Turkey Formally Arrests Journalist Over Posts on Personal Information Leak

Turkish authorities jailed a journalist on Tuesday pending trial after he announced hackers had stolen personal information from government websites and shared some of it with him, including President Tayyip Erdogan’s ID card, as proof, his lawyer said. 

The independent journalist, Ibrahim Haskologlu, posted the announcement on Twitter, illustrating it with a partially obscured photo of what he said was Erdogan’s ID.

His lawyer, Emrah Karatay, said his client was arrested on a charge of illegally obtaining and disseminating personal information due to his social media posts.

In his Twitter posts last week, Haskologlu said that a group of hackers had contacted him two months ago and told him that they had obtained Turks’ personal information from government websites.

As well as sharing the purported photo of Erdogan’s ID, Haskologlu also published an image of what he said was the ID card of Hakan Fidan, head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency. Most of the information on the cards was concealed.

“The reason for his formal arrest was that he did not notify prosecutors,” Karatay said, adding that Haskologlu had warnedvarious authorities but no action was taken.

“He thought he had to warn people as a journalist and posted these. Now he’s arrested – that’s all,” Karatay said, adding that police had searched Haskologlu’s house when they detained him last night. 

Istanbul police was not immediately available for comment.

Broadcaster NTV said the interior ministry had filed a complaint about Haskologlu after his posts, prompting an investigation by the Istanbul prosecutor’s office.

Turkey is one of the world’s top jailers of journalists and mainstream media is controlled by those close to Erdogan’s government. Turkey’s government denies accusations by human rights groups that it muzzles the media.