Tele1 Editor-in-Chief Merdan Yanardağ was arrested on charges of “praising the crime and the criminal” and “making terrorist propaganda” due to his statements about PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.
Turkish Journalist Merdan Yanardağ stated in his statement that an operation was conducted against Tele 1, saying, “I have never praised any terrorist organization, nor have I praised any terrorist organization leader. I have no such intention or purpose.”
An investigation was initiated by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office against Merdan Yanardağ, who stated on Tele1’s program “4 Questions 4 Answers” that the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan should be lifted.
Yanardağ was detained by the police who went to the channel after his live speech on Monday.
After completing the necessary procedures at the Police Department as part of the investigation, Yanardağ was transferred to Istanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan. Following his statement at the prosecutor’s office, Merdan Yanardağ was referred to the Duty Criminal Judgeship with a request for his arrest.
The court decided to prosecute the defendant while in custody and sent Yanardağ to prison.
Yanardağ defended himself: I did not praise any terrorist organization Before his arrest, Yanardağ stated in his live statement that an operation was conducted against Tele 1, saying, “I have never praised any terrorist organization, nor have I praised any terrorist organization leader. I have no such intention or purpose. In that program, I mentioned that AKP Deputy Galip Ensarioğlu’s attempt was to initiate a new resolution process and create a new area for AKP, whose power areas have narrowed.”
What did Yanardağ say? Speaking on Tele1’s program “4 Questions 4 Answers,” Yanardağ advocated for the end of the isolation imposed on PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.
Yanardağ stated the following regarding Abdullah Öcalan, who has been in prison for 25 years and is over 70 years old:
“He is the longest-serving political prisoner in Turkey. If normal execution laws were in effect, he should actually be released, put under house arrest, etc. The isolation imposed on Abdullah Öcalan has no place in law. It should be lifted. We don’t see it, hear it, or discuss it. We don’t know if he’s watching or not.”
“But you’re holding him hostage there, bargaining with him. You’re even threatening through him. He can’t meet his family or lawyers. Can such an execution system exist? Abdullah Öcalan is not to be taken lightly. He has become a philosopher in prison because he does nothing but read. He is an extremely intelligent person who understands and interprets politics correctly.”
RTÜK initiated an investigation The footage of the mentioned moments in the program was shared by AKP Izmir Deputy Mehmet Ali Çelebi.
RTÜK President Ebubekir Şahin announced that an investigation was initiated regarding the program in question that caused the investigation, stating, “An investigation has been launched into Tele1 due to the statements of a person named Merdan Yanardağ, who praises the terrorist leader, the murderer of thousands of people. Respectfully announced to the public.”
Journalist Yanardağ responded to RTÜK’s president, saying, “Mr. Ebubekir, no one is praising anyone. On the contrary, there is a program criticizing AKP Deputy Galip Ensarioğlu’s statements that praise Apo (Abdullah Öcalan) and pave the way for a new resolution process. Don’t look for excuses based on montage videos, just like during the election process.”
AKP Deputy Mehmet Ali Çelebi made a post regarding Yanardağ’s statements, saying, “TELE1 News Director Merdan Yanardağ praises the Baby Killer…”
Yanardağ responded to Çelebi in his post, saying, “Mr. M. Ali Çelebi, the poor soul, cut and edited a video from the program where I criticized the new resolution process that AKP wanted to initiate with Öcalan (look at Ensarioğlu’s statements) and acted as a correspondent to serve his party’s interests. The trolls jumped on it. Get out of here, you montage makers.”
Journalist Merdan Yanardağ had also made publications questioning the results of the latest presidential elections in Turkey.
Merdan Yanardağ was one of the few remaining critical journalists in Turkey.