A case has been opened against HalaGazeteciyiz.net editor in chief, journalist Sibel Hürtaş and Mezopotamya News Agency correspondent Hayri Demir with charges regarding journalists’ news, demanding up to 10 years in prison.
Sibel Hürtaş had been taken into custody for her news programs on Artı TV and for retweeting the program’s tweets this year on January 22. Hayri Demir was also among those who had been taken into custody on the same day for news and postings on the “Operation Olive Branch.” Following four days of detention Hürtaş and Demir had been released under judicial control.
The prosecution’s indictment, prepared after the investigation demands both journalist to be sentenced to up to 10 years 6 months of prison.
The indictment prepared by Ankara Public Prosecution Office alleges Hürtaş’s statement, “we should ask why Turkey is uneasy about Afrin while this region is a secure and tranquil one” in an interview with former AKP (Justice and Development Party) MP, Ahmet Faruk Ünsal, to constitute a crime.
In addition, unseated HDP (Peoples’ Democracy Party) Şanlıurfa MP Osman Baydemir’s statement on the same program, “we are against war. This attempt, for which the animosity against Kurds has been used as an excuse for building step by step their own regime, will not produce any positive result for anyone. Afrin did not fall but AKP’s mindset has already fallen” is also assumed to constitute crime. For Hürtaş, the indictment demands up to three years of imprisonment for “inciting people to hatred, grudge and hostality” regulated by the Article 216 of the Turkish Penal Code and up to seven and a half years for “engaging in terrorist propaganda by means of press or media” regulated by the Article 7 of the Anti-Terror Law, a total of ten years and six months.
Hürtaş argues that the prosecutor’s attitute is a significant blow to freedom of press as well as speech. Pointig out that she will stand trial for the news she produced Hürtaş stated, “I will continue to make news as a journalist within the work ethic.”
Hürtaş added, “the indictment is from top to bottom unlawful. It demands punishing journalists for what the interviewees had said. This is the court decree for monologism; we will continue our profession with a microphone held to all sides. Journalism is not a crime.”