Jailed Turkish Journalist Derya Okatan is in the 14th Day of Her Hunger Strike

The unjustly persecuted continues to suffer at the hands of a corrupt and brutal Erdogan regime. Sacthing Purple Musings first posted on Okatan’s hunger strike here.

Turkish to English translation:

journalistic activities in custody. This is to protest the unlawful of 14 days on a hunger strike



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Was Turkish Journalist Ahmet Sik Working on a Piece that Would Cause Upheaval in Erdogan’s Ruling AKP Party?

FreePress, a blog published in Europe, posted comments from a colleague of jailed journalist Ahmet Sik and brought some new details to light. Alican Uluda works with Sik at Cumhuriyet, a daily newspaper the Erdogan government considers an opposition publication.

ahmet-oneHe has continued to criticise the stance of the current government about the Kurdish issue and the Syrian crisis. I believe the real reason behind his detention is something else, although it is said that the reason is his criticism.

He was so close to reaching all the details required for the piece. My opinion is that his tweets aren’t the reason for his detention. The real goal is to prevent him from publishing the piece he has been working on. If the piece was to be published, there would be an upheaval within the ruling party (AKP). Ahmet Şık, who was put in jail for an unpublished book in 2011, has now been arrested for a piece he has not yet written.

Sik is indeed one of Turkey’s most famous investigative journalist. The 2011 incident Uluda mentions involves a book he wrote on the Gulen movement, The Imam’s Army. Ironically, it was the Gulenists who orchestrated Sik’s incarceration. 



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Derya Okatan Enters 9th Day of Her Hunger Strike in a Turkish Jail

Friends of Derya Okatan have confirmed for Scathing Purple Musings that she is in her 9th day of a hunger strike. She was jailed before Christmas for alleged connections to Redhack, a group claiming to be behind the leaked emails of a Turkish minister.


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REPORT: Jailed Turkish Journalist Derya Okatan in Hunger Strike

From the Tesujin Gazzette:

deryaISTANBUL – Detained six journalists will be kept in custody until January 24. The journalists, who were allowed to see their lawyers, sent a message and said, “Buckle down more to report”.

The closed Dicle News Agency (DİHA) News Director Ömer Çelik, DİHA reporter Metin Yoksu,  former Diken editor Tunca Öğreten, Birgün worker Mahir Kanat, Etkin News Agency (ETHA) Managing Editor Derya Okatan, Yolculuk Newspaper Editor in Chief Eray Saygın were detained five days ago. A confidentiality order has been imposed on the case. The journalists’ lawyers saw their clients after five days. The lawyers stated that the journalists were detained allegedly “being members of an [illegal] organization”. The lawyers said that the journalists kept their morale high and sent their greetings to their journalist colleagues outside. The journalists also sent a message to their colleagues and said “Buckle down more to report”.

The closed Dicle News Agency (DİHA) News Director Ömer Çelik told his lawyers that, “We are the people who are doing journalism. They keep us in custody unjustly by criminalizing us over Redhack. We don’t even know we are accused of what. I am sending my greetings to all friends, they should continue to write. I keep my morale high.”

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Turkey Just Released American Wall Street Journal Reporter After Being Jailed For 3 Days

From The Daily Beast:

Wall Street Journal reporter held in Turkish detention for nearly three days without any contact with his family or lawyers has been released. National security reporter Dion Nissenbaum was taken from his Istanbul apartment on Tuesday night before being released Saturday morning. His detention is believed to be connected to a government ban on publishing images from an Islamic State video. “While we are relieved that Dion was released unharmed after nearly three days, we remain outraged at his peremptory detention, without any contact with his family, legal counsel or colleagues,” WSJ editor in chief Gerard Baker said in a statement released Saturday. Nissenbaum’s release comes after the Journal was unable to determine his location for two days, with the reporter not being allowed to contact his employer or a lawyer despite repeated requests. The incident comes amid a wider crackdown on journalists and academics in the country after a failed coup attempt in July.

This one flew under the radar as news that an American journalist had been jailed in Erdogan’s crackdown would have drawn far more scrutiny. But Nissenbaum is leaving Turkey which was probably what the Erdogan’s thugs wanted anyway. They don’t want a leading US newspaper snooping around. Here are two of Nissenbaum’s recent tweets:

Arresting American journalists makes Erdogan more and more like his new pals in Russia and Iran. Perhaps Nissenbaum was taken into custody for his Twitter habits as well and that they are trying to intimidate US news outlets from reporting of what really is going on. At any rate, Nissenbaum and his wife Seema Jilani have a tale to tale.

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“They take you and throw you in a hole”

From an AFP story in The Guardian:

Asli Erdoğan, one of Turkey’s most celebrated novelists, was released from jail Thursday, looking exhausted after 132 days of pre-trial detention, declaring that she could barely believe she was free.

The writer has been in prison on charges of terror propaganda on account of her links to a pro-Kurdish newspaper, in a case that has caused an international outcry over freedom of expression.

“I do not realise it yet, I am in shock,” she said, appearing drawn, tired and emotional in front of the Bakirkoy women’s prison in Istanbul.

“They take you and throw you into a hole. It’s very hard, it’s like I’m still inside,” she added, before bursting into tears.

An Istanbul court ordered that Erdoğan and Necmiye Alpay, an internationally prominent linguist, be released.

The pair were taken into custody in August as part of a probe into the now shut-down newspaper Ozgur Gundem, which Turkish authorities say is a mouthpiece for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

But the fate of Erdoğan and Alpay, author of widely praised translations of Western novels into Turkish who had been in custody for 120 days, is still unclear.

The case against them remains active and they could still face life imprisonment if convicted. The next hearing is scheduled for 2 January.

The Erdogan government goes to an awful lot of trouble to intimidate journalists and writers, but they always seem to get released. There is no death penalty in Turkey although Erdogan made such noises after the July coup which he referred to as “a gift from God.” But he and his allies who seek a suppressive Islamist state based on sharia law may be aware that among the criminal justice apparatus he controls there isn’t the stomach for what’s done in neighboring countries like Iran and Syria. Turkey was a secular society when Erdogan took power 14 years ago and had been one for some time.

The formal arrest of investigative journalist Ahmet Sik is getting world wide coverage. Newspapers in Canada, Germany, France, and Italy. Sik is world renowned and his treatment by the Erdogan government will not go unnoticed.

Sik’s arrest, announced as being for tweets he made in addition to his journalistic endeavors, demonstrates a level of fecklessness in Erdogan’s desires to silence social media. Sik has added 3000 Twitter followers since he announced his arrest two days ago.

Nonetheless, over 40,000 citizens of Turkey are still jailed as a result of the July coup attempt.

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BREAKING: Turkish Investigative Journalist Ahmet Sik Officially Arrested for Spreading “Terrorist Organization Propaganda” on Twitter

From Turkish website Son Dakika (Last Minute) translated to English with Google Translate:

Journalist Ahmet Şık, who was taken into custody because of the 11 separate tweets and writings he posted on the social sharing site “Twitter”, was referred to the court for his arrest on charges of “Terrorist Organization Propaganda”. Ahmet Şık was arrested by the court he was detained. Ahmet Şık, a journalist who was taken into custody and was sentenced to imprisonment for allegedly committing the crime of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” on social media exchanges and some articles written in the republican newspaper, was arrested.

e journalist Ahmet Şık, who was questioned by Fahrettin Kemal Native to conduct the investigation, was brought to the Istanbul Court of Justice in Çağlayan at noon. The prosecutor’s decision about Ahmet Şık, who was kept in the press office of the police in the presence of the cops, became clear at 14.30. The prosecution demanded that Ahmet Şık be arrested on charges of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization”. On top of that, the police were accompanied by the sentenced Istanbul Magistrate Criminal Court. Meanwhile, along with the CHP deputy Barış Yarkadaş, his relatives came to name Ahmet Şık to support him.

The question of Ahmet Şık, who was detained on charges of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” and Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, “publicly insulting the judiciary, the military and the police”, was carried out safely by the prosecutor’s office. An interview with the terrorist organization manager Cemil Bayık with an article entitled “Ya Apo Kandil or Ya İmralı’ya” published on 14 March 2015, an interview with 8 July “Ozki journalism, betraying yours” The writings on MIT TIRs titled “MIT TIRs Prosecutor, MIT, Reyhanlı’a” condemned on 9th July, “13th of February,” “secrets in TIR” were asked. Ahmet Şık’a also on 23-26 September 2014 at the Press Freedom Workshop “the PKK is also a journalist” is also asked about the description.

As the reader can see, translations are imperfect, but it appears that Sik was arrested for his tweets and articles he did in 2014 and 2015 and not any recent tweets as Scathing Purple Musings speculated yesterday.

Sik was jailed previously between 2011 and 2012 and was indicted again immediately after his release for declaring “the police, prosecutors and judges who plotted and executed this conspiracy will enter this prison.”

According to Turkish Minute, a web site produced by Turkish journalist in exile, 650 journalists are to be “investigated.” The journalists write anonymously as to protect loved ones in Turkey.

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650 Turkish Journalists to be Investigated for Using Twitter

From Turkish Minute:

Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Barış Yarkadaş announced on Thursday that 650 more journalists are to be investigated due to their messages on Twitter.

The Ministry of Interior Affairs had stated earlier this week that 10,000 people are under investigation because of their social media posts.

Yarkadaş urged the end of baseless investigations against journalists during remarks in front of the courthouse before a hearing in the trial of the shut-down pro-Kurdish Özgür Gündem daily.

Currently, there are at least 145 journalists in prison in Turkey.

Scathing Purple Musings has been posted yesterday about the recent arrest of Ahmet Sik who announced his arrest on his own Twitter account. He has not tweeted since, but has added 2000 Twitter followers since his arrest. The majority of Sik’s tweets were to send links to other journalist’s work.

The crack down on journalists in Turkey began in July after a failed coup attempt which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan referred to as a “gift from God.”

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Erdogan’s Government Even Arrests Lawyers to Keep Them From Defending Journalists

From Abdullah Bozkurt for Turkish Minute:

The unprecedented crackdown on lawyers who defend critics, dissidents and opponents of the authoritarian regime of Turkey’s strongman, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, paint a dismal picture of how the criminal justice system has been turned into an instrument of oppression at the hands of the country’s Islamist rulers, who give orders to judges and prosecutors in cases where the outcome is predetermined.

How would it be possible to insure a fair trial with unfettered access to a lawyer when lawyers themselves have been arrested en masse or had to flee the country to avoid imprisonment? The government of Turkey, controlled by a brutal dictator, Erdoğan, did not even bother to put on a charade of following due process in criminal prosecutions and trials when judges and prosecutors simply carry out instructions from the political authorities for fear of being dismissed or even arrested themselves.

The harassment and imprisonment of defense lawyers in large numbers have already had a chilling impact in Turkey, where lawyers are shying away from taking on cases that may be politically sensitive, or are demanding exorbitant fees to discourage clients. Bar associations, required by law to provide a lawyer to represent suspects who have no lawyer, are also reluctant to assign lawyers to these cases. Even if they assign one, the lawyers often withdraw, do not mount a vigorous defense or fail to go through the motions to protect the rights of the clients.

It’s safe to say that Turkey is the only member of NATO which arrests journalists, lawyers and domestic political opponents. Small wonder Erdogan is leaping into the arms of Vladimir Putin, a strongman who won’t bat an eye at such a brutal crackdown. While Erdogan was able to get Putin to close all of Fetullah Gulen’s schools in Russia by 2014, it’s not clear how much the Russian position has changed in light of the assassination of their ambassador and Erdogan’s obsession with blaming Gulen as the mastermind.

In 2012, President Barack Obama revealed that Erdogan was a trusted friend among world leaders. By 2016, Obama had changed his mind. In an interview with Jeffery Goldberg for The Atlantic, Obama referred to Erdogan as “a failure and an authoritarian.” Writing for TheGaurdian, Simon Tisdale adds:

Erdoğan has also fallen foul of the Obama administration over how best to fight Isis and his cross-border shelling of Syrian Kurdish militias, who Washington regards as useful allies against the jihadis and the Damascus regime. In a recent interview, Barack Obama described Erdoğan as a failure and an authoritarian. When Turkey shot down the Russian warplane, the US was almost as alarmed as Moscow, especially when Erdoğan called for NATO backup.

Looks like Erdogan doesn’t need, nor does he want that back-up anymore. But he needs continued suppression of dissent and truth from his own people in the mean time.

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Was a Turkish Journalist Arrested for a Link He Provided in a Tweet?

From the BBC:

Police in Istanbul have detained a prominent investigative journalist, Ahmet Sik, in connection with his social media postings.

The arrest of Sik, who has been jailed previously, came shortly before writer Asli Erdogan and linguist Necmiye Alpay appeared in a Turkish court.

Many writers and journalists have been arrested in Turkey since the July coup attempt, in which military rebels tried to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Sik confirmed his arrest in a tweet.

“I am being detained. I will be taken to the prosecutor’s office regarding a tweet,” he tweeted.

Sik has been accused of spreading “terrorist propaganda”, reports say.

While Sik isn’t afraid to be a public advocate in opposition to the Erdogan government, he wasn’t a prolific tweeter. What may well have prompted his arrest this tweet he posted ten hours before his arrest:

Translated into English:

:Russian sources: assassination could not share with us all the information about-

Was Sik arrested for his tweet which implied he had a Russian source which told him that the Turks weren’t being truthful about assassination of the Russian ambassador? Or was it for the article he linked. Written by Russian journalist Maxim A. Suckoff, Ph.D for Washington DC-based Al Monitor, the article Sik linked is unflattering – to say the least –  of the Erdogan governments investigation:

Few share what seems to be the main version Ankara is trying to present — the “mad Gulenist” theory. Speaking on a radio show soon after the assassination, Yevgeny Satanovsky, the head of the Moscow-based Institute for the Middle East, denounced the idea, saying, “Fethullah Gulen doesn’t take to such violent methods in his practices.” Earlier this year, as part of the reconciliation process with Ankara over Russia’s downed jet, Moscow closed about 150 Gulen schools across Russia. There’s little evidence that the Kremlin believed that Gulen was behind the downing, but at the time it was a necessary political move that many Russian politicians thought was in the country’s national interests. This time, however, attempts to sell the same idea would only stain the relationship.

Russian decision-makers who spoke with Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity signaled a concern over whether Turkish officials know more than they are actually telling. They believe that, to a large extent, all of the assassination hypotheses Ankara is presenting reflect the desire of the Turkish leadership to get Moscow onboard in its struggle against its own opponents — the Gulenists and the Kurds — rather than to truly and openly investigate the assassination. Indeed, the killing of Altintas raised all kinds of suspicions. The general feeling now is, even if killing the assassin was a forced measure under those circumstances, trying to shove the narratives, which on all accounts look artificial and don’t hold together under scrutinized examination, casts a dark shadow on the potential involvement of the Turkish security apparatus or someone in the government.

It’s clear that was Sik tweeted was supported in the article, so its fair to speculate that Erdogan’s journalistic control apparatus wanted to keep the work of a particular well-sourced journalists, like Suchov, away from the eyes of their on countrymen. Moreover, Erdogan’s suppressive media blocking needs to keep Al Monitor, which appears to be available in Turkish out as well.

The Erdogan governments efforts to block Twitter clearly aren’t all that. Otherwise Sik’s tweets wouldn’t be available to western eyes and he wouldn’t have been able to announce that he’d been arrested on Twitter. According to his Twitter profile, Sik has 557,000 followers some of which now know what the Russians think about Erdogan’s attempt to cover-up the assassination of the Russian ambassador. Worse, they know that what he’s been saying about Fatullah Gulen and his movement isn’t shared by the Russians either.

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