List of arrested journalists in Turkey

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Many journalists in Turkey are being persecuted and kept in jail all over the country.[1] Below is an extensive list of the prisoners, past and present.

231 journalists have been arrested after July 15, 2016 alone. [2] According to Sweden-based advocacy group Stockholm Center for Freedom that tracks cases of prosecutions of Turkish journalists, in the year 2018, 122 journalists received a jail sentence.[3]

List of arrested journalists[edit]

The following is a non-exhaustive list of arrested journalists in Turkey:[4] A new updated and searchable list of jailed journalists is compiled by Stockholm Center for Freedom which stated that 165 journalists were arrested, 75 convicted and 148 wanted as of 30 December 2018.

Arrested journalists in Turkey
Name Media Position Date arrested Status Background info
Abdulcebbar Karabeğ Azadiya Welat correspondent in Mersin 2010-09-26 Released on 2012-11-02 [5] detained at the closed prison of Hatay
Abdullah Çetin Dicle Haber Ajansı correspondent in Kurtalan 2011-12-16 Released on 2014-06-25[6] detained at the D-Type prison in Diyarbakır
Abdullah Civan Today's Zaman 2016-9-2 Convicted on 2017-5-26 convicted to 10 years and 5 months, detained in Izmir[7]
Abdullah Kılıç Meydan correspondent 2016-07-25[8] Convicted and jailed pending trial Sentenced to 6 years and 3 months on 8 March 2018. Imprisoned in the Silivri prison, İstanbul [9]
Abdülkader Civan Today's Zaman 2016-09-02 Convicted Sentenced to 10 years and 5 months on the 26 May 2017
Ahmet Altan Taraf journalist 2016-09-10 Convicted/Jailed Pending Appeal Accused of spreading subliminal messages announcing the military coup. Sentenced to life in prison with solitary confinement in 2018.[10]
Ahmet Akyol Dicle Haber Ajansı correspondent in Adana 2011-05-09 Released on 2012-11-06[11] Was detained at the M-Type prison in Ceyhan, Adana
Ahmet Birsin Gün TV general coordinator 2009-04-14 Convicted Sentenced to 21 years for administrating a terrorist organization in March 2017[12]
Ahmet Böken TRT 2016-08-18 Convicted Sentenced to 9 years and 9 months in prison.[7]
Ahmet Torun TRT Sentenced to 7 years and 5 months in prison.[7]
Ali Konar Azadiya Welat correspondent in Elazig 2010-05-27 Convicted Sentenced to 7 years and 6 months on 22 October 2015[13]
Ali Özparun TRT jailed pending trial[7]
Ali Ünal Yeni Hayat 2016-08-16 Convicted on the 2018-11-14, pending trial Sentenced to 19 years and 6 months, detained in the F Type prison Buca Kırıklar[7]
Arif Çelebi Released on 2014-05-08 [14] detained during 7 years and 8 months
Aykut Yildir TRT jailed pending trial[7]
Ayşe Oyman Özgür Gündem editor 2011-12-24 Released on 2014-03-03[15] detained at the L-Type women prison in Bakırköy, Istanbul
Aytekin Gezici Seyhan Belediyesi 2016-08-26 detained pending appeal sentenced to 9 years in prison on the 16 February 2018[7]
Aziz Tekin Azadiya Welat correspondent in Mardin 2012-01-29 Arrested detained at the E-Type prison in Mardin
Bayram Kaya Yeni Hayat 2016-07-29 Arrested, jailed pending trial sentenced to 6 years and 3 months on the 8 March 2018[7]
Bayram Namaz Atılım writer 2006-09-10 Released on 2014-05-08 [14] detained during 7 years and 8 months at the F-Type prison in Edirne
Bedri Adanır Aram Yayınları, Hawar general director 2010-01-08 Released on 2012-11-27 [16] detained during 689 days at the D-Type prison in Diyarbakır
Cengiz Kapmaz Özgür Gündem writer 2011-11-26 Convicted
Cengiz Dogan Azadiya Welat 2009-04-20 Convicted Sentenced to 17 years and 1 month in prison.[17]
Çağdaş Kaplan Dicle Haber Ajansı correspondent in Istanbul 2011-12-20 Released on 2013-02-11[18] detained at the F-Type prison in Kandira
Cuma Ulus Can

Erzincan TV

2016-08-06 Convicted Sentenced to 6 years 3 months imprisonment on 8 March 2018[7]
Davut Uçar Etik Ajans director 2011-12-24 Arrested detained at the F-Type prison in Kandira
Deniz Yıldırım Aıdinlik Chief editor 2009-11-09 Released in March 2014 sentenced for leaking a phone conversation of Erdogan to the media[19]
Deniz Yücel Die Welt, taz journalist 2017-02-14 Released on 2018-02-16 jailed in Istanbul[20]
Derek Stoffel CBC News journalist 2013-06-12 Released on 2013-06-12 [21]
Dilşah Ercan Azadiya Welat correspondent in Mersin 2011-12-24 Arrested detained at the M-Type prison in Ceyhan, Adana
Dilek Demiral Özgür Gündem journalist 2010-09-26 Released on 2014-03-03[15] detained at the L-Type women prison in Bakırköy, Istanbul
Ebru Umar Metro, Libelle journalist, writer, columnist 2016-04-23 (Partly) released on 2016-04-24 Dutch journalist, arrested because of insulting Turkish president Erdoğan. Umar is prohibited to leave Turkey for the Netherlands awaiting further investigation.[22]
Eda Akıllı Şanlı Bizim Antalya columnist 2016-07-25[8] Released pending trial the 2016-12-18[23]
Ekrem Dumanlı Zaman Gazetesi general director 2014-12-14 Released on 2014-12-19[24][25]
Emre Soncan Zaman correspondent 2016-07-24[8] Convicted, jailed pending trial sentenced to 10 years and 5 months on 10 April 2018[7]
Enis Berberoğlu Zaman 14 June 2017 Released on 20 September 2018[7] Sentenced to 25 years on 14 June 2017, the sentence was lowered to 5 years and 10 months on 13 February 2018. Released until the end of his term as MP of the Turkish Parliament.[26]
Erdal Süsem Eylül editor 2010-02-10 Convicted Convicted to life in prison[27]
Erol Zavar Odak director 2007-01-20 Arrested detained at the F-Type prison in Sincan, Ankara
Ersin Şanlı TRT manager 2016-7-20 Arrested[28]
Ertuğ Bozkurt Dicle Haber Ajansı editor 2011-12-24 Arrested detained at the F-Type prison in Kandira
Fatih Özgür Aydın 2011-07-25 Arrested
Fatma Koçak Dicle Haber Ajansı director 2011-12-24 Arrested detained at the L-Type women prison in Bakırköy, Istanbul
Faysal Tunç Dicle Haber Ajansı correspondent in Sirnak 2007-04-05 Convicted Sentenced twice to 6 years and 3 months[29]
Ferhat Çiftçi Azadiya Welat correspondent in Gaziantep 2011-02-16 Arrested detained at the H-Type women prison in Gaziantep
Füsun Erdoğan Özgür Radyo general coordinator 2006-09-10 Released on 2014-05-08 [14] detained during 7 years and 8 months at the T-Type prison in Kandira
Gülnaz Yıldız Mücadele Birliği 2012-04-26 Convicted Sentenced to 3 years and 9 months in prison[27]
Gülsen Aslan Dicle Haber Ajansı correspondent in Batman 2012-02-20 Released on 2012-10-15[11] detained at the M-Type prison in Batman
Habip Güler Zaman correspondent 2016-07-25[8] Convicted, jailed pending trial sentenced to 6 years and 3 months on 8 March 2018. Detained in Silivri Prison.[7]
Hakan Soytemiz 2010-09-25 Released on 2012-09-24[11]
Halil İbrahim Balta Zaman, Yarına Bakış correspondent 2016-07-25[8] Convicted, jailed pending trial sentenced to 6 years and 3 months on 8 March 2018[7]
Hanim Büşra Erdal Yeni Hayat 2016-07-29 Convicted, jailed pending trial sentenced to 6 years and 3 months on 8 March 2018[7]
Hamit Dilbahar Azadiya Welat writer 2010-02-13 Convicted Sentenced to 16 years imprisonment.[30]
Hamza Güneri Gök TRT 2017-01-30 Convicted Sentenced to 6 years and 3 months on the 26 February 2019.[7]
Hasan Özgüneş Azadiya Welat writer 2011-10-28 Arrested detained at the F-Type prison in Kandira
Hatice Duman Atılım director 2003-04-01 Convicted sentenced to life imprisonment.[31] Detained at the M-Type prison in Gebze[7]
Hayati Yildiz Azadiya Welat 2017-03-01 Released pending trial Released pending trial 20 September 2017[2]
Hidayet Karaca Samanyolu TV owner 2014-12-14 Convicted sentenced to 31 years imprisonment on 3 November 2017.[7]
Hikmet Çiçek 2008-03-25 Arrested
Hüseyin Deniz Evrensel correspondent 2011-12-24 Released on 2014-03-27[32] detained at the F-Type prison in Kandira
İlker İlkan Azadiya Welat 2016-09-09 Released pending trial Released 12 October 2017[2]
Ismail Yıldız Dersim director 2011-12-24 Released on 2013-02-11[18] detained at the F-Type prison in Kandira
Kadri Gürsel Cumhuriyet journalist 2016-10 Released on 2017-09-25 He was accused, together with other Cumhuriyet staff, in the case on terrorism charges, with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), and the Fethullahist Organization (FETÖ) among the groups named in the indictments.[33]
Kamuran Sunbat Dicle Haber Ajansı correspodent 11-09-2011 Arrested the former Cukurova correspondent of the pro-Kurdish Dicle News Ajansi (DiHA), was arrested in 2011. He was convicted over alleged links to outlawed Kurdish militant groups and is currently serving a sentence of 11 years, 11 months in prison. [34]
Kenan Baş Zaman correspondent 2016-07-25[8] Released on 29 March 2017, pending trial[7]
Kenan Karavil Radyo Dünya general director 2009-12-11 Released on 2010-10-22[35] detained at the F-Type prison in Kürkçüler, Adana
Kenan Kırkaya Dicle Haber Ajansı correspondent in Ankara 2011-12-24 Released on 2014-03-27[32] detained at the F-Type prison in Kandira
Mazlum Dolan Dicle Haber Ajansı correspondent in Diyarbakır 2016-02-19[8] Released pending trial released after serving 15 months in Diyarbakir Prison[7]
Mazlum Özdemir Dicle Haber Ajansı editor 2011-12-24 Released on 2014-03-27[32] detained at the F-Type prison in Kandira
Mediha Olgun Sözcü 2017-05-26 Released pending trial Released pending trial 22 September 2017[2]
Mehmet Akif Öztürk TRT 2019-02-26 Sentenced to 8 years and 9 months in prison[7]
Mehmet Anıl Etkin Haber 2016-10-07 Released pending trial the 2016-12-14[7]
Mehmet Baransu Taraf correspondent and columnist 2015-03-02[36] detained at the Metris Prison
Mehmet Dener 2016-07-22 Released pending trial 2017-03-24[7]
Mehmet Emin Yıldırım Azadiya Welat general director 2011-12-24 Released on 2014-03-27[32] detained at the F-Type prison in Kandira
Mehmet Güneş Türkiye Gerçeği writer ???-??-?? Released on 2012-10-05 [37] detained during 310 days at the F-Type Tekirdağ number 2 prison
Mehmet Haberal Kanal B owner 2009-04-17 Arrested
Mehmet Yeşiltepe Devrimci Hareket writer 2009-04-30 Arrested detained at the F-Type prison in Tekirdağ
Miktat Algül Mersin Mezitli FM (radio) and Ulus Newspaper 2010-05-17 Arrested Sentenced to 60 years and 5 months in prison.[17]
Murat Aksoy journalist 2017-04 Released on 2017-10-25 Jailed pending trial over suspected links to the FETÖ media network. He was accused of "being a member of a terror group" and of "participating in a coup attempt."[38]
Murat Aydın 2011-10-22 Arrested
Murat Öztürk Çorum Manşet 2016-08-21 Released pending trial Released pending trial 16 May 2017[2]
Musa Kart Yürüyüş 2012-09-18 Arrested detained in Silivri Prison
Mustafa Balbay Cumhuriyet correspondent in Ankara 2009-03-06 Released on 2013-12-09[39] detained at the E-type prison in Sincan, Ankara for 4 years and 277 days[39]
Mustafa Gök Ekmek ve Adalet correspondent in Ankara 2004-02-19 Convicted Sentenced to life in prison for attempting to change the constitutional order by force.[27]
Mustafa Ünal Yeni Hayat 2016-07-29 Convicted Sentenced to 10 years and 6 months on 8 July 2018[40]
Mümtazer Türköne Yarına Bakış 03-08-2016 Convicted Sentenced to 10 years 6 months on 6 July 2018[3]
Nahide Ermiş Demokratik Modernite board member 2011-12-24 Released on 2014-01-14[41] detained at the L-Type women prison in Bakirköy, Istanbul
Nazlı Ilıcak Bulvar, Bugün, Hurriyet publisher, journalist 2016-07-29 Convicted/Jailed Pending Appeal Sentenced to life in prison with solitary confinement in 2018[10]
Nedim Türfent Dicle Haber Ajansı correspondent in Van 2016-05-12 Convicted Sentenced to 8 years and 9 months in prison on 15 December 2017[7]
Nevin Erdemir Özgür Gündem editor 2011-12-24 Released on 2014-03-27[32] detained at the L-Type women prison in Bakirköy, Istanbul
Nilgün Yıldız Dicle Haber Ajansı correspondent in Mardin 2011-12-24 Arrested detained at the L-Type women prison in Bakirköy, Istanbul
Nurettin Fırat Özgür Gündem writer 2011-12-24 Arrested detained at the F-Type prison in Kandira
Nuri Yeşil Azadiya Welat correspondent in Tunceli 2010-05-27 Arrested detained at the E-Type prison in Elbistan
Oktay Candemir Dicle Haber Ajansı journalist 2011-12-24 Released on 2012-11-16[42] detained at the F-Type prison in Kandira
Olgun Matur Bizim Antalya owner 2016-07-25[8] Arrested
Ömer Çelik Dicle Haber Ajansı correspondent in Istanbul 2011-12-24 Arrested detained at the F-Type prison in Kandira
Ömer Çiftçi Demokratik Modernite owner 2011-12-24 Released on 2013-02-11[18] detained at the F-Type prison in Kandira
Ömer Faruk Çalışkan Özgür Halk general director 2008-07-19 Arrested detained at the F-Type prison in Kandira
Ozan Kılınç Azadiya Welat Editor 2010-07-22 Convicted Sentenced to 32 years in prison.[27]
Özlem Ağuş Dicle Haber Ajansı correspondent in Adana 2011-12-24 Arrested detained at the women prison in Karatas, Adana
Pervin Yerlikaya Dicle Haber Ajansı correspondent in Istanbul
accountant
2011-12-24 Released on 2013-02-11[18] detained at the L-Type prison in Bakirköy, Istanbul
Ramazan Pekgöz Günlük editor 2011-12-20[43] Released in 2014-05-12[44]
Sadık Topaloğlu Dicle Haber Ajansı correspondent in Urfa 2011-12-24 Arrested detained at the F-Type prison in Kandira
Saša Petricic CBC News journalist 2013-06-12 Released on 2013-06-12 [21]
Selahattin Aslan Demokratik Modernite 2011-12-24 Arrested detained at the F-Type prison in Kandira
Selma Tatli Zaman 2018-11-28 Arrested pending trial[7]
Semiha Alankuş Demokratik Modernite 2011-12-24 Released on 2014-03-27[32] detained at the F-Type prison in Kandira
Sevcan Atak Özgür Halk editor 2010-06-18 Arrested Sentenced to 7 years and 6 months in prison.[17]
Seyithan Akyüz Azadiya Welat correspondent in Adana 2009-12-11 Arrested sentenced in 4 trials to 21 years and 9 months in total.[17]
Sibel Güler Özgür Gündem journalist 2011-12-24 Released on 2014-03-03[15] detained at the L-Type women prison in Bakirköy Istanbul
Sinan Aygül Dicle Haber Ajansı correspondent in Bitlis 2011-01-23 Released on 2012-11-07 detained at the E-Type prison in Muş
Şirin Çoban Azadiya Welat 2016-09-09 Released pending trial Released on 12 October 2017[2]
Soner Yalçın OdaTV, Hürriyet owner, journalist 2011-02-14 Released on 2012-12-27 [45] detained at the L-Type prison in Silivri
Sultan Şaman Hevîya Jinê editor 2012-02-07 Arrested detained at the M-Type prison in Batman
Şahabettin Demir Dicle Haber Ajansı correspondent in Van 2010-09-05 Convicted Sentenced to 15 years in prison.[17]
Serkan Canbaz TRT 2016-12-30 Convicted Sentenced to 6 years and 10 months 15 days in prison on 16 February 2019.[7]
Şükrü Sak Akıncı Yol ve Baran Dergisi general director 2010-04-26 Arrested detained at the E-Type prison in Sivas
Tayip Temel Azadiya Welat writer 2011-10-08 Arrested detained at the D-Type prison in Diyarbakir
Tuncay Özkan ex-Kanaltürk owner 2008-09-27 Arrested detained at the L-Type prison in Silivri
Turabi Kişin Özgür Gündem editor 2012-01-02 Arrested detained at the F-Type prison in Kandira
Turgut Usul TRT presenter 2018-01-04 Arrested jailed pending trial.[46]
Turhan Özlü Ulusal Kanal general director 2011-10-08 Arrested detained at the L-Type prison in Silivri
Ünal Tanik Rotahaber 18-01-2017 Arrested Sentenced to 6 years 3 months imprisonment on 8 March 2018.[7]
Vedat Demir Yarına Bakış columnist 2016-08-03 Released on 2017-02-17[47] detained at the Silivri Prison
Yalçın Küçük writer 2011-03-07 Arrested detained at the L-Type prison in Silivri
Yüksel Genç Özgür Gündem writer 2011-12-24 Arrested detained at the L-Type women prison in Bakirköy, Istanbul
Zehra Doğan Jinha journalist 2017 - March Arrested/ released on the 24 - 02 - 2019 sentenced to 2 years 9 months and 22 days[9]
Zehra Firdevsoğlu Mukavemet Arrested[7]
Zeynep Kuray Birgün correspondent in Istanbul 2011-12-24
Released on 2013-04-26[48] detained at the L-Type women prison in Bakirköy, Istanbul
Ziya Çiçekçi Özgür Gündem owner 2011-12-24 Released on 2013-02-11[18] detained at the F-Type women prison in Kandira
Zuhal Tekiner Dicle Haber Ajansı owner 2011-12-24 Released on 2013-02-11[18] detained at the L-Type women prison in Bakirköy, Istanbul

Grounds for prosecution[edit]

Kemalist and / or nationalist journalists were arrested on charges referring to the Ergenekon case and several left-wing and Kurdish journalists were arrested on charges of engaging in propaganda for the PKK listed as a terrorist organization. After the corruption operation in 17/25 December 2013 and in particular after coup attempt of 15 July, the apartments of journalists were raided and sent to prison. The journalists such as Mehmet Baransu, Ece Sevim Ozturk, who were investigating the ‘  Coup attempt’, were arrested. Media organizations such as Zaman newspaper, Cihan News Agency and Samanyolu TV, which were affiliated to the Fethullah Gülen group, were confiscated. Journalists working in these institutions were imprisoned. Life imprisonment was given to journalists such as Hidayet Karaca and Ahmet Altan. With the dozens of published decrees, newspapers, TV, radio, magazine, website was closed. The legal framework on organised crime and terrorism is imprecise and contains definitions which are open to abuse, leading to numerous indictments and convictions. Moreover, its interpretation by prosecutors and courts is uneven and is not in line with the European Convention on Human Rights or the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, according to the European Commission. No clear distinction is made between incitement to violence and the expression of nonviolent ideas. The application of Articles 6 and 7 of the Anti-Terror Law in combination with Articles 220 and 314 of the Turkish Criminal Code leads to abuses; in short, writing an article or making a speech can still lead to a court case and a long prison sentence for membership or leadership of a terrorist organisation. Together with possible pressure on the press by state officials and the threat of possible firing of critical journalists, this situation can lead to a widespread self-censorship. Frequent website bans are a cause for serious concern and there is a need to revise the law on the internet.[49]

Most journalists are in prison based on the following laws:

  • The Anti-Terror Law of Turkey (also known as Terörle Mücadele Yasası, TMY), Articles 5 and 7 relating to articles of the Criminal Code on terrorist offences and organizations or assisting members of or making propaganda in connection with such organizations, as well as the lengthening of sentences;
  • The Criminal Code of Turkey (also known as Türk Ceza Kanunu, TCK), Article 314 on establishing, commanding or becoming member of an armed organization with the aim of committing certain offences.[50]

3 types of journalists targeted[edit]

According to a report published by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Turkish authorities are engaging in widespread criminal prosecution and jailing of journalists, and are applying other forms of severe pressure to promote self-censorship in the press. The CPJ has found highly repressive laws, particularly in the penal code and anti-terror law; a criminal procedure code that greatly favors the state; and a harsh anti-press tone set at the highest levels of government. Turkey’s press freedom situation has reached a crisis point.[51] This reports mentions 3 types of journalists targeted:

  • investigative and critical reporters: victims of the anti-state prosecutions : The government’s broad inquiry into the Ergenekon plot ensnared investigative reporters. But the evidence, rather than revealing conspirators, points to a government intent on punishing critical reporters.
  • Kurdish journalists: Turkish authorities conflate support for the Kurdish cause with terrorism itself. When it comes to Kurdish journalists, newsgathering activities such as fielding tips, covering protests, and conducting interviews are evidence of a crime.
  • collateral damages of the general assault on the press: The authorities are waging one of the world’s biggest anti-press campaigns in recent history. Dozens of writers and editors are in prison, nearly all on terrorism or other anti-state charges.[51]

Concerns[edit]

Concerns persisted over the rights of the defence, lengthy pre-trial detention and excessively long and catch-all indictments, leading to significantly enhanced public scrutiny of the legitimacy of these trials.[49]

A report issued by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media[50] describes a number of concerns concerning the case of arrested journalists in Turkey:

  • Courts often impose exceptionally long imprisonment sentences. The longest conviction is 166 years and the longest jail sentence sought for a journalist is 3,000 years.
  • Many journalists face double life sentences if convicted, some without possibility for parole. Courts do not tend to grant pre-trial release of defendants.
  • There is concern that arrests and long pre-trial detentions without conviction are used as a form of intimidation.
  • Pre-trial detentions remain very long. In some cases journalists held in prison for up to three years are still awaiting trial. Some journalists have been imprisoned for more than five years while their trial is ongoing.
  • Journalists often face several trials and are often convicted for several offences. There is one journalist who faces 150 court cases.
  • Media outlets reporting about sensitive issues (including terrorism or anti-government activities) are often regarded by the authorities as the publishing organs of illegal organizations. Courts often consider reporting about such issues as equal to supporting them.
  • Journalists are often imprisoned in F-tipi cezaevi (F-type high security prisons), where they have to serve their time with the most dangerous criminals. It is also not uncommon to punish journalists with solitary confinement for extended time periods.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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