Turkish authorities to imprison another journalist for report on corruption

Journalist Sedat Sur said the Turkish authorities had sentenced him to imprisonment for his report over appointed mayor's corruption although his news was not falsified, Gazete Karınca reported

"There was corruption. I reported about it. My sources were solid. There is still no data or evidence to refute the news. But an investigation against me was started," Sur told Gazete Karınca. 

"It's anti-democratic to put a journalist behind bars for making news, but it's also ridiculous. A journalist makes news, if it is wrong, it can be disclaimed. My report has not been falsified yet. We aim to report the truth."

In 2016, Sur wrote an article titled " A billion worth 'religion conference' of the appointed mayor's municipality" and said the appointed trustee of Mardin Municipality underhandedly gave 400,000 Turkish liras to Nihat Hatipoğlu, a well-known theologian who has been in the close political circle of the ruling Justice and Development Party, according to Gazete Karınca.

Turkish authorities in 2017 launched an investigation against Sur for the report. A Turkish court on Nov. 9 ruled 11 months and 20 days of a prison sentence for Sur over the charges of "targeting an appointed mayor, insult, and making propaganda of an illegal organisation". 

Sur will be imprisoned on Nov. 19 to serve his time. He said on Twitter that he prepared his luggage for his "prison journey". 

The court's decision was a message to journalists for not to criticise the appointed mayor in the eve of the local elections, Sur said.

The Turkish government in March 2017 had taken direct control of 82 municipalities in the Kurdish populated southeast region, suspending and incarcerating elected mayors, according to Human Rights Watch. The government appointed mayors instead of the elected ones.

"The whole country was turned to a huge prison. It is not a problem for me to be imprisoned. The problem is people are going to jail because of their thoughts or news, criticism and non-violent opposition," Gazete Karınca quoted Sur as saying.  

The case of Sur presents the problems that journalists have been facing in Turkey, Gazete Karınca said.