Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has finally identified the names of 19 arrested journalists who were working for state-run network Turkish Radio Television Corporation (TRT), bringing the total number of journalists in Turkey’s prisons to a new record of 258.
On April 7, 2017, the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for 38 people working for TRT on usual trumped-up charges of terror. An Ankara court ruled for the formal arrest of 20 journalists after 11 days in police custody. Only 2 of them were released pending trial.
As the names of those who were arrested were not released to the public and SCF was unable to identify their names, they were not included in prior list of jailed and wanted journalists in Turkey.
SCF finally managed to obtain the names of 19 arrested TRT employees on May 21, 2017, leaving only one remained anonymous. Hence, it updates its mammoth list of a new record for Turkey’s jailed journalists as 258.
Turkish government is not forthcoming with the details of the cases launched against journalists, claiming that no single journalist in Turkey is behind bars or no journalist was imprisoned for a journalistic work.
As most media in Turkey is controlled by the government, the case of arrested journalists are not reported or their names were ignored in the available news coverage. Family members and lawyers are also afraid of sharing the information with human rights and advocacy organizations for fear of further reprisals in terms of torture, abuse and new charges.
Here are the 19 employees of the TRT that were arrested on April 18, 2017.
1- Hasan Taşar / Reporter
2- Murat Kirti / Producer
3- Kemal Erdem / Specialist
4- Emre Kazan / Specialist
5- Cavit Atasever / Editor
6- Servet Dağ / TRT Şeş / Reporter
7- İbrahim Halil Öztürkeri / TRT Şeş /Reporter
8- Osman Zeybek / Reporter
9- Cihangir Çetin / Anchor
10- Mehmet Ali Öğet / TRT Şeş /Reporter
11- Hasan Basri Erden / Reporter
12- Mustafa Ünal / TRT Türk / Technical Director
13- Kemal Erdem / Reporter
14- Özden Kınık / Director of Ankara Radio
15- Cem Çakıroğlu / Controller
16- Mustafa Yazgan / TRT Spor /Eurovision /Reporter
17- Hasan Hüseyin Örs / TRT Çocuk
18- Osman Taha Sirkeci / Technician
19- İbrahim Öztürk / Reporter
In the meantime, a court in Turkey’s central province Çorum ruled last week for keeping five local journalists in pre-trial detention in the first hearing into their cases. They were arrested on August 2016. SCF has identified four of these jailed journalists by names and the current list reflect that update as well.
As of today, 258 journalists and media workers languish behind bars in Turkey as the government escalated its crackdown on media. Of these, 236 are arrested pending trial, meaning that they are not convicted and in many cases, they are not even indicted.
More than 90 percent of jailed journalists have lost their freedom during the state of emergency government has renewed for the third time since controversial failed coup on July 15, 2016.
In several lists maintained by other advocacy groups on jailed journalists in Turkey, some local journalists were missed out in addition to 41 journalists who worked for the state-run TRT that SCF managed to identify.
Since SCF started publishing the list of arrested and wanted journalists in Turkey in late January, it has received several alerts including ones from journalists themselves or their family members, reflecting additions and changes to its database. SCF welcomes and encourages notifications, suggestions and changes to its list and remain open to update, correct any data provided that it gets confirmed.
SCF believes any jailed or wanted journalist deserves acknowledgment and recognition by name, and should receive equal attention no matter what his or her affiliation, political view, ethnicity, social group identification, age, experience, and background.
May 21, 2017