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 »

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

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 »

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 »

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 »

UPDATE 1-Journalists on trial in Turkey mock conspiracy case

January 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

* Critics says arrests compromise Turkish democracy

* Nearly 100 members of the media in jail

* Government denies charges of media repression (Adds quotes from defendants)

By Ece Toksabay

ISTANBUL, Jan 5 (Reuters) – Prominent Turkish journalists on trial for links to an underground anti-government network called the charges against them politically motivated and “a massacre of justice” in a case that has raised concerns over media freedom in Turkey.

Nedim Sener and Ahmet Sik, investigative journalists arrested in March and held since in a top-security prison outside Istanbul, were among 14 defendants in court to open their defence on Thursday.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Charges Against Journalists Dim the Democratic Glow in Turkey

January 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

Daniel Etter for The New York Times

Protesters in Istanbul last month denounced the detention of at least 38 people, many of them journalists, suspected, the police said, of ties to Kurdish separatists.

By and SEBNEM ARSU
Published: January 4, 2012

ISTANBUL — A year ago, the journalist Nedim Sener was investigating a murky terrorist network that prosecutors maintain was plotting to overthrow Turkey’s Muslim-inspired government. Today, Mr. Sener stands accused of being part of that plot, jailed in what human rights groups call a political purge of the governing party’s critics. « Read the rest of this entry »

36 more journalists arrested in Turkey, totaling 99 journalists in prison

December 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

[Compiled from Birgun, ANF and BIA news agencies. Previously the total number of journalists in prison was cited as 107, but it was changed to 99 after a press release by Turkey's Union of Journalists (TGS)] December 24, 2011

The AKP government continues to imprison the rights of the people.

Following the detentions within the scope of the so-called KCK operations on 20 December, 36 journalists have been remanded in custody by a vacation court for allegedly being “member of an illegal organization”. While being brought to court journalists shouted ¨This kingdom will come to an end.¨

After bearing testimony to the prosecutor at Istanbul Court for over 15 hours, 42 journalists were on 23 December evening referred to the vacation court with a demand of arrest. While six of them were released on 24 December morning on conditions of trial without arrest, 36 journalists were sent to prison once again despite the lack of any confirmed criminal evidence. « Read the rest of this entry »

December 26, 2011: URGENT CALL OF SOLIDARITY FOR THE JOURNALIST PRISONERS IN TURKEY

December 24, 2011 § Leave a comment


Turkey currently holds more than 60 journalists in prison and the number goes up regularly. Last week, Turkish police detained more than 40 journalists, as part of a growing investigation against the Kurdistan Communities Union, KCK, an umbrella organization for Kurdish political movement.

At the same time, the second hearing of ODA TV case, which is the most symbolic case about freedom of press in Turkey, is approaching. This hearing will be held in Çağlayan Court House, in İstanbul on 26th of December 2011. The 13 journalists including well-known investigative journalists Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener have been in prison for nine months already because of the ODA TV case. All of these journalists 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 is no proof or evidence pertaining to these accusations yet! « Read the rest of this entry »

Turkish journalists face judge in test of media freedom

December 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

By Yesim Comert and Gul Tuysuz, CNN
November 23, 2011 — Updated 1218 GMT (2018 HKT)
Journalists and human right activists protest in front of the courthouse in Istanbul during the trial of several journalists.
Journalists and human right activists protest in front of the courthouse in Istanbul during the trial of several journalists.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The government says the journalists have not been charged in connection with their jobs
  • They are accused of being involved in a plot to overthrow the government
  • The courtroom was packed with journalists, observers and families of the defendants

Istanbul (CNN) – Several journalists accused of being involved in an alleged plot to overthrow the Turkish government appeared in an Istanbul court on Tuesday for the first hearing in a trial that is seen as a test for media freedoms in Turkey. « Read the rest of this entry »

Turkey’s War on Journalists

December 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/12/22/turkeys_war_on_journalists?page=full

As Prime Minister Erdogan’s government grows increasingly intolerant of dissent, the media is bearing the brunt of its effort to silence its critics.

BY ALIA MALEK | DECEMBER 22, 2011

ISTANBUL —When the terrorism trial of jailed Turkish journalists Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener began in Istanbul on Nov. 22, only a handful of their colleagues — far fewer than expected — gathered in protest outside the courthouse that will decide their fate.

A mosaic of the smiling photographs of many of Turkey’s detained journalists was laid out on the ground at the foot of a swarm of TV tripods, their cameras aiming for a glimpse of the defendants. Sik and Sener’s case is perhaps the most high-profile example of what critics see as the Turkish government’s crackdown on critical voices, which has transformed it into one of the world’s leading jailers of journalists. « Read the rest of this entry »

Anonymous : Open Letter to the World’s Journalists. (Mirror & Tweet)

December 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

3 December, 2011

Protestas internacionales por el juicio a dos reporteros de investigación turcos

December 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2011/11/22/comunicacion/1321985257.html , 22.11.2011
Protestas con la pancarta 'Turquía, deja a los periodistas libres' | Foto: Mustafá Ozer

Protestas con la pancarta ‘Turquía, deja a los periodistas libres’ | Foto: Mustafá Ozer

Ilya U. Topper | Estambul

Actualizado martes 22/11/2011 19:17 horas

“Si hay libertad de prensa hay libertad social”. Este fue el eslogan de las personas que se congregaron la mañana del martes ante los juzgados de Estambul, con fotos y pancartas. En la sala arrancó el juicio de dos reporteros de investigación, Nedim Sener y Ahmet Sik, que llevan nueve meses entre rejas. Junto a ellos hay otros 11 acusados. A todos se les atribuye el mismo delito: conspirar con Ergenekon, una difusa red militar nacionalista con supuestas intenciones golpistas, cuya existencia se dirime en los tribunales. « Read the rest of this entry »

Journalists on Coup Trial in Turkey

December 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

 

NOVEMBER 23, 2011

http://blogs.wsj.com/emergingeurope/2011/11/23/journalists-on-coup-trial-in-turkey/?KEYWORDS=ayla+albayrak

By Ayla Albayrak

AFP/Getty Images
Journalists and human right activists protest in front of the courthouse in Istanbul during the trial of two prominent Turkish journalists on Tuesday.

ISTANBUL — Thirteen people went on trial Tuesday accused of involvement in a plan to topple Turkey’s AK-Party government, including two investigative journalists whose arrest and near-nine month detention has become a rallying point for critics of the government’s record on media freedom.

Turkish and international human rights groups say the cases of Nedim Sener and Ahmet Sik highlight the poor state of press freedom in Turkey, and see their long detentions as punishment for journalistic work. « Read the rest of this entry »

Investigative Journalisten vor Gericht

December 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

Wegen angeblicher Unterstützung einer terroristischen Vereinigung wird zwei Journalisten in der Türkei der Prozess gemacht. Ihnen drohen 15 Jahre Haft.VON JÜRGEN GOTTSCHLICH

http://www.taz.de/Meinungsfreiheit-in-der-Tuerkei/!82381/

Protest türkischer Journalisten gegen die Untersuchungshaft von Ahmet Sik und Nedim Sener im September in Istanbul. Bild:  dapd

ISTANBUL taz |  Gestern begann in Istanbul nach neunmonatiger Untersuchungshaft der Prozess gegen zwei der bekanntesten Journalisten des Landes. Die für ihre investigativen Recherchen mehrfach ausgezeichneten Schreiber Ahmet Sik und Nedim Sener werden der Unterstützung einer terroristischen Vereinigung angeklagt. Die Höchststrafe in dem Verfahren, das nach wenigen Stunden vertagt wurde, beträgt 15 Jahre Haft. Anlass für die Anklage der Staatsanwaltschaft sind jeweils Bücher über die einflußreichste islamische Sekte der Türkei, die so genannte “Gülen Bewegung”. « Read the rest of this entry »

Turkish journalists face judge in test of media freedom

December 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

November 23, 2011 — Updated 1218 GMT (2018 HKT)
Journalists and human right activists protest in front of the courthouse in Istanbul during the trial of several journalists.
Journalists and human right activists protest in front of the courthouse in Istanbul during the trial of several journalists.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The government says the journalists have not been charged in connection with their jobs
  • They are accused of being involved in a plot to overthrow the government
  • The courtroom was packed with journalists, observers and families of the defendants

Istanbul (CNN) – Several journalists accused of being involved in an alleged plot to overthrow the Turkish government appeared in an Istanbul court on Tuesday for the first hearing in a trial that is seen as a test for media freedoms in Turkey. « Read the rest of this entry »

Jailed Author’s Banned Book Launched

December 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

By Ayla Albayrak, Wall Stree Journal, 16.11.2011v

[cited from http://blogs.wsj.com/emergingeurope/2011/11/16/jailed-author%E2%80%99s-banned-book-launched/ ]

The book was banned and the author jailed before it was published, but on Wednesday a group of fellow journalists and writers in Turkey launched Ahmet Sik’s “The Army of Imam” at an annual book fair, outraged by what they see as suppression of free speech.

Associated Press
Investigative reporter Ahmet Sik.

Mr. Sik has been in jail since March and it wasn’t until September that the charges against him — aiding an alleged terrorist organization known as Ergenekon, that aimed to overthrow the government — were made public. His trial is expected to begin later this month. The book is being used in evidence against him. « Read the rest of this entry »

What is Islam’s Gulen movement?

December 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

By Edward Stourton, 25 May 2011, BBC [cited from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-13503361 ]

Turkey’s Gulen movement, which promotes service to the common good, may have grown into the world’s biggest Muslim network. Is it the modern face of Islam, or are there more sinister undercurrents?

From Kenya to Kazakhstan, a new Islamic network is attracting millions of followers – and billions of dollars.

Inspired by a little-known Turkish imam, the Gulen movement is linked to more than 1,000 schools in 130 countries as well as think tanks, newspapers, TV and radio stations, universities – and even a bank.

Pupils at one of the Gulen's schoolsSupporters help fund its schools

This massive network is unlike anything else. It has no formal structure, no visible organisation and no official membership. « Read the rest of this entry »

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