New project to promote human rights based journalism in Turkey

“Cumhuriyet, as one of the most important daily newspaper in Turkey, is playing a great inspirational role for all journalists in the world and by putting your own life at risk to tell the truth in the country, you attract more respect and become an example for many of our colleagues and we would like to thank you for that”, said Oliver Money-Kyrle, IFJ Assistant General Secretary during a joint solidarity visit in Istanbul to the former imprisoned journalist Murat Sabuncu (editor in chief of Cumhuriyet). The joint delegation for the solidarity visit included representatives from the International Federation of Journalists…

Turkey should immediately release Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay

Turkey should immediately implement the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and release the veteran journalists Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay without delay, a coalition of nongovernmental groups said today. Furthermore, Turkey must ensure that domestic remedies for human rights violations are effective, in particular by ensuring the urgent review of all cases of journalists and writers currently pending before its Constitutional Court. The organizations, which had intervened as third parties in the cases before the court, included PEN International, ARTICLE 19, Committee to Protect Journalists, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, European Federation of Journalists,…

Turkey violated rights of journalists Şahin Alpay and Mehmet Altan

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) calls on Turkish authorities to release without any delay all journalists wrongfully imprisoned in Turkey after the European Court of Human Rights ruled today against Turkey on applications filed on behalf of Turkish journalists Şahin Alpay and Mehmet Altan, who were imprisoned following the failed coup attempt in July 2016. The Strasbourg court issued today a decision on the provisional detention of Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay for more than a year and a half. The decision stated that “the investigating authorities had been unable to demonstrate any factual basis” that indicate that both journalists…

Turkey: Two Cumhuriyet journalists released, newspaper’s chairman still detained

On Friday 9 March, A Turkish court has released on bail two journalists who were held for over a year on terror-related charges. The editor-in-chief of the opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper, Murat Sabuncu, and the investigative reporter, Ahmet Şık, were both released on bail but they remain charged while the chairman of the newspaper, Akin Atalay, was kept in detention. The staff from the newspaper were held as part of the crackdown that followed the failed coup of July 2016.  Based on articles published by the newspaper, Turkish authorities accuse Cumhuriyet of supporting the Gülen movement who Ankara believes headed the coup attempt, as well…

Turkey and the “forgotten” Zaman journalists in jail

On 4 March 2016, five months before the coup attempt of July 2016, one of the biggest daily newspaper was seized by the Turkish authorities on charges of being affiliated with the Gülen movement. Created in 1986, the newspaper was initially a strong supporter of President Erdogan’s AKP until it became increasingly critical and subsequently the movement which it was affiliated with accused of infiltrating the institutions in order to create a “parallel state”. Many journalists and media workers were first quickly sacked without any compensation. Despite being fully managed by government-appointed trustees since March 2016, the newspaper was banned by…

Deniz Yücel released after one year of detention in Turkish prison

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomed the release of Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel, correspondent for the German daily newspaper Die Welt, who spent 366 days in pre-trial detention without indictment. His lawyer, Veysel Ok, confirmed on 16 February that the court in Istanbul ordered Yücel’s release, pending trial. He does not face any ban from leaving the country. On 14 February 2017, Yücel was first taken into custody upon accusations of being a member of a terrorist organisation, spreading propaganda and misusing information and subsequently jailed. His conditions of detention had deteriorated in March 2017, when he was put in…

Turkey: Six journalists and media workers sentenced to life over coup attempt

A Turkish court jailed on Friday 15 February three journalists, Mehmet (65) and Ahmet (67) Altan as well as Nazli Illicak (73) for life over allegations of involvement in the 2016 coup attempt. A similar punishment was handed to three other suspects: Zaman newspaper marketing manager Yakup Simsek, police academy instructor Sukru Tugrul Ozsengul and Zaman layout designer Fevzi Yazici. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is appalled by this verdict which confirms Turkey’s disregard for rule of law. The Altan brothers and Nazli Ilicak were detained since September 2016 on charges including “attempting to overthrow the Turkish Grand National Assembly”,…

European Parliament resolution on the current human rights situation in Turkey

During the European Parliament plenary session (5-8 February 2018) in Strasbourg, MEPs voted a resolution on the current human rights situation in Turkey. The European Federation of Journalists welcomes the references to the fate of imprisoned journalists, to the specific cases of Deniz Yücel, Ayla Albayrak, Mehmet Altan, Sahin Alpay and Ahmet Sik, to the indictments of signatories of Academics for Peace, to the misuse of the state of emergency to silence dissent, to the chilling effect of the pressure on social media users expressing criticism against the military operation in Afrin. The full text of the resolution as adopted…

European Union pressuring Turkey to release jailed journalists

The European Union and Turkey will see no progress in their relations as long as Turkey holds journalists in prison, the president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said on Friday (12/01/2018) at a news conference in Bulgaria. The president of the European Commission made this comment following the news that a Criminal Court in Istanbul defied the Turkish Constitutional Court’s decision ruling that the journalists’ rights had been violated and subsequently to release imprisoned journalists Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay.   “Turkey is moving away from its European ambitions of the past and we are going to have to see…

Turkey: implement Constitutional Court decision to free journalists

A High Criminal Court of Istanbul has defied a Constitutional Court’s ruling that the rights of journalists Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay to liberty and freedom of expression have been violated and the two journalists should be released from custody. The lower court said the judgment was a “usurpation of authority” and therefore could not be accepted. Initially, the lower courts impacted by the ruling said the detentions would be reviewed after the top court’s reasoned decisions were formally communicated. In turn, the Turkish Constitutional Court then released its judgments and posted notes on social media saying that they are…

Turkey: Four Cumhuriyet journalists ordered to remain in prison

At a hearing on 25 December 2017, a Turkish judge ordered four journalists and senior staff from the newspaper Cumhuriyet to remain in prison for at least two more months during their trial. The newspaper’s editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu, attorney Akin Atalay, correspondent Ahmet Şık and accountant Emre Iper, are charged with supporting through their coverage three outlawed groups: The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), and the Gülen network. They face up to 43 years in prison if convicted. The newspaper and staff have denied the charges, and argue that they are being targeted to silence…