11 Oct 2019 Lvl. 2
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Alert created on: 11 Oct 2019 n° 122/2019 Turkey

Turkey Bans Critical Reports on Military Operation in Syria, Detains 2 Journalists

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner CPJ Index IPI RSF
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Partner CPJ Index IPI RSF
On 10 October 2019, the Chief Prosecutor's Office of Istanbul published a statement banning critical news reports and comments on Turkey’s military assault on northern Syria. The statement says a person or persons who “target the social peace of the Republic of Turkey, domestic peace, unity and security” with “any kind of suggestive news, written or visual publication/broadcast” alongside “operational social media accounts” will be prosecuted according to the Turkish penal code and anti-terrorism law.

Police took into custody Hakan Demir, online editor for the leftist daily BirGün, at his house in Istanbul at dawn on 10 October because of a tweet about Turkey’s Syria offensive from the newspaper’s account, BirGün reported. The same day, a court released the journalist on probation and banned him from travelling abroad after Demir had spoken to his lawyer, according to the report.

Police also detained Fatih Gökhan Diler, responsible news editor of the news website Diken, at his newsroom in Istanbul on 10 October because of a Diken report that quoted a spokesperson for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, Diken reported. A court also later released him on probation and banned him from foreign travel, according to the report. A ‘responsible news editor’ is a legally required position for every news outlet in Turkey, of which the bearer is legally responsible for all published content.

Neither journalist was formally charged, but their conditional release indicates that investigation is ongoing.
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