Turkish prosecutors present toddler’s photo as evidence of terrorist propaganda

A photograph of Turkish journalist Sibel Hürtaş’s one-year-old son has been included as evidence against her that prosecutors say shows she had incited hatred and engaged in terrorist propaganda, according to a report by the Evrensel daily on Tuesday.

The photograph was taken during a 2015 commemoration to mark the assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink on January 19, 2007, and shows Hürtaş’s infant son holding up a small placard reading “We are all Hrant. We are all Armenians.”

Dink, the editor-in-chief of the Turkish-Armenian Agos weekly, was killed in front of his office by a 17-year-old Turkish ultranationalist in 2007. Dink was a prominent advocate of Turkish-Armenian reconciliation but had been prosecuted and convicted of the crime of denigrating Turkishness.

More than 100,000 people attended Dink’s funeral in İstanbul, and commemorations are held each year on January 19 to mark the anniversary of his death.

Hürtaş faces up to three years in prison on charges of inciting hatred and up to seven-and-a-half years on charges of engaging in terrorist propaganda. The indictment says her questioning of the rationale behind Turkey’s invasion of the up-until-then largely peaceful Kurdish-held Syrian enclave of Afrin during an interview with a ruling party member of parliament constitutes a crime.

The photograph of her son as well as social media posts were included in the indictment as evidence.

Turkey is ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). If Turkey falls two more places, it will make it to the list of countries on the blacklist, which have the poorest record in press freedom.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 237 journalists and media workers were in jail as of September 2, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 169 were under arrest pending trial while only 68 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 145 journalists who are living 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 some 200 media outlets, including Kurdish news agencies and newspapers, after a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016. (SCF with Ahval)

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