A very short time after the Turkish president Tayyip Erdoğan said on Margaret Brennan’s ‘Face the Nation’ on the US television network CBS that Turkey had no issues of press freedom and that he gave no credit to the rights associations which had made allegations in the matter, 12 journalists are to face trial in Turkey within a period of just four days.
Opinion writer Hüseyin Aykol, writing in the daily Yeni Yaşam, compiled information relating to the 11 separate trials to take place in six cities between 11-14 October.
He noted that on this occasion the journalists were not only facing accusations because of their own professional work, but that they were also included in trials in which large groups of people were charged for such things as being present at press conferences.
On 11 October at a Diyarbakır (Amed) court, a Yeni Yaşam reporter (Hatice Şahin) will face the charge of being a member of a terrorist organisation. The charge is based on telephone conversations she had with news sources and other journalists, secret witness statements, Diyarbakır-Istanbul flight bookings, and an allegation that she took part in activities of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), a legal organisation based in Diyarbakır.
On 12 October at an Ankara court, a journalist (Hayri Demir) will face charges of being a member of a terrorist organisation and making propaganda for it, based on professional reporting work he did in northern Syria.
On 12 October at a Van (Wan) court, a journalist (Rojda Oğuz) is to face charges of being a member of a terrorist organisation and making propaganda for it.
On 12 October at an Istanbul court, two reporters (İsminaz Temel and Havva Custan) of Etkin News Agency (ETHA), along with two lawyers and many members of the legal Socialist Party of the Opressed (ESP), are to face charges of being members of a terrorist organisation and making propaganda for it.
On 12 October at a Diyarbakır court, a journalist (Roza Metina) is to face a charge of being a member of a terrorist organization, based on allegations that she took part in the activities of the DTK and had banned books in her house, and on the grounds that she is a member of the Kurdish Writers Association.
On 12 October at a Van court, a journalist (Ruşen Takva) is to face trial because he reported on the press statement made by the legal Democratic Regions Party (DBP) on 8 January.
On 13 October at a Mardin (Merdin) court, a journalist (Ahmet Kanbal) is to face a charge of violating Law Number 2911 (the law regulating public meetings and demonstrations), on the grounds that on 20 August 2019 he reported on protests against the replacement of the elected mayors of Mardin, Diyarbakır and Van with state-appointed trustees.
On 13 October at an Ankara court, a journalist (Derya Okatan) is to face a charge of being a member of a terrorist organisation, on the grounds that she shared a post on social media about a news article relating to Turkey’s military operation in Afrin, north Syria.
On 14 October at a Diyarbakır court, a writer for the Kurdish Xwebun newspaper (Mehmet Şahin) is to face charges of founding and leading an illegal organisation based on his alleged activities in the DTK.
On 14 October at a Batman (Êlih) court, the Executive Editor of Jiyan News (Sonya Bayık) will face a charge of violating Law Number 2911, on the grounds that she reported on a press statement made on 12 June 2019 by the Youth Branch of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), demanding that the historical site at Hasankeyf be spared flooding by the waters of the Ilısu Dam.
On 14 October at an Istanbul court, a journalist (Mehmet Aslan) is to face charges of being a member of a terrorist organisation and inciting the masses by means of news articles on the basis of conversations he had with his news sources and articles he wrote.