05 Mar 2020 Lvl. 2
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Alert created on: 05 Mar 2020 n° 25/2020 Turkey

Harassment of Russian Agency Journalists in Turkey

Source of threatState
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
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On 1 March 2020, police detained three Turkish journalists, employees of Sputnik Türkiye in Ankara and the outlet’s chief Turkey editor in Istanbul, Mahir Boztepe. The arrests occurred after a group of protesters in Ankara attempted to break into the employees’ homes there; when the employees contacted the police to file a criminal complaint, police detained them and also ordered Boztepe’s detention in Istanbul.
The four Sputnik staffers were released the following day with no charges brought against them. When police arrested Boztepe, officers also searched Sputnik’s Istanbul office and copied journalists’ hard drives. According to the Turkish NGO Media and Law Studies Association, the police justified the detentions by citing article 302 of Turkish Criminal Code, a measure aimed at countering threats to the territorial integrity of the Turkish state. Turkish media reports suggest that these events followed the publication on the Sputnik agency’s website of an article entitled “The stolen province: why Turkey was given a corner of Syria by France 80 years ago”, about the southeastern Turkish city of Hatay.
06 Mar 2020
OSCE Media Freedom Representative condemns arrest of Sputnik journalists in Turkey, calls for their protection
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