Two Turkish journalists jailed over Charlie Hebdo cartoons

Two Turkish journalists jailed over Charlie Hebdo cartoons

Turkish journalists Hikmet Cetinkaya, left, and Ceyda Karan, are to appeal two-year jail sentences imposed on them yesterday for fomenting ‘hatred and enmity in the people via means of the press’ by republishing cartoons of the ‘prophet’ Mohammed from the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

According to this report, the cartoons in Cumhuriyet, an opposition newspaper, sparked outrage in sections of Turkish society when they were published in January last year as a gesture of solidarity with Charlie Hebdo, days after a massacre at the Parisian office by Islamist gunmen.


Turkish police had stopped and searched Cumhuriyet trucks as they left the printing press and protesters in Istanbul later burned copies of the newspaper.

The case was pressed by lawyers linked to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, and several members of his family. Erdogan – “the thinniest-skinned President in the World” – was himself was jailed for “inciting religious hatred” in 1998, after reciting a poem attributed to the Ottoman writer Ziya Gökalp.

It was not immediately clear whether Cetinkaya and Karan would serve time in jail. Turkish courts frequently issue suspended sentences for such violations, meaning the convicted are free unless they repeat the offence.

The sentencing comes amid a mushrooming crackdown on Turkish and international news media within the country. According to PEN International, some 28 writers and journalists were either detained or imprisoned in Turkey at the end of 2015 while more than 100 remained on trial, most for national security offences.

Cumhuriyet’s editor-in-chief, Can Dündar, and the paper’s Ankara bureau chief, Erdem Gül, are currently on trial on trial behind closed doors on charges of revealing state secrets and could face multiple life sentences if found guilty.

International trial monitors and press freedom groups have condemned those proceedings, describing the case as an instance in which “journalism is on trial”.

In recent months, Turkey’s media crackdown has become increasingly intertwined with Europe’s attempts to cooperate with Ankara as part of a pact designed to prevent the mass movement of refugees into the continent.

Germany’s Prime Minister,  Angela Merkel, has been criticised for allowing a case to be pursued against a German comedian, after Turkey filed a formal complaint under a rarely used German law that prohibits insulting foreign leaders.

The Dutch foreign minister, Bert Koenders, also warned on Tuesday that the Netherlands could not guarantee the safety of citizens travelling to Turkey if they have been critical of Turkish leaders.

Hat tip: Peter Sykes

9 responses to “Two Turkish journalists jailed over Charlie Hebdo cartoons”

  1. Kamashima san says:

    So it’s ok to gun down cartoonists, cartoonists who keep our democracies healthy by lampooning everyone that deserves it (by that I mean everyone) but its not ok to print a cartoon that muslims don’t like. Is that it? Well if there is any danger of turkey getting into the EU then I am voting for the uk to get out. The fewer muslims in the EU the better. Fuck turkey. Fuck islam. Fuck erdogan. And fuck allah and mohamet. In fact piss be upon them all.

  2. ZombieHunter says:

    turkey should NOT be allowed in the EU, they have strayed from being defenders of secular ideals and are pandering to islamofascist nutjobs.

    also if these journalists were going to post these cartoons wouldn’t it have been a good idea for them to flee the country first??

  3. jay says:

    Sadly, they seem to have the West by the balls.

    Obama won’t piss them off because he wants to use bases to attack ISIS. EU desperately wants to buffer the mad tide of refugees that are threatening the core of EU.

    So they suck up. And lose anyhow.

  4. Daz says:

    From “Commission Opinion on Bulgaria’s Application for Membership of the European Union” [pdf] (1997):

    “Bulgaria has introduced various internal rules designed to ensure respect for human rights and minorities’ rights. Such respect may also be guaranteed by the application of certain international conventions, most notably the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and its main additional protocols. Under Article F of the EU Treaty, this set of provisions forms part of the acquis: any State wishing to join the European Union must first have ratified the said texts.”
    [my bolding]

    Which not only shows that Theresa May and her ilk are talking out their arses when claiming that the UK should be able to stay in Europe yet withdraw from the ECHR, but also, article ten of the European Convention on Human Rights (“… for the Protection of Human Rights,” as was) states:

    “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.”

    So no, technically at least, Turkey shouldn’t even be admitted. If it is though (for reasons of realpolitik, in all likelihood), it would at least give Turkish citizens access to the European Court of Justice; so there’s something of a silver lining in this cloud.

  5. remigius says:

    Daz, no citizens have access to the European Court of Justice. Proceedings can only be brought to the court by the Commission or another Member State.

    However, should Turkey join the EU, its citizens would have access to the European Court of Human Rights.

  6. Vanity Unfair says:

    To Daz:
    A minor point: the ECJ sits in Luxembourg and rules on EU law, mostly commercial cases brought by governments.
    The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is the province of the Council of Europe and administered by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) which sits in Strasbourg. Increasingly ECHR cases can be pleaded in national courts.There is a move afoot to make the EU itself a signatory. I am unconvinced of the effectiveness of this proposal as member states are already expected to be signatories.

    Turkey is already a signatory of the ECHR and has been since 1954. However, it is also the country with the worst record of breaches. Warning: the headings of the graph are reversed. Having the rights is insufficient if it is not possible to enforce them.

  7. Paul says:

    In 1961 (or so) Turkey first applied to Join the EU and they were put into the fast lane to join.
    So all the fear of them joining is unfounded. Simply they will never join the EU.
    The Germans The French and The Austrians will NEVER allow the Turks to join. Their combined anti-Turkish vote in accession and frankly their racist sentiments have made that clear.

  8. Paul says:

    As to erdogan he isn’t really a Turk he’s an ethnic Georgian namely a Lasi. He has the weakest constitution of any creature on this planet. His behaviour shows he is A despotic facile clown – destroying Turkish secularism because he is corrupt and a morally bankrupt dim wit who considers himself an Ataturk. Turks think they need an Ataturk and are desperate for one to lead them – but not like erdogan as the man is as dangerous as he is stupid.