Ahmet Şık (Turkey)

Ahmet Şık is a freelance journalist and photographer living and working in Turkey. He has worked at several publications, including Cumhuriyet, Evrensel, Yeni Yüzyıl and Radikal. He was forced to turn to freelance journalism after facing retribution from his former employer for an investigative article that he published. Ahmet Şık is the recipient of a 2013 International Press Freedom Award

Ahmet Şık has long embodied the principles of “rights-based journalism.” His topics have included human rights violations in Turkey, torture cases and claims, police brutality, threats to freedom of expression, and the practice of summary executions. Despite the many accolades for his photography and his writing, Sik has suffered persecution and retribution for his work as a journalist. He has been jailed several times, most recently due to his latest work, a book called İmamın Ordusu (The Imam’s Army). This book reveals how the Fethullah Gülen community is organized within the police forces in Turkey and its links to Ergenekon, an alleged terrorist organization in Turkey which seeks to overthrow the current government. His chosen topic brought Şık into the fold of the Ergenekon trials, which have already convicted 20 Turkish journalists. The unpublished book was seized and banned, and Şık was detained for a year (2011-2012) under charges that The Imam’s Army constituted a “document of a terror organization.” He is currently awaiting trial.

Most recently, Şık was injured while covering Occupy Gezi protests. He was hit on the head by a tear gas canister while photographing clashes between protesters and law enforcement officials. Onlookers alleged that the canister was deliberately thrown at him by a police officer.

2013