Turkey: Arrest of At Least 12 Employees of Cumhuriyet Newspaper

Update: 19 Jan 2018 No state reply yet
Year 31 Oct 2016 Country Turkey Category Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index , IPI , RSF Alert level Level 1
31 Oct 2016 Turkey Detention and imprisonment of journalists State Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index , IPI , RSF Level 1
No state reply yet

On 31 October 2016, Turkish police detained at least 12 employees of Cumhuriyet newspaper, Turkey's largest secular, left-leaning paper, and one of the few publications that continues to criticise the government. The detained media workers are accused of membership of, and committing crimes on behalf of, two terrorist organisations: the Kurdistan Workers’ party and the Fethullah Terrorist Organisation (FETÖ), which the government accuses of being behind the failed coup attempt. According to media reports, prosecutors also issued detention warrants for two of the newspaper’s executives, who are both currently abroad. Following police raids, the following people were taken into custody: Murat Sabuncu (Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief); Güray Öz (Cumhuriyet board executive and columnist); Aydın Engin (former editor-in-chief of the newspaper); Hikmet Çetinkaya (columnist); Eser Sevinç, Hakan Kara, Musa Kart, Bülent Utku, Mustafa Kemal Güngör and Önder Çelik (all board members of the Cumhuriyet Foundation); Turhan Günay (Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper’s book supplement); and columnist Kadri Gürsel, who is also the head of the International Press Institute’s Turkey office. Currently in detention under this alert (3): Ahmet Şık, Akın Atalay and Murat Sabuncu. Alert : 3 detentions

Updates

29 Dec 2017 : On 29 December 2017 an Istanbul Court ruled to release Emre İper. He remains under judicial control and an international travel ban.
25 Dec 2017 : On 25 December 2017 a judge at Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse ruled to keep Ahmet Şık, Akın Atalay, Emre Iper and Murat Sabuncu in jail for at least two more months until the next session of the trial on 9 March 2018.
26 Sep 2017 : On 25 September 2017, the Court ruled to release Kadri Gürsel, though he remains on trial on charges of links to terror groups. After completing formalities, he was released from the Silivri prison. The Court confirmed the detention of Akın Atalay, Emre Iper and Murat Sabuncu. Their next hearing is scheduled for 31 October 2017.
12 Sep 2017 : On 11 September 2017, a Turkish court confirmed Ahmet Şık's detention. The next hearing is scheduled for 25 September.
12 Sep 2017 : On 11 September 2017 a Turkish court Court confirmed the detention of Akın Atalay, Murat Sabuncu and Kadri Gürsel. Their next hearing is scheduled for 25 September.
31 Jul 2017 : On 28 July 2017, an Istanbul court released seven Cumhuriyet journalists and executives. Five are to remain under arrest including Ahmet Şık. The court also decided that additional criminal charges would be brought against Ahmet Şık for his defense statement.
15 Jun 2017 : On 14 June 2017, after 30 days of imprisonment, Oğuz Güven was released pending trial. His next hearing is scheduled to take place on 14 September 2017.
16 May 2017 : On 12 May 2017, Oğuz Güven, editor-in-chief of the online edition of the daily newspaper Cumhuriyet, was detained as part of a criminal investigation led by the Bureau of Press Offences of the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul. On 15 May, Güven appeared before a judge, who ordered that he be held in pre-trial detention, on “propaganda for a terrorist organisation” and “defamation against a person’s memory” charges. Both charges against the journalist are solely based on the title of a news report published and tweeted by Cumhuriyet on an online account about the accidental death of a prosecutor. During the hearing, the journalist repeated that the controversial tweet (“the prosecutor who sought the first warrants against FETÖ was cut apart by a truck”) was only visible during 55 seconds, was immediately corrected (“the prosecutor lost life in a serious car accident”) and is one of the 300 tweets per day written by the journalist, that he cannot be suspected of doing anything to support any terrorist organisation. Oğuz Güven is the 12th Cumhuriyet professional arrested by the Turkish authorities on charges of supporting two illegal organisations (PKK and FETÖ) based on opinions and articles published by the newspaper.
19 Apr 2017 : On 7 April 2017, Cumhuriyet’s Finance Manager Emre İper was taken into custody during a midnight raid on his home by police. He was arrested on 19 April on charges of using ByLock, a communications app allegedly used by the Fethullah Gülen network and “being member of a terrorsit organisation”.
11 Jan 2017 : On 29 December 2016, the investigative journalist Ahmet Şık was detained by Turkish authorities on charges of " propaganda on behalf of an illegal terrorist organisation" and "openly denigrating the Republic of Turkey, its judicial organs and its military and police". Şık tweeted that he was being detained due to a single tweet; a news report stated that the detention also related to various reporting elements including an interview with Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)'s administrator published in Cumhuriyet daily in March 2015. On 30 December, Ahmet Şık was officially put under arrest on charges of spreading propaganda for the PKK, the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C) and for the Fethullah Gülen group, an Islamic network the Turkish judiciary refers to as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ). All three groups are outlawed in Turkey. A report published by the Cumhuriyet claimed that Ahmet Şık had been denied drinking water for three days at Metris Prison, where he was kept before being transferred to Silivri Prison on 3 January. The Justice Ministry's Directorate General for Correctional Facilities released a statement denying the allegation, the official statement claimed Şık was given 1.5 liters of bottled water on 1 January. The Turkish authorities own regulation states that "any inmate has to right to have on daily basis 200 liters of cold water and 50 liters of hot water". Ahmet Şık also claimed that he was denied access to newspaper, pen and books in the cell. Ahmet Şık's access to his lawyers (Can Atalay and Tora Pekin) and family members were also denied during the first 5 days of his detention because the authorities couldn't record the conversation between the lawyers and their client. Şık was previously arrested in March 2011 in relation to an investigation into the Oda TV news website. He spent a year in prison for an unpublished critical book about the Gülen movement supported, at that time, by the AKP government. Today, the journalist is charged with doing propaganda for the same movement.
14 Nov 2016 : On 12 November 2016, the CEO of daily Cumhuriyet, Akin Atalay, was arrested for “being a member of a terrorist organization” , upon his arrival at Istanbul Atatürk Airport. A detention warrant had been issued for him on 30 October while he was abroad.
08 Nov 2016 : On 5 November 2016, nine journalists and executives from the Cumhuriyet daily were placed under formal arrest by the İstanbul 9th Penal Court of Peace. The daily’s columnists Aydın Engin and Hikmet Çetinkaya were released by the court pending trial. A travel ban was imposed on them. On 4 November 2016, Günseli Özaltay, the accounting manager of the newspaper, and former accounting manager Bülent Yener were released.

Follow-ups

New 19 Jan 2018 : The Council of Europe Secretary General refers to the recent decisions of Turkey’s Constitutional Court in his address to the Committee of Ministers
19 Oct 2017 : On 10 October 2017, the Commissioner for human rights intervened before the European Court of Human Rights in cases concerning the detention of journalists and freedom of expression in Turkey
26 Sep 2017 : OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media welcomes the release of Kadri Gürsel and calls for release of imprisoned Cumhuriyet journalists in Turkey.
12 Sep 2017 : OSCE Media Freedom Representative renews calls on Turkey to urgently release jailed journalists.
31 Jul 2017 : Cumhuriyet trial interim court decision shows urgency to drop charges and release all imprisoned Turkish journalists, says OSCE Media Freedom Representative.
25 Jul 2017 : OSCE media freedom representative calls on Turkey to release imprisoned journalists
12 Jun 2017 : On 8 June 2017, the European Court of Human Rights communicated to the Turkish Government the case of Sabuncu and Others v. Turkey. The applicants, ten journalists from the daily newspaper Cumhuriyet placed in police custody and subsequently in pre-trial detention on suspicion of having committed offences on behalf of terrorist organisations and disseminating propaganda for them, complained about their pre-trial detention and its duration, and also submit that there has been a breach of their freedom of expression. They further allege that their detention is a sanction against them for criticising the government and amounts to politically-motivated judicial harassment. They rely in particular on Article 5 § 1, 3 and 4 (right to liberty and security / right to speedy review of the lawfulness of detention), Article 10 (freedom of expression) and Article 18 (limitation on use of restrictions on rights).
15 Feb 2017 : Human Rights Commissioner : Urgent measures are needed to restore freedom of expression in Turkey
31 Oct 2016 : Statement from Secretary General Jagland expressing his concern about state of emergency measures and freedom of expression in Turkey

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Investigative Journalists Receive Several Death Threats, Broadcaster Claims

15 November 2016

Continuing Impunity in the Killing of the Ukrainian Investigative Journalist Georgiy Gongadze

7 October 2016

Masterminds still not Brought to Justice, Ten Years after the Murder of Novaya Gazeta Journalist Anna Politkovskaya

22 September 2016

Sport Journalist Kyriakos Thomaidis Faces Arrest after Police Raid on Skai TV's Building

16 September 2016

Swiss Intelligence Act threatens Secrecy of Journalistic Sources

7 September 2016

Arson Attack on Ukrainian Broadcaster Inter TV

17 August 2016

Journalist Lukasz Masiak Beaten to Death

10 August 2016

New Proposed Law Set to Increase the Power to Surveil Foreign Journalists

5 August 2016

New Anti-terrorism Law Allows Blocking of Online Media

5 August 2016

Threats to the Independence of the Romanian Public Broadcaster (TVR)

27 July 2016

French Journalist at the Origin of LuxLeaks Revelations Charged in Luxembourg

21 July 2016

Journalist Pavel Sheremet Killed in Car Explosion

13 July 2016

Journalist Sergei Ilchenko Jailed on Extremism Charges in Moldova’s Transdniester Region

29 June 2016

Former Prime Minister Publicly Insults Two Journalists

28 June 2016

Polish Journalists Targeted in Police Wiretapping, Audit Reveals

21 June 2016

Draft Bill to Tighten Criminal Penalties for Defamation

21 June 2016

Italian Journalist Lirio Abbate Faces Hate Speech in Courtroom

21 June 2016

Headquarters of TV station Piazza Pulita Raided by Police

21 June 2016

Draft Italian Law Imposes Sanctions on Journalists who Published Wiretapping Materials

21 June 2016

Italian Journalists and Media Staff Face Death Threats Following Mafia Boss’ Funeral

20 June 2016

Criminal Investigation Opened Against Journalists for Solidarity Campaign

20 June 2016

Criminal Investigation Opened Against Journalists for Solidarity Campaign

15 June 2016

Journalists Victims of Police Violence During Demonstrations

15 June 2016

Polish Law on Public Service Broadcasting Removes Guarantees of Independence

10 June 2016

Poland Legalises Mass Surveillance of its Citizens

9 June 2016

'Golden Dawn' Members Violently Attacked Petros Anastassiades

9 June 2016

Police Denies TV Crew Access to Refugee Camp

7 June 2016

Polish Law on Public Service Broadcasting Removes Guarantees of Independence

26 May 2016

Trumped-up Charges to Silence an Investigative Journalist in Azerbaijan

25 May 2016

Trumped-up Charges to Silence an Investigative Journalist in Azerbaijan

18 May 2016

Sports Journalist Assaulted by President of Football Club

17 May 2016

UK Draft Bill on Surveillance Threatens Protection of Journalists' Sources

13 May 2016

Personal Details of Thousands of Journalists Posted on Ukrainian Website over Accreditation with Rebels

13 May 2016

Attacks on the Independence of Croatian Public Broadcaster and Broadcast Regulator

13 May 2016

Threats to the Independence of the Romanian Public Broadcaster (TVR)

13 May 2016

Imprisonment of Two Senior Editors of the Turkish Daily Cumhuriyet, Can Dündar and Erdem Gül

12 May 2016

Personal Details of Thousands of Journalists Posted on Ukrainian Website over Accreditation with Rebels

12 May 2016

Murder of Azerbaijani Journalist Rasim Aliyev

11 May 2016

Chief Editor Anne Brumagne Dismissed for Criticizing a Restructuring Plan that Puts Business above Journalism

2 May 2016

Two-year Prison Sentences for Cumhuriyet Journalists Ceyda Karan and Hikmet Çetinkaya

2 May 2016

Greek Journalist Brutally Attacked during Public Rally

2 May 2016

Journalists Detained and Barred from Entering Idomeni to Report on Treatment of Refugees

2 May 2016

Police Assault Against a Photographer in Greece

29 April 2016

Journalists Working for RTL Info and France 3 Attacked in Molenbeek

29 April 2016

Palestinian Journalist Salama Attaallah Assaulted While Covering Muslim Fair in Brussels

29 April 2016

Journalists Arrested and Forced to Delete Material During Anti-TTIP Event

29 April 2016

Chief Editor Anne Brumagne Dismissed for Criticizing a Restructuring Plan that Puts Business above Journalism

18 April 2016

Attacks on the Independence of Croatian Public Broadcaster and Broadcast Regulator

4 April 2016

Several Vehicles Belonging to POP TV Vandalised in Ljubljana

18 March 2016

Journalists Levan Sutidze, Irakli Kiknavelidze and Nino Macharashvili Attacked in Tbilisi

15 March 2016

TV Journalist Eni Shehu Attacked by the Director of the National Theatre

10 March 2016

Attacks on the Independence of Croatian Public Broadcaster and Broadcast Regulator

10 March 2016

Journalists and Human Rights Activists Attacked in Ingushetia

4 March 2016

Gojko Raičević Regularly Targeted by Authorities in Montenegro

3 March 2016

Imprisonment of Two Senior Editors of the Turkish Daily Cumhuriyet, Can Dündar and Erdem Gül

26 February 2016

Poland Legalises Mass Surveillance of its Citizens

26 February 2016

Imprisonment of Two Senior Editors of the Turkish Daily Cumhuriyet, Can Dündar and Erdem Gül

25 February 2016

Belgian Journalist Assaulted Live on Air at the Cologne Carnival

11 February 2016

Molotov Cocktails and Gun Attacks on Yeni Şafak and Yeni Akit Newspapers

25 January 2016

Polish Law on Public Service Broadcasting Removes Guarantees of Independence

14 January 2016

Polish Law on Public Service Broadcasting Removes Guarantees of Independence

12 January 2016

Cumhuriyet Journalist Canan Coşkun Faces 23 Years in Prison for Alleged Insult

11 January 2016

Journalist Beyza Kural Briefly Detained and Threatened with Violence by Police While Covering Protest

11 January 2016

'Today's Zaman' Journalist Bülent Keneş Arrested

8 January 2016

ABC News Cameraman Attacked and Detained for Three Hours by Police

5 January 2016

Polish Law on Public Service Broadcasting Removes Guarantees of Independence

15 December 2015

Imprisonment of Two Senior Editors of the Turkish Daily Cumhuriyet, Can Dündar and Erdem Gül

15 December 2015

UK Draft Bill on Surveillance Threatens Protection of Journalists' Sources

7 December 2015

Imprisonment of Two Senior Editors of the Turkish Daily Cumhuriyet, Can Dündar and Erdem Gül

3 December 2015

Imprisonment of Two Senior Editors of the Turkish Daily Cumhuriyet, Can Dündar and Erdem Gül

1 December 2015

Kurdish Daily Attacked, Doors Broken and 32 Journalists Interrogated

30 November 2015

Imprisonment of Two Senior Editors of the Turkish Daily Cumhuriyet, Can Dündar and Erdem Gül

30 November 2015

Two Turkish Journalists, Cevheri Güven and Murat Çapan, Charged with "Inciting Armed Rebellion"

27 November 2015

Imprisonment of Two Senior Editors of the Turkish Daily Cumhuriyet, Can Dündar and Erdem Gül

27 November 2015

Imprisonment of Two Senior Editors of the Turkish Daily Cumhuriyet, Can Dündar and Erdem Gül

27 November 2015

Imprisonment of Two Senior Editors of the Turkish Daily Cumhuriyet, Can Dündar and Erdem Gül

25 November 2015

Turkey: Seizure of Media Holding, with Police Raids and Temporary Closure of Two Major Television Channels, Days Prior to Elections

24 November 2015

Serbian Journalist Predrag Blagojević Assaulted by Police at a Music Festival over Identification

17 November 2015

Detention of the Vice News Fixer Mohammed Ismael Rasool

17 November 2015

Hürriyet Journalist Ahmet Hakan Threatened and Attacked

16 November 2015

Police Used Teargas Against a Group of About 30 Journalists

12 November 2015

Three Media Staff Assaulted at Pegida Rally

12 November 2015

Journalist Attacked in Paris by Members or Supporters of the Jewish Defense League

12 November 2015

Serbian Investigative Journalist Ivan Ninić Suffers Brutal Attack

10 November 2015

UK Draft Bill on Surveillance Threatens Protection of Journalists' Sources

30 October 2015

Turkey: Seizure of Media Holding, with Police Raids and Temporary Closure of Two Major Television Channels, Days Prior to Elections

30 October 2015

Turkey: Seizure of Media Holding, with Police Raids and Temporary Closure of Two Major Television Channels, Days Prior to Elections

30 October 2015

Turkey: Seizure of Media Holding, with Police Raids and Temporary Closure of Two Major Television Channels, Days Prior to Elections

23 October 2015

Spanish Public Security Law Threatens Freedom of Press

22 October 2015

Journalist Seyithan Akyüz Sentenced to more than 22 Years

22 October 2015

Art and Literature Journalist Erdal Süsem Serving Life Sentence in Turkey

22 October 2015

Left-Wing Female Journalist Hatice Duman Serving Life-Time Imprisonment in Turkey

22 October 2015

Journalist Kenan Karavil Sentenced to more than 19 Years

22 October 2015

Alawite Journalist Miktat Algül Sentenced to 61 Years in Turkey

22 October 2015

Journalist Mustafa Gök Serving Life Sentence in Turkey

22 October 2015

Journalist Erol Zavar, Suffering from a Cancer, is Serving Life Sentence in Turkey

22 October 2015

Turkish Cartoonists Bahadır Baruter and Özer Aydoğan Found Guilty of Insulting President Erdoğan

22 October 2015

Police Violence Against a Journalist Covering Protests in Turkey

22 October 2015

Newspaper Editor Prosecuted for Insulting the President over Reports about a Judicial Corruption Probe

22 October 2015

Dutch Journalist Charged with ‘Terrorism’ in Turkey

14 October 2015

'Today's Zaman' Journalist Bülent Keneş Arrested

1 October 2015

Hürriyet Journalist Ahmet Hakan Threatened and Attacked

1 October 2015

Hürriyet Journalist Ahmet Hakan Threatened and Attacked

24 September 2015

Georgian TV Channel Rustavi 2 Faces Crippling Court Measures in Civil Case

17 September 2015

Ukraine Bans 38 European Journalists and Bloggers over “National Interest, Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity"

17 September 2015

Ukraine Bans 38 European Journalists and Bloggers over “National Interest, Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity"

15 September 2015

Turkish Special Operations Team Attacks Journalists Covering the Transfer of Injured Police Officer to a Hospital

9 September 2015

Serbian Investigative Journalist Ivan Ninić Suffers Brutal Attack

8 September 2015

Journalist Fired over Tweets Critical of Erdoğan

1 September 2015

Trumped-up Charges to Silence an Investigative Journalist in Azerbaijan

1 September 2015

Trumped-up Charges to Silence an Investigative Journalist in Azerbaijan

1 September 2015

Trumped-up Charges to Silence an Investigative Journalist in Azerbaijan

28 August 2015

Murder of Azerbaijani Journalist Rasim Aliyev

28 August 2015

Attacks and Intimidation on Journalists Covering Workers’ Strikes in Turkey

28 August 2015

Meydan TV Director Emin Milli Threatened for Critical Reporting on European Games

27 August 2015

DIHA Journalist Cüneyt Yavuz Injured in Tear Gas Canister Attack During Clashes Between Police and Protesters

27 August 2015

Turkey’s Chief Prosecutor Seeks 7.5 Year Jail Term Against 18 Journalists over Siege Picture

27 August 2015

LGBT Journalist Beaten by Police Officers

25 August 2015

Serbian Journalist Predrag Blagojević Assaulted by Police at a Music Festival over Identification

21 August 2015

Trumped-up Charges to Silence an Investigative Journalist in Azerbaijan

11 August 2015

Journalists Beaten and Arrested while Covering Protest Demonstration

10 August 2015

Murder of Azerbaijani Journalist Rasim Aliyev

3 August 2015

Journalist Sergei Ilchenko Jailed on Extremism Charges in Moldova’s Transdniester Region

9 July 2015

Journalist Lukasz Masiak Beaten to Death

30 June 2015

Electoral Coverage under Political Control in Spain

24 June 2015

French Journalist at the Origin of LuxLeaks Revelations Charged in Luxembourg

1 June 2015

Journalist Seymour Hazi Sentenced on Hooliganism Charges

1 June 2015

Trumped-up Charges to Silence an Investigative Journalist in Azerbaijan

1 June 2015

Journalist Nijat Aliyev Sentenced to 10 Years in Jail in Baku

1 June 2015

Senior Journalist Araz Guliyev Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison in Azerbaijan

1 June 2015

Trumped-up Charges and Trial Without Due Process to Silence an Azerbaijani Journalist

1 June 2015

Independent Senior Journalist Parviz Hashimli Jailed in Azerbaijan

1 June 2015

Media Freedom Activist Emin Huseynov Charged with Tax Evasion and Abuse of Power

21 May 2015

Slovenian Investigative Journalist Anuška Delić Charged over “Intelligence Material”

20 May 2015

France Legalises Mass Surveillance of its Citizens

15 May 2015

Two Danish Journalists Prosecuted for Exposing a Public Health Hazard

15 May 2015

Spanish Public Security Law Threatens Freedom of Press

12 May 2015

Administrative Blocking of Websites "Inciting Terrorism"

12 May 2015

France Legalises Mass Surveillance of its Citizens

6 May 2015

France Legalises Mass Surveillance of its Citizens

28 April 2015

French Journalist at the Origin of LuxLeaks Revelations Charged in Luxembourg

22 April 2015

Macedonian Journalist Faces Death Threat

13 April 2015

Slovenian Investigative Journalist Anuška Delić Charged over “Intelligence Material”

13 April 2015

France Legalises Mass Surveillance of its Citizens

2 April 2015

Forced Closure of Crimean Tatar-Language Media Outlets

2 April 2015

Forced Closure of Crimean Tatar-Language Media Outlets

22 January 2015

Investigative Journalist Sergei Reznik Handed a 3-Year Jail Term for ‘Insults’ Charges in Russia

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