
The developments in Dink’s case shows that these kind of political murders cannot be solved only through judicial means, without the support of the political will.
The police officers who broke the arm of Ali Deniz Uslu, reporter of daily Cumhuriyet, and beat Esra Açıkgöz did not appear before court. In Beytüşşebap in the eastern Turkey, DHA reporter Emin Bal was convicted of insult after he filing a complaint against the police officers who manhandled him.
Censorship of every type for the sake of “security”
Not used to be questioned about its operations, the General Staff takes the questions about Dağlıca and Aktütün ambushes as matters of strategy.
Military Prosecutor’s Office asked daily Taraf to turn in the documents used for the article titled “Dağlıca Ambush Was Known”. The court banned the internet site gundemonline.com and suspended the newspaper Alternatif for one month for publishing statements by the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK).
Hayat TV’s broadcasting was cut by the Türksat authorities following a warning by the Security Branch of the Ministry of Interior on the grounds that it was aiding the pro-Kurdish Roj TV. The “mistake” was fixed three weeks later.
Gökçer Tahincioğlu and Kemal Göktaş, who had made a news report about the power of tapping the telephones the Police Department, the National Intelligence Organization and the Gendarmerie were given, are on trial for “publishing confidential documents” and “making the judge a target”.
The Prime Minister targets the media and the humor
Targeting president of the Doğan Media Group Aydın Doğan and unable to control himself, Prime Minister Erdoğan attacked the International Press Institute (IPI) and the World Association of Press Councils (WAPC) for their statements defending the press freedom.
Upon Prime Minister’s complaint, Malih Kaşkar of the newspaper Milas Önder (Milas Leader) was sentenced to prison for telling a joke in his article. Likewise, weekly comic magazine Leman is sued for damages for making fun of Prime Minister’s sentence that “We did not take the science of the West, but its immorality.”
36 people are on trial for article 301
While the cases filed under article 301 are sent to the Ministry of Justice for “permission to prosecute”, that the article remains in effect leads to new cases. The Great Union Party (BBP) administrators filed a complaint against journalist Ahmet Altan and Adnan Demir, daily Taraf’s manager in-charge, for recognizing “the Armenian Genocide”. Retired inspector Niyazi Uslay’s criticizing the military received conviction.
In the last three months, 15 journalists and 36 individuals have been prosecuted under article 301 in 18 cases. The Ministry of Justice granted permission for the prosecution of Temel Demirer under article 301 for stating that Hrant Dink was murdered “for recognizing the genocide.” 22 individuals in 15 cases were being prosecuted under article 301 in the same period of the last year.
Five cases were filed against thirteen people for “influencing the court” with their articles, reports and statements. Two of these cases resulted in acquittal. The six journalists from Batman who criticized the operation that resulted in the death of Mizgin Özbek are facing imprisonment.
Bülent Ersoy, Perihan Mağden, Gökhan Gençay, İbrahim Çeşmecioğlu, Birgül Özbarış and Yasin Yetişgen are on trial for defending conscientious objection and being antiwar.
Eight are accused in “hate” cases
Eight people are on trial for the charge of “provoking hatred and agitation” in five cases. DİHA reporters Oktay Candemir and Ercan Öksüz are on trial for their interview titled “Witness of the Zilan Massacre talked”. Twelve people were prosecuted for the same crime last year.
Threat of 75 year imprisonment and half a million euro in damages for “insult”
In three months, 36 individuals, 28 of them journalists, were prosecuted in 23 cases for the charge of insult. They faced 75 years of imprisonment and payment of about half a million euro in damages.
Muhittin Zenit, intelligence officer on duty in Trabzon before the murder of Hrant Dink, sued bianet.org for 12.500 euro and NTV for 45.000 euro. Feyzullah Aslan of the Police Department is asking from writer Fikret Otyam and journalist İdris Özyol 10.000 euro.
Commemorating Deniz Gezmiş is a “crime”
Commemorating Deniz gezmiş, Mahir Çayan and İbrahim Kaypakkaya is still a crime after 35 years: Sibel Bulut, daily Atılım’s manager in-charge, will be tried for “praising the crime and the criminal.” Ten individuals, two of them journalists, were tried in seven cases in accordance with article 215 of the Turkish Penal Code.
The Kurdish problem is banned as a news topic
Istanbul’s 10th High Criminal Court has fined daily Hurriyet’s reporter Sebati Karakurt and managers Hasan Kılıç and Necdet Tatlıcan fifty thousand euro for the interview conducted with the PKK four years age, which was construed as “publishing the comments of the terrorist organization” and “doing propaganda work for the PKK”.
Journalist Cengiz Kapmaz received a ten month prison sentence for his interview with Orhan Doğan, which was construed as “doing propaganda work for the PKK.”
Kurdish politicians Orhan Miroğlu was sentenced to auto-censorship of five years for speaking Kurdish while he was an independent deputy candidate for the Parliament.
The only good news…
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) sentenced Turkey to paying 6500 euro in damages in three cases. In the same period last year, 14500 euro was paid to 32 individuals.(EÖ/EK/TB)
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