30 Aug 2019 Lvl. 1
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Alert created on: 30 Aug 2019 n° 99/2019 Turkey

At Least Nine Journalists Detained for Reporting on Protests against Government-Appointed Trustees

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner CPJ EFJ/IFJ Index RSF
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ EFJ/IFJ Index RSF
At least nine journalists were taken in custody after reporting on protests taking place in four provinces against the dismissal of municipal mayors of the three Kurdish-majority cities of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van.

On 19 August 2019, police arrested Ziyan Karahan, the Kurdish-language editor for the pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya News Agency, at her home in the southeastern city of Diyarbakır, according to a report by her employer. Authorities told Karahan that she was detained for her “journalistic activities,” according to the Mezopotamya report. Ziyan Karahan was released by a Diyarbakır Court on 22 August.

The following day, police arrested five journalists who were covering the protests in Mardin, according to a report by Mezopotamya. Mezopotamya identified the journalists arrested at the protest in Mardin as Mezopotamya reporters Ahmet Kanbal and Mehmet Şah Oruç, Jin News Agency reporter Rojda Aydın, and freelance journalists Nurcan Yalçın and Halime Parlak. The five were arrested as police dispersed the protest with tear gas and water cannons. On 23 August, the detention period of the five journalists under arrest in Mardin was extended for four more days. Mezopotamya news agency reported that the prosecutor also launched an inquiry into their past journalistic activities. The 5 journalists were released on 26 August.

Following the appointment of a trustee to the Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality, several persons were arrested during house raids in the city, including journalist Yelda Çiçek. Çiçek was released from custody on 21 August.

In Istanbul, on the night of 22nd August, Özgür Gelecek reporter Taylan Özgür Öztaş was taken in custody following a house raid on the grounds that he participated in the Istanbul protest.

Earlier that day, Tunahan Turhan, a reporter for the Etkin news agency (ETHA), was detained following a criminal record check by the police in Istanbul, Kadıköy, as he was preparing to cover a demonstration in protest of the government-appointed trustees. Both Öztaş and Turhan were brought to Court on 23 August. The court released both journalists under judicial control measures.
Follow-ups
28 Aug 2019
OSCE Media Freedom Representative raises concern over recent detentions of journalists covering public protests in Turkey
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