The editor of Meydan Gazette in Istanbul was jailed for a year and three months on December 22nd for “propagandising the methods of a terror organisation” in a free-speech case which dragged on for nearly a year.
Hüseyin Civan and the Gazette were taken to court after an investigation by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor over a December 2015 issue of the paper, which has supported Kurdish revolutionaries fighting in Rojava. The three offending articles were titled “Both Arrival and Departure of State is From Fear” “Banned Until Further Notice” and “Recreating Life.”
Representing the Gazette and Civan, lawyer Davut Erkan stated that the decision was illegal and would be appealed, if necessary, all the way to the Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights.
In a statement Meydan, which is based just a few streets away from Gezi Park, said:
Our managing editor was charged with “propagandising for the methods of a terrorist organisation employing coercion, violence or threats, through legitimising, praising or encouraging the use of these methods.”
As we emphasised in articles leading up to the investigation, the “State will never be able to lock away the passion and conviction for freedom of the peoples.”
As an anarchist newspaper we know that the free life we believe in can only be created through struggle. We will never give up writing about what we stand for and distributing what we write. We will continue to resist, act and write against oppression, and against these investigations, custodies and arrests.
Journalists have been heavily targeted in the Erdogan government’s post-coup crackdown, which has been heavily skewed against pro-Kurdish media. In October the left-wing Hayatin Sesi TV station was closed along with 24 other TV and radio stations, and hundreds of reporters have been detained, inspiring even some MPs to attempt civil disobedience in protest.
The draconian measures have even stretched beyond Turkey’s borders, with the issuing of a red alert to Interpol for well-known Turkish-French journalist Maxime Azadi, who was picked up by Belgian authorities for alleged “co-operation” with terrorists on a year-old warrant on December 23rd.