Abdurrahman Gök

Abdurrahman Gök is a correspondent for Mezopotamya News Agency.

Gök was born in Batman in 1980. He graduated from the Department of Journalism, Faculty of Communications at Ege University.

Gök started working at the now-closed Dicle News Agency (DİHA) in 2004. Afterwards, he worked at the now-closed Zarok TV and DiHaber Agency.

Gök directed the documentary titled Sınır ve Ölüm [The Border and Death].

DIHA TV, Zarok TV and DiHaber Agency were shut down by statutory decrees (KHK) issued as part of the State of Emergency rule declared following the military coup attempt on 15 July 2016. During the state of emergency period, the government shut down many media outlets by statutory decrees that were put into effect without the parliament’s approval.

Gök was detained multiple times. Many lawsuits were filed against him.

Gök took photographs of Kemal Kurkut, a 23-year-old university student, who was shot while the police stood behind him during the Nowruz celebrations in Diyarbakır on 21 March 2017.

Gök was detained, along with many journalists, on 9 October 2018 as part of the “KCK investigation” carried out in Diyarbakır. It was asserted that Gök “operated within the press and publishing committee coordinated under the KCK/TM institutions”. The custody procedures lasted for three days. Gök was released under judiciary supervision on 12 October 2018.

The indictment concerning Gök was completed approximately two years after he was first detained and released. The indictment dated 24 September 2020 cited as evidence the recordings of his phone conversations and messages, news items, social media messages, statements of an anonymous witness and a complaint filed to the police department. Gök was charged with “membership of an armed terrorist organisation” and “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.

The trial concerning Gök is currently underway. Gök is on trial without remand.

Abdurrahman Gök - “Membership of an Armed Terrorist Organization” and “Propaganda of Terrorist Organization in Successive Intervals Through Media” Trial

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 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, “operated within the press and publishing committee coordinated under the KCK/TM institutions”.

Gök’s telephone conversations and text messages were wiretapped and recorded. A confidential witness statement against him was taken. His news reports and his social media accounts were examined.

Gök was detained on 9 October 2018. The operation in which Gök was detained was carried out across nine provinces including Diyarbakır. Journalists Semiha Alankuş, Esra Solin Dal, Kibriye Evren and Lezgin Akdeniz were also detained under the same operation.

The police raided Gök’s house in Diyarbakır. 85 issues of Azadiya Welat newspaper published on various dates and one issue of Özgür Gündem newspaper were confiscated. Digital materials were also confiscated.

Gök was taken to the Directorate of Counter-Terrorism Branch of the Diyarbakır Police Department.

In his statement during the custody procedures, Gök stated that “he was not involved in any illegal activities; he carried out activities within the scope of journalistic activities”.

The custody procedures lasted for three days. Gök 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 Abdurrahman Gök was completed on 24 September 2020, approximately two years after he was first detained.

The indictment concerning Abdurrahman Gök, a correspondent for Mezopotamya News Agency, was completed by the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of Diyarbakır on 24 September 2020. The indictment was completed two years after Gök was detained.

Approximately half of the 20-page indictment listed allegations regarding “the KCK/TM Agreement”, “Structural Changes in the KCK Structure” and “Higher Management of the KCK Organisational Systematic”.

The indictment included tape recordings of Gök’s telephone conversations and messages.

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 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 contain 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”.

The indictment also included a notification sent to the Directorate of Communications- Electronic Branch of the Diyarbakır Security Directorate over the internet. The indictment stated that the notification, which was found not to mention Gök’s name, read: “Brother, KCK members are doing something. They are coming and going between Iraq, Qandil and Irbil. They are having meetings there, and bringing orders back to Turkey”.

After this allegation, it was asserted that Gök travelled to Iraq seven times between 2015 and 2018. The indictment stated that this allegation was obtained from the “Electronic Passport Control System” records.

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”.

The indictment also listed Gök’s outputs on his social media accounts. It was seen that one of these outputs was a news item regarding the hunger strike staged by Leyla Güven, an MP of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (Halkların Demokratik Partisi), who was tried in remand for a period of time.

Following these allegations, the indictment asserted that Gök “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 an 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.

It was also demanded that Gök “be deprived of the enjoyment of certain rights” in accordance with Article 53 of the Turkish Penal Code.

The indictment was accepted by the 5th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır.

It was decided that the trial concerning Gök, a correspondent for Mezopotamya News Agency, would commence with the first hearing at the 5th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır on 23 February 2021.

Abdurrahman Gök - “Membership of an Armed Terrorist Organization” and “Propaganda of Terrorist Organization in Successive Intervals Through Media” Trial (Indictment)

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