Turkey claims Ahmet Şık ‘not arrested for journalistic activities’ in ECHR defense
The Turkish government has claimed that prominent imprisoned Cumhuriyet reporter Ahmet Şık was not arrested for his journalistic activities, in its defense submitted to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Nov. 27.
In two documents by the Human Rights Directorate of the Justice Ministry, the government provides a timeline of terror attacks that have rocked Turkey since July 20, 2015, as well as the July 15, 2016 military coup attempt. It said the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETO), believed to have been behind the attempted takeover, “used previous Balyoz, Ergenekon and OdaTV cases in line with its own goals.”
On the reason for Şık’s arrest on terror charges, the government referred to his social media posts, interviews with outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants, and news reports on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks bound for Syria in 2014.
“The government wants to underline the fact that the subject of the investigation does not have any relationship with the journalist’s allegation that ‘he had engaged with journalistic activities.’ When the documents in the dossier and social media posts are taken into consideration, [Şık] reflected the Republic of Turkey and its institutions as a state that supports terrorist organizations. He also represented activities by the state to prevent terrorism and reinstate public order in the face of violent acts by the terrorist organization [PKK] as a source of violence,” the government’s defense read.
The government also accused Şık of “engaging in acts that praise terror and legitimize violence,” while “aiming to create an environment of chaos” with his reports and social media posts.
It claimed that Şık’s rights for personal freedom and security were not violated and that the time period for his arrest was “reasonable.” The government cited an example in which the ECHR accepted arrest periods of two years and eight months of 40 mafia members in Italy.
It also noted that the domestic remedies in the case had not yet been exhausted and Şık’s application should therefore be rejected.
Şık was arrested on Dec. 30, 2016 over several tweets and articles for Cumhuriyet, accused of “helping and being a member of terrorist groups.”
The prosecutor demands up to 15 years in jail for him on charges of “helping and being a member of the [PKK] and the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front [DHKP-C].”
In May, Şık had applied to the ECHR demanding his immediate release, citing a court ruling from three years ago stating that his rights had been violated.