GETTING RID OF FREEDOM OF THOUGHT…
Feb 4 2010
At least 9 newspapers were banned based on the Anti-Terror Act,
23 people were sentenced to 58 years imprisonment and fines summing
up to 9,740 TL; 101 people were convicted of "attacks on personal
rights", received prison sentence of 98 years in total and were sued
for compensation claims of 1,408,680 TL. Journalist Cihan HayÄ±rsevener
was killed due to the state’s indifference to violence.
Erol ONDEROÄ~^LU [email protected] Istanbul – BÄ°A News Center04
February 2010, Thursday The process of the "Kurdish initiative" imposed
a muzzle to freedom of expression. The 2009 Media Monitoring Report
by the Independent Communication Network (BÄ°A) Media Monitoring Desk
revealed that 323 people, among them 123 journalists, were tried in
the context of freedom of thought and freedom of expression.
Three years after the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant
Dink, the state’s indifference to violence against journalists lead
to the death of Guney Marmara YaÅ~_am newspaper editor-in-chief Cihan
HayÄ±rsevener. HayÄ±rsevener was writing about organized crime and
corruption in tenders.
The Anti-Terror Act (TMY), which was not accounted for as "in contrary
to the Constitution" by the Constitutional Court, silenced nine
newspapers and magazines: Gunluk, Ozgur Yorum, Politika, AyrÄ±ntÄ±,
Azadiya Welat, Ozgur Mezopotamya, Demokratik AcÄ±lÄ±m and AtÄ±lÄ±m
newspapers and AydÄ±nlÄ±k magazine. One-month publication bans were
imposed once or in some cases more than once.
The report tackles the struggles and cases of 978 people. Violations
of freedom of expression are divided into the following sections:
Attacks and Threats, Detentions and Arrests, Cases on Press Freedom
and Freedom of Expression, Corrections and Seeking Justice, European
Court of Human Rights, Reactions to Censorship and Punishments by RTUK.
Heavy convictions in TMY and TCK cases 47 people, 22 of them
journalists, were prosecuted in 2009 under charges of "publishing
pronouncements of terror organizations", "spreading propaganda for an
illegal organization" or "revealing people struggling against terrorism
as targets". 23 people were sentenced to 58 years imprisonment and
monetary fines of 9,749 Turkish Lira (TL) (â~B¬ 4,640). However,
this is a small number compared to 44 convicts and thus twice as many
convictions under the TMY in 2008.
The convicts: Baki YÄ±ldÄ±rÄ±m, Cesur YÄ±lmaz, Huseyin Tunc,
Orhan Miroglu, Murat Polat, Aysel Tugluk, Mehmet Altay, Ethem
AcÄ±kalÄ±n, Temel Demirer, Dincer Ergun, Leyla Zana, Hasan Yuksel,
Mehmet BÄ±ldÄ±rcÄ±n, Hasan Mutlu, Halime Keceli, Ä°lhan SarÄ±oglu,
Emrah Eskibal, Ozkan Tacar, RuÅ~_tu Demirkaya, Abdullah DemirtaÅ~_,
Osman Baydemir, Nejdet Atalay and Bedri AdanÄ±r.
Increase in cases and punishments related to defamation 34 journalists
among 101 Turkish citizens were sentenced to 98 years and five days
imprisonment and compensation claims summing up to TL 1,408,680
(â~B¬ 670,800) under charges of "attacks on personal rights".
Local courts in 2009 decreed for a total of nine years, three
months and 6 days imprisonment and monetary fines of TL 41,290 (â~B¬
19,660). In the previous year, 74 people received prison sentences
of 77 years and faced compensation claims of TL 1,885,500.
The defendants convicted at local courts were Perihan Magden, Cemal
SubaÅ~_Ä±, HacÄ± Bogatekin, Leman Yurtseven, Fakir YÄ±lmaz, Selmi
YÄ±lmaz, Å~^amil Tayyar, Sevda Turaclar, Betul Ozturk, juvenile O.K,
Ahmet Keskin, Hasan OzaydÄ±n, Berna Ozarslan, Ozgur Bogatekin, Dengir
Mir Mehmet FÄ±rat, Mahmut AlÄ±nak, Muzaffer Erdogdu, Ahmet Guner and
16 years seven months imprisonment for "Incitement to hatred and
hostility" 21 people, six of them journalists, stood trial for
"incitement to hatred and hostility"; 13 defendants were convicted,
among them three journalists. They received a total of 16 years and
seven months imprisonment.
The names of the convicts are Aysel Tugluk, Ethem AcÄ±kalÄ±n, Tayyip
Temel, Ercan Oksuz, Oktay Candemir, Mahmut AlÄ±nak, Ä°brahim Guclu,
Huseyin Kalkan, Fuat Onen, Arif Sevinc, Nadir YektaÅ~_, Eyup Karakeci
and Mehmet Kemal Ugurlu. In 2008 on the other hand, seven defendants
out of 23 were acquitted.
Writer Demirer still defendant under article 301 37 people were
tried under article 301 of the Turkish Criminal Code (TCK) in 2009,
six cases were dismissed by the Ministry of Justice.
The trial of author Temel Demirer is still pending. Ten activists from
EskiÅ~_ehir and radio journalist Sabri Ejder Ozic were acquitted. The
Ministry of Justice has still not decided whether to pursue or dismiss
the prosecutions of another 20 people.
The trials of 54 mayors of Democratic Society Party (DTP), which was
closed down by the Constitutional Court in mid December, including
four journalists, are pending under charges of "praising criminals".
State impassive to violence; HayÄ±rsevener killed 27 journalists and
the Bizim Kocaeli newspaper were subjects of attacks in 2009. Ten
people were threatened for their thoughts, among them six journalists.
Violence was mainly directed at local journalists: Cihan HayÄ±rsevener
(BalÄ±kesir), Ä°zzettin Oktay (Siirt), Omer Celik (Ä°stanbul),
Seyfullah AyvalÄ± (Ä°zmir), HacÄ± Bogatekin (AdÄ±yaman), Zeki Dara
(Hakkari), Erhan Telli (Bursa), Diya Yarayan (Siirt), Yakup Onal
(Tekirdag), Mansur Obut (Batman), DurmuÅ~_ Tuna (AydÄ±n), Omer PÄ±nar
(Å~^anlÄ±urfa), Sedat Å~^ahinler (Antalya), FÄ±rat Akyol (Giresun),
Rasim Ozan KutahyalÄ± (Ä°stanbul), Ä°brahim Gunduz (Ankara),
Mahmut Bozarslan (DiyarbakÄ±r), Ozden ErkuÅ~_ (Ankara), Ediz AlÄ±c
(Adana), Rengin Gultekin (Adana), Kadir Puslu (Adana), Meral Ozdemir
(DiyarbakÄ±r), Mehmet Emek (DiyarbakÄ±r), Gamze DondurmacÄ± (Ankara),
Dogan Durak (Ankara), NeÅ~_et Oner (Bursa), Å~^ukru Oner (Bursa)
and Orhan Kaplan (Bursa).
Five out of 25 detained journalists were released Devrimci
Demokrasi newspaper owner and editor-in-chief Erdal Guler and former
editor-in-chief of the Kurdish Azadiya Welat newspaper Vedat KurÅ~_un
are in prison under charges of "publishing praise" for organisations
such as the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or the Maoist
Communist Party (MKP).
Prison sentences were handed to at least 23 people arrested for
activities related to their profession, the actual number in this
respect is estimated even higher. Abdurrahman GÃ¶k, Serhat Bolluk,
Nadiye Gurbuz, Mehmet Ali VarÄ±Å~_ and Vedat Yenerer were tried
un-detained and released throughout the year.
Journalists like Mustafa Balbay and Emcet Olcayto are still in prison
in context of the Ergenekon case. Gun TV official Ahmet Birsin, Adana
Radyo Dunya broadcasting director Kenan Karavil and Seyithan Akyuz
from Azadiya Welat newspaper were taken into detention in the scope
of an operation regarding the Union of Kurdistan Societies (KCK),
the umbrella organization of the PKK.
Istanbul Ozgur Radio broadcasting director Fusun Erdogan, AtÄ±lÄ±m
magazine publishing co-ordinator Ä°brahim Cicek and magazine official
Sedat Senoglu are in detention since 2006 on the grounds of alleged
membership of the illegal Marxist Leninist Communist Party (MLKP)
Penalties of ECHR more than doubled The European Court of Human Rights
(ECHR) convicted Turkey to a total fine of TL 472,392 (â~B¬ 225,000)
in compensation. In the previous year, this amount added up to TL
183,801 (â~B¬ 87,525). 11,100 complaint files concerned with Turkey
are currently waiting to be dealt with at the ECHR.
26 employees of Ulkede Ozgur Gundem, Gundem, Guncel ve Gercek
Demokrasi newspapers sought their rights at the ECHR together with
Seyithan Demir, Ä°smail Kara, Omer Bahceci, Fikret Turan, Cihan Ozturk,
Aziz Ozer, Ä°brahim Guclu, Sedat Ä°mza, Ayhan Erdogan, Mehmet Cevher
Ä°lhan, Ruya KurtuluÅ~_, Erdinc GÃ¶k, HaÅ~_im Ozgur Ersoy, Ä°nci AcÄ±k,
Serpil Ocak, Ayfer Cicek, Nuri Gunay and Murat Kaya.
The following new applications were made to the ECHR in 2009: the
Hrant Dink murder, publication bans imposed to Ozgur Mezopotamya,
Ozgur GÃ¶ruÅ~_, Rojev, Siyasi Alternatif and Surec newspapers,
Internet Technology Association (INETD) in regard to the ban of
youtube.com, Birecik’in Sesi newspaper official Å~^evket Demir, Siirt
Mucadele newspaper owner Cumhur KÄ±lÄ±ccÄ±oglu, Cumhuriyet newspaper
journalist Alper Turgut, Cevat DuÅ~_un from Alternatif newspaper,
Vakit newspaper writer Abdurrahman Dilipak and Taraf newspaper
journalist Orhan Miroglu.