Turkish prosecutor shows tweets and retweets as evidence for accusing jailed journalists of being members of terror organisation

The case over the alleged media structure of the Gülen movement regarding 29 journalists on trial has eventually come to the decision stage. Among the jailed journalists only veteran journalist İbrahim Balta was released following the latest hearing at İstanbul’s 25th High Criminal Court on the grounds of his health conditions. During these hearing the prosecutor explained the opinion over his accusations.

The files of two journalists, Said Sefa and Bülent Ceyhan, who were fugitive, were separated. Defendant journalists Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Murat Aksoy and Muhterem Tanık, who were cracked up not to be members of the organization, were asked to be punished for their activities in favor of the organization. The prosecutor asked for the remaining 24 journalists to be sentenced from 7,5  years to 15 years of imprisonment with the alleged membership in “an armed terrorist organization.”

The reasons such as tweets, retweets and articles, which were explained by the prosecutor sorting on an individual basis, were found way-out. The fact that the cell phones of some journalists signaled in front of the Zaman or Bugün newspapers during the police raids as these newspapers were seized by government appointed trustees were also shown as evidence of ‘membership of the organisation.’ Thus, it is implied that showing solidarity with these newspapers is an act of crime for terrorist organization. The money deposited in Bank Asya and the mobile phone messaging application ByLock were also among the reasons for some names. The verdict will be released on February 22, 2018.

The prosecutor wrote the alleged evidences for every each defendants for being members of a terrorist organisation in his opinion presented at the court hearing are as follows:

Ahmet Memiş

Ahmet Memiş (news coordinator of the Haberdar online news outlet): He was the news coordinator of Haberdar and Rota Haber websites which were closed with a government decree. Said Sefa, who was the holder of a concession of Haberdar, was the first user of the Twitter account, @fuatavni. The owner of the Rota Haber was Ünal Tanık, who is also a defendant. Ünal Tanık let the anonymous twitter account named Fuat Avni to write column in the Rota Haber as a columnist. The fact that Ahmet Memiş has coordinated news on both websites indicates that the defendants shared the same idea and act in unity.

Ali Akkuş

 

Ali Akkuş (Editor of the now-closed Zaman daily): He worked at Zaman daily for 21 years. He posted retweets the contents of which the contents are written in the indictment. In his tweets, he evaluated the legal struggle against the organization (Gülen movement), the decisions to appoint trustees, the investigations within the scope of the fight against the organization and the administrative decisions as unfair. He was involved in systematic perception making activities on the behalf of the organization.

Abdullah Kılıç

Abdullah Kılıç (Editor and columnist for the now-closed Meydan daily): He worked for Zaman daily for 7 years. He served in Meydan newspaper since 2015. He deposited $ 7,000 in the Bank Asya on January 13, 2014 following the instruction of the organisation leader (Fethullah Gülen). He had made systematic perception activities on behalf of the organisation in his articles published in the Meydan daily. The mobile phone registered to his name signaled during the investigation process for the newspaper employees (Tahşiye Case) around the Vatan Street where the İstanbul Police Headquarter is located, around the Zaman daily building and İstanbul Courthouse. His phone also signalled around the buildings of Bugün and Kanaltürk TV during the process of appointing trustee to the Bugün daily and Kanaltürk Television on October 27-29, 2015.  Also it gave signal around the building of  Zaman daily between March 4-6, 2016 during the process of appointing trustee to the Zaman daily.

Atilla Taş

Atilla Taş (Columnist for the now-closed Meydan daily): He praised the members of the FETÖ (a derogatory term coined by Turkish government and Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan) and discredited the investigations. He supported Bugün TV, which was appointed a trustee.

Bayram Kaya

Bayram Kaya (Correspondent for the now-closed Zaman daily): He worked for Zaman daily for 9 years. He deposited TL500 (1USD was 2.2TL in 2014) on February 4, 2014, TL3,600 on June 26, 2014 and TL547 on September 4, 2014 respectively in Bank Asya After following the instruction of the organization leader (Fethullah Gülen). He downloaded the Bylock application to his cell phone. Sedat Güven, who was referred to the statement of being a member of the FETÖ, denounced that Bayram Kaya participated in religious conversations in a student residences affiliated to the Gülen movement during his university years. He also had fulfilled systematic perception making activities on the behalf of the organization with his tweets.

Bünyamin Köseli

Bünyamin Köseli: (Correspondent for the now-closed Aksiyon newsweekly): He worked for Zaman daily for 8 years. He served in Aksiyon magazine after 2015. Referring to the statement Atacan Deniz, who are accused of being a member of the FETÖ, denounced that Köseli was active in the Gülen movement during his university years. He made retweets of which the contents are written in the indictment. He had systematic perception making activities on behalf of the organization in his tweets. The mobile phone registered to his name signalled around the İstanbul Police Headquarter in the Vatan Street, the building of Zaman daily and İstanbul Courthouse during the investigation process for the newspaper employees (Tahşiye Case). It signalled around the buildings of Bugün daily and Kanaltürk TV during the process of appointing trustee to the Bugün daily and Kanaltürk TV on October 27-29, 2015. Also it gave signal around the building of Zaman daily during the process of appointing trustee to the Zaman daily on March 4-6, 2016.

Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu

Cemal A. Kalyoncu (Correspondent for the now-closed Aksiyon newsweekly): He worked for Zaman daily for 2 years and for the Aksiyon magazine for 22 years. He was a member of the Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV) which was affiliated with the Gülen movement. He made the retweets, of which contents were included in the indictment. In his own tweets, he was involved in systematic perception making activities on behalf of the organisation.

Cihan Acar

Cihan Acar (Correspondent for the now-closed Özgür Düşünce daily): After 2012 he worked for Zaman, Bugün and Özgür Düşünce dailies, the media outlets of the organisation. He made telephone calls through the Cocoa Talk (smart phone messaging application) in the framework of “intra-organization marriage.” He had chatted with N.R. on the purpose of marriage. He sent messages in order to get consultation from the elder brothers and elder sisters of the organisation. He is a member of the Pak Medya Press Union, which was affiliated with the organization. He had systematic perception making activities in his blog page on behalf of the organisation. The mobile phone registered to his name signalled around the İstanbul Police Headquarter in the Vatan Street, the building of Zaman daily and İstanbul Courthouse during the investigation process for the newspaper employees (Tahşiye Case). It signalled around the buildings of Bugün daily and Kanaltürk TV during the process of appointing trustee to the Bugün daily and Kanaltürk TV on October 27-29, 2015. Also it gave signal around the building of Zaman daily during the process of appointing trustee to the Zaman daily on March 4-6, 2016.

Cuma Ulus

Cuma Ulus (Managing Editor of the now-closed Millet daily): He worked as a managing editor of the Millet daily. He deposited TL9,600 on January 9, 2014, TL13,000 on May 27, 2014, TL1,600 on May 31, 2104, TL2,500 and TL200 on June 5, 2014 and TL24,000 on September 9, 2014 in Bank Asya following the instructions of the organization leader (Fethullah Gülen).

Davut Aydın (the now-closed online news outlet Merkür News): He worked as an “admin” for the Merkür News website with the nickname Osman Yağmur. And with the same nickname he opened an account on Twitter. The fugitive defendant Said Sefa, who was the first user of @fuatavni account, was writer in the Merkür news website. He downloaded the ByLock app to his mobile phone.

Emre Soncan

Emre Soncan (Correspondent for the now-closed Zaman daily): He has worked for Zaman daily for 12 years. He deposited TL11,000 on February 14, 2014, $2,774 on March 5, 2014, $8,134 on October 13, 2014 in Bank Asya following the instruction of the organization leader (Fethullah Gülen). He is a member of the Pak-Medya Press Union, which was affiliated with the organization. During his interrogation in the court, he referred to the terrorist organization as “the Gülen movement,” and he said he didn’t see it as a terrorist organization, and he revealed an organisational attitude. He performed systematic perception making activities on behalf of the organisation in his TV programs and interviews and tweets of which the contents are written in the indictment.

Habip Güler

Habib Güler (Correspondent for the now-closed Zaman daily): He has worked for Zaman daily for 16 years. He deposited TL39,000 on October 1, 2014, $26,505 on October 15, 2014 in Bank Asya following the instruction of the organization leader (Fethullah Gülen). He performed systematic perception making activities on behalf of the organisation with his tweets of which contents are written in the indictment.

İbrahim Balta

Halil İbrahim Balta (Correspondent for the now-closed Zaman daily): He worked for Zaman daily for 23 years. The videos of Fethullah Gülen’s preaches were found in the CDs, which were found during the search in his house. He had systematic perception making activities on behalf of the organization with his tweets of which the contents are written in the indictment.

Hanım Büşra Erdal

Hanım Büşra Erdal (Correspondent for the now-closed Zaman daily): She worked for Zaman daily for 14 years. According to the investigation on her mobile phone, she mentioned about her visit to Pennsylvania, where Fethullah Gülen lives, with gratitude. She expressed her sense of that the idea of whether Pennsylvania is home or abroad intermingled. She attended regularly to religious meetings with organization elder sister A.S. She sent messages to A.T. and S.K., who were listed on her phones contacts, on “eating maklube” and saying that “one cannot be a true disciple without eating maklube.” She performed systematic perception making activities on behalf of the organization with her tweets of which the contents are in the indictment.

Hüseyin Aydın

Hüseyin Aydın (Correspondent for the now-closed Samanyolu TV): He has worked for Cihan news agency for 8 years. He worked for Samanyolu TV in 2015-2016. He downloaded the ByLock for his mobile phone. In his tweets, of which the contents are in the indictment, he performed systematic perception making activities on behalf of the organization. His mobile phone signalled around the buildings of Bugün daily and Kanaltürk TV during the process of appointing trustee to the Bugün daily and Kanaltürk Television on October 27-29, 2015.

Mustafa Erkan Acar

Mustafa Erkan Acar (News editor of the now-closed Özgür Düşünce daily): He has worked for Zaman daily 17 years, for Bugün daily for 2 years and he worked for Özgür Düşünce newspaper in 2016. He had administrative posts as a news coordinator and as a news editor. He was a member and the general secretary of Pak Media Labour Union, which is an institution of the organization. In one of his interviews, of which contents are in the indictment, he performed perception making activity on behalf of the organization.

Muhammed Sait Kulaoğlu

Muhammet Sait Kulaoğlu (Now-closed online news outlet Subuohaber): He worked for subuohaber.com news website. In his tweeter account, he shared 493 tweets with @fuatavni’s content. He interviewed with the twitter account @fuatavni.

Mutlu Çölgeçen

Mutlu Çölgeçen (News coordinator for the now-closed Millet daily): He worked at an administrative position at Millet daily as news coordinator. He deposited EUR50,334 on September 16, 2014 in Bank Asya following the instruction of the organisation leader (Fethullah Gülen). He downloaded the ByLock app to his mobile phone. In his tweets, of which contents are in the indictment, he performed systematic perception making activities on behalf of the organisation.

Oğuz Usluer

Oğuz Usluer (Former news coordinator of Haber Türk TV): He downloaded the ByLock app for his mobile phone.

Seyid Kılıç

Seyyid Kılıç (Correspondent for the TRT): He worked for Samanyolu TV for 4 years. He worked for the state television channel TRT between 2010-2016 by concealing his connection to the organization. He downloaded the ByLock app to his mobile phone. In his tweets, of which contents are in the indictment, he performed systematic perception making activities on behalf of the organization.

Ufuk Şanlı

Ufuk Şanlı (Economy Editor for the now-closed Millet daily): He worked for Aksiyon newsweekly for 7 years. He worked for Millet newspaper between 2014-2015. When he was at secondary school, he went to Fatih Boys High school, which was closed by the Decree Law over its affiliation with the Gülen movement. When he was at the university, he stayed at a dormitory belonged to the Gülen movement called Private Atıf Bey Students Dorm. He downloaded the ByLock app to his mobile phone.  In his tweets, of which contents are in the indictment, he performed systematic perception making activities on behalf of the organisation.

Ünal Tanık

Ünal Tanık (Editor-in-Chief of the now-closed Rota Haber): He is the owner of the website named Rota Haber, which operates perception making activities in favor of the organization. He allowed Fuat Avni, an anonymous twitter user, to write columns in his website. He downloaded the ByLock app to his mobile phone, and deleted afterwards.

Yakup Çetin

Yakup Çetin (Correspondent for the now-closed Zaman daily): He has worked for Zaman daily for 5 years. In his tweets, of which contents are in the indictment, he performed systematic perception making activities on behalf of the organisation.

Yetkin Yıldız

Yetkin Yıldız (Former Editor-in-Chief of Aktif Haber): He worked as the editor in chief for Aktif Haber online news outlet, which is a tool of perception management and social engineering activities in accordance with the ideology of the organisation. He turned both of his two mobile phones to factory settings on July 21, 2016 following the coup attempt. He deposited TL2,300 on February 23, 2015 and TL2,810 on April 2, 2014 in Bank Asya following the instruction of the organisation leader (Fethullah Gülen).

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the SCF has showed that 245 journalists and media workers are in jails as of January 24, 2018, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 218 are arrested pending trial, only 27 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 140 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.

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