CPJ’s Turkey blog: Failed coup speeds Turkey crackdown

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By Özgür Öğret

Police raid newspaper offices, detain at least 23 employees
Police in the southeastern Turkish city Diyarbakır yesterday raided the main office of the Kurdish-language daily newspaper Azadiya Welat, according to newsreports. According to the independent news website Bianet, police detained at least 23 employees of the newspaper, beating many of them in the process:

  • Yasemin Sayın
  • Hayat Yılmaz
  • Ahmet Kızılay
  • Arap Turan
  • Berxwedan Tulpar
  • Sürreya Dal
  • Zeynep İzgi
  • İbrahim Bayram
  • Engin Özelçi
  • Ahmet Boltan
  • Ceylan İpek
  • Mehmet Emin Kaya
  • Ziyan Karahan
  • Veysi Altın
  • Ercan Yeltaş
  • Azime Tarhan
  • Serdal Polat
  • Cengiz Aslan
  • Ferit Toprak
  • Mehmet Hüseyin Şahin
  • Mehmet Aydın
  • Pusat Bulut
  • Mehmet Emin Akgün

Police also detained four people — Vesile Tulpar, Bahar Haram, Mecrum Tekol, and a minor identified only by the initials A.K. — who were visiting the office at the time of the raid, reports said.

DİHA reported that police raiding the building said they were there because “a lot of people come and go at the office,” and they received a tip that “[terrorist] organization meetings were held there.”

In a later report, DİHA all the detained staff were involved in the distribution of the newspaper, Turkey’s only Kurdish-language daily, but that former employees had volunteered to distribute the paper today.

Authorities have subjected Azadiya Welat to persistent judicial harassment since its founding in 1992 as the weekly Welat, and since it began publishing daily under its current name in 2006. In October 2014, two men on a motorcycle fatally shotKadri Bağdu in Adana as he delivered the newspaper on his bicycle. No one was convicted of that crime. News editor Rohat Aktaş died in unclear circumstances, mostly likely in early February 2016, while reporting on the fighting between Kurdish separatists and Turkish soldiers in Cizre.

Police raid news agency office
Police in the southeastern city of Hakkari on August 26 raided the local office of Dicle News Agency (DİHA), DİHA reported. Police broke down the door when the office was empty, and confiscated four computers and the office’s archive of newspapers, the news agency reported. DİHA reported that police had given the news agency no reason for the raid

Police seek journalist’s detention for tweet

Police have a warrant for the detention of journalist Ergun Babahan regarding a tweet he wrote about an August 25 attack on a convoy carrying Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), according to news reports.

The daily newspaper Evrensel on Sunday published Babahan’s version of events. Babahan said police were investigating him on suspicion of “praising a crime and a criminal” in his tweet, but that his intent had been to condemn the crime. The journalist said he believes he is one of the victims of Turkey’s continuing “witch-hunt” to purge members of the Hizmet, or FETÖ, organization – which the government accuses of being a terrorist group and of orchestrating a July 15 failed military coup – from society and a security crackdown on ethnic-Kurds.

Court releases detained news agency reporter
A court in Turkey’s Şırnak province on August 26 ordered the release of DİHA reporter Sebahattin Koyuncu, his employer reported. Police detainedKoyuncu on the August 23 from Silopi, in Şırnak, and asked a court to jail him, pending trial on charges of “being a member of a [terrorist] organization,” but the court ordered him released.

Broadcast regulator reprimands TV stations for ‘terrorist propaganda’
Turkey’s broadcast regular, the RTÜK, on August 27 issued warnings to Van TV and Özgür Gün TV, saying they had disseminated “terrorist propaganda” and “discriminatory” broadcasts, according to news reports. The regulator also closed down 29 unlicensed telemarketing channels.

[August 29, 2016]

 

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