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Same old refrain: Not detained for journalism

The Ministry of Justice has stated its opinion on the individual application made to the Constitutional Court concerning our newspaper’s columnists and administrators. Apart from Turhan Günay’s application, the Ministry has combined the remaining nine applications into a single file.
Yayınlanma tarihi: 09 Ocak 2018 Salı, 13:19

With reference to our reporter Ahmet Şık, it has stated a separate opinion. The claim in both opinions that were left waiting for months as a delaying tactic and directly target journalism is the same: “They are not in detention for journalism.”
 
CANAN COŞKUN
 
The Ministry of Justice has stated its opinion on the individual application made to the Constitutional Court concerning our newspaper’s columnists and administrators. Apart from the application of our Book Supplement Editor Turhan Günay, which will be heard next Thursday at the Plenary Session of the Constitutional Court, the Ministry has combined the remaining nine applications into a single file. With reference to our reporter Ahmet Şık, it has stated a separate opinion. In both opinions, the answers given to Turhan Günay’s application in May 2017 and the answers given to the application before the European Court of Human Rights were repeated. The claim in the opinions that were left waiting for months as a delaying tactic and directly target journalism is the same: “They are not in detention for journalism.”
 
The Ministry of Justice stated an opinion in May 2017 on our Book Supplement Editor Turhan Günay who was in detention at that time. The Plenary Session of the Constitutional Court has announced that it has included this case on its schedule for Thursday. With the court’s decision awaited, the Ministry of Justice’s opinions have arrived on the applications that our columnists and managers, including our still-detained Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu, Executive Board Chair Akın Atalay and reporter Ahmet Şık, made. The Ministry has only recently stated an opinion on the applications that our columnists and managers made to the European Court of Human Rights over violations of freedom of expression and the press. In these opinions, which are copies of one another, the detentions in the Cumhuriyet trial were defended citing the conditions “that emerged in the aftermath of the coup attempt.” Included beneath the submissions made on behalf of the ministry is the signature of Deputy Undersecretary Musa Heybet, who is chair of the Association of Judicial Unity which the AKP openly supported in the 2014 elections to the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors. The grounds in detention orders and the charges raised in the indictment are repeated in the opinion.
 
Baseless accusations
 
The Ministry has alleged that, “There was a call for the 15 July Coup Attempt” in the publications at issue in the prosecution and that, “They incited force and violence.” However, absolutely no example is included as to which statements constituted such content. In place of this, the claim is repeated with regard to Kadri Gürsel’s article that it contained a “subliminal message”. By the same token, the heading, “Peace in the world so at home what?” carried in Aydın Engin’s column is branded as being a crime. The ministry asserts that it would become more readily apparent following 15 July that this heading was an “incitement to force and violence.”
 
Article hushed up
 
The ministry has also included the claims of Aydınlık newspaper columnist Rıza Zelyut, who was heard as a witness at the investigation stage despite having absolutely no knowledge or first-hand experience, in its opinion. No mention was made of the past penning by Zelyut, who alleges that Akın Atalay took over the paper following İlhan Selçuk’s demise in 2010, of an article entitled “The greatest nationalist is the scholar Fethullah”
 
The ministry, which alleges that our readers’ representative Güray Öz had a communications record with a person involved in a FETO/PDY investigation, has however neglected to refer to Öz’s statement at the hearing that this person was a pitta vendor in Ankara’s Çankaya.
 
Intelligence agency trucks gaffe
 
The ministry has alleged in its opinions in which it has adopted wholesale the assertions of prosecutor Murat İnam, himself facing FETO charges, that news coverage following 15 July 2016 was in support of terrorist organisations. In fact, one of the news reports that the ministry claims to have been published for the purpose of supporting terrorism following 15 July was our report “The very arms that Erdoğan calls non-existent” published in May 2015.
 
Ruling misconstrued
 
Listing the Twitter posts, reports and interviews that were cited as grounds for our reporter Ahmet Şık’s detention, it was said, “As was stated in the ECtHR’s Sürek/Turkey ruling, articles and posts of this kind cannot be subsumed under freedom of expression and the press.” In fact, the ECtHR pointed out in the said Sürek/Turkey rulings that the government and state officials could be criticised and things that were not to the ruling party’s liking and things that might prompt a reaction from the vast majority of the people could be said in newspapers, magazines or speech. It noted that reports about armed organisations could be carried and interviews could be made with organisation leaders, but comments that incited violence or praised violence could not be included.
 
The ministry, definitively proclaiming our columnists and managers, whose trial is ongoing, to have been engaged in activity on behalf of FETO/PDY and the PKK/KCK, asserts that the detention order and the curtailing of certain rights is natural. It notes that this situation must not be perceived as being an intervention against the freedom of expression. However, the comment followed, “Our ministry is of the view that the intervention served such legitimate purposes as protecting national security or public security, maintaining public order and preventing the commission of crime.”
 
It gave a curious reply in the opinion to our columnists and managers’ assertions that they cannot conduct their journalistic activities as a consequence of their detention. It was said, “Our ministry wishes to state that this is a situation that emerges as a consequence of the detention measure. It cannot thus be argued that the applicants were detained to prevent their journalistic activities.”
 
MINISTRY PARROTS ÖZ
 
The ministry has said that terrorist organisations have incorporated people with posts at various bodies and entities into their structures to enable them to influence the broad masses, commenting, “Under such circumstances, what is being subjected to investigation is not those people’s professional activities, but the acts they performed in support of the terrorist organisation. The investigation conducted into the applicant is also of such nature and does not relate to journalistic activity.” Prosecutor Zekeriya Öz, who is currently on the run, made the self-same comments with reference to Ahmet Şık, who was in detention as part of the Oda TV investigation.

Her gün bir Cumhuriyet gazetesi alın, aldırın…
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Cumhuriyet Arşivi Gazete Kupürlerinde:

Aydın Engin, Güray Öz, İlhan Selçuk, Rıza Zelyut, Ahmet Şık