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

Turkey’s Censorship Puzzle

January 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/jody-sabral/turkeys-censorship-puzzle_b_1232562.html

Jody Sabral, January 26, 2012, Huffington Post

Turkey has surpassed the likes of China, Iran and Russia, when it comes to the number of journalists/authors in prison, many of whom are being held without charge. At the time of writing this, anywhere between 70 to 100 journalists/authors sit in Turkish cells, their pens silenced for having an opinion on events unfolding in their own country. Many are internationally recognised for ground breaking work, uncovering corruption and organised crime. This can mean only one thing – free speech is becoming a thing of the past in Turkey, or is it? « 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 »

JUDICIAL SYSTEM PRESSES ON WITH ABSURD TRIAL OF ODA TV JOURNALISTS

January 10, 2012 § 1 Comment

Judicial system presses on with absurd trial of Oda TV journalists

PUBLISHED ON FRIDAY 6 JANUARY 2012, http://en.rsf.org/turkey-judicial-system-presses-on-with-06-01-2012,41639.html

This week’s hearings in the Istanbul trial of investigative journalists Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener and eight journalists employed by the Oda TV news website – Soner Yalçin, Dogan Yurdakul, Baris Pehlivan, Baris Terkoglu, Muhammet Sait Cakir, Coskun Musluk, Yalçin Küçük and Müyesser Ugur – have confirmed that the prosecution has no case against them.

“By pressing on with this absurd prosecution and keeping the defendants in detention, the Turkish judicial system is just discrediting itself,” Reporters Without Borders said. « 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 »

Is Turkey Using the Courts to Silence Critics?

December 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2100227,00.html

By PELIN TURGUT / ISTANBUL Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011

Journalists and human-rights activists protest in front of the Istanbul courthouse during the trial of two prominent Turkish journalists Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener on Nov. 22, 2011

Mustafa Ozer / AFP / Getty Images

Nine months after they were first detained, two well-known and internationally acclaimed Turkish investigative journalists finally appeared before a judge on Tuesday in a trial that has become a rallying point for critics of Turkey’s curbs on freedom of expression. Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener are among 13 defendants, including editors of a hard-line secularist website, accused of seeking to overthrow Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamic-leaning government — charges that international observers say have little evidence to support them. « Read the rest of this entry »

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