Feb 21 2018

Turkish journalist Baysal gets 10-month jail sentence

Turkish journalist Nurcan Baysal received a 10-month prison sentence for an article in 2016 criticizing a Turkish military operation on the mainly-Kurdish town of Cizre.

Baysal, who was found guilty by the court in Ankara of demeaning the Turkish security services, was released on condition she didn’t repeat the offence within five years, according to news website Arti Gercek.

She told the court that she was a journalist visiting Cizre and was obliged to report inhumane events there, as per her rights under the Constitution, Arti Gercek said.

Turkey launched an operation against Kurdish militants holed up in Cizre in September 2015, sealing off the city and placing a curfew for eight days. The town had limited access to water and food and many of the injured were prohibited from receiving professional medical treatment. The Council of Europe raised concerns about "disproportionate use of force by security forces against civilians." The mayor of Cizre was removed from her post accused of inciting hatred and supporting terrorism.

Baysal, based in Diyarbakir, the largest city in southeast Turkey, is a contributor to Ahval and news website T24.  She worked for many years for the United Nations on poverty, development and migration issues in the region.