Journalist gets two and a half years for aiding terrorist organization

A journalist from the predominantly Kurdish province of Diyarbakır was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for her journalistic activities in 2015 and 2016 for aiding and abetting a terrorist organization, Turkish Minute reported.

Journalist Nurcan Yalçın was sentenced to prison on Thursday during the final hearing of her trial at the Diyarbakır High Criminal Court.

She worked for the Jin News Agency (JINHA), a pro-Kurdish news agency that the government shut down under a post-coup emergency regime following a coup missed in 2016.

Yalçın was charged by the Diyarbakır Attorney General’s Office over video interviews and photos she took in the Sur district of Diyarbakır in 2015 and 2016, when Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) activists, banned, moved its operations to the towns, erecting barricades and digging trenches to ward off security forces.

Sur witnessed fierce fighting between PKK militants and Turkish security forces as the historic town suffered extensive destruction, with many of its residents fleeing in fear for their safety.

Yalçın faced a prison term of up to 15 years. According to the prosecutor, the statements made during the interviews conducted by the journalist threatened the territorial integrity of Turkey and fell within the limits of freedom of expression.

According to the court, Yalçın “knowingly and intentionally” supported a terrorist organization through her activities as a journalist, while her lawyer demanded the journalist’s acquittal, claiming that she was only doing her job.

Yalçın was arrested during a police raid on her home in Diyarbakır on February 4 and released under judicial supervision three days later.

She is currently on trial in other proceedings, all related to her work as a journalist.

Kurdish journalists in Turkey are frequently subjected to judicial harassment, are tried and sentenced to prison terms for covering issues related to the Kurds and the PKK, considered a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.

Turkey, which is known as one of the best jailers of journalists in the world, was ranked 149e among 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2022 World Press Freedom Index.

Dozens of critical journalists have been imprisoned in Turkey, while many media outlets were shut down following the 2016 coup attempt.

Take a second to support the Stockholm Center for Freedom on Patreon!

Aubrey L. Morgan