Turkey prosecutors seek jail terms for two Bloomberg reporters

The charges come after Turkey’s banking regulator agency, BDDK, complained about an August 2018 Bloomberg story on the currency crisis amid tensions with the US. (File/Shutterstock)
Updated 14 June 2019
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Turkey prosecutors seek jail terms for two Bloomberg reporters

  • Prosecutors accuse the two reporters of trying to undermine Turkey’s economic stability
  • An Istanbul court accepted the indictment and the first hearing is set for Sept. 20

ISTANBUL: Turkish prosecutors are seeking a jail term of up to five years for two Bloomberg reporters who had written about how authorities responded to last summer’s currency collapse, the US-based news agency reported.
The charges come after Turkey’s banking regulator agency, BDDK, complained about an August 2018 Bloomberg story on the currency crisis amid tensions with the United States.
Prosecutors accuse the two reporters, Kerim Karakaya and Fercan Yalinkilic, of trying to undermine Turkey’s economic stability, Bloomberg said late Thursday.
The news agency’s editor-in-chief John Micklethwait said: “We condemn the indictment issued against our reporters, who have reported fairly and accurately on newsworthy events. We fully stand by them and will support them throughout this ordeal.”
An Istanbul court accepted the indictment and the first hearing is set for September 20.
Turkish media reported 50 others, including journalists and columnists, were also indicted for commenting on the currency crisis on their social media accounts.
In April, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized Western media coverage of the country’s economy after a Financial Times report questioned the central bank’s management of foreign currency reserves.
Turkey’s economy has slipped into its first recession in a decade after a currency crisis last year battered the lira, leaving foreign investors jittery over the government’s policies to manage growth.


Bloomberg reporters in Turkey court over economy article

Updated 20 September 2019
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Bloomberg reporters in Turkey court over economy article

  • They were among dozens of defendants, including some who had simply written jokes about the currency crisis on Twitter
  • Conspiracy theories are widely believed in Turkey

ISTANBUL: Two Bloomberg reporters went on trial in a Turkish court Friday, facing up to five years in prison over claims they tried to sabotage the economy with an article about last year’s currency crisis.
They were among dozens of defendants, including some who had simply written jokes about the currency crisis on Twitter.
The Bloomberg article was published in August 2018 on a dramatic day when the lira lost around a fifth of its value against the dollar. It said Turkey’s banking regulator agency, known as the BDDK, would hold an emergency meeting.
“For the BDDK to call a meeting was normal... I hardly understand why our story has received such a reaction,” Kerim Karakaya, who faces trial along with his colleague Fercan Yalinkilic, told the court.
Others in court appeared shocked to be on trial over throwaway comments on Twitter.
“If me and the others in this room can ruin the economy with tweets, then we are all toast,” said one of the defendants, Halit Tokkus.
A 22-year-old student, Bilalcan Sagir, was also in court over a tweet that read: “I doubt the brain of anyone who says there is no crisis. Come to your senses.”
He told the court: “I am a student. I posted tweets but I don’t know how I can influence the capital markets.”
After opening statements, the court said a new hearing would be held on January 17.
Conspiracy theories are widely believed in Turkey, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has often stoked suspicions of the foreign media, saying they are trying to undermine the country.
Erol Onderoglu, of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), who was attending the trial, said it “illustrates a new and worrying tendency that targets the coverage of economic affairs.”
He highlighted other recent cases, including a local journalist, Cengiz Erdinc, who was convicted of “damaging the reputation” of public bank Ziraat.
In July, the government-linked SETA think tank in Istanbul published a report listing certain Turkish journalists working foreign media, accusing them of using “anti-government language.”
RSF described the report as an “intimidation attempt” that “brings the harassment of foreign media correspondents to a new level.”