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 »

Turkey’s shrinking media freedoms – Europe – Al Jazeera English

January 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

http://www.aljazeera.com/video/europe/2012/01/2012123165013577901.html

Turkey ranks 138th in a global press freedom index, with hundreds of journalists in jail and many websites banned.

Video: Turkey’s shrinking media freedoms – Europe – Al Jazeera English.

Hrant Dink, a Turkish editor and journalist who campaigned for many years for the Turkish government to recognise the genocide of Armenians, was murdered in 2007 in what many believe was a police-related incident.

His is just one case concerning press freedoms which have lead many in the country to believe the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AK Party, has broken its promises to protect liberties.

According to recent accounts, nearly 100 journalists in Turkey are in prison while 1,000 of the country’s 16,000 cases pending at the European Court of Human Rights are related to media freedom.

In the first of a three-part series on reforms within the country, Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Istanbul, takes a closer look at the state of press freedom.

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 »

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 »

‘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 »

KCK arrests concern human rights defenders

December 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

http://turkey.setimes.com/en_GB/articles/ses/articles/features/departments/national/2011/12/23/feature-01

The most recent wave of arrests targeting journalists pushes the Kurdish issue into a tense, critical period.

By Alakbar Raufoglu for SES Türkiye — 23/12/11

Dozens of journalists representing pro-Kurdish media were rounded up in simultaneous police operations across Turkey on Tuesday (December 20th), accused of ties to the PKK by being active members of the “propaganda wing” in the larger Kurdish umbrella organisation, Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK).Critics say KCK trials and arrest of journalists reveal just how much the country needs sweeping judicial reform. [Reuters]

Critics say KCK trials and arrest of journalists reveal just how much the country needs sweeping judicial reform. [Reuters] « 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 »

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 »

Home thoughts from abroad

December 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

Even as Turkey preaches human rights to neighbours, its record at home is patchy

WITH her intense gaze, washed-out jeans and talk of freedom, Dilsat Aktas is a typical left-wing activist. In May the 29-year-old climbed onto an armoured police-carrier in Ankara to protest against the death of another activist, who had suffered a stroke after being sprayed with pepper gas in the Black Sea province of Hopa. Ms Aktas now hobbles around on crutches: the police clubbed her so hard as she tried to escape that they broke her left hip. “The doctor says it will take three years to fix,” she says, dragging on a cigarette. « Read the rest of this entry »

Turkish trial of journalists raises human rights concerns

December 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/1122/Turkish-trial-of-journalists-raises-human-rights-concerns

Turkish journalists Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener appeared in court today in a trial that has some questioning the health of Turkey’s democracy, long considered a model in the Muslim world.

By Alexander Christie-Miller, Correspondent / November 22, 2011

ISTANBUL

Several Turkish journalists appeared in court today for the start of a trial that has sparked fears of growing authoritarianism in the Muslim-majority democracy.

Two investigative reporters who had been writing about judicial and police corruption are among those implicated in the alleged conspiracy to overthrow the country’s Islamic-rooted government.

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has frequently been praised by the United States andEuropean Union for enacting judicial reforms and wresting power from the country’s once-dominant military. However in the past four years, hundreds of people have been arrested in connection with a series of sprawling terror investigations that critics claim are a tool for stifling dissent. « Read the rest of this entry »

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