A Turkish court files of a new case against jailed investigative journalist Ahmet Şık show that the informant against him was a reporter for Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, Cumhuriyet newspaper reported on Friday.
According to report by online news outlet Ahval, Anadolu news agency’s Gaziantep reporter Kerem Kocalar has reported Şık’s Twitter account to the Prime Ministry communications center in 2015. “This man is effectively threatening the state and I think he is sharing content that supports terror,” Kocalar wrote. “For God’s sake, inspect the individual with the username @sahmetsahmet,” he added.
The new charges for “insulting the Turkish people, the state of the Turkish Republic, and institutions and organs of the state” through political tweets carry a sentence of up to two years in prison and have been merged with the other cases against Şık.
Turkish government has investigated more than 39,000 social media users and detained more than 3,000 social media users and Turkish courts have arrested over 1,000 of them in 2017. Turkish police have conducted technical investigation about 16,000 of these social media accounts. Then, they have launched legal investigations for 9,600 of these social media users. As a result of these legal investigations police units detained over 3,000 social media users and transfered them to the courts. At least 1,000 of these detainees were arrested by Turkish courts.
Moreover, scores of people in Turkey have been detained or arrested or are under investigation on allegations of insulting Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over their social media posts. As of the end of 2016, at least 10,000 people were under investigation on suspicion of terrorist propaganda and insulting senior state officials on social media.
A total of 1,080 people were convicted of insulting Erdoğan in 2016, according to data from Turkey’s Justice Ministry. Data also showed that 4,936 cases were launched against people on charges of insult in 2016.
Şık has now been imprisoned for 371 days facing charges of propaganda for a variety of conflicting organisations the Turkish state considers terrorist groups, although his supporters say his hard-hitting criticism of government policy is the true reason he is behind bars.
Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the SCF has showed that 242 journalists and media workers are in jails as of January 4, 2018, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 215 are arrested pending trial, only 27 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 138 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.
Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt.