Turkey : Set Journalism Free



> EU Progress Reports on Turkey 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011
> OSCE reports on Turkey
- Regular Report to the Permanent Council by Dunja Mijatović, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, for the period from 19 June 2014 through 26 November 2014
- OSCE FOM table on imprisoned journalists in Turkey - 10 March 2014
> CoE reports on Turkey
- The rule of law on the Internet and in the wider digital world. Issue Paper published by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights
- 3rd quarterly activity report 2014 by Nils Muižnieks
> Bia Media Monitoring Reports :
Media’s 3 Years: A Summary With Graphics
October-December 2014
April-June 2014
> PEN International : Free expression under shadow
> IFJ reports : 2 journalists killed in Turkey in 2014
> CPJ reports : 40 imprisoned journalists in Turkey (2013) / 20 journalists killed in Turkey since 1992
> RSF Press Freedom Index 2014 : Turkey is ranked 149 out of 180 countries (between Mexico and DRCongo)
> Human Rights Watch : Turkey: Security Bill Undermines Rights
> Freedom House / Freedom of the Press 2014 : "The region’s largest numerical change occurred in Turkey, which declined from 56 to 62 points and moved from Partly Free to Not Free."
> Shorenstein Center (Harvard) / Corruption and Self-Censorship in
Turkish Journalism



Turkey’s journalists prosecution marathon has started !

This morning (21/09/2016), the Caglayan Court of Justice in Istanbul heard 5 different prosecution cases against journalists. The EFJ-IFJ and its affiliates TGS (Journalists Union of Turkey), DISK-Basin-Is (Journalists Union of Turkey from DISK) and TGC (Journalists Association of Turkey) have been able to observe the following cases : the appeal in the MIT Trucks case where journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül  working for Cumhuriyet newspaper who were sentenced to 5 years in jail for revealing state secrets and arms trafficking between Turkish intelligence services (MIT) and Syrian armed rebel groups. The hearing was held in secret but this did not…


Turkey: solidarity with a newspaper is not a crime

The first hearing at Istanbul court of justice was this morning (20/09/2016) against journalists Ayse Düzkan, Ragip Duran, Hüseyin Akyol and Inan Kizilkaya. The four journalists are being prosecuted for participating in a solidarity campaign with the Kurdish daily newspaper Özgür Gündem. After 20 minutes hearing, the judges decided to merge this case with 20 other similar cases and to resume the hearing on 15th December 2016. Before the case started, supporters gathered outside the court house to make public statements. The EFJ-IFJ representatives, Barry White and Mehmet Koksal, were present along with DISK Basin-Is members (journalists union), TGS members (journalists’…


My days in jail after the coup

The attempted coup of July 15 and its harsh impact on Turkish media and journalists. An editorial by Bulent Mumay, of one of the journalists arrested in those days and later released, published by our partner Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso “Son of a bitch! Bastard, traitor!”. “Dishonored! So you’re a traitor? You should be beaten up…”. “Shut up!”. “Son of a bitch! You are going to pay for this!”. Such an endearing banter, although not too original, could belong in a fight between teenagers or delirious hooligans during a game. Neither is true, though – these are hateful messages posted on…


Sanar Yurdatapan: “Civil society can help oppressed journalists”

The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ/IFJ) organised a press conference on 12 September on the theme: Turkey’s failed coup: implications for journalists, unionists and human rights activists at the Press Club in Brussels. Sanar Yurdatapan, a Turkish composer, human rights activist and initiator of Freedom of Expression Initiative-Turkey, was invited to speak about the prior and post-coup situation for freedom fighters. After showing a video footage showing the escalation of hate speech at the highest level in the country, he gave a brief picture of today’s Turkey where oppression, insults and threats towards media, activists and opposition parties have become a common place.…


International civil society organisations condemn crackdown on freedom of expression in Turkey

From 31 August to 2 September, an international delegation of civil society organisations visited Istanbul to demonstrate solidarity with writers, journalists and media outlets in Turkey. The failed coup of 15 July, in which at least 265 people were killed, has traumatised the Turkish population and the government must bring those responsible for the violence to account. However, this must be done on the basis of specific, individual evidence of involvement in a crime and with full respect for international standards on the right to freedom of expression, the right to liberty and security and the right to a fair…


Turkey: Evrensel journalists must be released immediately

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is backing the urgent call of his affiliates in Turkey (TGS & TGC) demanding the immediate release of Turkish journalists Cemil Ugur and Halil Ibrahim Polat detained since end-August 2016 at the province of Mersin (Turkey) while reporting for the daily newspaper Evrensel.   According to their lawyer, both journalists still in detention under the state of emergency “are exposed to insults and threats in prison” and the local police refuse to give further details about their situation. The EFJ and its affiliates are strongly concerned about the situation of journalists, the length of their detention and the alleged threats…


Turkey: Charges must be dropped in trial of former Taraf journalists

On 2 September, the first hearing will take place in a trial concerning three former senior editors of Taraf daily newspaper, Ahmet Altan, Yasemin Çongar and Yildiray Oğur; and two journalists, Mehmet Baransu and Tuncay Opçin. The undersigned organisations believe the trial to be politically motivated and call on the government to drop all charges against the accused and to immediately and unconditionally release Mehmet Baransu, who has been held in pre-trial detention since his arrest on 2 March 2015. The charges pre-date the 15 July coup attempt, which the undersigned organisations also condemned; however, this is a trial of…


Turkey: 23 staff members detained at Azadiya Welat newspaper

On 28 August, the police raided the main office of the Kurdish-language daily newspaper Azadiya Welat based in Diyarbakır. According to media reports, at least 23 staff members of the newspaper are currently detained at Diyarbakır Police headquarters following the raid, the names are : 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 and Mehmet Emin Akgün. Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reported that the police justified the raid by the notice they received that “there are [illegal] organizational meetings held”. Phones and IDs of the employees have been…


EFJ and partners win Turkey’s Press Freedom Award

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and 9 other partner organisations have been on awarded on 19/08/2016 Turkey’s Press Freedom Award given by an independent jury under the auspice of the Turkish Association of Journalist (TGC). The prize wants to thank the international coalition for their involvement in emergency press freedom missions of 2015 in between the two elections in Turkey. Mr Kadri Gürsel, journalist and IPI’s Turkish National Committee chairman, received the prestigious prize on behalf of the international coalition. The EFJ warmly thanks the jury for this meaningful collective award and look forward to continue its work and…


Kurdish daily shut down and journalists houses raided in Turkey

Updated (19.08.2016): 22 journalists detained in Özgur Gündem raid have been released. Özgur Gündem is the latest opposition newspaper in Turkey to be forcibly shut down following the crackdown on media in the wake of a failed coup. A court in Istanbul ordered the closure of the pro-Kurdish newspaper on Tuesday for spreading alleged propaganda on behalf of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The move comes as Can Dündar, editor in chief of another opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, resigned from his position, claiming he would live abroad after having been condemned to 5 years in prison for allegedly divulging state secrets.…


Abusive behaviors and threats against Turkish journalists in detention

Evrensel journalists Hasan Akbaş, Fırat Topal and Serpil Berk, as well as Reuters’ correspondent Sertaç Kayar have been recounting “the torture and threats” they faced after being arrested as the crackdown on media continues across Turkey. The European and International Federation of Journalists (FEJ/FIJ) has joined their affiliate DISK Basin-Is in demanding an end to the crackdown and respect for the rights of professional media workers. The four journalists were among the first on the scene following a bomb attack on 10 August in the Southeast Anatolian province of Diyarbakir. Deemed suspicious by the police for being in the vicinity of…

Turkey #1 (1)

Solidarity campaign with Turkish journalists: how to help

 The European and International Federation of Journalists (EFJ/IFJ) launched a solidarity campaign with the Turkish journalists following the new attacks on press freedom and human rights in Turkey since the coup attempt on 15 July. We invite EFJ/IFJ affiliates and partners to help the Turkish colleagues by: sending a letter to the Turkish ambassador in your country and/or your national government (sample letters enclosed) sending a contribution to the IFJ Safety Fund in order to support individual requests from Turkey (Bank account BE64 2100 7857 0052; Swift Code GEBABEBB; communication “Solidarity Turkey”) sharing in your social media and website the visual “Did you…


Journalists detained in Turkey since the coup attempt, 15 July

The EFJ and the IFJ listed 110 journalists and media workers/owners detained since the coup attempt (15 July) in Turkey: source: European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and affiliates list updated on: 26 September 2016 you can submit a new alert (arrest or release) HERE   İbrahim Balta (Zaman) Seyit Kılıç (former TRT) Bayram Kaya (Yeni Hayat) Cihan Acar (Bugün) Hanım Büşra Erdal (Zaman) Zeynel Abidin Bulut (Azadiya Welat) Zehra Dogan (JINHA) Sahin Alpay (former Zaman) Ali Bulaç (former Zaman) Mümtazer Türköne (former Zaman) Zafer Özsoy Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş (Cihan Medya Deputy Chair) Cuma Kaya (former Zaman) Murat Avcıoğlu (former Zaman) Şeref Yılmaz (Irmak TV) Hüseyin…

A man holds up a placard as people demonstrate in support of Turkish daily newspaper Zaman in front the headquarters in Istanbul on March 4, 2016.
An Istanbul court on Friday ordered into administration the Turkish daily newspaper Zaman  that is sharply critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, amid growing alarm over freedom of expression in the country.  / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

Turkey: EU must hold Turkish President accountable for press freedom violations

Updated 28.07.2016. As arrests of journalists and media closure continue, the European and the International Federation of Journalists (EFJ/IFJ) call on the European Union to take additional steps to hold Turkish president Erdogan accountable for press freedom breaches.   Since the coup aimed at toppling President Erdogan failed on 16 July, the EFJ and IFJ have been alerting on the number of arrests of journalists and media closure for being allegedly  associated with the pro-Gülen movement accused of being behind the failed coup.   The situation came to a point where local media’s fear to be arrested is leading to an increasing…

Turkish journalists protested against the arrest of colleagues in Ankara on June 30, 2016.
The Turkey representative for Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has been released with conditions after he was detained 10 days ago on "terrorist propaganda" charges, the head of the media rights group said on June 3, 2016. RSF chief Christian Deloire confirmed the release of Erol Onderoglu to AFP, while local media said rights activist and academic Sebnem Korur Fincanci had also been freed. Journalist Ahmet Nesin could also be released shortly pending a judge's decision, according to the same sources. 

Turkey: press freedom in the grip of major crackdown following failed coup

UPDATED 27.07.16 An ongoing crackdown on the media in Turkey has led to the arrests of more journalists and raids on their homes. The International and the European Federation of journalists (IFJ/EFJ) today denounced the deterioration of democratic rule, of which press freedom is one of the pillars. On 22 July, Zehra Dogan, painter and editor at women’s news agency JINHA, was arrested by police in Mardin, south-east of Turkey. She was taken to the Nusaybin police office the following day. During the interrogation, she was accused of “being a member of the terrorist organisation PKK.” The anti-terror prosecutor Irfan…


Turkey: International community must take a strong stand against freedom violations

Attacks targeting the media in Turkey have led the International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ/EFJ) to alert the Council of Europe about a series of new press freedom violations. The federations are calling on the International and European communities to take concrete steps against the Turkish government’s assaults on fundamental human rights that are contrary to international and European conventions. Mustafa Cambaz, a photojournalist for the Turkish Daily Yeni Safak was killed during the attempted coup in Turkey on 15 July. In the early hours of Saturday 16 July, Turkish soldiers who attempted to overthrow the government seized control…

Turkish solders stay with weapons at Taksim square as people protest against the military coup in Istanbul on July 16, 2016. 
Turkish military forces on July 16 opened fire on crowds gathered in Istanbul following a coup attempt, causing casualties, an AFP photographer said. The soldiers opened fire on grounds around the first bridge across the Bosphorus dividing Europe and Asia, said the photographer, who saw wounded people being taken to ambulances.


A photojournalist killed and media occupied in Turkey: press freedom was targeted

Mustafa Cambaz, photojournalist for the Turkish daily Yeni Safak was killed by soldiers during the attempt coup in Turkey, last night, in the Cengelkoy neighborhood of Istanbul. Soldiers took control of the state broadcaster TRT, the private broadcasters CNN-Turk and Kanal D, and the daily newspaper Hurriyet. In the Ankara studios of TRT, news anchor Tijen Karas was forced to read a statement at gunpoint. Several journalists were attacked during the clashes. In Istanbul, civilians protesting the coup beat Selçuk Şamiloğlu, a photojournalist for Hurriyet and the Associated Press. Following the attempted coup, the Information Technologies and Communications Authority (BTK, the…


Turkey: Charges against five journalists must be dropped

Charges of acquiring and divulging state secrets, membership of, and administration of a terrorist organisation brought against five journalists, including four former members of Taraf newspaper’s editorial and investigative staff, must be dropped and one of the accused, Mehmet Baransu, must be released immediately and unconditionally,the European Federation of Journalists,the International Federation of Journalists, PEN International, English PEN, German PEN, Swedish PEN, PEN America, Article 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists,, the Ethical Journalism Network, IFEX, Index on Censorship, Global Editors Network and Reporters Without Borders said in a joint statement today (14/07/2016). “These charges are a clear infringement of the…


I am a journalist campaign running in Turkey

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) supports the I am a journalist  #Bengazeteciyim campaign launched by journalists and media freedom advocates from Turkey.  European journalists stand in solidarity with their colleagues in Turkey who fiercely continue their job despite facing relentless attacks and attempts to silence them. The support is also extented to the 34 journalists and media workers in jail and to those facing arrest as retaliation for their exercise of their right to freedom of expression and freedom to inform. I am a journalist! Journalism is not a crime. In Turkey, oppression of the press is getting worse by the day.…


Arrest of 3 editor-in-chief in Turkey is unacceptable !

The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ-IFJ) strongly condemn the arrestation of Şebnem Korur Fincancı (President of Turkey Human Rights Foundation), Erol Önderoğlu (journalist at Bianet and RSF Turkey correspondent) and Ahmet Nesin (journalist and author). The three editor-in-chief ad interim of the Kurdish daily newspaper Özgür Gündem have been arrested today (June 20) over “terror propaganda” because of their participation as temporary editor-in-chief to the production of the newspaper in the framework of a project called Editors in Chief on Watch coordinated by Özgür Gündem daily. The campaign launched on May 3 for the Unesco’s World Press Freedom Day has…


TGS wins European award for organising international solidarity

This year’s edition of the Silver Rose Awards took four highly prevailing political choices: Among the winners is the Journalists Union of Turkey (Türkiye Gazeteciler Sendikasi, TGS), which supports jailed journalists and promotes solidarity between journalists in Turkey and abroad. TGS President Uğur Güç came to Brussels to receive the prize at the European Parliament. “It’s really a great honor for all of us in Turkey to receive this prize from SOLIDAR network and especially at the European Parliament in Brussels given the challenges we are facing to defend our freedoms and to fight for our rights against an oppressive system…


Winner of the 2016 SOLIDAR Silver Rose Awards is the Journalist Union of Turkey (TGS)

In a world of rapid changing political and social circumstances, growing conflicts and inequalities, progressive politics to ensure social justice and global solidarity are more important than ever. The 2016 edition of the SOLIDAR Silver Rose Awards presents four courageous political choices with four awardees working on highly sensitive and late-breaking political issues: Press Freedom, Decent Work, Women’s Rights, Access to Education for All. This year’s winners are: Journalist Union of Turkey (Türkiye Gazeticiler Sendikasi, TGS), to which we dedicate the Silver Rose for Fundamental Rights. TGS supports jailed journalists and promotes solidarity between journalists in Turkey and abroad –…


A silent problem: 4 stories on the threat of (self-)censorship

Hungary It all started with a simple question. Janos Karpati, then Brussels correspondent for the Hungarian national newswire, didn’t think it would terminate his longtime career when he addressed the Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban at a press conference at the fringes of the European Parliament’s plenary meeting in Strasbourg. Orban had come to Strasbourg to speak about migration – and his widely-criticized comment on reinstating the death penalty. Karpati, an experienced correspondent who has worked in Prague and Washington, DC, asked Orban about Fidesz’ position within the European People’s Party, a question he hadn’t cleared with anyone beforehand. He…


Turkey must stop feeding its environment of fear for journalists and trade unionists

Update (25th May): Our Turkish colleague Erol Önderoglu is also under criminal investigation for “terrorist propaganda” for participating in a solidarity campaign with the Kurdish daily newspaper Özgür Gündem. The EFJ and IFJ demand that all criminal charges be dropped against journalists involved in this campaign. The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ and IFJ) is calling upon the presumptive upcoming Turkish Prime minister, Binali Yildirim, to end the climate of permanent judicial intimidation, threats, harassment, detention and physical assaults against journalists and media workers in Turkey. The EFJ is particularly underlining the fact that Turkish judicial authorities have recently opened an…


Press freedom must be a part of any agreement with Turkey

The European Federation of Journalist (EFJ) has strongly condemned the assassination attempt on 6 May in Istanbul against journalist Can Dündar (editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet daily newspaper) and the jail sentences of 5 years and 10 months for Can Dündar and 5 years for Erdem Gül for procuring, revealing and publishing state secrets. Cumhuriyet published in May 2015 footage that show Turkey’s state intelligence agency ferrying weapons into Syria in 2014, the journalists have since been accused of revealing state secrets. “This new verdict is clearly unacceptable, in contradiction with Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruling and nobody can claim of a fair trial since the court decided to hold the trial behind closed…


EFJ and IFJ reject Turkish journalists’ two years sentence

The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ and IFJ) have today condemned the sentencing of two prominent Turkish journalists to two years behind bars for illustrating their columns with a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed published by French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. Journalists Ceyda Karan and Hikmet Çetinkaya, from the independent Cumhuriyet daily, were sentenced to two years each in jail by an Istanbul criminal court today. They went on trial in January last year on charges of “inciting public hatred” and “insulting religious values” after illustrating their columns with the controversial cartoon. Bulent Utku, lawyer for Hikmet Çetinkaya and…


Foreign press correspondents increasingly banned from Turkey

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has today condemned the entry ban imposed by Turkish authorities against Russian journalist Tural Kerimov, the Turkey bureau chief for Sputnik news agency, who “was stopped by a border control officer who said the journalist was flagged as persona non grata by the Turkish authorities”. Turkish authorities seized Kerimov’s press card as well as his residence permit before sending him back to Russia. Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ, EFJ affiliate) has immediately condemned Kerimov being deported from Turkey. RUJ Secretary General and EFJ Vice-President, Nadezda Azhgikhina, made the following statement: “The rights of the…

(FILES) This combo made with file pictures shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) in Lima on February 2, 2016 and German TV comedian Jan Böhmermann on February 22, 2012 in Berlin.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on April 15, 2016 authorised a Turkish demand for criminal proceedings against Boehmermann over a crude satirical poem about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a bitter row over free speech. / AFP PHOTO / dpa AND AFP PHOTO / Britta PEDERSEN AND SEBASTIAN CASTAÑEDA / Germany OUT

Germany prosecutes a comedian on Turkey’s request

The DJV (Deutscher Journalisten-Verband) and Dju in ver.di (Deutsche Journalistinnen und Journalisten Union in ver.di) (EFJ affiliates in Germany) critised today (15/04/2016) the declaration of German Prime Minister Angela Merkel regarding the request of the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to file a criminal complaint against Germany’s most popular comedian Jan Böhmermann. “This decision of the Chancellor would not have been necessary because the Turkish President Erdogan has already filed a criminal complaint with the public prosecutor in Mainz” DJV Chairman Frank Überall said. Ms Merkel had previously announced that the German Federal Government would give an authorization to prosecute…


Scandalous Ban on Media at Turkey Media Trial

IFJ/EFJ  today condemned the decision to hold the trial of Can Dündar and Erdem Gül behind closed doors. All diplomats, journalists (including the IFJ and EFJ observers, Barry White and Mehmet Koksal), members of the public were evacuated from the court room. The ruling was made earlier today on the first day of the Dündar/Gül case charged with aiding a terrorist organisation, espionage and disclosure of classified documents, having reported on the supply of arms to Syrian fighters by the Turkish secret services. Gül and Dündar had previously been held for 92 days until the constitutional court set them free,…


Turkish journalists campaign for press freedom: sign the petition

The International and European Federations of Journalists joined today in Istanbul other media organisations in Istanbul for an international press conference in solidarity with Turkish journalists and media workers.One day before the hearing of Cumhuriyet journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, the organisations gathered to back the campaign to set free imprisoned journalists that has been launched by the Journalists Association of Turkey (TGC), Journalists’ Union of Turkey (TGS), Progressive Journalists Association (CGD), DISK-Basin Is trade union, Haber Sen trade union and the National Press Institute. The IFJ and the EFJ were represented by Barry White and Mehmet Koksal. The campaign…

International Conference 17-18 September 2015

In cooperation with the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS), the International and European Federation of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) are organising a major conference on 17-18 September 2015 in Istanbul on Press Freedom and Labour Rights in Turkey. This International event, supported by the European Commission, will be an important opportunity to support journalists in Turkey (including jailed journalists), strengthen the position of the journalists' trade union and invite national and international NGO's to share their experiences on how to improve press freedom, freedom of expression on social media and protect workers' rights in the media industry. Crucially, the timing of the conference will enable participants to set out a new campaign strategy for media reform for the new political climate following the June parliamentary elections. See the draft programme and contact us for registration.

International Conference

Financially supported by

The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights


This project is being implemented by the following organisations





Mehmet Koksal mehmet@europeanjournalists.org www.europeanjournalists.org GPG key ID : 00B4765D


The Set Journalism Free in Turkey campaign is part of the Campaign to decriminalise Turkish Journalism , to free speech and protect work place rights project which receives the financial support of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) Program managed by the European Commission. All responsibilities regarding the contents and the actions belong to the authors only and should not be considered as reflecting the views of the European Union.

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