Statement by columnist for ODA TV

To Turkish people and to the international community

The pressure and limitations on freedom of press in Turkey is not a new or recent phenomenon. However, it has reached to its peak level during the reign of the Islamist-rooted AKP government, due to its new regime perspective and hate towards the traditional pro-secular segments of the society. Today in Turkey almost 100 journalists are in prison for unjust accusations.

One of the most apparent cases, through which the freedom of press is under serious attack, is the Oda TV case in Turkey, in which fourteen journalists and writers have been taken under police surveillance and in which eleven of these journalists and writers have been arrested and put in prison.

The case is of the same sequence along with the other political cases, which are widely known as “the Ergenekon” and “the Balyoz” cases. In all of these cases there are serious illegal exercises of the police officers and of the prosecutors, besides the existence of the so-called “proofs”, which were later understood to be fabricated by many expertise reports.

Just like all these “Ergenekon” and “Balyoz” cases, in which many people have been arrested resting upon those fabricated evidences; the so-called “evidences”, several Word documents including some so-called “terrorist orders” on how to write and produce news etc., in the Oda TV case too, were understood to be placed into the computers of the Oda TV from outside.

However, the apparent and explicit attack to the freedom of press through the Oda TV case has awoke and emerged a wide domestic and international attention and reaction toward the case. So, in time, the court had to release six journalists in sum at different times until today.

The court has until this time justified the ongoing imprisonment of the remained five journalists and writers with the argument that the expertise reports presented by the defenders were not valid just because they were not ordered by the court. As a result, the court had decided to demand an expertise report from the official government institution of science and technics (TUBITAK), in order to understand whether the so-called evidences–the Word documents–really belong to the Oda TV computer users or not.

The case has for long time been locked with waiting for the TUBITAK to prepare that expertise report. Five journalists and writers, including Prof. Yalcin Kucuk, Soner Yalcin, Baris Terkoglu, Baris Pehlivan and Hanefi Avci, have until this time been kept in prison for that reason.

Now, after 7 months of waiting, the expertise report has reached the court. The expertise report prepared by the TUBITAK is in convergence with the defenders’ arguments that the controversial “evidences” of Word documents were not produced in the computers of the Oda TV and that they were even not opened and changed in the computers of the Oda TV.

Nevertheless, the other argument of the defenders is that these controversial Word documents were placed through a complex plot utilizing high-tech viruses, and the recent report of the TUBITAK remains uncertain on that issue. However, it is certain on the fact that these documents do not belong to the accused journalists and writers.

Today, after all, the next day of the Oda TV case is on September 14, 2012. This day is vitally important for the case, because on that day it will turn out whether these journalists or writers will going to be released finally after that report or they will going to be kept in prison with some other irrational justifications until an uncertain date.

So, in sum, it is crucially important to be aware of this next day of the Oda TV case and to create a wide attention and reaction for the liberties and futures of these journalists and writers especially after this last expertise report that ratifies these defenders.

Therefore and finally, we are pleased to invite you to watch the case by your own eyes and to join the struggle for the freedom of press in Turkey by coming to the court on September 14, 2012, in Istanbul.

Sincerely yours,

Mr. Coskun Musluk

Columnist & Academic

(Oda TV & Middle East Technical University)

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