Fatih Yağmur was awarded the Best Investigative Report of 2014 at the EU Investigative Journalism Awards on Monday for his article exposing the guns and munitions sent to Syria by the National Intelligence Organization (MIT), which was published in the Radikal daily on Jan. 3, 2014.
Three journalists from Turkey were honored with awards at the first EU Investigative Journalism Awards that is funded by the European Union in conjunction with the South East European Network for Professionalization of Media (SEENPM). The aim of the awards is to reward the investigative journalistic work in seven EU-Enlargement countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey.
Original investigative reports in 2014 that had significant social impact in Turkey were awarded during the ceremony that was organized by the Platform for Independent Journalism (P24) in İstanbul and which was well attended by journalists, representatives of various media organizations, diplomats and academics.
In his opening remarks P24’s Andrew Finkel said: “All too often brave and courageous journalists in Turkey are punished. Tonight they are being rewarded.”
The awards were based on votes by an independent jury, chaired by Professor Yasemin İnceoğlu and comprising Professor Arzu Kihtir, Tuğrul Eryılmaz, Hasan Cemal and Cengiz Çandar.
The Best Investigative Report of 2014 award was given to Yağmur from Radikal as “the subject matter — trucks laden with weapons en route to Syria owned by the country’s national intelligence agency — continues to have repercussions. The story is the product of pure investigative journalism at the highest international standards,” the jury said.
Nurettin Kurt was awarded the Second Best Investigative Report of 2014 for his report “Official car [for Religious Affairs Directorate president] cost TL1 million,” published in Hürriyet on Dec. 13, 2014. The jury said that the fact that the official in question returned the vehicle allocated for his use following public discussion as a result of the article gives the report a unique value.
Third place for the Best Investigative Report of 2014 went to Tahir Alperen for his report titled “Bullets that killed two police not fired from weapons belonging to four people shot dead,” published on t24.com.tr on Nov. 4, 2014.
The report was on the murder of two police chiefs in the southeastern province of Bingöl in October of last year. Shortly after the attack, then-Interior Minister Efkan Ala announced that four of the alleged assailants were killed in clashes after the assault. However, it was later revealed that the killed suspects had nothing to with the killing of the two police chiefs in Bingöl.
“This story certainly deserves a prize as its writer has gotten hold of documents that will likely change the course of a criminal investigation regarding the murder of two police officers,” the jury stated in its rationale.
According to information on P24’s website, investigative stories that contribute to transparency and report on societal issues related to abuse of power and fundamental rights, corruption and organized crime that otherwise would not have been brought to the public’s attention qualify for the award.