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INFO-TURK

A non-government information center on Turkey

Un centre d'information non-gouvernemental sur la Turquie

44th Year / 44e Année
Août
 
2020 August
N° 504
53 rue de Pavie - 1000 Bruxelles
Tél: (32-2) 215 35 76 - Fax: (32-2) 897 78 71
Chief Editor /Rédacteur en chef: 
Dogan Ozgüden

Responsible editor/Editrice responsable:

Inci Tugsavul
Human Rights
Pressures on  media
Kurdish Question
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Titres des évènements du mois
Titles of this month's events



Droits de l'Homme / Human Rights

Death-fasting arrested lawyers Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal not released

Pression sur les médias / Pressure on the Media

Social media law published on Official Gazette
Orhan Pamuk: «Le choix fait pour Sainte-Sophie coûtera cher»
"Journalist should not question! We arrest! We close down!"
Two journalists stood trial a day in July
Indictment against journalist Rawîn Stêrk five months after his arrest

Kurdish Question / Question kurde


Minorités / Minorities


Politique intérieure/Interior Politics


Forces armées/Armed Forces



Affaires religieuses / Religious Affairs
 
Fête du sacrifice: La deuxième prière à cimeterre à Sainte-Sophie

Socio-économique / Socio-economic



Relations turco-européennes / Turkey-Europe Relations



Turquie-USA-OTAN / Turkey-USA-NATO



Relations régionales / Regional Relations

Libye : la Turquie s'en prend aux Emirats, demandera des "comptes"
Congo: l'opposant Mokoko évacué en Turquie pour des soins

Chypre et la Grèce / Cyprus and Greece


Immigration / Migration



Droits de l'Homme / Human Rights

Death-fasting lawyers Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal not released

The İstanbul Forensic Medicine Institution has released its first report on the health conditions of death-fasting arrested lawyers Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal and, for both of them, the Forensic Medicine Institution has said that "it is not suitable for them to stay in prison."

After this report was issued in early morning hours today (July 30), the attorneys of Timtik and Ünsal submitted a petition to İstanbul 37th Heavy Penal Court, presenting both this medical report and their request for release. 152 petitions written by lawyers abroad and petitions signed by dozens of lawyers in Turkey requesting their release were also added.

Examining the application of the attorneys, the İstanbul 37th Heavy Penal Court has ruled that the arrest of lawyers Timtik and Ünsal shall continue. The court has also ruled that "a writ shall be written to the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office so that the necessary can be done to urgently ensure their medical follow-up and treatment in hospital conditions."

Prosecutor demanded continuation of arrest

Receiving the application, the court first sent it to the Prosecutor's Office. In his opinion, the prosecutor demanded that "the execution of their arrest take place at a hospital for treatment, considering their health conditions in the light of Forensic Medical Institution reports."

'As judicial control measures will fall short...'

Agreeing with the opinion of the prosecutor, the İstanbul 37th Heavy Penal Court has announced its ruling. Reiterating the reasons put forward by the attorneys for the release of Aytaç and Timtik and the findings in the Forensic Medicine Institution report, the court has said:

"...the report has indicated that 'the stay of defendants in prison conditions is not suitable for their health, they need to be hospitalized and their medical follow-up and treatment need to be done in hospital conditions;' accordingly, it has been considered that, at this stage, the medical follow-up and treatment of the defendants can be provided by the related prison administration, thereby fulfilling the requirements of the report..."

Regarding the request for release of the lawyers, the court has said that "...considering the nature and quality of the charged offense of being members of an armed terrorist organization, its being one of the offenses cited in the Article 100/3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CMK), the amount of penalty and the flight risk due to this amount of penalty, it has been concluded that the currently implemented measure will not be in an open improportionality and judicial control measures will fall short..."

Accordingly, the court has rejected their request for release and ruled that the arrest of Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal shall continue.

Ünsal death fasting for 179, Timtik for 210 days

On July 27, the İstanbul 37th Heavy Penal Court ruled that lawyers Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal, who have been on a death fast for their right to a fair trial in Silivri and Burhaniye Prisons respectively, should undergo a medical examination at the Forensic Medicine Institution.

Held in Burhaniye Prison, lawyer Aytaç Ünsal has been on a death fast for 179 days while lawyer Ebru Timtik has been on a death fast in Silivri Prison for 210 days. Ünsal was referred to Silivri to be taken to the İstanbul Forensic Medicine Institution. Their case file is currently in examination by the 16th Penal Chamber of the Court of Cassation.

What happened?

Announcing its verdict in the lawsuit filed against ÇHD lawyers on March 20, the court ruled that the lawyers should be sentenced to 3 years, 1 month, 15 days to 18 years, 9 months in prison.

The 2nd Penal Chamber of the İstanbul Regional Court of Justice rejected the objections and sent the file to the Court of Cassation.

The Chief Public Prosecutor's Office of the Court of Cassation expressed opinion that the prison sentences of all lawyers, except for the one given to lawyer Barkın Timtik, be upheld.

The letter of notification only indicated that the prison sentence of 18 years, 9 months given to Barkın Timtik for "establishing and leading an organization" as per the Article 314/1 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) should be overturned and he should also be penalized for "membership of an organization" like other lawyers.

The letter of notification only indicated that the prison sentence of 18 years, 9 months given to Barkın Timtik for "establishing and leading an organization" as per the Article 314/1 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) should be overturned and he should also be penalized for "membership of an organization" like other lawyers.

The letter of notification issued by the prosecutor's office has been sent to the 16th Penal Chamber of the Court of Cassation.

Lawyer Ebru Timtik, an executive of the ÇHD, and lawyer Aytaç Ünsal, a member of the ÇHD, have gone on a death fast for the right to a fair trial.   (BIA, 30 July 2020),


Pression sur les médias / Pressure on the Media

Social media law published on Official Gazette

Prepared by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and passed by the General Assembly of the Parliament on July 29, the law foreseeing changes in social media was published on the Official Gazette today (July 31).

The legal amendment introduces a new definition of "social media provider" to the Law on Regulation of Publications on the Internet and Suppression of Crimes Committed by Means of Such Publications.

Foreign-based social network providers that have more than 1 million daily visitors in Turkey will now assign at least one representative in the country.

As reported by the state-run Anadolu Agency (AA), the bill aims to set a formal definition of social media providers with the aim of designating a responsible representative for investigations and legal proceedings relating to the offenses committed on social media platforms.

Alternative Informatics Association Chair Faruk Çayır previously spoke to Hikmet Adal from bianet about the bill passed by the AKP and MHP MPs.

Finding the criticisms of "censorship" right, Çayır said, "It is a huge trickery to say that the law will give the right to be forgotten. There is not a single thing about the right to be forgotten in the new legislation."

Çayır also briefly added: "No matter what they do, information is sure to spread in one way or another. In today's world, it is impossible to prevent people from sharing information. Just as printing has managed to survive despite being regarded as the 'invention of the devil' at first, the hardships caused by this legislation, as hard as it is, will lead people to look for a way out, find new ways and increase knowledge."  (BIA, 31 July 2020)

Orhan Pamuk: «Le choix fait pour Sainte-Sophie coûtera cher»

Marco Ansaldo, La Repubblica, 31 juillet 2020

« C’est une erreur. Et je crains qu’elle nous coûte cher. » Depuis la terrasse de son appartement à Istanbul, Orhan Pamuk pose son regard sur l’architecture virtuose de Sainte-Sophie. L’air du soir est frais, les minarets sont illuminés. La voix du muezzin parvient jusqu’à nous. Le musée, si cher à l’auteur du Musée de l’innocence, est redevenu une mosquée.

« Je me souviens qu’il y a 20 ans », raconte l’auteur de tant de romans couronnés de succès ayant trait aux couleurs (Mon nom est Rouge, Le Livre noir, Le Château blanc), « Sainte-Sophie était encore peinte en jaune. Je devais être le seul à suivre de loin mais avec grand intérêt la restauration qui lui a donné sa teinte rosée actuelle. Je dois admettre qu’ils ont bien travaillé. »

Orhan Pamuk est seul chez lui. Il prépare du poisson pour son hôte, une délicieuse tarte aux artichauts, et débouche une bouteille de vin turc frais. Nous prenons l’apéritif face à Topkapi, le palais des sultans, et à Sainte-Sophie. Nous trinquons, il soupire. Il ne peut s’empêcher de penser aux romans à écrire et aux engagements à honorer : « J’ai un livre à finir et mes 52 éditeurs dans le monde ne me laissent pas une seconde de répit », sourit-il. « Je suis complètement bloqué parce que je passe mon temps à répondre à des e-mails. »

La Turquie actuelle, avec ce tournant voulu par le président Erdogan, soulève une question fondamentale : peut-on encore parler d’un pays laïque, comme le souhaitait Mustafa Kemal ? « Atatürk a décidé de transformer Sainte-Sophie en 1934. À l’époque, c’était une mosquée ottomane. »

Et pourquoi l’a-t-il fait ?

Parce qu’il voulait ancrer la sécularisation de l’État turc et de son gouvernement. C’était aussi un message adressé au reste du monde : « Nous ne sommes pas comme les autres pays et gouvernements musulmans, nous voulons faire partie du monde occidental. » C’était ça, le message.

Et maintenant ?

Aujourd’hui, on remplace ce message par un discours populiste, anti-occidental et islamique. Il est évident qu’il appartient à la nation de décider du destin d’Ayasofya (Sainte-Sophie, NDLR). Mais comme moi, des milliers de Turcs croient au sécularisme et s’opposent à cette décision.

Que peuvent-ils faire ?

La liberté d’expression n’existe pas en Turquie : on ne peut donc pas les entendre.

Et quelle était la particularité de la Turquie en tant que pays laïque ?

Les Turcs sont fiers de l’héritage séculaire d’Atatürk. Ils sont fiers d’être différents des autres nations musulmanes. Mais cette fierté leur a été retirée par la nation. C’est une erreur, une erreur populiste.

Il semble qu’Erdogan tente de rassembler l’électorat conservateur et religieux de son parti et celui des nationalistes.

En réalité, le gouvernement ne se comporte pas toujours comme un islamiste pur et dur. Pendant la période de pandémie, par exemple, il a tout de suite décidé de fermer les mosquées pour les prières du vendredi, un véritable choix séculier, ce qui n’a posé de problème à personne.

Comment les autres pays musulmans se sont-ils comportés ?

En Iran et au Pakistan, les gouvernements n’ont pas été aussi courageux et n’ont pas fermé les mosquées aux foules.

Pourquoi l’a-t-on fait ici ?

C’est justement en vertu de l’héritage d’Atatürk que le gouvernement turc a pu fermer les mosquées.

Et maintenant, qu’en est-il ?

Maintenant cet héritage est réduit à néant.

Nous passons à l’étage supérieur, ouvert depuis peu. La vue y est encore plus belle. Sainte-Sophie, avec sa coupole grise plongée dans le rose des murs, semble dominer le Bosphore. Peu de meubles occupent l’immense espace intérieur. Orhan Pamuk désigne le canapé, devant la fenêtre, sur lequel il vient parfois prendre du repos, au frais. « J’aime écouter la voix du muezzin la nuit. »

Il arpente les couloirs, et avoue s’être mis à courir ici pendant le confinement. (« La réglementation interdisait aux plus de 65 ans de sortir, je faisais donc des tours, 40 minutes par jour. ») Il me montre avec fierté comment il a organisé ses bibliothèques (il détient 20.000 volumes). Celle consacrée à la littérature italienne – avec Dante et Manzoni, Boccace et Svevo, Moravia et Eco – se trouve justement dans le salon du canapé, avec la littérature allemande. Puis aux étages supérieur et inférieur, on trouve la littérature française, l’histoire et les traductions de ses livres. Les fameux 52 éditeurs, dans plus de 60 pays.

C’est dans une petite pièce qu’il a empilé tous ses manuscrits, dans des boîtes de déménagement. Et là, surprise, un coffre noir qui contient de nombreuses lettres. Il l’ouvre. C’est un cadeau précieux : à Stockholm, il lui a consacré son discours prononcé à l’occasion du Prix Nobel qui lui a été décerné. Puis il en a fait un livre, La valise de mon papa. Un titre qui pouvait bien se passer d’en mentionner la couleur.

Un esprit indépendant

Orhan Pamuk est né le 7 juin 1952 à Istanbul, dans une famille cultivée de la bourgeoisie. Son premier roman (Cevdet Bey et ses fils, 1982) s’inspire en partie de son histoire familiale.

En 1983, Le Château blanc est son premier roman à être traduit en anglais. Ecrivain turc le plus célèbre dans le monde, Orhan Pamuk est lauréat de nombreux prix littéraires internationaux. En 2006, il obtient le prix Nobel de littérature. Ses romans ont rencontré un succès planétaire depuis leur parution et l’on estime qu’ils se sont vendus à plus de onze millions d’exemplaires. Il a régulièrement manifesté son opposition au régime du président Erdogan.

"Journalist should not question! We arrest! We close down!"

While the pressures targeting critical journalists and media outlets are getting more and more grave in Turkey, the attempts to split bar associations and bring social media under a stricter government and judicial control could undermine rights-defending in fields such as freedom of expression.

The April-May-June 2020 BİA Media Monitoring Report signals that press freedom is subjected to serious pressures, in a way against the spirit of the Human Rights Strategy Document, as a result of political alliance policies of the Presidential Government System.

The report also points at a period when the Press Advertising Institution (BİK) and the Television and Radio Supreme Council (RTÜK), two media regulators that one would expect an autonomous and rightful stace, imposed harsh penalties on Evrensel, Cumhuriyet and BirGün newspapers on the one hand, and on Fox TV, TELE 1 and Halk TV on the other.

Journalism organizations and rights circles expressed their strong criticisms in the face of all those sanctions, underlining that "they served to toll the death knell for critical journalism" in Turkey.

Journalists frequently threatened with arrest

Covering the period when national and international journalism organizations raised their voices for several arrested journalists in Turkey such as Barış Pehlivan, Müyesser Yıldız, Murat Ağırel and Hülya Kılınç on the occasion of May 3 World Press Freedom Day, the report shows that 93 journalists faced 4 aggravated life sentences and 883.5 years in prison as well as non-pecuniary damages of 1 million 260 thousand Turkish Lira (TRY) in total as per the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), Anti-Terror Law (TMK), the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Law, the Law on Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) and the Law on Capital Market (SPK). Several trials of journalists followed by bianet in the period covered by the report were adjourned to the aftermath of June 15, 2020.

In April-May-June 2020, at least two journalists were arrested. Of these two journalists, Odatv Ankara News Director Müyesser Yıldız is still arrested while Hakan Aygün was released in the same period.

Though three of them were released in their first hearing, the fact that six journalists were arrested for reporting on the funeral of a MİT officer who lost his life in Libya signalled how easy it was to arrest journalists by charging them with "disclosing the confidential information of the state" and how easy it was to release them on probation in authoritarian regimes.

The process has shown that a critical approach to the economy policies of the government in the time of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and an objection to foreign policies such as an intervention in Libya would lead journalists to be arrested. The social media protest demanding the release of closed Cihan News Agency (CHA) reporter Mevlüt Öztaş suffering from pancreatic cancer helped to make it visible how difficult the conditions that old or ill prisoner journalists found themselves in.

As the ones behind bars as per the Anti-Terror Law or the Law on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) were not included in the law on criminal enforcement that was amended with the aim of reducing prison population following the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, several journalists arrested on a series of charges such as "propagandizing for a terrorist organization", "aiding a terrorist organization", "membership of the organization", etc. were not released. That being the case, the lives of several journalists who allegedly violated freedom of press and expression were put at risk.

Local journalists targeted in detentions

In the period of April-May-June 2020, three journalists were taken into custody and three journalists were summoned to depose. This period also shows that the role of journalists as investigators disturbs the authorities to such an extent that they do not hesitate to arbitrarily detain them.

In this period, İsmail Dükel was detained because he thought about the foreign policy of Turkey, Yusuf Kayışoğlu from Bursa was detained because he reported on the struggle for environment and Gökhan Karabulut from Kocaeli because he criticized the health policies on coronavirus.

In Sakarya, in response to ruling AKP Sakarya MP Ali İhsan Yavuz, who complained that "the media did not write about good things," three journalists penned an article entitled "We are lucky to have you." They were forced to depose at the Security Directorate on charge of "insult."

2 attacks, 7 threats, verbal attacks on women

In the period of April-May-June 2020, two journalists were targeted in physical assaults and seven journalists were threatened. In this period, two women journalists (Şirin Payzın and Nevşin Mengü) were subjected to sexist insults and sexual harassment while two journalists, including Yeniçağ columnist Yavuz Selim Demirağ, were threatened with death.

While Minister of Interior Süleyman Soylu verbally attacked Saygı Öztürk, a columnist for Sözcü newpspaer, İzmir-based Çağrı news website Grant Holder and Çağrı Radio Editor-in-Chief Ulvi Tanrıverdi was physically assaulted by a person and taken to hospital.

In the same period last year, at least 10 journalists were attacked. These attacks targeted rather the ones who criticized the ruling AKP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), two allies of the People's Alliance, following the Local Elections on March 31, 2019.

In the same period the year before, in 2018, two journalists and one media bureau were attacked and one media outlet was targeted in a verbal attack. 65 journalists were threatened, seven with death.

"Insulting the President": 61 journalists were convicted in six years

Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code, which began to be widely used because of publications and thoughts regarding Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after he was elected the President in August 2014, constituted the basis for the prison sentences, deferred prison sentences and monetary fines against at least 61 journalists until July 1, 2020.

In the April-May-June 2020 period, six journalists (Mustafa Hoş, Cem Şimşek, Özgür Paksoy, Ahmet Sever, Necla Demir and Erk Acarer) were still on trial for "insulting the President) for their views and criticism about President Erdoğan, facing 28 years in prison in total.

"Arbitrary detention" and "censorship" convictions by the Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court sentenced the state to pay 30,000 lira for damages in the April-May-June period, ruling that the arrest of a journalist for the second time violated the right to personal freedom and security. Also, the Constitutional Court ruled that freedom of expression and the press was violated with blocking access to sendika.org site entirely and sentenced the administration to pay 6,000 lira for damages. In this period, the Constitutional court ruled that an application by a journalist for the violation of the right to personal freedom and security and the right to a fair trial was clearly ill-founded.

In the same period last year, the Constitutional Court examined a total of 29 people and one media organization. It ruled that 95,207 lira (including court costs) shall be paid to three journalists for "violation of freedom of expression." The Constitutional Court also ruled that a total of 7,500 lira shall be paid to 15 arrested people. In this period, the Constitutional Court sentenced the state to pay a total of 102,707 lira for damages.

ECtHR's silence about journalists' rights

Continuing to examine high-priority files during the corona outbreak, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) did not make a decision for the applications of the freedom of press and expression in the last three months. The only public decision was given in the January-March period. Throughout 2019, the ECtHR sentenced Turkey to pay 66,240 Euro (410,672 lira) in total for damages in applications by 14 people for violation of freedom of the press or freedom of expression. In two Özgür Gündem executives' applications, the ECtHR ruled that the right to freedom of expression was not violated on the ground of "defending violence."

RTÜK: 48 monetary, 4 warning, 29 broadcast suspension penalties

In the April-May-June period, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), which predominantly consists of Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) members, became a topic of conversation not only because of numerous broadcast bans and monetary penalties but also RTÜK Chair Ebubekir Şahin's remarks, Northern Cyprus-based Diyalog TV's exclusion from the TÜRKSAT satellite, the council's double standard against violence and similar debates.

In the April-May-June 2020 period, RTÜK imposed 48 monetary, 4 warning and 29 broadcast suspension penalties on TV organizations and 4 monetary and 3 broadcast suspension penalties on radio organizations. The council imposed administrative fines of a total of 5 million 906 thousand 326 lira on TVs and 25,035 on radios.

In the same period last year, TV organizations were given 19 monetary and 19 broadcast suspension penalties. The council fined TVs 943,787 lira in total.

17 new dismissals

Seven reporters and nine camerapeople of CNN Türk TV, the employees of which were made to work in containers set up in the car park due to the coronavirus outbreak, were first put on leave and then dismissed. Journalist-author İsmail Saymaz's program on Best FM titled, "I can also say that" was canceled.

In the same period last year, at least 30 journalists, columnists or editorial staff members were either dismissed or forced to quit their jobs as a result of the editorial transformation of the media groups they were affiliated with. Also, the state-run TRT's administration reported 169 experienced TRT laborers to the State Personnel Directorate as "Employment Surplus Personnel."   (BIA, 31 July 2020)

Two journalists stood trial a day in July

Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) 26th term MP Barış Yarkadaş, who was also a former journalist himself, regularly releases monthly reports on violations of rights in Turkey's media.

Sharing his July 2020 report with the public today (July 31), Barış Yarkadaş has referred to the Sacrifice Feast, which started today and will be celebrated till August 3, and said, "This feast is a bit bittersweet for journalists because dozens of their colleagues are in prison."

Devoting the report to his colleagues who have to work on the feast as well, Yarkadaş has underlined that the pressures targeting journalists in Turkey systematically continued in July as well. "In July, an average of two journalists stood before the judge everyday," he has noted.

What happened in July?

Yarkadaş has summarized July 2020 in terms of rights violations faced by journalists in Turkey as follows:

    •    60 journalists stood before the judge, one journalist was detained.
    •    Two TV channels were blacked out for five days each.
    •    Two journalists faced an investigation.
    •    One newspaper was not admitted into prison.
    •    Public ads of one newspaper were cut for five days.
    •    A criminal complaint was filed against one journalist.
    •    Two artists faced a lawsuit and prison sentence.
    •    One journalist was subjected to an armed attack.
    •    One journalist was sentenced 2 years, 9 months, 22 days in prison.
    •    One journalist faced a suit for damages.
    •    Two journalists were attacked by a group.
    •    One arrested journalist was kept waiting in the detention room of a hospital.

Investigations, bans, fines...

Yarkadaş has also listed the violations of rights faced by journalists on a day to day basis. Some of these violations and their days are as follows:

July 1, 2020: The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) blacked out broadcasters Halk TV and TELE 1 for five days each.

July 1, 2020: The Directorate of the Gaziantep Type L Closed Psion decided to not allow daily Evrensel into prisons by alleging that it was not one of the newspapers who had the right to receive public ads.

July 2, 2020: T24 news website Editor-in-Chief Doğan Akın was acquitted of "knowingly and willingly aiding the organization as a non-member."

July 3, 2020: Reporting on the protests of bar associations in front of the Parliament, Artı TV Ankara representative Sibel Hürtaş was detained.

July 4, 2020: The Press Advertisement Institution (BİK) cut public ads of daily Evrensel over a news story entitled "CHP's Özel slams Altun over unpermitted construction" published on the newspaper on April 16.

July 4, 2020: The Parliamentary Speaker's Office filed a criminal complaint against columnist Yılmaz Özdil on charges of "publicly degrading the Parliament" and "inciting the public to enmity and hatred."

July 6, 2020: Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun filed a suit for damages of 250 thousand Turkish Lira (TRY) against daily Cumhuriyet over a news report entitled "There is illegal construction at the Bosphorus" about his house in Kuzguncuk, İstanbul.

July 7, 2020: A lawsuit was filed against actors Metin Akpınar and Müjdat Gezen on charge of "insulting the President." They are now facing four to eight years in prison each.

July 13, 2020: Arrested in Silivri Prison, journalist Murat Ağırel announced that he was kept waiting at the detention room of the prison hospital for 5.5 hours.

July 14, 2020: An investigation was launched against Nurcan Kaya, a columnist for Artı Gerçek news website, charging her with "propagandizing for the organization."

July 14, 2020: An investigation was launched against journalist Can Özçelik from daily Sözcü over his news story "the FETÖ exchange."

July 16, 2020: Journalist Gökhan Balcı was subjected to an armed attack while he was leaving his house in Çekmeköy, İstanbul in morning hours.

July 16, 2020: While journalist Deniz Yücel was acquitted of "inciting the public to enmity and hatred," he was sentenced to 2 years, 9 months and 22 days in prison for "propagandizing for the organization." A criminal complaint was filed against Yücel on charge of "insulting the President" and as per the Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).

July 17, 2020: Mezopotamya Agency reporter Ayşe Sürme and Jinnews reporter Öznur Değer were battered by a group during news follow-up.

July 22, 2020: Journalist Rojhat Doğru faced a 41-page indictment charging him with "membership of a terrorist organization" for having sent 2,000 Turkish Lira (TRY) to an arrestee.

July 24, 2020: Upon the application of the Muş Provincial Directorate of Family, Labor and Social Services, a broadcast and publication ban was imposed on the news regarding Fatma Altınmakas, a woman who was sexually assaulted by the brother of the man whom she was married to and was killed by the man that she was married to.

July 24, 2020: The Ankara 8th Penal Judgeship of Peace imposed an access block on four news about Minister of Treasury and Finance Berat Albayrak published on daily Sözcü, T24, Odatv and Toplumsal Haber news websites on the ground that they "violated his personal rights."

July 25, 2020: The access block on sendika.org is still in effect despite a Constitutional Court ruling dated March 2020. Making a statement about the issue, sendika org has said that it has been 136 days since the Constitution Court ruling of right violation.  (BIA, 31 July 2020),

Indictment against journalist Rawîn Stêrk five months after his arrest

İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office has filed an indictment against Rûdaw reporter Rawîn Stêrk, who was arrested on March 6 while reporting on the situation of refugees on Turkey-Greece border in Edirne after Turkey announced that it opened the border to Europe.

In its indictment filed five months after his arrest, journalist Stêrk is now facing the charges of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" and membership of an armed terrorist organization."

The two pages of three-page indictment prepared by Prosecutor Edip Şahiner are allocated to the establishment of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), their history and how their structure and organization have changed over the years.

Edip Şahiner was also the prosecutor of Gezi Trial, where 16 defendants, including Osman Kavala, were put on trial for "attempting to overthrow the government of Republic of Turkey."

Demanding aggravated life sentence for Osman Kavala, Yiğit Aksakoğlu and Mücella Yapıcı and prison sentences of up to 20 years for six defendants, he appealed against the ruling after the defendants were acquitted.

'Rûdaw' not mentioned in the indictment

The indictment of the prosecutor has indicated that the Anti-Terror Bureau of the İstanbul Security Directorate took an action against Stêrk in 2013, accusing him of "establishing, leading and being a member of an armed terrorist organization." It has also noted that the Adana Anti-Terror Bureau also took action against him in 2008, charging him with "propagandizing for the PKK/KCK terrorist organization."

It has also alleged that before he was arrested, Stêrk was a reporter for Roj TV and DİHA, "which are broadcasting in the name of PKK," he was making news for these media outlets and got on Roj TV on the phone.

The indictment has not mentioned that he is a reporter for Rûdaw.

The news photos, archive photos and images in their cameras and digital materials that they had with they when they were detained were also considered criminal evidence for "propagandizing for the organization."

Prosecutor demands penalization

In the "legal evaluation and conclusion" part of the indictment, prosecutor Şahiner has noted that "...when the social media posts of the suspect, the findings acquired from the examination of digital materials that the suspect had on him and his activities in media outlets engaging in activities in the name of terrorist organization are evaluated as a whole, it has been understood that the suspect acted in a de facto and organic bond with the organization within the frame of PKK terrorist organization's ideologies, thereby committing the charged offense of membership of a terrorist organization as per the Article 314/2 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) and the offense of propagandizing for a terrorist organization in a repetitive manner as per the Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law no. 3713..."

Accordingly, the indictment has demanded that journalist Rawîn Stêrk be penalized on the offenses charged.

His attorney requested his release

After the indictment was prepared, Özcan Kılıç, the attorney of Stêrk, has requested his release on the ground that, in contrast with the "organization membership" charge brought by the prosecutor's office, the court arrested him on charge of "propagandizing for the organization."

Noting that the allegation of "organization membership" mentioned in the indictment is not based on concrete evidence or the article of the law, Kılıç has underlined that the investigation dated 2013 was cited as the reason for his arrest and, as there is already a file of this investigation, arresting Stêrk based on this file means filing repeating lawsuits.   (BIA, 30 July 2020)


Kurdish Question / Question kurde


Minorités / Minorities


Politique intérieure/Interior Politics


Forces armées/Armed Forces


Affaires religieuses / Religious Affairs

Fête du sacrifice: La deuxième prière à cimeterre à Sainte-Sophie

Plusieurs milliers de musulmans ont pris part vendredi 31 juillet à la première prière de la Fête du sacrifice organisée dans l'ex-basilique Sainte-Sophie depuis la reconversion en mosquée de cet édifice emblématique d'Istanbul.

L'événement alarmant de la journée était une fois de plus le show guerrier du chef de l'Autorité religieuse (Diyanet) Ali Erbas qui, pendant son prêche, tenait un cimeterre symbolisant la conquête de Constantinople par les Ottomans en 1453.

Le chef du Parlement Mustafa Sentop a également participé à cette première prière de la Fête du sacrifice Sainte-Sophie depuis 86 ans.

Œuvre architecturale majeure construite au 6ème siècle, Sainte-Sophie a été une basilique byzantine avant d'être convertie en mosquée après la prise de Constantinople par les Ottomans en 1453.

En 1934, le président de la République Atatürk a converti le monument en musée afin d'en faire le symbole d'une Turquie laïque.

Mais le 10 juillet dernier, le président Recep Tayyip Erdogan a décidé de rendre l'édifice au culte musulman, dans la foulée d'une décision de justice révoquant son statut de musée.

Cette mesure a suscité la colère de la Grèce, pays voisin de la Turquie qui suit de près le devenir du patrimoine byzantin. Le pape François s'est aussi dit «très affligé».
(AFP, 31 juillet 2020)


Socio-économique / Socio-economic


Relations turco-européennes / Turkey-Europe Relations


Turquie-USA-OTAN / Turkey-USA-NATO


Relations régionales / Regional Relations

Libye : la Turquie s'en prend aux Emirats, demandera des "comptes"

La Turquie a vivement dénoncé vendredi les actions "malintentionnées" des Emirats arabes unis en Libye, où les deux pays soutiennent des camps opposés, et affirmé que les "comptes seront faits" entre Ankara et Abou Dhabi.

"Abou Dhabi est en train de faire certaines choses en Libye et en Syrie. Tout cela est en train d'être consigné. Les comptes seront faits en temps et en heure", a déclaré le ministre turc de la Défense Hulusi Akar dans un entretien avec la chaîne de télévision qatarie Al Jazeera.

"Il faut demander à Abou Dhabi d'où viennent cette hostilité, ces mauvaises intentions, cette jalousie", a ajouté M. Akar, selon le compte-rendu en turc de cette interview publiée par le ministère de la Défense à Ankara.

Ces déclarations interviennent dans un contexte de tensions croissantes entre les pays impliqués dans le conflit en Libye, qui oppose le Gouvernement d'union nationale (GNA), reconnu par l'ONU et siégeant à Tripoli, et le maréchal Khalifa Haftar, qui règne sur l'est et une partie du sud de ce pays.

Le GNA est soutenu militairement par la Turquie, mais M. Haftar est appuyé par l'Egypte voisine, les Emirats arabes unis, l'Arabie saoudite et la Russie.

"Il faut que ces pays cessent de soutenir (Haftar) pour que la stabilité revienne et qu'un cessez-le-feu puisse être négocié. Il faut qu'ils poussent le putschiste Haftar à renoncer à certains de ses objectifs", a déclaré M. Akar, réaffirmant l'appui turc au GNA.

Les tensions se sont renforcées ces dernières semaines, l'Egypte menaçant d'intervenir militairement si le GNA avance vers la ville stratégique de Syrte, le prochain objectif affiché des forces de Tripoli.

Le conflit en Libye a aggravé les tensions entre Ankara et Abou Dhabi, dont les relations se sont dégradées ces dernières années sur fond de rivalité régionale et en raison du soutien apporté par les Turcs au Qatar dans la querelle qui oppose ce pays à ses voisins du Golfe.

Si la Turquie évite de s'en prendre directement à la puissante Arabie saoudite, elle n'hésite pas à critiquer les Emirats arabes unis.

En 2018, la Turquie avait ainsi donné le nom d'un dignitaire ottoman critiqué par Abou Dhabi à la rue où était située l'ambassade des Emirats à Ankara.
(AFP, 31 juillet 2020)

Congo: l'opposant Mokoko évacué en Turquie pour des soins

Les autorités de Brazzaville ont autorisé jeudi l'évacuation par avion médicalisé à destination d'Ankara en Turquie de l'opposant et prisonnier congolais Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko, 73 ans, au terme de longues semaines de tractations, a-t-on appris de sources concordantes.

"L'avion (médicalisé) transportant le général, son médecin et trois agents de sécurité a décollé de l'aéroport international de Brazzaville à 11h28 (10h28 GMT) à destination d'Ankara en Turquie", a déclaré à l'AFP Yvon Éric Ibouanga, avocat du général Mokoko.

L'information a été confirmée par une source de l'Agence nationale de l'aviation civile (Anac), qui a requis l'anonymat: "Le général a bien embarqué et l'avion a bien décollé".

"Envoyer le général Mokoko en Turquie pour des soins, c'est exporter la maison d'arrêt de Brazzaville à Ankara, parce que la Turquie n'est pas un modèle en matière des droits de l'homme et des libertés fondamentales", a réagi l'opposant Paulin Makaya, dirigeant du parti Unis pour le Congo (UPC), au cours d'une conférence de presse.

Candidat malheureux au scrutin présidentiel en mars 2016, le général Mokoko, qui avait contesté la réélection de Denis Sassou Nguesso, a été condamné pour "atteinte à la sûreté de l'État" et "détention illégale d'armes et munitions de guerre", au terme d'un procès controversé en 2018.

Il avait été admis à l'hôpital militaire de Brazzaville le 2 juillet pour "fatigue générale et manque d'appétit", selon son avocat.

Plusieurs associations de défense des droits de l'homme, des avocats et des opposants ont multiplié des appels en vue de son évacuation.

Le 16 juillet, les autorités avaient interdit une marche pacifique organisée par une coalition de la société civile pour réclamer cette évacuation, évoquant des risques de propagation du coronavirus.

"Le plus important est qu'il recouvre sa santé. Le reste nous le verrons plus tard", a réagi auprès de l'AFP Trésor Nzila, de l'Observatoire congolais des droits de l'homme (OCDH).

Le président Sassou Nguesso, qui cumule 35 ans au pouvoir, avait estimé début mai qu'il n'y avait "pas de raison" de libérer deux opposants politiques, dont M. Mokoko, pour désengorger les prisons face au coronavirus.
(AFP, 30 juillet 2020)


Chypre et la Grèce / Cyprus and Greece


Immigration / Migration





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