Turkey: The Powerful And The Paranoid

April 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

Jess Hill
POLITICS   |   March 27, 2012
Turkey: The Powerful And The Paranoid
Turkey is powerful, prosperous and stable. So why is it locking up so many of its intellectuals?
“ We know that terrorist cells might include a university chair, an association or a NGO.” « Read the rest of this entry »

FOUR JOURNALISTS RELEASED BUT FIGHT GOES ON FOR DOZENS STILL HELD

March 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

PUBLISHED ON TUESDAY 13 MARCH 2012. UPDATED ON WEDNESDAY 14 MARCH 2012.

Reporters Without Borders warmly welcomes the release on bail of the investigative journalists Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener and the OdaTV news website columnists Muhammet Sait Cakir and Coskun Musluk. However, their release should not hide the fact that dozens more media workers are still held.

“Naturally, our thoughts are with those journalists and their friends and families, who can finally see an end to their absurd nightmare after more than a year,” the press freedom organization said. « Read the rest of this entry »

Turkey’s enlightenment languishes, like the journalists in its prisons

March 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

, March 13, 2012

The record number of reporters imprisoned in Turkey threatens to extinguish the flame of democratic reform.

 

Turkish journalist Ahmet Sik (C) hugs his friends after he being released from prison in Istanbul. Photograph: Sinan Gul/Anadolu Agency/EPA

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2012/mar/13/turkey-enlightenment-journalists-prisons?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+theguardian%2Fmedia%2Frss+%28Media%29

A year ago, police burst into the homes of two of Turkey’s best investigative journalists, Nedim Sener and Ahmet Sik, and carted them off to prison where they remained until last night, charged with crimes so nebulous even prosecutors can’t explain them. « Read the rest of this entry »

Press-ganging the Turkish Media

March 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

http://latitude.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/13/turkeys-media-are-a-poor-champion-of-free-expression-thanks-to-government-control/#postComment

Andrew Finkel, March 13, 2012

ISTANBUL — The British say it about the police force, but the same may be true of the press: that a country gets the one it deserves. Woe is Turkey.

Turkey recently marked the 15th anniversary of what pundits call the “postmodern coup”: the military’s success at pushing out the Islamist-led coalition that was in power back then. The generals managed that in large part by press-ganging the print media, even forcing newspaper owners to fire prominent columnists who did not support their campaign to discredit the government.

The tables have since turned. Now the politicians have the military in retreat. Some 15 percent of senior officers are on trial for participating in the Ergenekon conspiracy, an alleged campaign of really dirty tricks intended to force the ruling AK Party out of office. « Read the rest of this entry »

One year already behind bars: The absurd trial of Turkish journalists continue

March 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

Almost a year ago 13 journalists and writers were put behind bars because of the ODA TV case, which was about  an alleged shadowy pro-military conspiracy called Ergenekon allegedly plotted to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Investigative journalists Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener were among them. While the absurd trial continued, the number of prisoned Turkish journalists was up to 104, thanks to the ‘advanced democracy’ of the ruling party AKP (Justice and Development Party). Since March 2011, ODA TV case became one of the most symbolic cases about freedom of press in Turkey.

Accordingly, 13 defendants of the case were charged with having made critical news about AKP and Fethullah Gulen movement! In addition, these journalists were accused of  being involved in a plot to overthrow the government, being member of a terrorist organisation, etc…  Now it has already been one year, and there is still no proof or evidence pertaining to these accusations!

The new hearing of the case will be held on 12th of March 2012 (Monday) in İstanbul.

We, the journalists asking freedom for our friends, will be in the court house again on 12th of March 2012.

THEY CAN NOT SILENCE JOURNALISTS BY PUTTING US BEHIND BARS!

AHMET AND NEDIM WILL COME OUT AND WRITE AGAIN!

EVEN IF WE BURN WE WILL TOUCH! 

For more information:

Our blog page in English:  http://turkeypressfreedom.wordpress.com/

Our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/groups/ahmehnedimonurumuzdur/

Our twitter account: ahmet_nedim

3 MARCH 2012: CALL OF INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY FOR THE JOURNALIST PRISONERS IN TURKEY

March 1, 2012 § Leave a comment


A mass protest will be held in Istanbul on the first year anniversary of the detention & arrest of Turkish investigative journalists Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener

Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener, among more than 100 journalist prisoners in Turkey, will have been behind bars for one year already as of 3th of March 2012 because of the ODA TV case, which became one of the most symbolic cases about freedom of press in Turkey. The third hearing of the case will be held in on 12th of March 2012.

The 13 defendants of the case include well-known investigative journalists. All of them have made critical news about Justice and Development Party (AKP), the ruling party in Turkey. These journalists are accused of crimes like being involved in a plot to overthrow the government, being member of a terrorist organisation, etc… There was no proof or evidence pertaining to these accusations so far!

These accusations are obviously based on fictional grounds. During the tenure of his career, Şık focused on exposing human rights violations by the state, rings of corruption within the government and unveiling the abuses of the ‘deep state’. Prior to his arrest, he was working on an investigative book known as ‘Imam’s Army’, which was about how a powerful religious group led by Fethullah Gulen (a Muslim preacher and educator living in the United States, seen as an influential voice of opposition against secularism in Turkey) was organised within Turkey’s police force.

Police confiscated draft copies of the book during a raid on Şık’s family home on March 3, 2011. However the text has shown up on the Internet ‘in defiance of the law’ and was downloaded by many, which was a means of protesting the arrests. Recently the book was published in Turkey, as an act of civil disobedience with the signatures of 125 journalists and writers from Turkey. Şener, Şık’s prison mate, is also a vocal critic of crimes committed by the state apparatus. He was honoured by ‘the World Press Freedom Hero award’ by the International Press Institute for his investigative book about the assassination of Turkish-Armenian newspaper editor Hrant Dink in 2007, which has also gone through the alleged involvement of state security officials in the assassination.

Our group, ‘Journalist Friends of Ahmet and Nedim’ (ANGA) will hold a mass protest on the first anniversary arrests of Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener. Many journalists’ associations, democratic institutions, unions, political parties, intellectuals, artists will also join the protest. ANGA will call again the Turkish government to stop the oppression against journalists, to set all the journalists who are behind the bars free and to remove the anti-democratic anti-terrorism law (TMK) as well as the code of criminal procedure (CMK), which restrict freedom of expression and cause lengthy detention periods. The protest will begin on 3 March, at 11.00 AM (GMT +2:00) in front of the Taksim Square tram station. It will end in Galatasaray Square, where the press release will be read out, following a march along Istiklal Avenue.

Journalist Friends of Ahmet and Nedim (ANGA)

 

For more information:

Our blog page in English:  http://turkeypressfreedom.wordpress.com/

Our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/groups/ahmehnedimonurumuzdur/

Our twitter account: ahmet_nedim

‘Treason’ in Turkey

February 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Prosecutors wage war on suspected coup conspirators—but at what cost to the country?

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/02/19/democracy-is-the-victim-in-turkey-s-war-on-coup-conspirators.html
by  | February 20, 2012 12:00 AM EST
Turkey’s reform-minded Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is nothing like his iron-fisted Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin—right? Think again. In both leaders’ countries, journalists who dare to criticize the government often end up behind bars. In Erdogan’s Turkey, as in Putin’s Russia, the ruling clique’s political adversaries have been hounded by courts and police and have spent months or years in jail without trial, while oppositionist businessmen have been slapped with ruinous tax bills. On at least two dismal indices, Turkey ranks even worse than Russia: Reporters Without Borders’ latest Press Freedom Index puts Turkey in 148th place, behind Russia at 142, and the European Court of Human Rights found Turkey guilty of 174 violations last year, while runner-up Russia had 133. « Read the rest of this entry »

A Guide to Understand the OdaTV Case – 4: Being a lawyer in an adjudicated trial

February 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Yiğit Günay, January 27, 2012 (translation: Ege M. Diren)

http://outforbeyond.blogspot.com/2012/01/guide-to-understand-odatv-case-4-being.html

The soL news portal published a series of articles concerning the background and the ongoings ofthe infamous OdaTV case. Signed Yiğit Günay, the articles investigate the trial’s judicial peculiaritiesas well as its political context and historical implications. Assuming the responsibility of providingEnglish information on Turkey with a political perspective that is compatible with our stance, wedecided to translate these articles for the English-speaking audience. 
This fourth and last article of the series is freely translatedfrom the Turkish original, titled “Odatv davasını anlama kılavuzu 4Bitmiş davanın avukatı olmak, published onDecember 31st, 2011.
You can reach the previous articles by following the Odatvlabel. « Read the rest of this entry »

A Guide to Understand the OdaTV Case – 3: Barış Terkoğlu, and Journalism in Court

February 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Yiğit Günay, January 9, 2012 (translation: Ege M. Diren)

http://outforbeyond.blogspot.com/2012/01/guide-to-understand-odatv-case-3-bars.html

The soL news portal published a series of articles concerning the background and the ongoings ofthe infamous OdaTV case. Signed Yiğit Günay, the articles investigate the trial’s judicial peculiaritiesas well as its political context and historical implications. Assuming the responsibility of providingEnglish information on Turkey with a political perspective that is compatible with our stance, wedecided to translate these articles for the English-speaking audience.

This third article of the series is freely translated from the Turkish original, titled “Odatv davasını anlama kılavuzu 3Barış Terkoğlu ve gazeteciliğin yargılanması, published on December 29th,2011.

Editorial note: Since this article containsreferences to many other issues in Turkishpolitics, we decided not to prolong thetranslation with many footnotes but insteadskip some parts that are harder to catchfrom the context.

You can reach all the articles by followingthe Odatv label.

In this third part of our article series on the Odatv trial, we examine the parts of the indictment that are related to Barış Terkoğlu1. The indictment is based upon nothing more than his journalist activities.  « Read the rest of this entry »

A Guide to Understand the OdaTV Trial – 2: Were the digital documents sent through virus activities?

February 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Yiğit Günay, January 14, 2012 (translation: Ege M. Diren)

The soL news portal published a series of articles concerning the background and the ongoings of the infamous OdaTV case. Signed Yiğit Günay, the articles investigate the trial’s judicial peculiarities as well as its political context and historical implications. Assuming the responsibility of providing English information on Turkey with a political perspective that is compatible with our stance, we decided to translate these articles for the English-speaking audience.
This second article of the series is freely translated from the Turkish original, titled “Odatv davasını anlama kılavuzu 2Dijital dokümanlar virüsle mi geldi?”, published on December 26th, 2011.
In this second part of our article series on the Odatv case, we discuss if the documents claimed to be gathered from Odatv computers were embedded there through virus activities. As a matter of fact, whether they are sent through virus activities or not, the journalists should be released immediately.
The last expert investigation from the US is now complete. It states that the documents are infected. Are they really infected or not?
We should all be clear about one thing: It does not matter at all whether these documents are infected or not! « Read the rest of this entry »

A HOUSE DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF: THE DETERIORATING STATE OF MEDIA FREEDOM IN TURKEY

February 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

http://www.silkroadstudies.org/new/inside/turkey/2012/120206A.html

Turkey Analyst, vol. 5 no. 3, February 6, 2012

Gareth Jenkins

Most international attention has focused on the more than 100 journalists who are now in jail in Turkey as a result of what they have written or said. But more pernicious – and ultimately much more corrosive to freedom of expression – is the widespread self-censorship and the climate of fear, which extends well beyond the media into Turkish society at large. Yet it would be a mistake to hold the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan solely to blame. The underlying problem goes much deeper and is considerably older than the AKP government. Indeed, it could be argued that the main responsibility for the deteriorating state of freedom of expression in the country lies with the Turkish media itself.

BACKGROUND: The recent rapid rise in the number of journalists being imprisoned in Turkey has led to an increase in international expressions of concern about the deteriorating state of freedom of expression in the country. In its annual Press Freedom Index for 2011, which was released on January 25, 2012, the Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontières (Reporters Without Borders or RSF) ranked Turkey 148th out of 179 countries worldwide, down from 138th in 2010. Despite Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan’s repeated declarations that, since it first came to power in November 2002, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been creating an “advanced democracy”, it was the fifth year in succession that Turkey had slipped down the RSF rankings. « Read the rest of this entry »

Tiger Turkey at the crossroads

January 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

The country is one of success stories of the last decade, but is its increasingly autocratic government slowly threatening progress?

In the tea houses of Istanbul the mood is generally optimistic as customers listen to the news of the European economic crisis. “Turkey doesn’t need Europe,” says one tea drinker.

“Look at Greece – it was inside the European Union and they’re going bankrupt.” Osman, a middle-aged estate agent, adds that “when you compare Turkey today with Turkey 20 years ago, everything has got better.” « Read the rest of this entry »

Erdogan Pledges ‘No Revenge’ as Turkish Press in Spotlight

January 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Ayla Albayrak, January 27, 2012, Wall Street Journal

http://blogs.wsj.com/emergingeurope/2012/01/26/erdogan-pledges-no-revenge-as-turkish-press-in-spotlight/

Turkey’s economy may have made giant leaps forward in 2011, but press freedoms appeared to take a significant step back. Scores of arrests and high-profile firings have fanned a growing international outcry that media freedoms here have been heavily compromised.

Late on Wednesday, Reporters Without Borders confirmed in its annual report that perceptions of freedom of expression in Turkey fell sharply in 2011. According to the Paris-based NGO, Turkey — an EU candidate country — sunk 10 places to 148th of 179 countries ranked; six places below Russia and followed by Mexico and Afghanistan.

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Newspapers are displayed at a newsstand in Istanbul.

The tide of negative publicity appears to be of growing concern to Ankara. Just hours after the report Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered his response, denying accusations that his ruling AK Party has restricted freedom of expression and pledging to drop cases against a number of journalists accused of crimes that could not result in more than five years in prison. « Read the rest of this entry »

Court Defense of Dogan Yurdakul, January 27, 2012

January 27, 2012 § 2 Comments

TO: THE 16TH HIGH CRIMINAL COURT OF ISTANBUL

File No: 2011/14

Defendant: Dogan Yurdakul

Plaintiff: K.H

Re: Service of my pre-defense

Your Honor, Esteemed Court,

I stand before you because of my thoughts.

The entirety of the accusations raised against me is directed at my personal thoughts. I consider these accusations, as an insult to my personality and to the freedom of thought and expression in general, since they cause me to defend myself, by aiming at my thoughts and at expressing such thoughts in written or at expressing such thoughts during my telephone communications.

In the meantime, even though indicating and refuting various and fictitious assumptions which constitute the basis of the criminal charge are already like a punishment in the first place, I have to do that so.

Your Honor, when commencing the first hearing, you have suggested as ‘facts and fictions shall be separated’ by the court. By considering your suggestion as an assurance, I am going to try to indicate and answer the fictions mentioned in the criminal charge against myself, on the purpose of simplifying this separation process. « Read the rest of this entry »

Behind Bars in the Deep State

January 12, 2012 § 1 Comment

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/01/11/behind_bars_in_the_deep_state?print=yes&hidecomments=yes&page=full

Does a shadowy mullah in Pennsylvania really hold the reins of power in Turkey? If not, then why are the country’s leaders so intent on silencing a single investigative journalist?

BY JUSTIN VELA | JANUARY 11, 2012

For many Turkish citizens, the evolution of their democracy is best discussed in whispers. Turkey has come far in recent years, but these days they prefer not to speak too loudly about where it is headed.

In the past two years, thousands of citizens who have voiced criticism of the government have been detained, usually led away by police in predawn raids on their homes. On Jan. 5, one of the country’s most high-profile detainees, investigative journalist Ahmet Sik, testified in court for the first time to defend himself against charges of propagandizing for a shadowy pro-military conspiracy called Ergenekon, which allegedly plotted to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. « Read the rest of this entry »

Erdogan, Justice and the Rule of Law

January 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

January 10, 2012; Financial Times

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/46463fa0-3b8e-11e1-bb39-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1jEsSMlIG

Since coming to power in 2002 Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has led his country some way down the road to becoming a more open and liberal democracy. But a report on Turkey’s judicial system published by the Council of Europe this week highlights the increasingly halting nature of this advance.

The report cites “longstanding, systemic shortcomings in the administration of justice in Turkey (that) adversely affect the enjoyment of human rights”. These include lengthy proceedings and detentions, sometimes up to 10 years; the use of secret witnesses; arrests of scores of journalists; and uncertainty about the judiciary’s independence from the executive. « Read the rest of this entry »

A Guide to Understand the OdaTV Trial – 1: What are the journalists accused of? What is the evidence?

January 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

Yiğit Günay, January 9, 2012 (translation: Ege M. Diren)

http://outforbeyond.blogspot.com/2012/01/guide-to-understand-odatv-trial-1-what.html

The soL news portal published a series of articles concerning the background and the ongoings of the infamous OdaTV case. Signed Yiğit Günay, the articles investigate the trial’s judicial peculiarities as well as its political context and historical implications. Assuming the responsibility of providing English information on Turkey with a political perspective that is compatible with our stance, we decided to translate these articles for the English-speaking audience.
This first article of the series is freely translated from the Turkish original, titled “Odatv davasını anlama kılavuzu 1: Gazeteciler neyle suçlanıyor, kanıtlar neler?”, published on December 23rd, 2011.
The first hearing of the Odatv trial was cut short for the evaluation of the recusation demand; so, in a sense, the trial will start on the second hearing on December 26th. « Read the rest of this entry »

By Arresting a Top Military Man, Turkey’s Government Throws Down the Gauntlet

January 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

By Pelin Turgut / Istanbul Friday, Jan. 06, 2012

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2103913,00.html

This picture taken on December 26, 2009 shows Turkish Chief of the General staff Ilker Basbug speaking at the army headquarters in Ankara.

Adem Altan / AFP / Getty Images

Turkey’s democratically-elected government has broken a decades-old taboo on holding generals accountable to the law by detaining the former head of the country’s armed forces in the course of investigating an alleged coup plot. General Ilker Basbug, who stepped down in 2010, was taken in for questioning on Thursday, making him the highest-ranking officer to be detained over an alleged plot to overthrow the moderate Islamist-oriented government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Basbug is accused of giving his approval, while serving as army chief, for several anonymous websites run by military staff that published anti-government propaganda. This, prosecutors say, links him to Ergenekon, an alleged shadowy illegal and armed network of military men, lawyers and businesspeople under investigation since 2007, which had sought to destabilize Turkey to create a pretext for the military to oust Erdogan from power. « Read the rest of this entry »

Court Defense of Ahmet Şık, January 5, 2012

January 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

My friends and foes, they both know who I am.
I am a journalist.

Since my friends know me, some of them are sitting here in this courtroom today to follow the hearing. The majority who couldn’t make it inside the room – including those who stand by me despite knowing me in person – have been out on the streets for months.  That is to say, I am here simply because I am a journalist who is mindful of professional ethics and is in the pursuit of truth. That’s the reason why my friends are right next to me. And of course since my foes know me as well I am here at this courthouse today as one of the detained defendants.

I have witnessed so many things in my profession over the last 20 years. Without exception, I reported everything factually and accurately. I have never made any news under instruction of any organisation, institution or person. I have never resigned from the news that I wanted to cover due to the interference of any organisation, institution or person either. That’s the reason why both my friends and foes know what kind of a journalist I am. It’s not my intention to explain you my professional background today. However, I have to mention what kind of a journalist I am so that some things can be clearly understood. « Read the rest of this entry »

‘Friends’ of the West, Enemies of Press Freedom

December 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Thursday, 29 December 2011

http://www.freemedia.at/home/singleview/article/friends-of-the-west-enemies-of-press-freedom.html

A Year-End Look at 10 Press Freedom Offender States on whose Strategic Support the West Depends

VIENNA, 28 Dec. 2011 – At the close of the year, the International Press Institute (IPI) takes a look at 10 states that have poor records on press freedom, but on whose strategic support the west depends. These ‘Friends’ of the West, Enemies of Press Freedom are listed in no particular order below.

***********************************************************

Turkey

Friend:

Relations between the west and Turkey – a NATO member since 1952 and still theoretically a candidate to join the European Union – have cooled in recent years, but U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta earlier this month said on a visit to Turkey that the country remains a “key ally”. Western powers have often turned to Turkey, which serves as a bridge between the west and the Muslim world, for help in supporting the transitions to democracy in Iraq, Egypt and Libya, and in confronting the regimes in Syria and Iran.

Press Freedom Enemy:

Turkey presented one of the worst press freedom pictures in Europe, with a judge from the European Court of Human Rights saying in November that the country had taken the lead among Council of Europe members in violations of freedom of expression, including press freedom. « Read the rest of this entry »

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