Turkish gov’t launches probe against news platform established by jobless Kurdish journalists

Turkish government has launched a terror investigation against the 1HaberVar online news platform, which was established by the Kurdish journalists from the radio and TV stations that the government closed as part of its post-coup emergency measures.

Turkish media reported on Tuesday that Diyarbakır’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office has filed an investigation against the media platform on charges of making propaganda on behalf of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) via press.

The charges were backed up by remarks of some commentators interviewed by the 1HaberVar. The prosecutor has claimed that reports on some hunger striking prisoners were aimed at propagandizing for PKK. Commentators’ use of the word “Kurdistan” was also found supportive of PKK, media said.

İbrahim Arslan, an editor from the 1HaberVar said the investigation targets the editorial work produced by their media outlet. “Our video recordings and articles were included in the investigation. …Officials from the [pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP)] made a statement about their party’s jailed co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ. This was also considered as an offense since Yüksekdağ was earlier sentenced on charges of membership to a terror group.”

Journalists from 12 mostly pro-Kurdish news outlets that were shuttered in the government crackdown –Azadi TV, Özgur Gün TV, Jiyan TV, Van TV, Doğu Radyo, Gün Radyo, Özgür Radyo, Radyo Rengin, Radyo Karacadağ, Radyo Özgür Günes, Radyo Ses, Radyo Dünya– established 1HaberVar in December 2016.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the SCF has showed that 256 journalists and media workers are in jails as of December 7, 2017, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 230 are arrested pending trial, only 26 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 135 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. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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