May 23, 2015

IFJ representative denied permission to visit journalist Karaca in prison

The Justice Ministry has rejected a request from a coalition of international journalist organizations to visit imprisoned Turkish journalist Hidayet Karaca at Silivri Prison in İstanbul.

Documents published by private Cihan news agency on Saturday show that a judge turned down an official request from British journalist Barry White to visit Karaca, the CEO of the Samanyolu Broadcasting Group. Karacahas been imprisoned since Dec. 14, 2014, when he was detained along with dozens of others in a police operation against what President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan calls “the parallel structure.”

White was to visit Karaca on behalf of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the UK's National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), according to a petition signed by Ricardo Gutierrez, the secretary general of the EFJ.

The judge did not say why the request was rejected, citing only two articles of a law and a regulation that concern security measures in prison facilities and visits to the prisoners.

The IFJ, EFJ and NUJ represent more than 600,000 journalists in 134 countries, according to the petition that addressed the Turkish authorities.

Karaca, who is currently being held in Silivri Prison without any indictment or any reason for the extension of his arrest, was detained just three days before the first anniversary of the massive corruption investigations of Dec. 17 and 25 that implicated people in the inner circle of President Erdoğan.

Erdoğan, who was the prime minister at the time, denied the claims of corruption and described the scandal as a plot against his government by foreign powers and the Gülen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, which Erdoğan says has set up a “parallel structure” within the state.

In the December 2014 crackdown, Karaca and three former police chiefs were arrested on charges of leading a terrorist network, while other detainees, including Zaman Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanlı, were released pending trial.

Published on Today's Zaman, 23 May 2015, Saturday