The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of Diyarbakır launched an investigation in 2018 concerning “KCK/TM (Kurdistan Democratic Society / Turkey Bureau)”. The details of the investigation were conveyed as follows:
It was asserted that the Kurdistan Democratic Society “was established to coordinate the structures, which operate domestically on behalf of the PKK/KCK terrorist organisation and to organise all sorts of actions planned to be carried out in line with the organisation’s decisions”.
Numerous people were detained as part of the said investigation.
It was asserted that Abdurrahman Gök, a correspondent for the Mezopotamya News Agency, was “operating within the press and publishing committee coordinated under the KCK/TM institutions”.
Gök’s telephone conversations and text messages were wiretapped. An anonymous witness statement was received against him. The news items he prepared and his social media accounts were examined.
Gök was detained on 9 October 2018. The operation, in which Gök was detained, was took place across provinces, including Diyarbakır. Journalists Semiha Alankuş, Esra Solin Dal, Kibriye Evren and Lezgin Akdeniz were also detained as part of the same operation.
The police raided Gök’s house in Diyarbakır. Gök was taken to the Directorate of Counter-Terrorism Branch of the Diyarbakır Police Department. In his statement during custody procedures, Gök stated that “he was not involved in any illegal activities, and he carried out activities within the scope of journalistic activities”. The custody procedures lasted for three days. He was then brought before the court of peace on duty. Gök was released under judiciary supervision on 12 October 2018 by the court’s ruling.
The indictment concerning him was completed on 24 September 2020, approximately two years after he was first detained.
According to the indictment, an individual requested Gök to send photos by sending a text message that read: “We need photos depicting the life of refugees living in cities”. It was stated that Gök responded to this request with “There are some photos about what is happening along the border”. This messaging was cited as evidence in the indictment for the allegation that Gök “was involved in the structure called Press and Media Committee within the PKK/KCK terrorist organisation”.
It was asserted that Gök “was connected to and in contact with overseas structures that are acting in line with the aims of the terrorist organisation” over a conversation he had with another individual regarding a news item published by the Hawar News Agency (ANHA).
The indictment asserted that Gök “led and managed the news agencies to prepare news reports in a way that supports the PKK/KCK terrorist organisation” over one of his telephone conversations using a telephone number registered to Mezopotamya News Agency, where he worked.
The indictment also included statements against Gök by an anonymous witness under the alias “Sabır [Patience]”. It was asserted that the anonymous witness claimed Gök “ensured the publication of news items that contained PKK/KCK terrorist organisation propaganda and ensured that media outlets broadcasted to incite resentment and hatred of the state in line with the interests of the terrorist organisation”.
Gök’s participation in an event organised by the Özgür Gazeteciler İnsiyatifi [Free Journalists’ Initiative] in Diyarbakır under the name “Kurdish Journalists’ Day” was cited as evidence against him. The speech Gök made on Sterk TV that day was also included in the indictment in full text. The indictment used the expression “22 April so-called Kurdish Journalists’ Day” to describe the Kurdish Journalists’ Day.
Gök’s news reports published in Yeni Özgür Politika, on the various websites of “sendika.org” and the website of Evrensel newspaper were listed in the indictment. However, the indictment did not include the news items’ headlines or their content. The indictment asserted that the news items “included photos of armed organisation members, who appeared to be members of the PYD/YPG terrorist organisation, the Syria branch of the PKK/KCK terrorist organisation, and included content praising and glorifying the terrorist organisation”.
Following these allegations, the indictment asserted that Gök “had carried out activities to legalise the terrorist organisation’s actions against the State of the Republic of Turkey within the PKK/KCK terrorist organisation’s press committee”. It was also asserted that “he carried out activities in organic connection with the armed terrorist organisation”.
The indictment asserted that Gök was a “member of an armed terrorist organisation” in accordance with Article 314/2 of the Turkish Penal Code and Article 5 of the Law on Anti-Terrorism. Within this scope, the prosecution demanded that Gök be sentenced to imprisonment of between seven years and six months and 15 years.
The indictment also asserted that Gök engaged in “terrorist organisation propaganda” in accordance with Article 7 of the Law on Anti-Terrorism. The prosecution demanded that Gök be sentenced to imprisonment of between one year and five years. The crime was alleged to have been “committed by means of the media”. Thus, the prosecution demanded that the sentence be increased by half in accordance with the second subsection of Article 7 of the Turkish Penal Code. The demanded sentence was thus increased to imprisonment of between one year and six months and seven years and six months. The indictment asserted that “the crime was committed consecutively”. The prosecution demanded that another increase to its previous demand for an increased sentence the sentence, of between a quarter and three-quarters in accordance with Article 43 of the Turkish Penal Code. The prosecution demanded that Gök be sentenced to imprisonment of between one year and 10 months and 15 days and 13 years and one month and 15 days on the charge of “consecutive terrorist organisation propaganda by means of the media”.
The prosecution demanded that Gök be sentenced to imprisonment of between nine years and four months and 15 days and 28 years and one month and 15 days in total over the two charges.
The court ruled that Gök’s trial would commence with the first hearing at the 5th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır on 23 February 2021.
Press in Arrest is a database, monitoring, documentation and collective memory study of Press Research Association.
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