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Abdulkadir Turay - Trial for Membership of a Terrorist Organization

Journalist Abdulkadir Turay was a correspondent for the Dicle News Agency, which was closed down in October 2016 by a decree law. He had begun his journalism career at the same agency.

Turay was taken into custody on May 5, 2016, during a raid on his house in Mardin’s Savur district. After four days in custody, he was arrested on May 8 on allegations of “membership of a terrorist organization” on orders from the Mardin First Criminal Court of Peace.

He was transported to Mardin E-Type Closed Prison.

On January 18, 2017, prosecutor Vural Eker completed the indictment against 10 individuals, including Turay. In the indictment, he was charged with “membership of a terrorist organization.” The Mardin Second High Criminal Court accepted the indictment. In the indictment, Turay’s telephone calls as well as his television appearances were presented as evidence in support of the indictment.

At the final hearing on September 26, 2018, Turay was sentenced to 9 years in prison on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization.” His detention was continued with this ruling.

The case was taken to the Court of Appeal. The appeal process is ongoing. Turay and the other defendants were sentenced to a total of 65 years and 3 months in prison.

Turay is now held in Mardin E-Type Closed Prison as a prisoner on remand.

Abdulkadir Turay Üyelik Davası (İddianame)

Adnan Bilen - Trial for Insulting the President

An investigation was initiated against journalist Adnan Bilen in 2018 on allegations of “insulting the President of the Republic” with his social media posts, pursuant to Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code. The investigation was conducted by the Van Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Prosecutor Özgur Katipkaya drafted the indictment. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan figured as “injured party” in the two-page indictment completed on February 25, 2019.

Bilen’s Facebook posts, on which the accusation was based, were also included in the indictment. According to the open research record dated May 16, 2017, Bilen’s two posts from 2015 and 2017 formed the grounds for accusation.

On December 31, 2017, Bilen had shared President Erdoğan’s family photo with the comment “A disgrace”; and on July 31, 2015, he had posted a photomontage featuring the President’s photo, titled “fascist agha”, with the comment “May Selo join the guerrilla, may Apo never speak again, and may Mağo Agha be pleased. Selahattin Demirtaş is such a nuisance. He can bother you even from thousands of miles away. Just look, President Tayyip Erdoğan is in China now, but still could not shake off the nuisance…”

The indictment states that the open-source research record is dated May 16, 2017; strikingly, this predates the first post forming the grounds for accusation.
Prosecutor Katipkaya stated the posts were “aimed at the honor and dignity of the injured party”, and requested that Bilen be punished under Article 299/1.2 of the Turkish Penal Code on “Insulting the President of the Republic.”

Van Fourth Criminal Court of First Instance accepted the indictment against Bilen and a lawsuit was filed. The date of the first hearing of the lawsuit was set as July 19, 2019. Judge Cengizhan Aksu presided over the hearing. Bilen was in attendance in the courtroom. The complainant President Tayyip Erdoğan’s lawyer Hüseyin Aydın submitted a petition to participate in the proceedings. Bilen, in his defense during the hearing stated, “I have worked as a journalist for 20 years. The texts forming the subject matter of the case belong to someone else. These texts are not degrading or humiliating, but only constitute a harsh criticism. Thousands of other people shared this text on the social media. However, a lawsuit has been filed against only me. Even the author who wrote the text has not been sued.”

The court adjourned the trial until November 8, 2019, 10:10 am.

Adnan Bilen - Hakaret Davası (İddianame)

Adnan Bilen - Hakaret Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

Ahmet Altan - Violation of Confidentiality Trial

Ahmet Altan is standing trial on allegations of “violating the confidentiality of investigation” and “attempting to influence the fair trial principle,” for his article “Mafyanın Dışında Kim Kaldı” (“Who Remains Out of the Mafia”) published in Taraf Newspaper on July 11, 2009.

In his article, Altan discussed an anti-“gang” operation by the Sakarya Police Department in the district of Akyazı. He claimed that the “gang” members investigated by the police were indeed relatives of the mayor of Akyazı, who was from AKP, and that Sakarya Police Chief Faruk Ünsal had informed the “gang” members that an operation was being launched against them.

In July 2009, the Sakarya Public Prosecutor’s Office started an investigation against Altan upon a complaint filed by Sakarya Police Chief Faruk Ünsal. In the indictment against Altan, completed on September 4, 2019, the prosecutor requested a prison sentence of 1 to 3 years pursuant to Article 285 of the Turkish Penal Code. Furthermore, he demanded that Altan be imposed a judicial fine under Article 288 of the Turkish Penal Code.

The Kadıköy Second Criminal Court of First Instance accepted the indictment. However, the investigation against Altan was suspended. Nonetheless, the case was later reopened when Altan was imposed a judicial fine in a separate case for “Insulting the President of the Republic.”

With the reopening of the case, the trial began at Istanbul Anadolu Second Criminal Court of First Instance. The first hearing of the trial took place on April 12, 2019, about 10 years after the indictment was drafted.

Judge Lokman Kazan informed Ahmet Altan that the charges of “attempting to influence the fair trial principle” could be dropped if he agreed to pay 1061 TL; however, Altan refused.

The next trial will be held on November 12, 2019.

Ahmet Altan - Gizliliği İhlal Davası (İddianame)

Ahmet Altan - Gizliliği İhlal Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

Ahmet Altan - Gizliliği İhlal Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

Ahmet Altan - Gizliliği İhlal Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

Ahmet Altan - Gizliliği İhlal Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

Ahmet Altan-Gizliliği İhlal Taraf Gazetesi Davası

Ahmet Altan-Gizliliği İhlal Taraf Gazetesi Davası (İddianame)

Ahmet Altan-Gizliliği İhlal Taraf Gazetesi Davası (Gerekçeli Karar)

Ahmet Altan - Trial for Insulting the Members of the Court of Cassation

Ahmet Altan stood trial for his column titled “Büyük Savaş Başladı” (“The Great War Has Started) published on June 19, 2010 in Taraf Newspaper.

The said article was about a meeting between two members of the Court of Cassation concerning the release of the former Chief Public Prosecutor of Erzincan, İlhan Cihaner, and the promotion of a judge who would release Cihaner, as Head of Chamber in the Court of Cassation, which was covered by the press at the time. These two members of the Court of Cassation were detained on February 16, 2010 on the orders of Erzurum’s Specially Authorized Public Prosecutor Osman Şanal, who in turn would later be arrested under the scope of investigations against Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ). At the time of his detention, Cihaner was investigating the activities of the Fethullah Gülen Sect. The meeting that Ahmet Altan dwelled upon in his article concerned a discussion between two members of the Court of Cassation on a possible “scenario” of Cihaner’s release. Cihaner was indeed released on June 18, 2010, confirming this “scenario.”

Prosecutor Dursun Yılmaz, in the indictment he drafted on August 19, 2010, claimed that Altan “used expressions that were insulting the honor, dignity, and prestige of the plaintiffs, the article was humiliating and derogatory, and exceeded the limits of freedom of expression.”

The indictment cites İlhan Cihaner as the complainant, and Ersan Ülker, who was Head of the 11th Chamber of the Court of Cassation at the time, as the injured party. At the first hearing on May 21, 2019, Ahmet Altan’s lawyer submitted to the court a petition by İlhan Cihaner stating that he withdrew his complaint. From then on, İlhan Cihaner and Ersan Ülker figured as participants in the case.

During the trial, Cihaner did not attend the hearings. At the second hearing on September 17, 2019, Ahmet Altan was acquitted.

Ahmet Altan - Yargıtay Üyelerine Hakaret Davası (İddianame)

Ahmet Kanbal - Social Media Trial

Ahmet Kanbal, a reporter for the Mesopotamia News Agency, was taken into custody on February 8, 2018 for his social media posts. After spending one day in custody, he appeared in court and was released.

Public Prosecutor Erol Sümer completed an indictment against Kanbal on March 26, 2018. In the 3-page indictment, 33 Tweets by Kanbal were cited as evidence. All of the Tweets concerned the “Operation Olive Branch” launched on January 20, 2018 by the Turkish Armed Forces into the Afrin province of northern Syria. Kanbal was charged with ”continuously spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization through the media.”

Upon the acceptance of the indictment by the İzmir Second High Criminal Court, a lawsuit was filed against him on charges of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization.”

The first hearing of the case was on November 20, 2018. Kanbal stated that his posts fell under the scope of journalistic activities:

“These cannot be seen as crimes. Had the prosecutor, who drafted the indictment, read the news mentioned in the tweets, he would have seen that they were all news articles. Even if I stand trial, I will continue to work as a journalist for peace. Journalism is a profession of courage not fear.”

At the hearing, the prosecutor stated his opinion that Kanbal was “continuously spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization through the media.” The hearing was postponed to February 26, 2019 after the defense lawyer requested additional time for preparation of defense against the prosecutor’s opinion as to the accusations.

At the final hearing of the trial, it was decided that the case file be sent to the Ministry of Justice, to be brought under the scope of Turkish Penal Code, Article 301. The trial will continue depending on the pending response from the Ministry of Justice.

Ahmet Kanbal - Sosyal Medya Davası (İddianame)

Akman, Alayumat - Espionage Trial

Journalists Erdoğan Alayumat and Nuri Akman were taken into custody on July 13, 2017 on the grounds of “reasonable suspicion” while they were following a news story in the Islahiye district of Gaziantep. After 14 days in custody, the two journalists were referred to the Criminal Court of Peace for arrest.

Nuri Akman was released “on condition of judicial control.” However, Erdoğan Alayumat was arrested on charges of “being a member of a terrorist organization”, “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization”, “militia and support activities for a terrorist organization” and “disclosing the secrets of the Republic of Turkey.” During the court interrogation, they were questioned about their news articles, photos taken along the border, and journalistic discussions over the phone.

Hatay Public Prosecutor Tacettin Pınar completed the indictment for the case on November 3, 2017. The Second High Criminal Court accepted the indictment on November 23, 2017.

The first hearing of the case was held on February 2, 2018. The court ruled that the General Staff be consulted as to whether the photographs cited as evidence in the indictment are indeed “confidential documents of the state”, and that Alayumat’s detention and Nuri Akman’s judicial control would continue.

The second hearing was held on April 25. At this hearing, too, the court ruled to keep Alayumat in prison. Since the General Staff had not yet sent a written statement clarifying whether the campus photographed by the journalists was indeed used for military purposes, it was ruled that a new writ be issued. The trial was adjourned until May 24, 2017.

At the third hearing, the General Staff had still not sent a written statement as to whether the campus photographed by the journalists was “a forbidden military zone belonging to the state.” The court ruled to release Alayumat without judicial control and to continue the judicial control of Nuri Akman. The trial was adjourned until October 19, 2018.

Akman, Alayumat -Casusluk Davası (İddianame)

Ali Ahmet Böken - TRT Trial

TRT News Coordinator Ali Ahmet Böken was taken into custody on August 11, 2016. He was accused of “placing FETÖ members in Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) ” and “having TRT broadcast programs serving the purposes of FETÖ.”

The prosecutor requested a prison sentence of 7.5 to 15 years for “being a member of a terrorist organization.” He was sentenced to 9 years and 9 months in prison for alleged membership of an armed terrorist organization.

An appeal process is underway for the case.

Ali Ahmet Böken - TRT Davası (İddianame)

Ali Ahmet Böken - TRT Davası (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Ali Ünal - Zaman Trial

An arrest order was issued for Ali Ünal, a former columnist at the shuttered Zaman Newspaper, under the scope of an investigation on ex-columnists and managers of the newspaper, based on allegations of “leading a terrorist organization”, namely “FETÖ / Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization - PDY / Parallel State Structure.”

Ünal was taken into custody in the Eşme district of Uşak on August 11, 2016. After five days in custody, he was arrested upon a ruling of Uşak Second Criminal Court of Peace, on charges of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” and “establishing or managing a terrorist organization.”

Uşak Public Prosecutor Elif İkiz completed a 300-page indictment against him on September 28, 2017. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was mentioned in the indictment as “the injured party.” Uşak Second High Criminal Court accepted the indictment, which requested two aggravated life sentences and an additional prison sentence of 29.5 years. The indictment cited as evidence Ünal’s 17 articles published in Zaman Newspaper on various dates and the opinions he expressed on a variety of TV discussion programs.

The first hearing of the case was held on January 4, 2018. At the first hearing, Ünal made his defense for the 17 articles in question, asked for his release, but was rejected. The court ordered the continuation of his detention and adjourned the trial until February 27, 2018.

At the second hearing held on February 27, 2018, Ünal stated that he did not receive instructions from Gülen and members of the organization, and that his name did not appear at any level of the organization.

The fourth hearing was held on July 18, 2018. At this hearing, stating her opinion as to the accusations, prosecutor Elif İkiz requested that Ünal be sentenced to 15 to 20 years in prison on charges of “attempting to abolish the constitutional order”, and “establishing or managing an armed terrorist organization.” The trial was adjourned until September 5, 2018.

At the fifth hearing, the new prosecutor assigned to the case reiterated the opinion as to the accusations and requested that Ünal be sentenced.

Ünal asked for additional time for defense. The trial was adjourned until November 14, 2018. In the final hearing, Ünal was sentenced to 19 years and 6 months in prison for “being a member of a terrorist organization.” His lawyers filed an appeal against the verdict to the court of appeal.

Ünal was not brought to court in any of the hearings. He attended the hearing through the courtroom video-conferencing system SEGBİS, from prison.

Ali Ünal - Zaman Davası (İddianame)

Ali Ünal - Zaman Davası (Gerekçeli Karar)

Ali Ünal - Zaman Davası (İstinaf Mahkemesi Kararı)

Alican Uludağ - Violation of Confidentiality Trial

An investigation was initiated against Alican Uludağ, a reporter for the Cumhuriyet newspaper, on charges of “violating the confidentiality of investigation” in his articles titled “Dört Hakim ve Savcı, HSYK’nin İhraç Ettiği İsimler Arasında Yok”, (“Four judges and prosecutors are not among the ones who were sacked by the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors”) and “Evet’çi Savcı FETÖ toplantısında” (The judge who called for a “yes” in the referendum was at the FETÖ meeting”) published in the Cumhuriyet on March 20, 2017.

In the news article, Uludağ cited the statements received from a secret witness named “Çakıl” within the scope of the investigation against FETÖ in Antalya. Accordingly, “Çakıl” had claimed that certain judges and prosecutors had ties to FETÖ. These statements had been sent to the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK); however, the individuals mentioned by “Çakıl” had not figured among the names later expelled from the judiciary by HSYK. Uludağ coded three of the four names, but openly cited Cevdet Kayafoğlu’s name. Prior to the April 16, 2017 constitutional referendum, the then Antalya Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Kayafoğlu had stated on social media, “Those who vote ‘No’ will be treated just like members of PKK.”

Halil İbrahim Puran, a prosecutor at the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, completed the indictment against Uludağ on May 31, 2017. The four judges and prosecutors cited by Uludağ in his article were presented as complainants in the indictment. The prosecutor requested a prison sentence of one to three years as well as judicial fines for Uludağ on charges of “violating the confidentiality of investigation” by publishing a secret witness statement, as per Article 285 of the Turkish Penal Code.

The Istanbul Second Criminal Court of First Instance presiding over the proceedings ordered that Uludağ’s statement be taken in Ankara.

Uludağ gave his statement at the 34th Criminal Court of First Instance in Ankara, on December 6, 2018.

Following the statement, the first hearing of Uludağ’s trial was held on February 7, 2019 at the Istanbul Second Criminal Court of First Instance.

Alican Uludağ - Gizliliği İhlal Davası (İddianame)

Alican Uludağ - Gizliliği İhlal Davası (Karar)

Altan - Trial for Insulting the President

Journalist and writer Ahmet Altan published an article titled “Yeni Ergenekon” (“New Ergenekon”) on May 8, 2016 on the website P24. In his article, Altan stated, “the government was caught in the act of theft and carried out a ‘judicial coup’.”

Altan used the following statements in his article:

“Erdoğan explicitly stated that he will not abide by the constitution and started to rush towards an illegal dictatorship. (…) And if you cannot run the country but want to become a dictator, your only remaining choice will be guns.”

Upon a complaint by President Erdoğan, an investigation was launched against Ahmet Altan on June 13, 2016. It was claimed that Altan had committed the crime of “insulting the President” as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 299. On November 22, 2016, permission was received from the Ministry of Justice to file a lawsuit for this offense.

In his statement to the prosecutor, Ahmet Altan rejected the charge of “insulting the President.” He stated that it is not forbidden to criticize the government, but that President Tayyip Erdoğan’s lawyer tries to present it as an insult.

Umut Tepe, a prosecutor at the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Press Crimes Investigation Bureau drafted the indictment about Altan on January 9, 2017. It was claimed that Altan had written, “Tayyip Erdoğan creates social conflict and chaos due to his political greed,” and “Erdoğan builds SS units to commit massacres under the pretext of war in the Southeastern Anatolia Region.” It was also claimed that Altan accused Erdoğan of arms smuggling in his article.

The indictment also offered an assessment of European Convention on Human Rights, Article 10, which concerns freedom of thought and expression. The prosecutor indicated that this article of the convention stipulates “freedom of thought and expression covers not only those ideas that are appreciated and accepted, but also those ideas which are deemed offensive, shocking and disturbing.” The indictment went on to state “Although it is emphasized that (…) this allows for diversity of opinion, and tolerance, which are sine qua non in a democratic society,” and then claimed that Ahmet Altan should be sentenced for his article.

The Istanbul 30th Criminal Court of First Instance accepted the indictment against Ahmet Altan. The first hearing of the trial was held on May 16, 2017. Ahmet Altan was in Silivri Prison pending trial for “FETÖ Media Main Trial”, and so he was connected to the court via the video-conferencing system dubbed Audio and Visual Information System (SEGBİS). At the first hearing, Altan did not request time to prepare his defense, and said he would not use his right to remain silence. Altan criticized the prosecutor’s citation of the aforementioned article of the European Convention on Human Rights on freedom of thought and expression, followed by the phrase “although.” Altan said, “The prosecutor does not have the right to write in this way; by using the expression ‘although’ the prosecutor positions himself above the constitution and commits a crime.” Altan rejected a possible deferment of the announcement of the verdict, and instead requested to be acquitted. The judge Muazzez Cerşit gave Ahmet Altan’s lawyers Veysel Ok and Sinil Nuhoğlu additional time to draft a written defense and present evidence.

The trial was adjourned until the final hearing for the drafting of written defense and presentation of evidence for the case. The judge in charge changed twice during the proceedings; however, Judge Muazzez Cerşit one again presided over the final hearing. Meanwhile, President Tayyip Erdoğan who had filed a complaint against Altan demanded to participate in the proceedings and this demand was accepted.

At the seventh hearing of the trial held on March 19, 2019, the verdict about Altan was announced. Judge Muazzez Cerşit sentenced Altan to 11 months and 20 days in prison, reducing the normal prison term due to his good conduct. The sentence was converted to a judicial fine of 7,000 TL.

Ahmet Altan - Cumhurbaşkanına Hakaret Davası (İddianame)

Ahmet Altan - Cumhurbaşkanına Hakaret Davası (Gerekçeli Karar)

Ahmet Altan - Cumhurbaşkanına Hakaret Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

Arafat Dayan - Demokratik Ulus Newspaper Trial

The prosecutor drafted five separate indictments for the editor-in-chief of the weekly newspaper Demokratik Ulus (Democratic Nation), for news articles in five issues published between September 25, 2012 and November 5, 2012.

All the indictments were drafted by prosecutor Muammer Akkaş.

In the indictments, Dayan was charged with “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” and “printing and issuing the organization’s publications.”

These separate indictments about Dayan drafted by the same prosecutor on the same grounds were merged at the proceedings during Istanbul 23rd High Criminal Court.

All five of these two-page indictments were completed on January 7, 2013, and presented to the court.

Arafat Dayan, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper figured as defendant in the indictment since he was responsible for the content published, as per the Press Law.

In the first indictment about the newspaper, it was stated that articles published on the issue dated September 25 - October 2, 2012 “spread propaganda for a terrorist organization” and thus an investigation was launched. The indictment indicated that the newspaper published announcements by Kurdistan Workers’ Party (in Kurdish: Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê/PKK) within the stories titled “HPG, Bayrak tepesine yönelik eylemin sonuçlarını açıkladı” (HPG announced the results of its attack on Bayrak hill) on page 15 and “Kendinize güveniyorsanız hodri meydan!” (Bring it on, if you trust yourselves!) on page 18.

The indictment claimed that there was propaganda for a terrorist organization in the texts and photos of the articles “Yüreğimizin sesidir Botan” (Botan is the sound of our hearts) on page 24 and “Gerilla ve zaman” (Guerilla and time) on page 32. It was argued that an article titled “15. Yıl Mücadelesi” (15th Year in Struggle) on page 8 of the newspaper, featuring a photo of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and describing him as “Leader of the Kurdish People, Abdullah Öcalan” was “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization.”

The third indictment covered the news and articles on the issue dated October 16-21, 2012. It was indicated that in the said issue, the article “Yeter artık DİYORUZ” (We SAY enough) on page 1 and the articles on pages 16., 17. and 18. featured the opinions of PKK leader Murat Karayılan. The prosecutor also claimed that there were elements of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” in the article “Ulusal mücadelede tutarlı olmak lazım” (Coherence is a must in national struggle) on pages 1 and 11, “Okullar kışlalardan daha tehlikelidir” (Schools are more dangerous than barracks) on pages 1 and 14, and the article “Kürdistan’daki TC okulları temerküz kamplarıdır” (Turkish state schools in Kurdistan are concentration camps).

The fourth indictment pressed charges concerning the content in the issue dated October 30 - November 5, 2012, focusing on the article “Bu onurlu direnişe herkes sahip çıksın” (Everyone must embrace this honorable resistance) on page 1 and “Rojin yoldaşımız kararlı ve yürekli bir kadın militandı” (Comrade Rojin was a determined and courageous woman militant) on page 32.

The fifth and final indictment covered the news and articles on the issue dated November 13-19, 2012, filing charges against the articles titled “Savaşta zafer, yaşamda özgürlük” (Victory in war, freedom in life), “Rojava devrimine sahip çıkmak” (Embracing the Rojava revolution), “HPG yaşamını yitiren 8 gerillanın kimliğini açıkladı” (HPG announces the identities of 8 guerillas who lost their lives) on page 5.

After his evaluations on the news and articles, prosecutor Akkaş provided the same information on the last sections of all the indictments: He claimed that although a notification was sent to him, Arafat Dayan, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper had not come to the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and therefore took part directly in these crimes.

The indictments stated that the freedom of thought was under protection in Turkey, but that the articles in question “praised the terrorist and violent methods of the terror organization”, and thus crossed the boundaries of the freedom of thought. As such, it was requested that Dayan be sentenced on charges of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” and “printing and publishing the organization’s publications.”

Dayan submitted a two-page petition to the court, stating who had written the articles cited in the indictment. In this regard, he stated that he could not be held responsible since the names of the authors were known. Dayan did not attend the hearings.

He attended only the last hearing on November 23, 2013. At the hearing, prosecutor Durmuş Yiğit stated in his opinion on the accusations that the articles “spread propaganda that praised or encouraged the use of methods such as violence, coercion and threats used by the organization”, and requested that Dayan be sentenced to prison.

The panel of judges consisted of Mustafa Bağarkası (chair) and members Canel Rüzgar and Hakan Dede. They ruled that Dayan had indeed committed the crime of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” and had to be imprisoned.

Dayan was sentenced to 2 years in prison for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” as per Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2. Since the crime was committed multiple times and via the media, the panel of judges increased the prison sentence to five years.

In consideration of the good conduct of Dayan, the panel of judges later dropped the sentence to 4 years and 2 months. Later an appeal was filed at the court of appeal; however, the latter upheld the sentence and rejected the application for appeal.

After the sentence was upheld, Dayan was arrested on July 1, 2016. He is currently serving the prison sentence.

Arafat Dayan Demokratik Ulus Gazetesi Davası (İddianame)

Arafat Dayan Demokratik Ulus Gazetesi Davası (Gerekçeli Karar)

Avşar, Önemli - Trial for Targeting a Public Official

Daily Cumhuriyet’s reporter Seyhan Avşar penned a news article on March 6, 2019, reporting that Istanbul Public Prosecutor Asım Ekren, who had prepared the first indictment against Sözcü newspaper’s employees, had stood trial himself in the past.

According to his article, prosecutor Asım Ekren had been denounced by the suspects of an earlier investigation of his. A lawsuit was filed against Ekren for this reason, and he had been sentenced to prison. The court had then alleviated the sentence, ordering that Ekren be removed from public office for “2 months and 15 days” for professional misconduct. According to the news article, Ekren’s sentence was upheld by the Court of Cassation. The report asked how Ekren could continue to serve as prosecutor despite this sentence.

Necdet Önemli, the manager of Sözcü newspaper’s web site, published this article concerning the prosecutor in the case against his newspaper. The news article made references to daily Cumhuriyet and Seyhan Avşar, but no other aspects were mentioned.

An investigation was launched against Avşar and Önemli on charges of targeting the prosecutor Asım Ekren.

Prosecutor Asım Ekren was mentioned as “injured party” in the indictment against Avşar and Önemli.

The indictment indicated that Ekren had filed a lawsuit against the employees of the Sözcü newspaper, for alleged “membership in a terrorist organization.” For this reason, Avşar and Önemli were charged of “targeting a public official -namely, Ekren- who takes part in the fight against terrorism” (Anti-Terror Law, Article 6/1).

Prison sentences of 1 to 3 years are requested for Avşar and Önemli.

The first hearing of the trial will be held on January 9, 2020.

Avşar, Önemli - Hedef Gösterme Davası (İddianame)

Aykol-Kızılkaya Trial for Insulting the President

On August 11, 2016, Prosecutor Murat İnam of the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Press Crimes Investigation Bureau, drafted an indictment against Hüseyin Aykol, Co-Editor in Chief of the Özgür Gündem newspaper, and İnan Kızılkaya, the managing editor of the newspaper. The indictment concerned the news story published on the first page of Özgür Gündem dated April 8, 2016 with the title “Şahsı İçin Ülkeyi Yıkıyor” (“He Destroys the Country for Self-Interest”). The following expressions were presented as the ground for accusation: “Upon Erdoğan’s orders for the demolition of buildings in Silopi, a 70-year-old grandmother and a 2-year baby were killed”, “Bahçeli says, either me or the country. Erdoğan, having reached an agreement with the Ergenekon group in return for his presidency, continues to give massacre orders.” The other news stories subject to investigation were “Erdoğan Kelle Avcılığına Soyundu” (“Erdoğan Tries His Hand in Headhunting”) published on page 7 of the newspaper and “2 Yaşındaki Bebeği Katlettiler” (“They Massacred a 2-Year-Old Baby) published on page 8.

In the indictment, the prosecutor stated the following about these stories: “These news articles make statements against the President concerning the incidents of Şırnak and Silopi, which exceed the limits of criticism and of freedom of expression to insult the President. Although it was possible to report the event within the limits of proper criticism, the President was defamed, being portrayed as a headhunter giving massacre orders, making threats and issuing genocidal orders. As such the stories constitute the crime of insulting the President.”

The Istanbul Second Criminal Court of First Instance accepted this indictment mentioning President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as complainant.

On August 23 2016, another indictment, drafted by Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office, Press Crimes Investigation Bureau prosecutor Umut Tepe, was sent to the same court with the request to merge the two indictments. In this indictment mentioning Aykol and Kızılkaya as suspects, President Erdoğan figured as complainant. The indictment cited the following phrases to charge the suspects for “insulting the president.” The news article titled “Fitnenin başı bu zirvededir” (“The chief of enmity is at this summit”) on the 1st page of the newspaper dated April 15, 2016, read “…Although he argues that sectarianism is equal to instigating enmity, Erdoğan supports ISIS and provokes animosity against the Kurds, making many feel that the real chief of enmity is right here in this summit.”

Another indictment drafted by prosecutor Murat İnam on September 20, 2016 mentioned Eren Keskin, Özgür Gündem’s editor-in-chief and İnan Kızılkaya, its managing editor, as suspects. President Erdoğan again figured as complainant. The ground for accusation was the news story titled “Erdoğan’ın Dediği Oldu” (“Erdoğan Carried the Day”) published on page 1 of the issue dated March 23, 2016.

Davut Zerman, a prosecutor at the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office Press Crimes Investigation Bureau, drafted another indictment on October 7, 2016 charging Kızılkaya and Aykol of “insulting the President.” The article titled “Vahşete Saray ödülü” (“The Palace Awards Atrocity”) published on page 1 of the issue dated April 25, 2016, was the subject of this indictment. The indictment was dispatched to the same court with a request for merger.

In yet another indictment drafted by Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office, Press Crimes Investigation Bureau prosecutor Umut Tepe on October 26, 2016 mentioned the writer İhsan Çaralan and managing editor İnan Kızılkaya as suspects and President Erdoğan as complainant. The ground for charges was the story titled “Aynı Yer Aynı Katil“ (“Same Place, Same Killer“) on the 1st page of the issue dated May 31, 2016.

Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Press Crimes Investigation Bureau prosecutor Ahmet Dalgalı also drafted an indictment against İnan Kızılkaya on December 21, 2016 for “Insulting the President”, concerning the article titled “Tarihi Uyarı” (“ Historical Warning”) published on August 4, 2016. President Erdoğan figured as complainant in this indictment as well.

These six separate indictments sent to the Istanbul Second Criminal Court of First Instance were merged. The first hearing of the trial took place in January 2017.

The verdict was issued on the 9th hearing held on October 25, 2018.

Aykol and Kızılkaya were sentenced to 1 year 6 months in prison on charges of ”insulting the President.” The judge stated that the journalists committed this crime publicly and increased the sentence to 1 year 9 months in prison.

The judge, claiming that the journalists had committed the same crime multiple times, increased the sentence further to 2 years, 2 months and 8 days. Then, in consideration of the conduct of the journalists during court, the judge reduced their sentences to 1 year, 10 months and 26 days. The judge ordered a deferment of the announcement of the verdict for Kızılkaya, and a probation period of 5 years.

The judge sentenced İhsan Çaralan to one year in prison for the same offense. Claiming that Çaralan had committed this crime publicly, the judge increased the sentence to 1 year and 2 months in prison. Then, in consideration of Çaralan’s behavior in court, the judge reduced the sentence to 11 months and 20 days. The judge ordered a deferment of the announcement of the verdict, and a probation period of 5 years.

As for Eren Keskin, the judge stated that other trials on the same charges were underway at the Istanbul Second Criminal Court of First Instance concerning her, and ruled that this trial be dropped since the other trials covered the date of this accusation as well.

Ayşegül Doğan - Trial for Leading a Terrorist Organization

From 2015 onwards, many journalists and politicians were investigated for the activities of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) in Diyarbakır. Journalist Ayşegül Doğan was among the journalists investigated. The investigation on Doğan was conducted by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office Terror Crimes Investigation Bureau in 2018.

Prosecutor Şahsuvar Yıldız drafted the indictment for the investigation on journalist Ayşegül Doğan concerning the DTK’s activities. The indictment, completed on May 23, 2018, consisted of 86 pages. The remarks about Doğan were on pages 70-76 of the indictment.

The rest of the indictment claimed the DTK constituted the third pillar of Abdullah Öcalan’s “four-pillar paradigm”, acting as a supposed constituent assembly or organization. It was claimed the DTK was established and structured at the behest of Abdullah Öcalan with a view to implementing “the strategy of Democratic Autonomy”, and was a legislative organ operating like a parliament. The indictment also cited Abdullah Öcalan’s meeting minutes with his lawyers concerning the DTK.

In the section about journalist Doğan, the voice recordings of four of her phone calls are presented. Two of these calls concerned news contacts, while the other two were about her invitation to workshops by the DTK. In the phone call dated November 15, 2011, cited in the indictment, Doğan tells G. that news stories concerning the defendant Abdullah Öcalan should be “formulated meticulously.” In another phone call, Doğan tells a member of the DTK that she was disappointed for not receiving an invitation to their workshop on unsolved murders and forced disappearances.

The phone call on May 8, 2012 concerns a proposition to Doğan for acting as moderator in the meeting titled Democratic Autonomy Workshop organized by the DTK.

The fourth call mentioned in the indictment is between Doğan and a consultant to an MP, regarding the individuals who will participate in the Erbil Kurdish Women Conference.

Moreover, Doğan’s activities in the DTK’s Permanent Assembly and various the DTK commissions are also presented as ground for charges.

Based on such evidence, prosecutor Yıldız requested that Doğan be sentenced to prison of up to 22.5 years on charges of “establishing and leading an armed terrorist organization” as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 314, paragraph 1.

The Diyarbakır Ninth High Criminal Court accepted the indictment against Doğan and a lawsuit was filed. The first hearing of the case was held on November 21, 2018. Doğan presented her defense at the hearing, stating that her contacts with the DTK were aimed only at journalism, and that this could be confirmed by the archival records of that period. Arguing that the phone calls cited in the indictment concern solely journalistic activities, Ayşegül Doğan made explanations against every charge pressed against her. The next hearing of the case was held on April 3, 2019. Doğan did not attend this hearing. The panel of judges ordered that Doğan’s voice samples be compared with the voice recordings presented in the case file as evidence, and that the Forensic Medicine Institute prepare a report on this subject.
The third hearing of the case was held on September 11, 2019.

Enver Akman (president of the panel), Abdullah Kılıç (prosecutor), Ramazan Dündar and Mehmet Tur (judges) were present. Doğan did not attend this hearing. His lawyer Ahmet Özmen said that Doğan could not attend the hearing due to a surgery. The president of the panel of judges stated that the audio surveillance voice recordings concerning Doğan had been sent to Istanbul Forensic Medicine Institute for examination, but their report had not yet been received.

The trial was adjourned until December 25, 2019.

Ayşenur Parıldak - Zaman Trial

Ayşenur Parıldak, a reporter at the shuttered Zaman newspaper was taken into custody on August 4, 2016. Parıldak was charged for membership of an armed terrorist organization, and the prosecutor requested a prison sentence between 7.5 and 15 years.

In the indictment it was alleged that the application Bylock was installed on Parıldak’s phone. At the second hearing of the trial, the court requested an identity report on the telephone line that figured in the indictment. After media outlets close to the government reported the order for Parıldak’s release in a critical tone, the court’s request was fulfilled.

The report stated that the telephone line in question belonged to Parıldak. The release order was not implemented as the prosecutor’s office opposed it. İsmail Ademoğlu, the judge who had ordered Parıldak’s release, was removed from his post and appointed to the Ankara Regional Court.

During the trial, Parıldak claimed that the telephone line in question did not belong to her; however, this was not accepted by court. She was sentenced to seven years and six months in prison on charges of membership of an armed terrorist organization. The decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal and Court of Cassation. Since August 11, 2016, she has been serving time in Sincan Women’s Closed Prison.

Ayşenur Parıldak - Zaman Davası (İddianame)

Ayşenur Parıldak - Zaman Davası (Gerekçeli Karar)

Ayşenur Parıldak - Zaman Davası (Yargıtay Kararı)

Ayşenur Parıldak - Zaman Davası (İstinaf Mahkemesi Kararı)

Baransu, Çoban - MGK News Trial

On November 28, 2013, Taraf newspaper penned an article titled “Gülen’i Bitirme Kararı 2004 MGK’da Alındı” (“The Decision to Finish Gülen Taken at the National Security Council (MGK) in 2004”), which cited a document about the MGK meeting dated August 25, 2004. After the news story was published, the Prime Minister’s Office, National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and MGK filed a criminal complaint against Taraf newspaper in December 2013. After Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office reached a decision of lack of jurisdiction, the criminal complaints were forwarded to Istanbul. Subsequently, an investigation was launched against Mehmet Baransu, a reporter at Taraf Newspaper, and Murat Şevki Çoban, the then-managing editor of the newspaper.

Following the publication of the news story, the then-government spokesman and minister in charge of media relations, Bülent Arınç said, “This is not journalism but disrespect.” The then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated, “Should we go on and make such revelations, too? The world would tremble. The state has hidden secrets, which must not be disclosed to anyone. This has nothing to do with the freedom of press.”

The trial is underway at the Istanbul Anadolu 10th High Criminal Court.

At the first hearing on June 3, 2015, Mehmet Baransu was in Silivri Prison for another offense. He couldn’t attend the hearing due to an illness.

His lawyer Sercan Sakallı said, “In the current trial, my client has published this news story in order to protect public interest, and this is in conformity with the constitution.”

The lawyer requested that a letter be sent to National Security Council (MGK) to learn whether there was an administrative or judicial investigation on this issue, and another letter be sent to the Turkish Parliament for the related parliamentary questions to be answered. The court accepted both requests.

At the second hearing on September 9, 2015, Baransu’s lawyer Serkan Sakallı and the lawyer of both defendants, Veysel Ok, demanded that the case be dropped since the statute of limitations stipulated in the Press Law had expired.

The lawyer for the complainant National Security Council stated, “The case has nothing to do with press or freedom of press. The indictment refers to articles in the Turkish Penal Code. We see malicious intent here. The secret documents of the state were disclosed via the press with malicious intent.”

The lawyer for the other complainant, National Intelligence Organization, also requested the rejection of defense lawyers’ demands. Prosecutor Kenan Pehlivan likewise requested the rejection of the demands in question. The panel of judges obliged.

Mehmet Baransu stated that he would make a defense on the procedures, and also requested time to draft a defense against the accusations.

The panel of judges accepted the requests of the National Security Council - Secretariat General and the Undersecretariat of National Intelligence Organization to participate in this public case.

At the third hearing on November 17, 2015, the lawyers requested again that the case be dropped as per the Press Law. Baransu stated that he agreed with his lawyers. The panel of judges again rejected the request.

Baransu indicated that for this hearing he was taken from prison at 11:00, he had not eaten anything, it was 18:00 and he could barely stand, and that he would not present a defense.

At this hearing, the court ordered that Çoban be exempted from all the hearings, and that letters be sent to the National Intelligence Organization, Turkish Armed Forces and Ministry of Interior to learn whether any judicial or administrative investigation was launched as regards the document in question.

At the fourth hearing on March 10, 2016, Baransu stated that the lawsuit had not been filed within the four-month period stipulated by the Press Law.

At the fifth hearing on April 19, 2016, Baransu’s lawyer stated that the hearing had started 3.5 hours late, and requested the postponement of the hearing so that the defense would not be divided. The court accepted the request.

At the sixth hearing on May 2, 2016, Baransu started to present his defense. The defense was recorded with the court videoconferencing system SEGBIS. In his additional defense against a possible accusation pursuant to Turkish Penal Code Articles 334/1, 336/1 (“Obtaining and disclosing confidential information”), Baransu pleaded non-guilty and stated that he was simply doing his job.

At the seventh hearing on September 22, 2016, the prosecutor Halil İbrahim Beşer stated that even if additional time were given to them as regards the charge of “Obtaining and disclosing confidential information”, Mehmet Baransu and Murat Şevki Çoban had to be sentenced separately for the other charges in the indictment, such as “Obtaining documents relating to state security”, “Disclosing documents relating to state security”, “Disclosing documents relating to the duties of the MİT.” Prosecutor Beşer requested that Baransu and Çoban be imprisoned for a period of from 21 years, 9 months to 47 years, 6 months pursuant to Articles 326/1, 329/1, 43/1 of Turkish Penal Code and Article 27 of MİT Law. Baransu said he disagreed with the judicial opinion of the prosecutor.

The eighth hearing of the case was held on November 9, 2016. Baransu’s lawyer Ahmet Emre Bayrak indicated that his client had been taken from prison in the early hours of the morning, had not eaten anything, and was unable to present a defense. Baransu stated that he was not delivered all the documents in the file, and demanded extra time. The court accepted the request to give him extra time for the defense, because the hearing normally scheduled for 14:00 had started at 18:30.

At the ninth hearing on February 8, 2017, Baransu could not be brought to the hearing because he had been transferred to the Adana F-Type High Security Closed Prison.

Baransu was brought to the 10th hearing on April 19, 2017. At this hearing, Baransu requested that the NSC document, the “FETÖ Umbrella Indictment” published in Hürriyet newspaper, Report of the Parliamentary Commission for the Investigation of the Coup, the minutes of “Internet Memorandum”, and some newspapers be added to the file. His request was rejected.

At the 11th hearing on July 5, 2017, Baransu stated, “The court has rejected all the documents that I requested to be included in the case. I’m trying to gather the documents together. It takes much time due to the state of emergency and my imprisonment; I have difficulty in accessing documents.”

On October 25, 2017, the 12th hearing was held. Stating that he had been transferred to the hospital due to an illness, Baransu indicated that the treatment would last long: “I had prepared all my documents. Then they confiscated the documents I was going to present to you. They seized the books. If the court writes an official letter, I will be able to present my evidence.” The court ruled that the documents that Baransu claimed were seized by the prison administration be presented to the court.

Baransu could not attend the 13th hearing on January 9, 2018, due to another trial at the Istanbul 23th High Criminal Court.

At the 14th hearing on March 21, 2018, Baransu’s defense lawyer resigned. Baransu stated that he would hire another lawyer. Baransu was given time for his final defense.

Baransu and his new lawyer Yahya Engin attended the 15th hearing on June 27, 2018. Baransu requested some documents from the court. His lawyer demanded time, stating that he had been recently appointed to the case.

Baransu could not attend the 16th hearing held on October 17, 2018 due to another trial of his at a separate court. He could not attend the 17th hearing on December 12, 2018 and the 18th hearing on March 6, 2019 due to health issues.

He attended the 19th hearing on June 19, 2019 without a lawyer. He indicated that he had previously been tried and acquitted at the Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance and Ankara 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance for this file. He requested that the case be rejected and dropped since the statute of limitations had expired.

A new prosecutor was appointed to the case. The court ordered that the case be referred to the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office for the opinion as to the accusations.

At the 20th hearing held on September 24, 2019, the prosecutor claimed in his judicial opinion that the crime was committed via the press and requested that the case be referred to the 2. High Criminal Court for lack of jurisdiction.

At the 20th hearing of the case on September 24, the court gave extra time to the lawyers to prepare a statement against the prosecutor’s opinion.

Murat Şevki Çoban did not attend the 21th hearing held on October 24, 2019. Çoban’s lawyer Figen Çalıkuşu, Mehmet Baransu and Baransu’s lawyer Yahya Engin presented a defense against the prosecutor’s opinion. The court decided to send the case to the prosecution for the drafting of the opinion as to the accusations.

Baransu, Çoban - MGK Haberi Davası (İddianame)

Beritan Canözer - Trial for Membership of a Terrorist Organization

Jin News Agency reporter Beritan Canözer stood trial for testimonies given by witnesses with known identities. In the indictment dated December 5, 2018, drafted by the Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor’s Office, it was stated that an investigation was launched against Beritan Canözer as it was alleged by witnesses that she was a member of the armed terrorist organization PKK/KCK, was active within the organization, and acted upon the orders and instructions of senior leaders within its hierarchical structure.

Canözer was claimed to be a part of the said organization in statements given by Canan Ceylan, Rifayi İpek, Mehmet Salih Ateş, and Baran Aslan, who are separately standing trial for membership to the armed terrorist organization PKK/KCK.

The indictment drafted by Prosecutor Ayhan Ataman stated that Canözer in her statement indicated that she had no connection to the armed terrorist organization PKK/KCK, she was not a part of the organization, she did not know the witnesses against her, and she did not accept their testimonies. Canözer was charged with membership of an armed terrorist organization pursuant to Turkish Penal Code, Articles 314/2, 53, 58/9 and Anti-Terror Law, Article 5.

The first hearing of the case was held on March 20, 2019, at the Diyarbakır Ninth High Criminal Court. Witnesses Mehmet Salih Ateş and Baran Aslan connected to the court via the Audio and Video Information System (SEGBİS), and stated that they did not know Canözer and that their statements had been extracted by torture. At the second hearing on June 26, the prosecutor asked Canözer to be sentenced to 7.5 to 15 years. Her lawyer requested additional time and the trial was adjourned until October 16, 2019.

Canözer was acquitted of all charges in the final hearing of the trial.

Beritan Canözer - Üyelik Davası (İddianame)

Berzan Güneş - Social Media Trial

Berzan Güneş, a reporter for the Mezopotamya News Agency, was detained on June 11, 2018, in Şırnak. He was arrested on charges of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” with his social media posts.

However, since further investigations were launched against him, Güneş went abroad. The trial continues in his absence.

Berzan Güneş - Sosyal Medya Davası (İddianame)

Çağdaş Erdoğan - Propaganda Trial

Çağdaş Erdoğan was taken into custody on September 2, 2017, in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district for allegedly photographing the social facilities of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT).

Çağdaş Erdoğan was detained for 11 days and then arrested on September 13 on charges of “membership of PKK/KCK” and “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization.” An indictment was drafted against him on October 30, 2017. The 37-page indictment drafted by prosecutor Arman İlhan made ample use of screenshots from Erdoğan’s social media accounts and personal web site, presenting these as grounds for both charges. The indictment argued that Erdoğan’s claims “to have photographed MİT facilities by mistake, without knowledge of their actual function” were implausible, and claimed instead that Erdoğan took the photos “on the orders of PKK/KCK” and “with a view to collecting reconnaissance for planning terrorist attacks.”

The indictment went on to argue that Erdoğan “maintained an organic and hierarchical connection to PKK/KCK and acted in line with the instructions and calls of the organization,” and that he “made propaganda for the organization” multiple times with his posts on social media and his personal web site. Erdoğan’s first hearing took place on February 13, 2018. He was released at the first hearing.

At the fifth hearing on May 7, 2019, the prosecutor announced his opinion as to the accusations.

Accordingly the prosecutor requested that Erdoğan be acquitted on charges of “membership” but sentenced for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” with his social media posts, as per Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2. The prosecutor also requested that Erdoğan’s time in prison be deducted from his sentence.

At the final hearing on September 5, 2019, the court ruled that Erdoğan be acquitted on charges of “membership” and be sentenced to 1 year, 8 months in prison for “continuously spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization.” The court also ordered that the time spent in prison be deducted from the sentence, and deferred the announcement of the verdict.

Çağdaş Erdoğan - Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Can Dündar - Solidarity with Özgür Gündem Trial

The Istanbul 8th Criminal Court of Peace “temporarily” shut down the newspaper Özgür Gündem on August 16, 2016. Previously, in order to support the newspaper in the face of mounting pressure, the “Editor-in-chief on Watch” campaign had been launched on May 3, 2016, whereby prominent individuals took turns as the editor-in-chief of the newspaper. The campaign had become necessary after lawsuits were filed against the newspaper’s co-editors-in-chief Eren Keskin and Hüseyin Aykol, and its managing editor İnan Kızılkaya.

The campaign ended on August 7, 2016. Özgür Gündem was permanently shut down by Decree Law no. 675 on October 29, 2016.

Investigations were launched against 49 of the 56 editors-in-chief on watch who joined the campaign. Eleven of these investigations ended in a verdict of
non-prosecution. Thirty-seven lawsuits were filed. The lawsuit against Deniz Türkali was dropped due to statute of limitations.

The lawsuits took place in Istanbul’s 13th, 14th, and 22th High Criminal Courts.

Defendants

Charges were pressed against these 37 individuals: A. Kumru Başer, Ahmet Nesin, Ayşe Batumlu, Ayşe Düzkan, Beyza Üstün, Can Dündar, Celal Başlangıç, Celalettin Can, Cengiz Baysoy, Çilem Küçükkkeleş, Derya Okatan, Dicle Anter, Erol Önderoğlu, Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, Faruk Balıkçı, Faruk Eren, Fehim Işık, Hüseyin Tahmaz, Hakkı Boltan, Hasan Cemal, Hasan Hayri Şanlı, İbrahim Bodur, İhsan Çaralan, Julide Kural, Murat Çelikkan, Murat Uyurkulak, Nadire Mater, Necmiye Alpay, Nevin Erdemir, Öncü Akgül, Ragıp Duran, Said Sefa, Şanar Yurdatapan, Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Tuğrul Eryılmaz, Veysi Altay, Yıldırım Türker.

Verdicts of non-prosecution

Verdicts of non-prosecution were issued for the following 11 names who joined the campaign: İhsan Eliaçık, Sebahat Tuncel, Ahmet Abakay, Eşber Yağmurdereli, Hasip Kaplan, Işın Eliçin, Kemal Can, Mustafa Sönmez, Melda Onur, Uğur Karadaş, Nurcan Baysal.

27 editors-in-chief on watch were sentenced

The court handed down prison sentences totaling 352 months, 15 days in prison and 68,000 TL in fines to the following 27 individuals who joined the campaign: Şanar Yurdatapan, İbrahim Bodur, Cengiz Baysoy, İmam Canpolat, Çilem Küçükkeleş, Nadire Mater, Yıldırım Türker, Hasan Cemal, Faruk Balıkçı, Dicle Anter, Derya Okatan, Kumru Başer, Ayşe Batumlu, Jülide Kural, İlham Bakır, Murat Uyurkulak, Murat Çelikkan, Beyza Üstün, Nevin Erdemir, Hakkı Boltan, Hasan Hayri Şanlı ve Tuğrul Eryılmaz, Hüseyin Aykol, Ayşe Düzkan, Ragıp Duran, Mehmet Ali Çelebi and Hüseyin Bektaş.

Çelikkan and Düzkan served time

Of the editors-in-chief on watch whose sentences were not deferred, Murat Çelikkan was placed in Kırklareli Prison on August 14, 2017, then transferred to an open prison on October 14, 2017, and finally released on October 21, 2017.

Another editor-in-chief on watch whose sentence was not deferred was Ayşe Düzkan, who was put to Bakırköy Women’s Prison on January 29, after the Court of
Appeal upheld her sentence, to serve 1 year, 6 months in prison. She was later transferred to the Eskişehir Open Prison and finally released on June 12, 2019.

First three editors-in-chief arrested were later acquitted.

The first editors-in-chief on watch to be arrested in this investigation were Erol Önderoğlu, Ahmet Nesin and Şebnem Korur Fincancı. These three figures were arrested on June 20, 2016, and released 10 days later. All of them were acquitted of all charges at the 11th hearing held on July 17, 2019.

10 editors-in-chief on watch still stand trial

Of the editors-in-chief on watch who participated in the campaign, Faruk Eren, the president of the press employees union DİSK Basın-İş; İhsan Çaralan and Fehim Işık, contributors to Evrensel newspaper; journalists Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, Celal Başlangıç, Celalettin Can and Öncü Akgül stand trial at the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court. Upon the request of the lawyers, the panel of judges ordered the merger of the cases for these six individuals who served as editors-in-chief and cases for other individuals whose articles and letters were published in the newspaper during those days. These individuals include the newspaper’s ex Co-Editor-in-Chief and contributor Hüseyin Aykol, and columnist Ömer Ağın.

The proceedings continue for the editors-in-chief on watch Can Dündar, Said Sefa and Veysi Altay, whose trials are held separately.

Kızılkaya figures as defendant in all 37 trials

In all of the 37 lawsuits, managing editor İnan Kızılkaya stood trial as defendant. A large number of these lawsuits against Kızılkaya were merged with the Özgür Gündem Main Trial.

Charges

The 37 editors-in-chief on watch stand/stood trial on charges of “Spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” as per Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) no. 3713; “Publishing and disseminating the announcements and declarations of terrorist organizations” as per Article 6 of the Anti-Terror Law; “Publicly inciting to commit crime” as per Article 215/1 of Turkish Penal Code; and “Praising the crime and criminal” as per Article 214/1 of the Turkish Penal Code.
The prosecutor requested prison sentences of 1 to 5 years as per Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2; 1 to 3 years as per Anti-Terror Law, Article 6/2; up to 2 years as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 215/1; from 6 months to 5 years as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 214/1; totaling prison sentences of 2.5 to 15 years for each of the 37 editors-in-chief on watch.

Can Dündar’s trial

The last hearing of the case against Can Dündar was held on July 18, 2019. The trial was postponed since the arrest warrant against Dündar could not be implemented and the trial continued in his absence. The trial was adjourned until November 28, 2019.

Can Dündar - Özgür Gündem Dayanışma Davası (İddianame)

Canan Coşkun - Insulting the President of the Republic Trial

Upon a criminal complaint filed by President Erdoğan, a lawsuit was brought against Cumhuriyet reporter Canan Coşkun on November 25, 2015, for the news story titled “Erdoğan Buyurdu, Gazetecilik Tutuklandı” (At Erdoğan’s Behest, Journalism Under Arrest) on charges of “Insulting the President.”

In the indictment that he completed on November 13, 2017, Prosecutor Asım Ekrem stated that “the news story includes Can Dündar’s statements that it is Erdoğan who should be tried, and the news story argues that the President handles the trial like a personal matter, claiming that he acts with personal enmity and hatred and issues unlawful instructions for the suspect’s arrest.”

The following explanation was given as to why the lawsuit was filed two years after the publication of the news story, against normal legal procedures: “Although it has been observed that the four-month period stipulated for in Article 26 of the Press Law has expired for the printed version of the story, the same story is also published on the internet and can be accessed from the links in the file, so that the case is not subject to statute of limitations.”

At the first hearing, Coşkun’s lawyer stated that the Press Law should be applied unconditionally, and that the publication of the news whether on the newspaper or on the website is the responsibility of the managing editor, not the journalist. The lawyer requested that the lawsuit be dropped and Coşkun immediately acquitted.

The court reached a verdict at the second hearing on June 20, 2019. The court acquitted Coşkun since there was a breach of the aforementioned article of Press Law.

Canan Coşkun - Cumhurbaşkanına Hakaret Davası (İddianame)

Canan Coşkun - Trial for Targeting

Canan Coşkun drafted a news report on the interrogation by prosecutors of the lawyers detained on September 20, 2017.

In the report, she made references to the testimony of Berk Ercan, a witness under arrest. She was charged with “Targeting Persons Involved in the Fight Against Terrorism ” (as per Turkish Penal Code 53/1, 58/9).

The Istanbul 26th High Criminal Court sentenced Canan Coşkun to 2 years, 3 months in prison on July 19, 2018.

Canan Coşkun - Hedef Gösterme Davası (İddianame)

Cansu Pişkin - Afrin News Trial

Cansu Pişkin penned a news story about the change of prosecutor in the investigation against Boğaziçi University students who were detained, and it was published in Evrensel newspaper dated April 5, 2018, and on the newspaper’s website. The story read:

“… Prosecutor Onur Rıfat Atılgan, who was in charge of the investigation, was replaced by Ergun Güçlü on the day the students were brought to court. Ergun Güçlü is a prosecutor at Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Bureau for Investigation of Terror and Organized Crime, and had described HDP, the third largest party in the Parliament, as a ‘party engaged in politics under instructions from the terrorist organization’ in a previous indictment …”

An indictment was completed by Prosecutor Yavuz Şahin on November 14, 2018, and Cansu Pişkin stood trial for “Making comments on public prosecutors and citing their identity in an explicit manner.”

At the hearing on May 7, 2019, Pişkin was sentenced to 10 months in prison as per Article 6 / 1 of the Anti-Terror Law no. 3713. The court deferred the announcement of the verdict.

The court reduced the 1-year prison sentence by 1/6, “in consideration of its possible effects on the defendant’s future.”

Cansu Pişkin - Afrin Haberi Davası (İddianame)

İsmail Cem Şimşek - Slander Trial

A case was filed against İsmail Cem Şimşek, the then-Editor-in-Chief of Evrensel newspaper, for news stories published in August 2018 about human rights violations in Tarsus Prison. Şimşek was charged with “continuous slander against the prison administration.”

The indictment, completed by Istanbul Public Prosecutor Bülent Demirbilek on November 29, 2018, stated that “news stories and comments should not violate the rights of other individuals and should not necessitate a judicial and administrative investigation”. It was claimed that “the news stories in question necessitated judicial and administrative investigation against prison officials”.

However, the indictment did not mention that one of the stories was penned by Lawyer Tugay Bek, the President of Ankara Bar Association’s Prison Monitoring Commission, and that the other two stories were also based on Bek’s statements.

The proceedings began on February 19, 2019 at Bakırköy 2. Criminal Court of First Instance. Judge Gül Sema Çevik ordered the acquittal of İsmail Cem Şimşek.

İsmail Cem Şimşek - İftira Davası (İddianame)

Ceren Sözeri - Albayrak Trial for Compensation

A lawsuit has been filed against Ceren Sözeri, a journalist at the Evrensel newspaper, for her article titled, “AKP’ye kim oy kaybettirdi” (“Who made AKP lose votes”) published on April 7, 2019. Serhat Albayrak, vice chairman of the pro-government Turkuvaz Media Group claimed a total of 200,000 TL in compensation for damages, from Sözeri and the company publishing the newspaper. Serhat Albayrak is the brother of Minister of Treasury and Finance Berat Albayrak, the son-in-law of President Tayyip Erdoğan. Turkuvaz Media Group counts among its subsidiaries the pro-government newspapers and TV channels Sabah, Takvim, ATV and A Haber.

In her article, Sözeri discussed how in the local elections held on March 31, 2019, the Anadolu News Agency’s broadcast was interrupted for 14 hours as the votes were being counted. She also questioned how the Anadolu News Agency could collect data from ballot boxes all over Turkey.

The petition for the complaint presented the following phrase in Sözeri’s article as ground for accusation:

“The pro-government media does not refrain from disseminating fabricated news and hate speech, especially Sabah-ATV, known to be close to the Pelican group (…)”
“Sabah-ATV group (…) engaged in a reckless production of lies.”

It was claimed that Sözeri targeted Albayrak with these expressions, “incriminating Albayrak with dark and baseless insinuations” and “blemishing his prestige.”

It was alleged that Sözeri’s article inflicted damaged on Albayrak’s rights and commercial prestige.

Albayrak’s petition was accepted by the Istanbul Second Commercial Court of First Instance. The first hearing will be held on March 4, 2020.

Ceren Sözeri - Albayrak Tazminat Davası (Şikayet Dilekçesi)

Çetin Kurşun - Ciwan News Trial

Çetin Kurşun, an employee of the Azadiya Welat newspaper shuttered by a decree law, was taken into custody on February 6, 2018, in a police raid to his family home in Kızıltepe, along with his brother S.K. His computer was seized as well.

After 13 days in custody, Kurşun gave a statement to the prosecutor and was referred to the court. The court released S.K. on condition of judicial control and ordered the arrest of Çetin Kurşun on charges of “committing a crime for the terrorist organization without being its member.” Kurşun was placed in Mardin E-Type Closed Prison on February 19, 2018.

The prosecutor Kemal Doğan completed the investigation and drafted an indictment on December 11, 2018.

The indictment stated that the investigation was launched upon a written statement sent by İzmir Police Department to Mardin Police Department on January 18, 2018 indicating that the web site ciwannews.net could be linked to PKK. It was found out that the said website was registered with a phone number that belonged to Çetin Kurşun, being used by Kurşun’s brother.

The indictment consisted almost entirely of news stories and content published on the website ciwannews. Among these there were news stories dated February 7, 2018, a date when Kurşun was in custody. The indictment presented as evidence two copies of Azadiya Welat newspaper found in Kurşun’s home, a press ID for Azadiya Welat, a hard disc, a mobile phone and a drinking glass featuring the logo of the Solidarity Association of Prisoners’ Families (TUHAD-FED). It was indicated that the indictment was drafted before the criminal reports for the digital materials reached the prosecutor’s office.

In the indictment, the prosecutor requested that Çetin Kurşun and his brother be sentenced for “membership of terrorist organization” as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 314/2.

The first trial of the proceedings took place on February 7, 2019, nearly one year later. In the third hearing on May 30, 2019, the court sentenced Çetin Kurşun to three years in prison for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization involving coercion, violence and threats,” but released him in consideration of the time he spent in jail.

Çetin Kurşun - Ciwan News Davası (İddianame)

Çetin Kurşun - Ciwan News Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

Çiğdem Toker - Agrobay Trial

The company Agrobay Seracılık, which belongs to the Bayburt Group, sued the journalist Çiğdem Toker claiming 1.5 million TL for damages for her article titled “Rusya’ya Domatesler de Bayburt’tan” (“Tomatoes sent to Russia from Bayburt”) published in Cumhuriyet newspaper.

The company claimed that Toker “publicly defamed the company” with her article. At the first hearing, the court requested information from the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Stockbreeding about tomato trade with Russia. The trial was adjourned until December 6, 2018.

Çiğdem Toker - Agrobay Davası (Şikayet Dilekçesi)

Çiğdem Toker - PTT News Trial

On April 22, 2018, Çiğdem Toker published an article in the Cumhuriyet newspaper titled “PTT’nin ayrıcalıklı şirketi” (The privileged company of PTT). In the article, she stated that the Turkish postal company PTT granted a tender for the procurement of 70 million TL worth of cameras to the company STM by “invitation,” that the latter received a payment of 42 million TL without having delivered any product, and that according to the trade registry gazette, STM’s board members included Reha Denemeç, an ex-MP from AKP who currently served as Chief Consultant to President. In response, PTT sued Çiğdem Toker, the then Chairman of Cumhuriyet newspaper Akın Atalay, Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu, Managing Editor Farun Eren, demanding 50 thousand TL in compensation for damages.

The first three hearings of the trial were dedicated to the completion of official paperwork. For example, the court requested a copy of Cumhuriyet newspaper featuring the article in question and an examination of Toker’s socio-economic situation.

At the end of the trial, the court ordered that the claim for compensation and trial be dropped.

Çiğdem Toker - PTT Haberi Davası (Şikayet Dilekçesi)

Çiğdem Toker - Şenbay News Trial

The mining company Şenbay Madencilik sued journalist Çiğdem Toker for her article “Tasarruf Arıyorsanız Metro İhalelerine Bakın” (Examine the Subway Tenders if You Want to Economize), in the Cumhuriyet newspaper dated October 22, 2017, requesting compensation for immaterial damages.

The company submitted a petition of complaint to the Ankara Civil Court of First Instance on November 29, 2017. The petition claimed that Toker “degraded the company, by attacking its commercial prestige”. The petition was accepted by Ankara 13. Civil Court of First Instance in May 2018 and a lawsuit was filed against Toker requesting 1.5 million in compensation for immaterial damages.

The first hearing of the case was held on December 11, 2018, at Ankara 13. Civil Court of First Instance. However, the trial was adjourned as the judge was on leave. A the second and third hearings, Şenbay Madencilik demanded that the documents for the subway tender mentioned in Toker’s article be requested from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure.

The fourth hearing was held on October 17, 2019, at Ankara 13. Civil Court of First Instance.

Çiğdem Toker - Şenbay Haberi Davası (Şikayet Dilekçesi)

Social Media Trial About Çitil

Charges were pressed against eight individuals, seven of whom are journalists, for sharing in their social media account the news story “Kuşatmanın adı ‘Bayrak 12’, başındaki isim Musa Çitil” (“Name of the siege is ‘Bayrak 12’, and it is led by Musa Çitil”) about the military operation in Sur district, led by Gendarmerie Deputy General Commander, Lieutenant General Musa Çitil.

Çitil filed a complaint with Diyarbakır Chief Prosecutor’s Office claiming that he was being “targeted” with the said story. Upon this complaint, an investigation was launched against Ömer Çelik, News Manager of Dicle News Agency (DİHA) shuttered by a Decree Law; DİHA reporters Çağdaş Kaplan, Hamza Gündüz, Selman Çiçek and journalist A. Vahap Taş; İnan Kızılkaya, the Managing Director of the shuttered Özgür Gündem newspaper who posted the story on the newspaper’s official social media account; the newspaper’s Publisher Kemal Sancılı; and a social media user named S.G.

In February 2016, Diyarbakır Chief Prosecutor’s Office completed its investigation against those who shared the story on their social media accounts and drafted an indictment. In his indictment, prosecutor Tufan Çaldıran requested 1 to 3 years in prison for the seven journalists on charges of “Targeting individuals having taken part in the fight against terror.”

An additional prison sentence of 1 to 5 years was requested for DİHA reporter Selman Çiçek for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” with his social media posts. In their defense, journalists acknowledged that they shared the news story in their social media accounts.

The indictment further claimed that the DİHA reporter Selman Çiçek committed the crime of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” by praising and legitimizing the violent acts of the organization through his social media posts.

The indictment was accepted by Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court and the first hearing was held on October 3, 2018.

Musa Çitil submitted a 40-page petition to Aydın 2nd High Criminal Court two days before the hearing on January 16. In reference to reporters’ testimony that “We published a news story under the scope of the freedom of press,” he claimed that “Considering the timing and continuity of the said posts, it is evident that these individuals have persisted in their support and propaganda activities for the separatist terror group by posting my name and photo; they have tried to denigrate the successful anti-terror operations conducted by myself, all members of Gendarmerie General Command and other security forces by penning and posting fabricated news; and they have attempted to demoralize security personnel performing their duty with success.”

In his petition, Çitil also submitted ‘additional evidence’ against the journalists in question, namely news stories about the trial and its first hearing published in various media outlets. In his petition to the court, Çitil also submitted his verdict of acquittal given by Çorum 2nd High Criminal Court and upheld by Court of Cassation, in the lawsuit concerning the murder of 13 villagers in the Derik district of Mardin. Çitil demanded to participate in the trial and asked for the severest punishment for the journalists.

The forth hearing of the trial took place on October 2, 2019. In the hearing, the prosecutor Abdullah Kılıç submitted his judicial opinion, claiming that the defendants, in their social media posts, targeted Musa Çitil who took part in the military operation dubbed “Bayrak 12” against PKK. As such, he requested that they be sentenced as per Article 6/1 of Anti-Terror Law, No. 3713 for targeting individuals having taken part in the fight against terror. The trial was adjourned until December 18, 2019, since the journalists and their lawyers demanded time for drafting additional defense.

Çitil Sosyal Medya Davası (İddianame)

Cumhuriyet Newspaper Trial

On the orders of the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office’s Counter-Terrorism Branch, squads launched an operation against the Cumhuriyet newspaper on October 31, 2016.

The editor-in-chief, Murat Sabuncu, as well as the writers Aydın Engin, Hikmet Çetinkaya and Hakan Kara, the editor of the newspaper’s books supplement Turhan Günay, readers’ representative Güray Tekin Öz, lawyer Bülent Utku and two other employees were taken into custody from their homes.

After learning about the arrest warrants against them, cartoonist Musa Kart, columnist Kadri Gürsel, lawyer Mustafa Kemal Güngor and executive board member Önder Celik turned themselves in to the police.

The newspaper’s writers and executives were arrested on November 5, 2016, on the orders of Judge Mustafa Çakar of the Istanbul 9th Court of Peace. Only the writers Aydın Engin and Hikmet Çetinkaya, along with two other newspaper employees, were released. They were barred from leaving the country.

The newspaper’s Chief Executive Officer, Akın Atalay, was abroad when an arrest warrant was issued against him, and he was arrested on November 12, 2016 upon returning to Turkey.

It later emerged that the prosecutor who was in charge of the investigation, Murat İnam, was himself standing trial in the Court of Cassation. He was facing ten charges, including “membership in FETÖ” and “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order.” After this information emerged, İnam was recused from the Cumhuriyet trial, and replaced by Istanbul Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Mehmet Akif Ekici and prosecutor Yasemin Baba.

Cumhuriyet reporter Ahmet Şık was taken into custody on December 29, 2016. The charges against him were based on his news articles and tweets. On December 30, 2016, he was arrested based on allegations of “spreading propaganda for the terrorist organizations FETÖ, DHKP/C and PKK.” Şık’s case was later merged with the Cumhuriyet case.

The newspaper’s former editor-in-chief, Can Dündar, and reporter İlhan Tanır were also part of the investigation. However, since Dündar and Tanır were abroad, their cases were separated and their proceedings continued in absentia.

Istanbul Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Mehmet Akif Ekici and Prosecutor Yasemin Baba completed the indictment charging 18 writers and executives from Cumhuriyet on April 3, 2017. Istanbul’s 27th High Criminal Court accepted the indictment, and the Cumhuriyet trial began on April 19, 2017.

Cumhuriyet’s writers and executives were charged with “aiding and abetting armed terrorist organizations without being a member” and “breaching professional trust.”

The newspaper’s writers and executives were also accused of communicating with individuals who “allegedly used the smartphone application Bylock” or “were being investigated for FETÖ membership.”

Phone calls made by Orhan Erinç, the publisher of Cumhuriyet, cartoonist Musa Kart, and writer Hakan Kara, to a holiday company were presented as evidence of criminal ties. CEO Akın Atalay’s connections to his colleague, lawyer Faik Işık, were also depicted as criminal. In the past, Işık had also served as a lawyer for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The readers’ representative, Güray Tekin Öz, was among the journalists charged with “communicating with an individual investigated for FETÖ membership.” However, that individual was the owner of a pastry shop which Güray Tekin Öz frequented. Articles, headlines and tweets were cited as evidence for the charges.

Some Cumhuriyet employees testified against the writers and executives standing trial.

The first hearing in the Cumhuriyet newspaper trial was held on July 24, 2017, a date celebrated in Turkey as the day of “the abolition of press censorship.” The first hearing lasted five days. At the end of the hearing, Güray Tekin Öz, Musa Kart, Hakan Kara, Turhan Günay, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Bulent Utku and Önder Çelik were released.

At the third hearing on September 25, 2017, Kadri Gürsel was released.

At the hearing on December 25, 2017, journalist Ahmet Şık presented a defense that was harshly critical of the government. Judge Abdurrahman Orkun Dağ ordered that Şık be removed from the courtroom for “breaching the limits of defense and disrupting order in the court.” In response, Akın Atalay and Murat Sabuncu chose not to present their defenses.

Murat Sabuncu and Ahmet Şık were released at the sixth hearing on March 9, 2018. The court ordered the continuation of Akın Atalay’s detention, with Judge Abdurrahman Orkun Dağ, explaining this decision by saying, “The captain is the last to abandon ship, so Mr. Atalay will be staying with us.”

On January 11, 2018, the Constitutional Court announced its verdict on the individual application of Turhan Günay, the editor of Cumhuriyet’s books supplement. The court ruled that Günay’s “right to personal liberty and safety” had been violated.

On April 24, 2018, the second day of the eighth hearing, the court announced its verdict in the case.

Although in the indictment no defendant was accused of “establishing and leading an armed organization,” all defendants were sentenced on this charge.

All defendants were sentenced to prison pursuant to Article 220, Paragraph 7 of the Turkish Penal Code, which proscribed “knowingly and willingly assisting a terrorist organization without being involved in the hierarchical structure of the organization.”

The court handed down prison sentences of seven years, 13 months and 15 days for Akın Atalay, six years and three months for Orhan Erinç, seven years and six months for Murat Sabuncu, two years and six months for Kadri Gürsel, three years and nine months for Güray Tekin Öz, three years and nine months for Musa Kart, three years and nine months for Hakan Kara, seven years and six months for Aydın Engin, six years and three months for Hikmet Çetinkaya, and seven years and six months for Ahmet Şık.

The court also ordered the release of Akın Atalay upon the announcement of the verdict.

All defendants were absolved from allegations of “breach of professional trust” that were directed against them in the indictment. Turhan Günay and two other newspaper employees were acquitted.

Can Dündar and İlhan Tanır’s cases were separated as they were abroad.

The Appeal Process

The verdicts were appealed, but the Istanbul Regional Court’s Third Criminal Chamber upheld them on February 18, 2019. The court did not find any violations of procedures and issues with the merits of the law in the verdict of the local court. It found no deficiency in the evidence presented and in the proceedings. As such, the prison sentences were upheld.

Due to this decision, Musa Kart, Hakan Kara and Güray Tekin Öz, who had previously been jailed pending trial for nine months, went back to prison, along with two newspaper executives. According to the Code of Criminal Procedure, they could not file an appeal at the Court of Cassation since they were sentenced to less than five years in prison.

Kart, Kara and Öz, together with two other newspaper executives were in Kandıra Prison while their colleagues appealed to the Court of Cassation.

Court of Cassation Proceedings

Those who were handed prison sentences of more than five years by the local court filed an appeal at the Court of Cassation. Pending the Court of Cassation’s 16th Criminal Chamber’s examination of the case, the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office at the Court of Cassation issued a judicial opinion concerning the verdict.

The Office requested that the prison sentences for Orhan Erinç, Akın Atalay, Murat Sabuncu, Hikmet Çetinkaya, Aydın Engin and Ahmet Şık be overturned, and that all journalists except for Ahmet Şık be acquitted.

In the judicial opinion, the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office asked that Ahmet Şık’s charge be changed from “aiding” a terrorist organization to “praising a terrorist organization, and praising violence” and “spreading propaganda.”

The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office also said that a possible decision by the Court of Cassation to overturn the verdicts should also encompass Musa Kart, Hakan Kara, Güray Öz Tekin and two newspaper executives, who had gone back to prison after the Court of Appeal’s decision to uphold the first verdict.

In light of this judicial opinion, the Court of Cassation’s 16th Criminal Chamber examined the appeal.

The 16th Criminal Chamber completed its examination on September 12, 2019, and reached a verdict in line with the judicial opinion of the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, overturning the prison sentences for Akın Atalay, Orhan Erinç, Murat Sabuncu, Aydın Engin, and Hikmet Çetinkaya, as well as Ahmet Şık.

The chamber also lifted the prison sentences for Güray Tekin Öz, Musa Kart and Hakan Kara, which had been upheld by the Court of Appeal. Öz, Kart and Kara were released but barred from traveling abroad.

The Court of Cassation upheld the prison sentence of three years, one month and 15 days for the newspaper’s accountant Emre İper.

The Chamber overturned the prison sentence of seven years and six months that was handed down to Ahmet Şık by the Court of First Instance, but requested that he stand trial for “legitimizing the actions of a terrorist organization” as per Article 6 of the Counter-Terrorism Law, and for “degrading state institutions” as per Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code.

The proceedings for all defendants were scheduled to begin again at İstanbul’s 27th High Criminal Court.

Constitutional Court Proceedings

While they were in prison, the ten Cumhuriyet journalists and executives standing trial filed an individual appeal for violation of rights to the Constitutional Court on December 6, 2016. The Constitutional Court reached a verdict on these applications on May 2, 2019.

It rejected the appeals for violation of rights by Akın Atalay, Murat Sabuncu, Güray Tekin Öz, Musa Kart, Hakan Kara, Ahmet Şık and three newspaper executives.

In its verdict on May 2, 2019, the Constitutional Court ruled that only Kadri Gürsel’s “right to personal liberty and safety” and “freedom of expression and the press” had been violated.

European Court of Human Rights Proceedings

On November 9, 2016, the ten writers and executives of the newspaper filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights on the grounds of rights violations. The European Court of Human Rights continues to examine their file.

Retrial Process

Trials of all the suspects restarted on November 21, 2019 at Istanbul’s 27th Assize Court. The panel of judges was made up of Presiding Judge Ersin Öztürk as well as the Judge Fatih Akgün and Judge Kürşad Bektaş. The prosecutor in the case was Korkmaz Gülsün.

In the hearing, Kadri Gürsel, Ahmet Şık, Bülent Utku, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Akın Atalay, Aydın Engin, Güray Tekin Öz, Hakan Kara (Karasinir), Musa Kart, Hikmet Çetinkaya, Murat Sabuncu, Orhan Erinç, and Önder Çelik were present.

The hearing began with the identification of the suspects. Then the Presiding Judge read the summary of the Court of Cassation’s decision to overturn the verdicts. After that, the prosecutor asked that the judges uphold the Court of Cassation’s decision to overturn the verdicts.

The presiding judge then stated that he would be giving the stand to the defendants to respond to the request to overturn the verdicts, and said they would be allowed to make final statements later on.

Following the responses by the defendants, the final statements were in order. There was laughter around the courtroom after the Presiding Judge joked, “It’s difficult to hold a trial in Turkey, there are so many procedures.”

The attorneys argued that the final statements should be made once the panel of judges had reached a verdict. Attorney Bahri Belen said, “First the court should reach a verdict, and if the decision to overturn is obeyed, then the final statements should be asked [of the defendants].”

After the objection of the attorneys, the panel of judges decided to take a five-minute break to deliberate on the objection. After the trial resumed, the Presiding Judge ordered that the defendants make their final statements before the verdict was issued, and overruled the attorneys’ objections.

Following the final statements, the panel of judges ordered an hour break before announcing the decision.

The panel ruled against the the Court of Cassation’s decision to overturn the verdicts. Because of its decision to persist in challenging the Court of Cassation’s order, all the previous sentences of the suspects were read out once again. The file will be sent to the General Assembly of Criminal Chambers of the Court of Cassation.

With this decision, Akın Atalay was sentenced to seven years, three months and 15 days of imprisonment. Orhan Erinç was sentenced to six years and three months, Murat Sabuncu to seven years and six months, Güray Tekin Öz to three years and nine months, Musa Kart to three years and nine months, Hakan Kara to three years and nine months, Aydın Engin to seven years and six months, Hikmet Çetinkaya to six years and three months, and Ahmet Şık to seven years and six months of imprisonment.

The panel ruled for Kadri Gürsel’s acquittal.

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Davası (İddianame)

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Davası (Gerekçeli Karar)

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Davası (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Davası (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Davası (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Davası (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Davası (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Davası (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Davası (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Davası (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Davası (Yargıtay Cumhuriyet Başsavcılığı Tebliğnamesi)

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Davası (Yargıtay Kararı)

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Davası (İstinaf Mahkemesi Kararı)

Hayri Demir, Sibel Hürtaş - Afrin Operation Social Media Trial

Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation against those criticizing the Operation Olive Branch initiated by the Turkish Armed Forces on January 22, 2018 into the Afrin province of northern Syria. Under the scope of the investigation, 12 people, including journalists Demir and Hürtaş, were detained on the evening of the same day in house raids.

The suspects were taken to the indoor gym used by Ankara Police Department, Anti-Terror Branch as a detention center.

During the police interrogation, Demir and Hürtaş were questioned about their social media posts on the Afrin operation.

Journalist Hürtaş was referred to the prosecutor’s office at the Ankara Courthouse on January 25, 2018. Her statement was taken on charges of “publicly inciting the population to hatred and animosity” and “spreading propaganda of a terrorist organization via the media”. Hürtaş was subsequently released on condition of judicial control.

Journalist Demir was brought to Ankara Courthouse on January 26, 2018. Before he was taken to the prosecutor’s office, he was referred to Criminal Court of Peace on the same charges, with a request for his arrest. The judge on duty ordered that Demir be released with a ban on leaving the country.

The indictment against the defendants was completed on April 9, 2018 by Muhammet Akif Ongun, a prosecutor at the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. A lawsuit was filed when Ankara 15. High Criminal Court accepted the indictment on May 14, 2018.
The first hearing of the trial was scheduled for September 6, 2018.

At the first hearing, the court ordered the release of 3 defendants under arrest.

At the second hearing of the trial, the defendants’ requests for additional time for preparing their defense was accepted and the trial was adjourned until January 22, 2019. All the defendants were excluded from hearing.

The third hearing was held on March 27, 2019. At the hearing, the prosecutor Nuri Gül requested that the permission of Ministry of Justice be requested for trying seven defendants including Demir for “defaming The Turkish nation, Republic of Turkey, state institutions and organs” as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 301. The court decided to apply to the Ministry of Justice for the investigation of Demir and 6 other defendants as per Article 301.

The next hearing of the case was scheduled for July 3, 2019. At this hearing, the investigation permission letter from the Ministry of Justice had not yet arrived, and therefore, the trial was adjourned until December 3, 2019.

Hayri Demir, Sibel Hürtaş - Afrin Operasyonu Sosyal Medya Davası (İddianame)

Hayri Demir, Sibel Hürtaş - Afrin Operasyonu Sosyal Medya Davası (Savunma)

Hayri Demir, Sibel Hürtaş - Afrin Operasyonu Sosyal Medya Davası (İkinci Savunma)

Deniz Yücel - Propaganda of an Organization Trial

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation against Deniz Yücel, the Turkey representative of the German newspaper Die Welt, on charges of “spreading PKK / KCK and FETÖ propaganda” and “inciting hatred and animosity among the people.” On February 14, 2017, Yücel was summoned to the Istanbul Police Department to give a statement and was taken into custody within the scope of the investigation numbered 2018/2873. On February 27, 2017, he was arrested on the orders of the Istanbul Ninth Criminal Court of Peace.

Hasan Yılmaz, Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor of Istanbul, drafted the indictment numbered 2018/7041 with case number 2018/1395 against Deniz Yücel on February 13, 2018. The prosecutor’s office translated Yücel’s eight-page German news article in Die Welt, and claimed that expressions such as “a senior PKK commander” and “Öcalan, the commander-in-chief of PKK” were tantamount to “praising a terrorist organization and its ideology.” The prosecutor’s office also described an interview by Yücel with PKK leader Cemil Bayık as a criminal offense in this scope, as well as his news article on Hacer Aslan, who was burnt to death in a basement during police operations in Cizre in 2016. Furthermore, Deniz Yücel was accused of spreading propaganda for the FETÖ / PDY armed terrorist organization because of his coverage of the coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Moreover, journalist Yücel was charged with “inciting hatred and animosity among the people” for the humorous anecdote recounted by an interviewee, and for the expression “Armenian genocide” in a news article of his. The prosecutor cited further evidence for the charges in the indictment, such as a book by Fethullah Gülen found in Deniz Yücel’s apartment, and his HTS (Historical Traffic Search) records.

According to these records, between 2014 and 2017, journalist Yücel had met with 59 persons registered in the police database for alleged affiliation with PKK / KCK, and this was cited as ground for the charges against him. The indictment was accepted by the Istanbul 32nd High Criminal Court and a lawsuit was filed against Deniz Yücel. After the indictment was accepted, journalist Deniz Yücel was released by court order on February 16, 2018, following approximately one year in prison.

The first hearing of the case was held on June 28, 2018. Since Deniz Yücel had returned to Germany, he did not attend the hearing. During the first hearing followed by observers from the German Consulate General in Istanbul and the German media, Yücel’s lawyer Veysel Ok argued that the indictment was actually drafted by law enforcement officers, and was based on illegally obtained documents and records. Lawyer Ok stated that an individual who was not member of a terrorist organization was being presented as such, and demanded that the police report be removed from the case file since it was not legal. He also requested that his client be acquitted immediately. The court rejected the lawyer’s demands for the removal of the police report from the file, and immediate acquittal, and ordered that Deniz Yücel’s statement be taken via letter of request (that the statement be taken where the defendant is and then sent to the court).

The trial was adjourned until October 17, 2019.

Deniz Yücel - Örgüt Propagandası Davası (İddianame)

Diren Keser - Propaganda Trial

Journalist Diren Keser was detained in February 2017 after police raided his home in Mersin. Keser was detained at the Anti-Terror Branch of the Mersin Police Department for 14 days.

The reason for his custody could not be learned at first because a confidentiality order was issued for his case. However, during the interrogation at the end of the 14th day, he was asked about his social media posts.

Keser was released on February 16, 2017 on condition of “judicial control.”

The indictment in the scope of the investigation concerning his social media posts was drafted by Mustafa Erdal, one of the prosecutors at Mersin Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Terror and Organized Crime Investigation Bureau.

In the eight-page indictment completed on December 2, 2017, only one page was dedicated to Keser’s identity and investigation details, while six pages included information on the history, objectives and activities of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê/PKK).

In the indictment, the accusations against Keser took only half a page. Here, the prosecutor listed the Facebook posts forming the ground for accusation; however, he did not provide their content. The five posts in question were mentioned in the indictment as follows:

• On 26/11/2014, Keser shared a photo of small children wearing rags belonging to the separatist terror group on a social media sharing platform open to third parties,
• On 06/11/2014, he shared a video of an interview with members of the separatist terror group, which featured the rags symbolizing the separatist terror group,
• On 21/10/2014, he shared images of the armed separatist group,
• On 09/07/2015, he shared separate images of 10 members of the separatist terror group, indicating that they had lost their lives,
• On 20/10/2014, he shared images of armed members of the separatist group”

After providing these social media posts on which the accusation was based, prosecutor Erdal stated, “He spread propaganda for the members of the terrorist organization by frequently sharing the images of armed group members who extensively conducted and continue to conduct armed terrorist activities, instead of expressing an opinion, discussing a topic or sharing texts and images about a social event in his posts…”

Accordingly prosecutor Erdal requested that journalist Diren Keser be sentenced for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” as per Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2. Erdal requested that Keser be sentenced to imprisonment of 1 to 5 years. On the grounds that the crime was committed in a continuous manner, he further demanded that the sentence be increased by 1/3 to imprisonment from 1 year 3 months to 8 years 9 months.

The indictment was accepted by Mersin 9th High Criminal Court and a lawsuit was filed against journalist Keser. The first hearing of the case took place on December 26, 2017. Keser was in attendance at the hearing. Yavuz Koç (chair), Gökhan Kızıl and Reşit Çağlar (judges) and İhsan Doğan (prosecutor) were present.

Presenting his defense at the hearing, Keser indicated that he shared these posts as a journalist: “I wanted to share articles by various columnists on Facebook; however, when posted on the page, the images of the armed individuals you mention have become more prominent. It was not possible for me to change this. That is how I shared the posts dated October 21 and 22 in question. My posts include different photos, for instance in the video where children sing a song, it is seen that these children wear red, yellow and green colors and traditional headscarves. These are local garments, and various politicians also don clothes in these colors. In the video showing Kader Ortakkaya’s speech, even she is not aware of the individual and flag that appear behind her: She is simply delivering a speech against war and ISIS; and I did not act with criminal intent in sharing this video.”

At the hearing, in his opinion as to the accusations, the prosecutor requested that Keser be sentenced for these charges.

The panel of judges handed down a prison sentence of 1 year 6 months to Keser for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization.” In addition, on grounds that the crime was committed via the press, the sentence was increased by half to 1 year and 15 months. Moreover, considering that he had committed the same crime multiple times in continuous fashion, the sentence was further aggravated by 1/3 to 1 year, 21 months, 22 days in prison. The court then decided to reduce the sentence to 1 year, 16 months and 3 days considering Keser’s good conduct during the hearing.

Keser’s lawyer, Ali Kozan, filed an appealed at the court of appeal. Adana Regional Court 2nd Criminal Chamber reached a verdict on February 19, 2018. The court upheld the sentence about Keser, who was then taken into custody and was arrested on July 2, 2019. He was placed in Mersin Tarsus T-Type Closed Prison. He is currently serving time in prison.

Diren Keser - Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Diren Keser - Propaganda Davası (Gerekçeli Karar)

Diren Keser - Propaganda Davası (İstinaf Mahkemesi Kararı)

Dirik, Acarer - Trial for Sarin Gas News

Istanbul Members of Parliament from the People’s Republican Party (CHP), Eren Erdem and Ali Şeker, held a press conference on October 21, 2015, at CHP’s Istanbul Headquarters. During the press conference, the MPs claimed that an investigation over alleged shipment of sarin gas from Turkey to ISIS had been dropped.

The Cumhuriyet newspaper’s Izmir correspondent Hakan Dirik penned a news story about the allegations expressed at the press conference. In his article, Dirik also provided further information he obtained from the CHP MP Eren Erdem.

The news story by Dirik, and a separate article by Acarer claimed that the ISIS investigation in Adana was closed on the orders of the-then Minister of Justice, Bekir Bozdağ. According to the allegations in the said news story and article, Bozdağ had phoned the prosecutor conducting the investigation and said, “Let us know before you launch an operation against organizations with Islamic links”.

Following the publication of the news story and article, Minister Bozdağ filed a criminal complaint against Dirik and Acarer on charges of “slander”. Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office ruled for lack of jurisdiction and referred the case to Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office established that at the press conference covered by the news story and article, the MPs had not mentioned Bekir Bozdağ.

Dirik and Acarer were sued on charges of “slander via the media”.

The trial began on November 9, 2017. The court requested an expert report on the press conference by the MPs. After examining the report, the court will decide whether or not to hear Eren Erdem, who is currently in detention for a separate case.

The trial will continue on October 18, 2019.

Dirik, Acarer - Sarin Gazı Haberi Davası (İddianame)

Düzkan, Duran, Aykol, Çelebi - Trial for Solidarity with Özgür Gündem

The Istanbul 8th Criminal Court of Peace “temporarily” shut down the newspaper Özgür Gündem on August 16, 2016. Previously, in order to support the newspaper in the face of mounting pressure, the “Editor-in-chief on Watch” campaign had been launched on May 3, 2016, whereby prominent individuals became the editor-in-chief of the newspaper in turn. The campaign had become necessary after lawsuits were filed against the newspaper’s co-editors-in-chief Eren Keskin and Hüseyin Aykol, and its managing editor İnan Kızılkaya.

The campaign ended on August 7, 2016. Özgür Gündem was permanently shut down by Decree Law no. 675, on October 29, 2016.

Investigations were launched against 49 of the 56 editors-in-chief on watch who joined the campaign. Eleven of these investigations ended in a verdict of non-prosecution.

Thirty-seven lawsuits were filed. The lawsuit against Deniz Türkali was dropped due to statute of limitations.

The lawsuits took place in İstanbul’s 13th, 14th, and 22nd High Criminal Courts.

The defendants

Charges were pressed against these 37 individuals: A. Kumru Başer, Ahmet Nesin, Ayşe Batumlu, Ayşe Düzkan, Beyza Üstün, Can Dündar, Celal Başlangıç, Celalettin Can, Cengiz Baysoy, Çilem Küçükkkeleş, Derya Okatan, Dicle Anter, Erol Önderoğlu, Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, Faruk Balıkçı, Faruk Eren, Fehim Işık, Hüseyin Tahmaz, Hakkı Boltan, Hasan Cemal, Hasan Hayri Şanlı, İbrahim Bodur, İhsan Çaralan, Julide Kural, Murat Çelikkan, Murat Uyurkulak, Nadire Mater, Necmiye Alpay, Nevin Erdemir, Öncü Akgül, Ragıp Duran, Said Sefa, Şanar Yurdatapan, Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Tuğrul Eryılmaz, Veysi Altay, Yıldırım Türker.

Verdicts of non-prosecution

Verdicts of non-prosecution were issued for the following 11 names who joined the campaign: İhsan Eliaçık, Sebahat Tuncel, Ahmet Abakay, Eşber Yağmurdereli, Hasip Kaplan, Işın Eliçin, Kemal Can, Mustafa Sönmez, Melda Onur, Uğur Karadaş, Nurcan Baysal.

27 editors-in-chief on watch were sentenced

The court handed down prison sentences totaling 352 months, 15 days in prison and 68 thousand TL in fines to the following 27 individuals who joined the campaign: Şanar Yurdatapan, İbrahim Bodur, Cengiz Baysoy, İmam Canpolat, Çilem Küçükkeleş, Nadire Mater, Yıldırım Türker, Hasan Cemal, Faruk Balıkçı, Dicle Anter, Derya Okatan, Kumru Başer, Ayşe Batumlu, Jülide Kural, İlham Bakır, Murat Uyurkulak, Murat Çelikkan, Beyza Üstün, Nevin Erdemir, Hakkı Boltan, Hasan Hayri Şanlı ve Tuğrul Eryılmaz, Hüseyin Aykol, Ayşe Düzkan, Ragıp Duran, Mehmet Ali Çelebi and Hüseyin Bektaş.

Çelikkan and Düzkan served time

Of the editors-in-chief on watch whose sentences were not deferred, Murat Çelikkan was placed in Kırklareli Prison on August 14, 2017, then transferred to an open prison on October 14, 2017 and finally released on October 21, 2017.

Another editor-in-chief on watch whose sentence was not deferred was Ayşe Düzkan, who was put to Bakırköy Women’s Prison on January 29, after the Court of Appeal upheld her sentence, to serve 1 year, 6 months in prison. She was later transferred to the Eskişehir Open Prison and finally released on June 12, 2019.

The first three editors-in-chief arrested were later acquitted

The first editors-in-chief on watch to be arrested in this investigation were Erol Önderoğlu, Ahmet Nesin and Şebnem Korur Fincancı. These three figures were arrested on June 20, 2016 and released 10 days later. All of them were acquitted of all charges at the 11th hearing held on July 17, 2019.

10 editors-in-chief on watch still stand trial

Of the editors-in-chief on watch who participated in the campaign, Faruk Eren, the president of the press employees union DİSK Basın-İş; İhsan Çaralan and Fehim Işık, contributors to Evrensel newspaper; journalists Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, Celal Başlangıç, Celalettin Can and Öncü Akgül stand trial at İstanbul 14. High Criminal Court. Upon the request of the lawyers, the panel of judges ordered the merger of the cases for these six individuals who served as editors-in-chief and cases for other individuals whose articles and letters were published in the newspaper during those days. These individuals include the newspaper’s ex Co-Editor-in-Chief and contributor Hüseyin Aykol, and columnist Ömer Ağın.

The proceedings continue for the editors-in-chief on watch Can Dündar, Said Sefa and Veysi Altay, whose trials are held separately.

Kızılkaya figures as defendant in all 37 trials

In all of the 37 lawsuits, managing editor İnan Kızılkaya stood trial as defendant. A large number of these lawsuits against Kızılkaya were merged with the Özgür Gündem Main Trial.

Charges

The 37 editors-in-chief on watch stand/stood trial on charges of “Spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” as per Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) no. 3713; “Publishing and disseminating the announcements and declarations of terrorist organizations” as per Article 6 of the Anti-Terror Law; “Publicly inciting to commit crime” as per Article 215/1 of Turkish Penal Code; and “Praising the crime and criminal” as per Article 214/1 of the Turkish Penal Code.

The prosecutor requested prison sentences of 1 to 5 years as per Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2; 1 to 3 years as per Anti-Terror Law, Article 6/2; up to 2 years as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 215/1; from 6 months to 5 years as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 214/1; totaling prison sentences of 2.5 to 15 years for each of the 37 editors-in-chief on watch.

Düzkan, Duran, Aykol, Çelebi - Solidarity Trial

In a separate indictment, Ayşe Düzkan and Ragıp Duran were charged with “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”, “publicly inciting to crime”, “praising crime and criminals”. At the first hearing of their case, the case of Düzkan and Duran was merged with the case of journalists Mehmet Ali Çelebi, Hüseyin Aykol and Hüseyin Bektaş.

At the end of the proceedings, the court handed down sentences of 3 years 9 months in prison to Hüseyin Aykol, and 1 year 6 months in prison to Ayşe Düzkan, Ragıp Duran and Mehmet Ali Çelebi. The court of appeal upheld these verdicts.

Journalist Ayşe Düzkan was released after completing her prison sentence of 4.5 months of prison.

Düzkan, Duran, Aykol, Çelebi - Özgür Gündem Dayanışma Davası (İddianame)

Düzkan, Duran, Aykol, Çelebi - Özgür Gündem Dayanışma Davası (İddianame)

Ece Sevim Öztürk - FETÖ Propaganda Trial

An investigation was launched on June 8, 2018, against the owner and editor-in-chief of the online news web site Çağdaş Ses, Ece Sevim Öztürk, due to her social media posts and comments about the coup attempt of July 15. She was investigated for links to the FETÖ (Fethullahist Terrorist Organization). A detention order was issued on the same day and she was taken into custody on June 14 with a house raid.

Ece Sevim Öztürk was taken to the public prosecutor’s office on June 20. After her testimony, she was sent to the Istanbul Criminal Court of Peace on watch. Following her testimony in court, she was arrested on charges of “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed terrorist organization” and “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization.” She was placed in Bakırköy Women’s Prison.

The indictment against her was drafted by Istanbul Public Prosecutor Uygur Kaan Arısoy on August 6. Istanbul 37th High Criminal Court accepted the indictment on August 28.

In his indictment, Arısoy presented Öztürk’s documentary on the July 15 coup attempt titled “Deniz Kuvvetlerinin En Karanlık Günü: 15 Temmuz” (“The Darkest Day of the Navy: July 15”) among the evidence. The prosecutor requested her to be sentenced for her documentary and her social media posts, arguing that “she contributes to FETÖ’s attempts to cast a shadow on the legitimacy of the general elections of June 24, create social turmoil, revive the organization, and free its leaders and members from prison.”

The first hearing was scheduled to November 1, 2018.

Delivering her defense in the first hearing of the trial, Öztürk stated that the indictment presented her Tweets in question as “an attempt to aid the organization without being a member” with a view towards “creating chaos before the June 24 elections.” Öztürk argued that this was a forced argument. In its interim ruling, the court ordered that her detention should continue since her posts seemed to contribute to “FETÖ’s social media campaigns to portray July 15 as a controlled coup, imaginary coup or staged coup; there is a strong possibility of criminal activity and simple judicial control would be insufficient.”

Ece Sevim Öztürk - FETÖ Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Economic Coup Attempt Trial

The business news web site Bloomberg HT published a story on the depreciation of the TL and its effects in August 2018. The story was penned by Bloomberg Turkey reporter Fercan Yalınkılıç and their director of intelligence Kerim Karakaya. At the time, the US dollar had climbed from 4.70 TL to 7 TL in the Turkish markets in two weeks owing to the crisis between the USA and Turkey about the imprisonment of Pastor Andrew Brunson.

The Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency sent a notification to Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on August 14, 2018, four days after the publication of the news story. The resulting investigation was then merged with the cases of 36 other individuals for violating Capital Markets Law with their social media posts on the depreciation of TL, banks, and the Turkish economy.

At the end of the investigation, the prosecutor drafted an indictment against 38 individuals including Yalınkılıç and Karakaya, as well as Mustafa Sönmez, Merdan Yanardağ, Sedef Kabaş and Orhan Kalkan on charges of violating the Capital Markets Law.

The Public Prosecutor Kenan Zurnacı completed the indictment in May 2019 and submitted it to the court.

In the indictment, the prosecutor accused 38 individuals including Kerim Karakaya and Fercan Yalınkılıç of Bloomberg news agency who penned the said news story, as well as journalists Mustafa Sönmez, Sedef Kabaş, Mervan Yanardağ and Orhan Kalkan of “attempting to stage an economic coup.”

The first section of the indictment covered the content of the news story published on August 8, 2018. According to the indictment, the news story claimed that Turkish banking system was faced with its severest FX crisis since 2001, two banks refused to sell FX on August 10, one bank refused a client’s demand to withdraw 5 thousand dollars, there was a huge increase in customer demands for withdrawing FX from accounts, and BRSA invited all senior bank executives to a meeting on August 11. The prosecutor Zurnacı stated that these phrases “run contrary to the facts, and are designed to give the impression that our national banking and finance system is in tatters.”

The indictment also made references to official online announcements by BRSA and Association of Turkish Banks dated August 11 indicating that the news story did not represent the truth.

It was also stated that the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency filed a criminal complaint with Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on August 14, 2018.

The indictment indicated that during the investigation initiated upon this criminal complaint, it was observed that real persons had “launched attacks serving the same purpose on their social media accounts,” and therefore presented as evidence the social media posts of the defendants during August and September 2018.
Prosecutor Zurnacı listed in the indictment the social media posts related to economic crisis by Karakaya, journalists and other defendants.

Prosecutor Zurnacı then provided his general assessments, claiming that the defendants “targeted the economic order and stability of the Republic of Turkey.” According to the prosecutor, 38 people made “statements and declarations designed to create chaos, and cast a shadow on companies, institutions and organizations.” According to Zurnacı, their aim was to “damage market confidence.”

The prosecutor associated the said posts with the violation of the Capital Markets Law, accusing the defendants of “market manipulation” as per its Article 107, which reads as follows:

“Those who make purchases and sales, give orders, cancel orders, change orders or realize account activities with the purpose of creating a wrong or deceptive impression on the prices of capital market instruments, their price changes, their supplies and demands, shall be sentenced to imprisonment from two years up to five years and be punished with a judicial fine from five thousand days up to ten thousand days.”

Prosecutor Zurnacı is also requesting that the suspects be deprived of certain rights as stipulated by Turkish Penal Code, Article 53/1.

The indictment was accepted by the Istanbul Third Criminal Court of First Instance and a lawsuit was filed against the defendants. The first hearing of the case was scheduled for September 20, 2019. Journalists and their lawyers were present at the hearing. The judge was Hüseyin Tanfer Ayhan. Following the identity check, the defendants presented their defenses.

The journalists argued that their news stories and posts fell within the framework of journalistic activities that served the public interest. The lawyers demanded the acquittal of the journalists.

After the defendants and defense lawyers, the lawyers for Capital Markets Board and BRSA took the floor. The CMB’s lawyer reiterated their request that the defendants be sentenced for the charges. BRSA demanded to be involved in the case on grounds that it suffered damages from the crime in question.

At the end of the hearing, the court rejected the defense lawyers’ demand for acquittal, and accepted BRSA’s request to be involved in the case due to alleged damages from the crime.

The next hearing of the case will be held on January 17, 2020.

Ekonomik Darbe Girişimi Davası (İddianame)

Dündar, Gül - MİT Trucks Trial

Photos of trucks belonging to National Intelligence Organization (MİT) transporting ammunition to the north of Syria were published by Cumhuriyet newspaper with the signature of Can Dündar, the editor-in-chief. On May 29, 2015, the headline of the newspaper read “İşte Erdoğan’ın Yok Dediği Silahlar” (“Here are the weapons whose existence Erdoğan denied”). On the same day, the newspaper’s website published photos from the search conducted in the trucks.

The very same day, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation against Can Dündar, on charges of “obtaining documents regarding the security of the state”, “political and military espionage”, “disclosing confidential information” and “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”
President Tayyip Erdoğan personally filed a complaint against Can Dündar, and during a live broadcast dated June 1, 2015, on a TV channel, he targeted Dündar directly: “He will pay a heavy price, I will not let him go.”

On June 12, 2015, Cumhuriyet newspaper’s Ankara Representative Erdem Gül published a news story about the criminal report concerning the ammunition found inside the trucks, under the title “Jandarma Var Dedi” (“The Gendarmerie Confirms the Ammunition”).

The launch of an investigation against Dündar was announced on May 29, 2015 by Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. However, Dündar and Gül were called to testify at the Çağlayan Courthouse in Istanbul about 6 months after the launch of the investigation.

Istanbul Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor İrfan Fidan in charge of the investigation referred Dündar and Gül to the Criminal Court of Peace for arrest. Dündar and Gül were charged with “knowingly and willingly aiding a terrorist organization without being a member”, “political and military espionage” and “disclosing confidential information.”

Judge of the Criminal Court of Peace, İsmail Yavuz stated that the images of MIT trucks were first published by Can Dündar. In actual fact, Aydınlık newspaper had published the images on January 21, 2014, under the title “İşte TIR’daki Cephane” (“Here is the ammunition in the truck”).

Dündar and Gül were arrested on November 26, 2015. Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor Hadi Salihoğlu stated the following after the arrest order was issued:
“The investigation has nothing to do with the ‘freedom of press’, which is under constitutional protection, and we have taken no action in violation of individual rights and freedoms.”

President Tayyip Erdoğan had previously indicated in his statement concerning Dündar that “This action by the suspect, who is targeting the interests of the state by publishing fabricated images and information, can in no way be considered as journalism.”

Constitutional Court Proceedings

Can Dündar and Erdem Gül applied to the Constitutional Court on December 6, 2015 following their arrest. When they filed their application, the indictment against them had not yet been drafted.

The Constitutional Court ruled that the rights of Dündar and Gül had been violated, on February 25 -shortly before March 25, when the indictment would be completed and the trial would begin. Dündar and Gül were duly released.

President Tayyip Erdoğan made the following remark about the Constitutional Court’s ruling:

“I will remain silent on the ruling by the Constitutional Court, but I don’t have to accept it. I don’t respect this ruling. In fact, the first instance court could have insisted on its own ruling.”

Indictment

President Tayyip Erdoğan and National Intelligence Organization figured as complainants in the indictment drafted by Istanbul Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor İrfan Fidan.

55 news stories and articles were presented as evidence for the charges against Can Dündar. However, none of these articles and news had been investigated before. Only one investigation had been initiated about an article, ending in a decision of non-prosecution.

The indictment’s section concerning Erdem Gül featured only his testimony at the prosecutor’s office and the titles of three news stories. In fact, one of these news stories belonged to not him, but another Cumhuriyet reporter.

It was claimed that Dündar and Gül made publications “attempting to link the state and government to terrorist activities.” According to the prosecutor Dündar and Gül were “in union of action and thought with the terror group FETÖ/PDY.”

The indictment requested that Can Dündar and Erdem Gül be sentenced to one count of aggravated life sentence, one count of life sentence and an additional prison sentence of up to 30 years. Dündar and Gül were charged with “Obtaining confidential information of the state for the purpose of political or military espionage” (Turkish Penal Code 328/1), “Disclosing confidential information about state security for purposes of espionage” (Turkish Penal Code 330/1), “Employing coercion and violence to destroy the government of the Republic of Turkey, or to keep it from performing some or all of its tasks” (Turkish Penal Code 312/1) and “knowingly and willingly aiding a terrorist organization without being a member” (Turkish Penal Code 220/7).

The indictment against Dündar and Gül was accepted by İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court on February 5, 2016. The trial began on March 25, 2016. The hearing was closed to the public.

However, the defenses presented during the hearings and the prosecutor’s questions were shared on the social media via the Twitter accounts of various lawyers’ associations.

At the fourth hearing of the trial on May 6, 2016, the prosecutor announced his opinion as to the accusation concerning Dündar and Gül.

The prosecutor requested up to 25 years in prison for Dündar. In his opinion, the prosecutor pressed charges for “Obtaining and disclosing confidential information about state security or domestic and foreign politics, and complicity in this crime.” The prosecutor requested up to 10 years in prison for Gül. In his opinion, the prosecutor accused Gül of “Disclosing confidential information about state security or domestic and foreign politics.”

The prosecutor requested that the case for charges of “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed terrorist organization without being a member, and attempting a coup” leveled against Dündar and Gül be separated. Accordingly, the final verdict in the trial against the soldiers and prosecutors who had stopped and searched the trucks in question, taking place at Court of Cassation’s 16. Criminal Chamber, had to be awaited.

The trial was temporarily adjourned before the announcement of the verdict on Dündar and Gül. In the meanwhile, Dündar was attacked by an assailant named Murat Şahin in the square in front of the courthouse. Şahin shouted “traitor” during his attack. Dündar escaped unscathed, while the NTV reporter Yağız Şenkal received an injury in his leg. The trial continued after the attack.

The court sentenced Dündar to 5 years, 10 months in prison on charges of “disclosing confidential state documents” (Turkish Penal Code 329/1). Gül was likewise sentenced to 5 years in prison on charges of “disclosing confidential state documents.”

Dündar and Gül were acquitted of charges of “attempting a coup.”

As the proceedings continued, Court of Cassation overturned the verdict about Dündar and Gül. Court of Cassation ruled that Dündar should stand trail not for “disclosing confidential state documents” but for “obtaining the state’s confidential information for purposes of espionage” (Turkish Penal Code 328/1). The new charged to be leveled against Dündar according the Court of Cassation ruling could result in to 15 to 20 years in prison pursuant to Turkish Penal Code, Article 328/1.

Court of Cassation ordered the acquittal of Erdem Gül. After the Court of Cassation overturned the first verdict, Erdem Gül stood trial for “disclosing confidential state documents” and was acquitted.

It was ruled that Dündar and Gül should stand trial for “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed terrorist organization without being a member, and attempting a coup” in a separate trial. The first hearing for this trial took place on September 21, 2016. This trial against Dündar continued in his absence, since he was abroad. CHP MP Enis Berberoğlu was also added to this file as defendant. Berberoğlu was charged with “obtaining the state’s confidential information for the purpose of political and military espionage, and knowingly and willingly aiding the armed organization FETÖ / PDY.” The Prosecutor’s Office claimed that Berberoğlu was the person who gave Can Dündar the information and documents in the news story published in Cumhuriyet.

At the third hearing of this trial on March 11, 2017, the prosecutor expressed his opinion as to the accusations. Prison sentences of up to 10 years were requested for Can Dündar and Erdem Gül on charges of “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed terrorist organization without being a member.” At the 8th hearing of the trial on June 14, 2017, CHP MP Enis Berberoğlu was sentenced to 25 years in prison. The execution of the sentence against Berberoğlu was suspended since he was an MP.

It was ruled that the trial for charges of “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed terrorist organization without being a member, and attempting a coup” against Dündar and Gül should continue in yet another file. So for the third time, a trial began with a separate case number and its first hearing took place on October 4, 2017. In his opinion as to the accusations, the prosecutor requested prison sentences of 7.5 to 15 years for Can Dündar and Erdem Gül. He claimed that Dündar and Gül “knowingly and willingly aided an armed terrorist organization without being a member.” At the ninth hearing of this trial, it was ruled that Gül’s case be dropped, since the lawsuit had not been filed within the 4-month statute of limitations stipulated in the Press Law. The case about Dündar was separated since he was abroad.

Can Dündar’s trial, separated and merged during the judiciary proceedings, will adjourn on October 21, 2019. Dündar stands trial on charges of “obtaining the state’s confidential information for purposes of espionage” and “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed terrorist organization without being a member, and attempting a coup.”

Dündar, Gül - MİT Tırları Davası (İddianame)

Dündar, Gül - MİT Tırları Davası (Gerekçeli Karar)

Dündar, Gül - MİT Tırları Davası (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Dündar, Gül - MİT Tırları Davası (Yargıtay Kararı)

Hüseyin Aykol, Eren Keskin, Reyhan Çapan - Özgür Gündem Trial

The investigation against Eren Keskin, the Editor-in-Chief of Özgür Gündem Newspaper and its Managing Editor Reyhan Çapan, was initiated in 2016 by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Press Crimes Investigation Bureau.

The indictment was drafted on April 13, 2016 with reference to the news stories and articles published in Özgür Gündem on March 9, 2016. The indictment was accepted by the 13. High Criminal Court of Istanbul.

The indictment cited as evidence the declarations of “autonomy” in cities in the Southeast Turkey, and pressed charges for “spreading propaganda for actions realized by the terrorist organization PKK/KCK”, “inciting to hatred and violence” and “inciting a section of the population to crime”.

Since the prosecutor could not determine the real identity of the author who used the pseudonym “Seyit Botan” to sign the articles in question, he held Eren Keskin and Reyhan Çapan responsible for their content. He claimed that these articles amounted to propaganda for a terrorist organization. The files for Özgür Gündem contributors who were already in prison, namely İslam Tüner, Methi Kaya and Lütfi Yavuzaslan, and the editor-in-chief Hüseyin Aykol were then merged with this file.

On April 18, 2019, it was ordered that Eren Keskin’s file be separated and merged with the Özgür Gündem main trial underway at the İstanbul 23. High Criminal Court.

The prosecutor submitted his opinion as to the accusations at the 12th hearing, in July 2019. He requested that all the defendants be sentenced for “inciting to crime “, “praising the crime and the criminal” and “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”; and that Hüseyin Aykol and Reyhan Çapan be sentenced also for “continuously committing a crime”.

The trial was adjourned until November 21, 2019 for the defendants to prepare their defense as to the accusations.

Hüseyin Aykol, Eren Keskin, Reyhan Çapan - Özgür Gündem Davası (İddianame)

Ergin Çağlar Propaganda Davası

Ergin Çağlar Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Berfin Aslan, Perihan Erkılınç - Yürüyüş Kanununa Muhalefet Davası

Berfin Aslan, Perihan Erkılınç - Yürüyüş Kanununa Muhalefet Davası (İddianame)

Esra Solin Dal - Trial for Membership of a Terrorist Organization

On October 9, 2018, Mesopotamia News Agency Reporter Esra Solin Dal’s home was raided due to an alleged denunciation. Dal’s video camera and cell phone, and her brother’s computer were seized. After three days in detention, she was released on condition of judicial control.

On December 6, 2018, Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor Şahsuvar Yıldız issued an indictment against Dal. The 36-page indictment cited Dal’s phone calls for journalistic purposes as evidence of crime. In the indictment, the prosecutor pressed charges against Dal for membership of an armed terrorist organization, basing himself on “secret witness statement and phone records confirming this statement, open source research records, video analyses and photographic identification reports, the defense statement of the suspect, and the examination of the entire file”.

Dal was acquitted at the first hearing of the case on March 20, 2019.

Esra Solin Dal - Üyelik Davası (İddianame)

Evrensel Newspaper -Bilal Erdoğan Compensation Trial

The Evrensel newspaper published a news story titled “Rüşvet ata sporumuzdur” (“Bribery is our ancestral sport”) on March 9, 2014.

The story signed by M. Utku Şengür made references to voice recordings which surfaced during the corruption investigations that began on December 17, 2013, to suggest that bribery was a tradition that went back to Ottoman times. It was claimed that in the said voice recordings the then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called his son Bilal Erdoğan when the police operation began, telling him to take out the cash hidden in their home.

Erdoğan’s lawyers Ahmet Özel, Ferah Yıldız, Hatice Özay, Sara Kanalka, Murat İlvan, Faruk Karagüzel sued the managing editor of the newspaper Arif Koşar and the contributor M. Utku Şengür after the publication of the story.

On October 21, 2016, lawyer Ahmet Özel submitted a petition of complaint to the criminal court of peace on duty, stating that the limits of journalism had been exceeded since the news story contained fabricated information and accounts, which constituted “an attack against the rights, duty and prestige of Erdoğan.” He also claimed that the news story incited hatred and enmity.

The petition further indicated that the correction sent by Erdoğan’s lawyers to the newspaper was accepted, but not published.

The lawyer requested 50,000 TL in immaterial compensation from the legally responsible persons Koşar and Şengür, for “attack on personal rights.”

The petition was processed by the Istanbul 20th Civil Court of First Instance. Devrim Avcı Özkurt, the lawyer for Koşar and Şengür, stated in his petition that the news story was published for journalistic purposes and was in compliance with the laws.

Özkurt also stated the following in his petition: “Due to the nature of a democratic polity, not necessarily everyone has the same views. Therefore, individuals who appear in public, such as politicians, executives and administrators, may not always come across news stories that praise them. If one looks at the news story which forms the subject matter of this case with such a perspective, it is evident that that it remains within the limits of press freedom, in complete accordance with principles of journalism.”

For these reasons, Özkurt requested that the case be dropped for being ”unfounded”.

In cases where compensation is demanded, the courts of first instance are in charge. The proceedings are based on the petition of complaint; the prosecutor does not draft an indictment, and does not attend the hearings.

The final hearing was held on October 15, 2019. Erdoğan’s lawyer Ela Ezgi Yelmen, and defendants Koşar and Şengür’s lawyer Mustafa Söğütlü attended the hearing.
Yelmen requested that the case be accepted.

The defense lawyer Söğütlü stated that the statute of limitations for the said news story had expired and that the story must be viewed within the scope of the freedom of press. He requested that the case be dropped.

Without adjourning the trial, Judge Hakan Çırak reached a verdict and ruled that the case be dropped due to the expiry of the statute of limitations.

Evrensel Gazetesi-Bilal Erdoğan Tazminat Davası (Şikayet Dilekçesi)

Evrensel Newspaper Paradise Papers Trial

Energy Minister Berat Albayrak and his brother Serhat Albayrak filed a complaint against the editor-in-chief of Evrensel newspaper, Fatih Polat, for publishing news stories about Paradise Papers, which shed light on offshore investments by politicians and business people from all over the world.

A decision of non-prosecution was reached for Polat since the managing editor was responsible for the content of the publications. Then another complaint was filed about the former Managing Editor Çağrı Sarı and a lawsuit was filed against her on charges of “insult and slander.” She was acquitted at the sixth hearing of the case.

Evrensel Gazetesi Paradise Papers Davası (İddianame)

Evrensel Paradise Papers Cartoon Trial

After Paradise Papers concerning the offshore investments of politicians and business people from all over the world were leaked, a cartoon was published in the Evrensel newspaper on July 7, 2017, about the offshore accounts of Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and his sons.

On November 10, 2017, Binali Yıldırım and his son Erkam Yıldırım filed a lawsuit demanding compensation for immaterial damages against cartoonist Sefer Selvi who drew the said cartoon, Evrensel’s editor Çağrı Sarı (who was the newspaper’s managing editor on the date in question), and the company publishing the newspaper, Bülten Basın Yayın Reklamcılık Tic. LTD. ŞTİ.

The first hearing was held on July 19, 2018. At the second hearing, which took place on November 8, 2018, the court ruled that Sefer Selvi and the company Bülten Basın Yayın Reklamcılık pay TL 5,000 of compensation for immaterial damages to each of the complainants.

Evrensel Paradise Papers Karikatür Davası (İddianame)

Fatih Polat - Trial for Insulting the President of the Republic

On May 26, 2017, on the web site theblacksea.eu, journalist Craig Shaw published a news article titled “President Erdoğan’s family in secret offshore ship deal” where he stated, “Through offshore companies in the Isle of Man and Malta, the Erdoğans secretly own an oil tanker worth nearly 25 million USD called the Agdash.”

On November 28, 2017, Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, at the weekly parliamentary group meeting of his party, disclosed the swift codes and transfer receipts for 15 million dollars allegedly wired by Erdoğan’s son, brother-in-law, father-in-law of his daughter, and executive assistant to the Isle of Man. Craig Shaw’s news story was based on these documents.

Shaw wrote in his article that the Malta Files, concerning the international money transfers by politicians and business people in different countries of the world, included information about Erdoğan family’s companies in the Isle of Man and Malta as well. Malta Files was a project by the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) journalism network established by media outlets such as TheBlackSea.eu, Der Spiegel, Le Soir, Mediapart, NRC, El Mundo, Dagens Nyheter, Expresso, L’Espresso, Falter and Politiken, and had been published on May 2017.

On May 28, 2017, Fatih Polat published Shaw’s article in his column on the website of Evrensel newspaper, under the title “What does the Erdoğan family say about these claims?”

Fatih Polat stands trial on charges of “publicly insulting the President” following the completion of an indictment by prosecutor Aykut Çelik on October 24, 2018.

The third hearing of the case will be held on November 14, 2019 at 9.30 a.m.

Fatih Polat - Cumhurbaşkanına Hakaret Davası (İddianame)

Fatih Polat - Cumhurbaşkanına Hakaret Davası (Savunma)

Fatih Polat - Trial for Phone Call Between Gökçek and Kuzu

Fatih Polat is standing trial for a news story dated February 22, 2010 published by Evrensel newspaper, where he was editor-in-chief, concerning a phone call between the then-Ankara mayor, Melih Gökçek and the then-President of Parliamentary Commission for the Constitution, Burhan Kuzu.

In this phone call, Melih Gökçek asks for help from Burhan Kuzu about a judicial sentence that he faces. The conversation, as reported in the press and social media, reveals that Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office had launched an investigation against Gökçek in June 2009 on grounds of “misuse of public duty”, since he did not implement the court order concerning the buildings around the US Embassy. Over the phone, Gökçek indicates that he stands trial for Turkish Penal Code, Article 240. He actually means the Article 257 in the new Turkish Penal Code no. 765 as amended in 2005. The article reads, “Excluding any situation defined elsewhere as a separate offence in law, any public officer who misuses their duty shall be sentenced to a penalty of imprisonment for a term of one to three years.” Gökçek asks Kuzu to amend the law and reduce the term to 6 months.

Gökçek is a complainant in the lawsuit against Polat.

In his indictment completed on April 6, 2010, Chief Public Prosecutor Hasan Ülgünar pressed charges against Polat for “Public Violation of Confidentiality of Communication Between Persons”, as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 132, 2-4.

Due to the amnesty for press crimes granted on July 5, 2012, the prosecution of Polat had been suspended. However, the prosecution resumed on the pretext that he committed another offense in the following three years.

Fatih Polat - Gökçek ile Kuzu Görüşmesi Haberi Davası (İddianame)

Ferhat Parlak - Silvan Mücadele Newspaper Trial

The publisher and correspondent of the Silvan Mücadele newspaper, Ferhat Parlak was taken into custody after a police raid to his home in Diyarbakır’s Silvan district on April 11, 2018. After three days in custody, he was referred to the prosecutor’s office.

Following the procedures at the prosecutor’s office, three individuals in custody were sent to the criminal court of peace with a request of judicial control, and Parlak and Ercan Aşıcı with a request of arrest.

The court ruled in line with the requests of the prosecutor’s office, and ordered the arrest of Parlak and Aşıcı on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization” and released the other three individuals on condition of judicial control.

Parlak, placed in Diyarbakır D-Type Closed Prison, stated that he was arrested for his journalistic activities: “Journalism is being criminalized in our region. I do not accept the accusations. I am in high spirits despite everything.” The indictment against Parlak was subsequently completed and the first hearing was scheduled for July 8, 2019. Parlak appeared before the judge 450 days after his detention, and the indictment against him was based on the charges in another case, of which Parlak had been acquitted previously. The indictment cited among the evidence CDs, DVDs, flash memory, hard disk, mobile phone, books, magazines and some newspapers, which had been seized by the Silvan Public Prosecutor’s Office within the scope of a separate investigation, but then returned to Parlak, after the court reached a decision of non-prosecution.

Another item presented as evidence against Parlak is an interview he conducted with Murat Karayılan during a press tour to Kandil mountain during the so-called “peace process”, together with other journalists including a reporter of the Anadolu Agency. The indictment also includes the Contents page of Parlak’s book “Şehitler Şehri Silvan” (Silvan: The City of Martyrs), which discusses the unsolved murders of the 1990s, and the biographies of those murdered. In his statement, Parlak indicated that “No investigation was launched against the book and it was not banned. It is a legally published book, available in the library of the Turkish Grand National Assembly as well. They are trying to prosecute not the perpetrators of the unsolved murders, but those who write about them.”

It is claimed in a testimony by a secret witness that Parlak threw a petrol bomb at an armored police car. Parlak asks this claim to be investigated, through an examination of the footage in the said vehicle’s camera, footage from MOBESE security cameras in the vicinity, and any fingerprints taken after the said assault.

The indictment mentions various names, who were allegedly recruited to the terrorist organization by Ferhat Parlak. However, in his testimony, Parlak describes where these people live and their professions. These individuals actually exist but they have no ties to the said organization. Parlak requests that these people, whom he is unacquainted with, come and testify at the court.

The indictment claims that Parlak shot footage for the terrorist organization and shared these in his newspaper and social media accounts for propaganda purposes. Parlak, however, claims that he is simply a journalist. He proves that numerous other journalists were active during the armed clashes in Silvan and that mainstream newspapers published images similar to his as well. The prosecutor requested that Parlak stand trial on charges of “membership of an armed organization” pursuant to Law no. 5237 Article 314/2, Law no. 3713 Article 5, Law no. 5237 Articles 53, 58/9, 63. The trial took place at Diyarbakır 11. High Criminal Court and Parlak was released at the first hearing on July 8, 2019. The trial was adjourned until November 6, 2019.

Ferhat Parlak - Silvan Mücadele Davası (İddianame)

FETÖ Media Main Trial

After the coup attempt of July 15, numerous operations were launched against the media, and one such operation targeted Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak.

Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan were detained on July 10, 2016. The accusation was to pass “subliminal messages” about the coup attempt on a television show on the evening of July 14, the day before the coup attempt on July 15th. Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan had discussed the latest news together with Nazlı Ilıcak in a program on Can Erzincan TV. As such, the concept of “subliminal message”, which would later be described as “knowing the coup beforehand” went down in Turkish legal and political history.

Ahmet Altan, his brother Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak stood trial along with 17 other people. Nine of them were journalists. However, many of the names included in the investigation and trial, such as the Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanlı of the shuttered Zaman newspaper, were never tried since they had gone abroad.

In the indictment, the charges against them was not limited to “giving subliminal messages about the coup attempt”. Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak, as well as Abdülkerim Balcı, Ali Çolak, Bülent Keneş, Mehmet Kamış and Şemsettin Efe were charged of numerous offenses. It was claimed that the journalists “attempted to overthrow the Parliament and Government or to prevent them from performing their duties”, “attempted to overthrow the constitutional order”, and the prosecutor requested three counts of aggravated life sentence for each of them. The prosecutor requested an additional 7 and a half to 15 years of imprisonment for the journalists for “committing crimes on behalf of an armed terrorist organization, without being a member.”

The trial began with the first hearing on July 19, 2016.

At the second hearing in September 2016, Ahmet Altan stated that he would waive his right to appeal even if a single piece of evidence was to be submitted against him.

At the fourth hearing of the case on December 11, 2016, the prosecutor’s office declared its opinion as to the accusations, where it had changed the accusations against the journalists. The journalists were now only charged with “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order”. As such, the imprisonment requested for the journalists was reduced from three counts of aggravated life sentence to “aggravated life sentence”. On the other hand, the prosecution also retracted the charge that Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak were “members of an armed terrorist organization.”

At the end of the trial which started on February 12, 2018 and lasted for 5 days, the verdict about the journalists was announced. Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak were sentenced to aggravated life sentences. Journalists were charged with “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order”. The court ordered that the files of the defendants abroad be separated from the main case.

The Constitutional Court and European Court of Human Rights Proceedings

Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan applied to the Constitutional Court on November 8, 2016. When this effort at first yielded no result, they also applied to the European Court of Human Rights. European Court of Human Rights asked the defense of the government of Turkey about the applications.

On January 11, 2018, the Constitutional Court ruled that Mehmet Altan’s rights had been violated. However, the Istanbul 26. High Criminal Court did not comply with the Constitutional Court’s decision and did not order the release of Mehmet Altan. This was probably a first in Turkish judicial history.

The court resisted the verdict of the Constitutional Court, and sentenced Mehmet Altan to aggravated lifelong imprisonment. Mehmet Altan, Ahmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak were charged with “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order”.

Istanbul 26. High Criminal Court’s resistance against the Constitutional Court’s verdict of rights violation and release of the defendant continued for a long time. Mehmet Altan could be released only with a ruling of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice, 2. Criminal Chamber which was in charge of the appeal proceedings, before the said proceedings began.

Nazlı Ilıcak also filed an individual application with the Constitutional Court in the process. However, her application about the violation of her rights was rejected.

The ECHR later ruled that the rights of both Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan had been violated.

The Appeal Proceedings

The verdict was taken to the court of appeal. Istanbul Regional Court of Justice, 2. Criminal Chamber, which was in charge of the appeal proceedings, ruled that Mehmet Altan be released before the trial began. In this verdict, the court made reference to the Constitutional Court’s decision which the local court had not applied.

The first hearing of the appeal proceedings began on September 21, 2018. At the second hearing on October 2, 2018, the court of appeal upheld the aggravated life sentence handed down by the local court.

Court of Cassation Proceedings

The file was taken to the Court of Cassation for appeal.

On January 8, 2019, Court of Cassation Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office sent its notification to the 16. Criminal Chamber of Court of Cassation. The Chief Public Prosecutor requested that the aggravated life sentences for Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak be overturned. According to the notification, Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak had to stand trial not for “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order”, but for “knowingly and willingly aiding a terrorist organization without being a part of the hierarchical structure within the organization”. This represented a possible reduction of the prison sentences handed down to Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak. However, the local court had retracted the accusation that the journalists were “members of an armed terrorist organization”.

Court of Cassation’s 16. Criminal Chamber overturned the verdict about Ahmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak. Court of Cassation ruled that Ahmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak should be tried for not “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order”, but for “aiding the armed terrorist organization FETÖ / PDY without being part of its hierarchical structure”, in accordance with the request of the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. The chamber ruled for the acquittal of Mehmet Altan.

With this verdict of the Court of Cassation, the retrial process began. The file was referred back to the Istanbul 26. High Criminal Court, which had functioned as the first-instance court. This is the very court which had charged the journalists with 3 counts of aggravated life sentence and up to 15 years in prison, and had resisted the Constitutional Court’s verdict of release for Mehmet Altan.

Ahmet Altan has been prisoned pending trial since September 23, 2016 and Nazlı Ilıcak since July 29, 2016.

Retrial

Following the decision of the Court of Cassation to overturn the verdict, the retrial began on October 8, 2019. At the hearing, Mehmet Altan’s ban on leaving the country was lifted. Ahmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak’s requests for release were rejected.

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (İddianame)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Karar)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Gerekçeli Karar)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Savunma)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Savunma)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Savunma)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Savunma)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (AİHM Kararı)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Esas Hakkında Savunma)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Esas Hakkında Savunma)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (İlk Savunma)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (İstinaf Mahkemesi İlk Savunma)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Karar Duruşma Tutanağı)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Karar Duruşma Tutanağı)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (İstinaf Mahkemesi Karar Duruşma Tutanağı)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (İstinaf Mahkemesi Karar Duruşma Tutanağı)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (İkinci Savunma)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (İstinaf Mahkemesi Son Savunma)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Yargıtay Cumhuriyet Başsavcılığı Tebliğnamesi)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Yargıtay Cumhuriyet Başsavcılığı Tebliğnamesi)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Yargıtay Kararı)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Yargıtay Kararı)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (İstinaf Mahkemesi Kararı)

FETÖ Media Organization

After the coup attempt of July 15, numerous journalists working at different media outlets were taken into custody for alleged links to “Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization - Parallel State Structure /FETÖ-PDY”.

The names of those who would be detained were first published by media outlets close to the government. The first detentions took place on July 27, 2016. The investigation was ordered by Fuzuli Aydoğdu, Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor of Istanbul.

Here are the individuals first taken into custody during the investigation: Osman Nuri Öztürk, Ali Akbulut, Bülent Keneş, Mehmet Kamış, Hüseyin Döğme, Süleyman Sargın, Veysel Ayhan, Şeref Yılmaz, Mehmet Akif Afşar, Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Alaattin Güner, Faruk Kardıç, Metin Tamer Gökçeoğlu, Faruk Akkan, Mümtazer Türköne, Şahin Alpay, Sevgi Akarçeşme, Ali Ünal, Mustafa Ünal, Zeki Önal, Hilmi Yavuz, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Lalezar Sarıibrahimoğlu, Ali Bulaç, Bülent Korucu, İhsan Duran Dağı, Nuriye Ural, Hamit Çiçek, Adil Gülçek, Hamit Bilici, Şenol Kahraman, Melih Kılıç, Nevzat Güner, Mehmet Özdemir, Fevzi Yazıcı, Sedat Yetişkin, Oktay Vızvız, Abdullah Katırcıoğlu, Behçet Akyar, Murat Avcıoğlu, Yüksel Durgut, Zafer Özsoy, Cuma Kaya, Hakan Taşdelen, Osman Nuri Arslan, Ömer Karakaş.

Some of these individuals were detained in raids on their homes. However, some of them were not found in their homes. Therefore, certain individuals were detained only later. Individuals detained first within the scope of the investigation were held at the Istanbul Police Department’s Public Security Branch in Gayrettepe.

After the procedures at the police, Nazlı Ilıcak, Seyit Kılıç, Yakup Sağlam, Bayram Kaya, Cihan Acar, Bünyamin Köseli, Emre Soncan, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Abdullah Kılıç, Habip Güler, Mehmet Gündem, Cuma Ulus, Hanım Büşra Erdal, Hüseyin Aydın, Bülent Mumay, Haşim Söylemez, Ali Akkuş, Yakup Çetin, Arda Akın and Ufuk Şanlı were brought to the Çağlayan Courthouse on July 30, 2016. They were interrogated by the prosecutor’s office, and were referred to the court: 20 of them with a request for their arrest and Bülent Mumay with a request for judicial control. The panel of judges ordered that journalists Nazlı Ilıcak, Bayram Kaya, Haşim Söylemez, Seyid Kılıç, Emre Soncan, Cuma Ulus, Hanım Büşra Erdal, Habib Güler, Ufuk Şanlı, Yakup Çetin, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Ali Akkuş, Abdullah Kılıç, Cihan Acar, Bünyamin Köseli, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu and Hüseyin Aydın be arrested for “membership of a terrorist organization”. Yakup Sağlam and Arda Akın were released on condition of judicial control. Under the judicial control provisions, the court ruled that the two suspects were banned from leaving the country and had to go to the police station for signature once a week. The court ordered the release of Bülent Mumay and Mehmet Gündem.

Of those detained under the same investigation but on different dates, pop singer and Meydan newspaper columnist Atilla Taş, journalists Murat Aksoy and Mutlu Çölgeçen, National Party chairman and contributor to Türk Solu magazine Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu were arrested on September 2, 2016, on charges of “knowingly and willingly aiding FETÖ without being part of its hierarchical structure”. The journalists referred to the court on the same day, namely Ayhan Şimşek, İskender Yunus Tiryaki, Dinçer Gökçe and Levent Arap were released on condition of judicial control.

All of the detained journalists were taken to Silivri High Security Closed Prison. The trial of the journalists began 8 months later. Files of some of the names detained under the investigation were separated. Finally, an indictment against 29 people, 2 of whom were journalists, was drafted by Istanbul Public Prosecutor Murat Cağlak. The 196-page indictment was completed on January 16, 2017 and submitted to the court. The indictment covered the following individuals: Abdullah Kılıç, Ahmet Memiş, Ali Akkuş, Atilla Taş, Bayram Kaya, Bülent Ceyhan, Bünyemin Köseli, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Cihan Acar, Cuma Ulus, Davut Aydın, Emre Soncan, Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Habip Güler, Halil İbrahim Balta, Hanım Büşra Erdal, Hüseyin Aydın, Muhammet Sait Kuloğlu, Muhterem Tanık, Murat Aksoy, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Mutlu Çölgeçen, Oğuz Usluer, Said Sefa, Seyid Kılıç, Ufuk Şanlı, Ünal Tanık, Yakup Çetin, Yetkin Yıldız.

These individuals consisted of employees, owners and writers of the Millet, Cihan Haber Ajansı, Zaman, Meydan, Yeni Hayat, Bugün newspaper, and Rotahaber and Samanyolu Haber web sites.

On page 112 of the indictment, there was comprehensive information on the organization and creation of “Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization- Parallel State Structure /FETÖ-PDY”. Such information was provided in similar cases as well.

The section on the defendants focused on the newspapers and web sites that they worked for. The journalists were charged for working at media outlets shuttered by Decree Laws, for their articles in these outlets, and their social media posts.

The indictment was accepted by Istanbul 25. High Criminal Court and a lawsuit was filed. The date of the first hearing was scheduled as March 27-31, 2017. 26 defendants were under arrest, while one defendant was free. Of the defendants, journalists Said Sefa and Bülent Ceyhan did not attend the hearing since they were fugitives. The hearing was held in the large hall on the ground floor of Çağlayan Courthouse because of the high number of defendants and spectators.

On the last day of the hearings, the prosecutor requested the release of 13 individuals, and the panel of judges ordered the release of 21 out of the 26 defendants under arrest, including these 13. However, the prosecutor objected to the release of 8 journalists scheduled for that day. 26. High Criminal Court processed and approved this objection right away, and issued a second arrest order for Hanım Büşra Erdal, Ahmet Memiş, Bayram Kaya, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Cuma Ulus, Habib Güler, Halil İbrahim Balta and Muhammet Said Kuloğlu. These eight people thus remained in prison. On the same day, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued an arrest warrant for the 13 people whom the prosecutor had requested to be released and the court had ordered to be released, due to the “coup investigation”. These people were taken from prison to police custody. As part of this investigation, seven people were arrested for “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” and “attempting to overthrow the government of Republic of Turkey”. The reason for their arrest was presented as “the evidence against the suspects, the nature of the alleged offense, and the possibility of escape.”

The suspects thus interrogated were arrested by the criminal court of peace that they were referred to, and sent back to prison. Release orders had been issued for the following individuals: Abdullah Kılıç, Ahmet Memiş, Ali Akkuş, Atilla Taş, Bayram Kaya, Bünyemin Köseli, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Cihan Acar, Cuma Ulus, Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Habip Güler, Halil İbrahim Balta, Hanım Büşra Erdal, Hüseyin Aydın, Muhammet Sait Kuloğlu, Murat Aksoy, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Oğuz Usluer, Seyid Kılıç, Yakup Çetin and Yetkin Yıldız.

The second hearing of the case was held on April 27, 2017. Witnesses for the journalists were also heard at this hearing. The court adjourned the trial until July 6, 2017. At the end of that hearing, the court announced its interim ruling, rejected the release requests by 13 defendants and their lawyers, and adjourned the case until October 24. At the third hearing of the case, the panel of judges had changed for the third time. The trial began with the chair of the panel of judges reading the documents that had been sent to the court. A written statement from the General Directorate of Security claimed that the defendants Bülent Ceyhan, D. A., Mutlu Çölgeçen, Oğuz Usluer, Seyit Kılıç and Ufuk Şanlı had downloaded the application ByLock on their mobile phones. However, A., Usluer and Kılıç rejected this claim.

Meanwhile, a new indictment was drafted by Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor İrfan Fidan about the 13 people who had been arrested again after the release order. This second indictment concerning 13 individuals charged them with “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” and “attempting to overthrow the government of the Republic of Turkey”, requesting two counts of aggravated life sentence.

The indictment claimed that “the suspects followed FETÖ’s orders to open an account in Bank Asya or deposit a large amount of money in an already existing account, some of them used ByLock, some of them had phone calls with senior leaders of FETÖ”. Furthermore, it was alleged that the suspects objected to the operations against the Gülen Sect launched after December 17-25, 2013, and supported the organization.

The first hearing of this case was held on August 16-17, 2017 at the Istanbul 25. High Criminal Court. 13 of the defendants were in attendance at the hearing. Chair of the panel of judges, Taner Akıncı, judges Emre Efe Şimşek and Özlem Atuk Şimşek took their seats. At the hearing, the rearrested journalists presented their defense. At the end of the hearing, the court ordered the release of Bünyamin Köseli and Cihan Acar with a ban on leaving the country and the continuation of the detention of the other defendants, as well as the continuation of judicial control for Ali Akkuş. The court ruled that this trial be merged with the other trial where the defendants were accused of “membershio p of a terrorist organization”. The trial was adjourned until October 24, 2017. In that hearing, the defendants and their lawyers expressed their opinions about the reports on Bank Asya and ByLock use which had been sent to the court. According to the report on Bank Asya, six of the defendants including Atilla Taş had no account at Bank Asya, the accounts of four other defendants were dubious, and the other defendants did have accounts at the said bank but these showed no out-of-ordinary transaction. At the end of the hearing, the court ordered the release of journalists Atilla Taş and Murat Aksoy from prison.

After the decision to merge the two cases, the second hearing was scheduled for December 3-4, 2017. Witnesses continued to be heard at this hearing. A total of six witnesses were interrogated about Bünyamin Köseli, who had been released at the previous hearing, and Sait Sefa, for whom there was an arrest warrant, and the defendants in detention Bayram Kaya, Ahmet Memiş and Muhammed Sait Kuloğlu. After the testimonies of the witnesses, the prosecutor presented his judicial opinion, and requested the continued detention of all the defendants. Then the defendants took the floor to respond to witness testimonies.

The next hearing of the case was held on February 8, 2018. The prosecutor submitted his opinion as to the accusations, and requested that the charge of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” be dropped. However, he requested that all the defendants except Murat Aksoy, Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu and Muhterem Tanık be charged with “membership of FETÖ / PDY terrorist organization” and that all the defendants who had been previously released be arrested, except Aksoy.

In his opinion as to the accusations, the prosecutor also requested that the cases of Said Sefa and Bülent Ceyhan, who were fugitives, be separated. After the prosecutor’s opinion, the defense lawyers took the floor and criticized the prosecutor’s requests since the digital report and the other evidence were in favor of their clients. Most of the lawyers also drew attention to the absence of concrete evidence that would justify the allegations of “membership of a terrorist organization” against their clients. At the end of the hearing, former Zaman business correspondent Halil İbrahim Balta was released on condition of judicial control due to health issues. The court then adjourned the trial until February 22-23, 2018 due to the lawyers’ demand for additional time to prepare their defense.

In the interim ruling, the court ordered that the files of the fugitives Bülent Ceyhan and Said Sefa be separated since they were also sued for “membership of a terrorist organization” and that the file of the detainee Emre Soncan also be separated, and merged with a newly filed lawsuit against him. Following this interim ruling, the number of defendants in the trial fell from 29 to 26.

The final hearing of the case was held on March 7-8, 2018. Following the defense presented, the journalists were asked to express their final remarks about the prosecutor’s opinion. Then the court announced its verdict, handing down sentences to 23 defendants for “membership of an armed terrorist organization”.
Journalist Murat Aksoy was sentenced to 2 years, 1 month in prison on charges of “knowingly and willingly aiding the organization, without taking part in the hierarchical structure of the organization”. Atilla Taş was also sentenced to 3 years, 1 month, 15 days in prison. The court ruled that these defendants would not be detained for the moment.

The panel of judges acquitted M. T., the wife of the owner of Rotahaber web site, Ünal Tanık.

The court ordered that 11 the following defendants be sentenced for “membership of a terrorist rganization” to 6 years, 3 months in prison -the lower limit for this crime: Former writer and editor of Habertürk newspaper Abdullah Kılıç; Zaman newspaper’s Ankara correspondent Bayram Kaya; Zaman newspaper’s culture and arts correspondent Bünyamin Köseli; Aksiyon magazine’s reporter Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu; Bugün newspaper’s correspondent Cihan Acar; Zaman newspaper’s correspondent Habip Güler; Zaman newspaper’s business correspondent Halil İbrahim Balta; Zaman newspaper’s correspondent Hanım Büşra Erdal; Cihan News Agency reporter Hüseyin Aydın; Zaman newspaper’s correspondent Yakup Çetin; and Türk Solu magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu.

The remaining 12 defendants were sentenced to 7 years, 6 months of imprisonment on charges of “membership of an armed terrorist organization” due to “the nature of the crime committed and the intensity of criminal intent”. This group included: Haberdar.com‘s news coordinator Ahmet Memiş; Zaman’s former news manager Ali Akkuş; the founder of Şubuhaber news web site Muhammed Sait Kuloğlu; former news manager of Bugün newspaper Mustafa Erkan Acar; Sabah newspaper’s former Ankara news editor Mutlu Çölgeçen; Habertürk TV’s former coordinator Oğuz Usluer; TRT news reporter Seyid Kılıç; Millet newspaper’s business news director and former contributor to al-Monitor, Ufuk Şanlı; Rotahaber website’s owner Ünal Tanık; editor of Active Haber website Yetkin Yıldız; Habertürk TV’s former news manager Cuma Ulus; and teacher Davut Aydın.

The court also ordered the change of the status of all detainees to “prisoner on remand”, and ordered the arrest of previously released Ali Akkuş.
Lawyers objected to the sentences at the court of appeal. Istanbul Regional Court’s 2. Criminal Chamber upheld the prison sentences on October 22, 2018. The court of appeal ordered the continued detention of the defendants, and rejected the defendants’ appeal in substance. 2. Criminal Chamber ruled that the evidence presented in the file was adequate and sufficient to convict the defendants, and that the local court’s decision was in keeping with the laws.

After the court of appeal upheld the prison sentences, Atilla Taş and Murat Aksoy, who had been sentenced to less than five years, went back to prison. Aksoy was released on probation on January 4, 2019 and Taş on February 8, 2019 after serving their sentences.

The court of appeal’s decision to uphold the sentence was then referred to the Court of Cassation since the prison sentences were over five years.

The appeal proceedings at the Court of Cassation are still underway. The individuals who were handed down prison sentences are still prisoners on remand.

FETÖ Medya Yapılanması (İddianame)

FETÖ Medya Yapılanması (Gerekçeli Karar)

FETÖ Medya Yapılanması (Savunma)

Gökhan Öner - Denizli Dicle News Agency Trial

On April 27, 2018, the following anonymous message was sent to Denizli Police Department, Electronic Intelligence Department at 14.08: “I am Kurdish, too. But Nevzat’s son M. from Sarayköy, construction worker M. K. from Esentepe, their friends E. and E. K., and DİHA reporter Gökhan will stage a bomb attack that will massacre scores of Turks and Kurds in Denizli. They will avenge the deaths of the terrorists killed in the East and Syria. These individuals have received an order from the terrorist organization, the guerilla”.

On April 28, 2018, construction workers M. D., E.B., M.K., E.H. and journalist Gökhan Öner were taken into custody in house raids. They were detained in the police department for seven days. Following the end of the detention period, the suspects were released pending trial, while Gökhen Öner was arrested. Denizli Prosecutor Uğur Atakul drafted the indictment on June 8, 2018.

After three months of imprisonment, Gökhan Öner was released in the first hearing like the other defendants, pending trial. Gökhan Öner pleaded not guilty for all the charges, indicating in his statements to the prosecutor and the court that he was simply a journalist, the tip-off was unfounded, and the police had no material evidence.

At the end of the trial, Öner was sentenced to 10 months in prison. The court ordered the deferment of the announcement of the verdict.

Gökhan Öner - Denizli DİHA Davası (İddianame)

Güleçyüz, Özdabak - Trial for Spreading Propaganda for a Terrorist Organization

The indictment against the editor-in-chief of Yeni Asya Newspaper, Kazım Güleçyüz and cartoonist Halil İbrahim Özdabak was completed on December 7, 2018. The indictment was accepted by Istanbul 29. High Criminal Court.

The first hearing of the trial was held on May 2, 2019.

Güleryüz stated that he had been actively involved in publishing for 41 years and journalism for 27 years. He said that in all his writings, books and speeches, he upheld the rule of law, justice, democracy, human rights and freedoms, peace, and had a resolute stance against coups and terror. He claimed that the charges in the indictment were diametrically opposed to this perspective of his. He rejected the charges.

The court was adjourned for the drafting of the opinion as to the accusations. Before the second hearing of the case, the prosecutor stated that the indictment had been sent to the panel of judges over UYAP.

Güleçyüz, Özdabak - Örgüt Propagandası Davası (İddianame)

Harun Çümen - FETÖ Trial

Harun Çümen, former editor-in-chief of the shuttered Zaman Newspaper, was detained on March 4, 2018 and arrested on March 7, 2018. He is currently in Balıkesir Prison. The indictment against Çümen and three other individuals was drafted on October 1, 2018 by Ahmet Gezgin Çam. The indictment was accepted by Istanbul 32. High Criminal Court.

In the indictment it was stated that Çümen “had an account at Bank Asya, was a member of the trade union called PAK MEDYA İŞ SENDİKASI, and had four phone calls with a senior leader of FETÖ/PDY” and that he was registered to the Social Security Institution by the company Feza Gazetecilik A.Ş. which was “sanctioned for alleged links to the armed terror group FETÖ/PDY”.

In his defense provided in the indictment, Çümen stated that after graduating from Istanbul University in 1996, he began working as an intern reporter at Zaman Newspaper, and had risen to the position of managing editor at the newspaper, where he worked until 2016. He explained that “I was practically obliged to join the said trade union as a Zaman Newspaper employee.” He indicated that the said individual he talked to on the phone was simply the editor-in-chief of Zaman Newspaper. He added that he had come to Keşan on March 4, 2018 to purchase olives and olive oil.

“I worked at Zaman newspaper, the media arm of the said organization, only to make a living. I have these connections due to my work. After the newspaper was closed down, I could not receive my severance pay. I am an injured party for this reason”, he added. He stated that he had no information about the individuals mentioned in the indictment who were detained in another vehicle on the same day in Keşan, allegedly trying to go abroad. he pleaded not guilty for the charges in the indictment.

The first hearing was held on January 8, 2019, and at the last hearing held on July 18, 2019, Çümen was sentenced to 7 years, 6 months in prison on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization”.

The Zaman Newspaper had been closed down in July 2016 as per the Decree Law No. 668 titled “Measures to be Taken Under the State of Emergency and Actions Against Certain Institutions and Companies”.

Harun Çümen - FETÖ Davası (İddianame)

Hasan Cemal - Silvan Trial

Hasan Cemal was sued for his article titled “Silvan’dan: Bizi acılara, ölümlere o kadar alıştırdılar ki…” (“From Silvan: They have accustomed us to death…”) published on December 4, 2015 on the news web site T24, where he shared his observations from Silvan and his interviews with two locals and the then-Silvan Co-Mayor.

Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor Kenan Karaca completed his indictment on June 28, 2018. Prosecutor Karaca cited phrases by the individuals that Hasan Cemal had spoken to, such as “You can’t solve the problem and bring peace with tanks and cannons”, “They have accustomed us to death and suffering …”, “…We do not lose anything from our ambition to struggle”, and claimed that by publishing these phrases in his article Cemal “legitimized the activities of the terrorist organization”, “praised and supported violent acts” and “encouraged people to employ such methods”.

The prosecutor claimed that Hasan Cemal had committed the crime of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” via the press as per Article 7/2 of Anti-Terror Law. He requested that Cemal be punished with prison of 1.5 to 7.5 years.

The trial lasted 3 hearings. At the final hearing on May 7, 2019, the court sentenced Cemal to 1 year, 6 months, 22 days of prison pursuant to Article 7/2 of Anti-Terror Law. Since Cemal was sentenced to 1 year, 3 months of imprisonment by another court on charges of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”, his sentence was reduced. As a result, the court handed down a judicial fine of 3360 TL to Hasan Cemal.

Hasan Cemal - Silvan Davası Download

Hasan Cemal - Silvan Davası (İddianame)

Hasan Cemal - Silvan Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

Hayri Demir - Membership and Propaganda Trial

Journalist Hayri Demir was taken into custody in Ankara on March 16, 2017, and after eight days in detention he was released on condition of judicial control. In this investigation, Demir was charged for the news stories he penned from northern Syria controlled by Democratic Union Party (PYD - Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat). The indictment was completed by Ankara Public Prosecutor Muhammed Akif Ongun on May 16, 2019 at the end of more than two years of investigation.

When the indictment was issued, it turned out that the evidence in the investigation was obtained by the prosecutor when the camera memory cards stolen by thieves who had broken into Demir’s house on February 28, 2016 ended up in the police department. According to the indictment, an individual named Ö.H. had found the said memory cards on the street where Demir lived less than 24 hours after the breaking and entering, and sent these to the police.

The prosecutor claimed in the indictment that the footage and photo taken by Demir in Syria for journalistic purposes were tantamount to “activity within a terrorist organization”. The indictment also cited Demir’s social media posts and charged him for “membership of a terrorist organization” and “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”.

The indictment was accepted by Ankara 15. High Criminal Court, where Demir’s trial was underway. Demir was charged of “membership of an armed terrorist organization” and “spreading propaganda for an armed terrorist organization”, and the trial began on September 24, 2019.

Demir attended the hearing, stated that he had not been presented the indictment, and demanded extra time for preparing his defense. The court accepted Demir’s request and adjourned the trial until October 23, 2019.

Presenting his defense at the second hearing of the trial, Demir drew attention to the fact that the charges against him corresponded entirely to his journalistic activities and that the file included no evidence apart from these activities: “This file is nothing but a conspiracy against me,” Demir said. He indicated that the case was filed after the memory cards stolen from his house were handed over to the police, and stated that the evidence was obtained in an illicit manner. Demir demanded his acquittal.

The trial was adjourned until January 23, 2020.

Hayri Demir - Üyelik, Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

İdris Sayılğan - DİHA Trial

A graduate of Mersin UNiversity, Faculty of Communications, the journalist İdris Sayılğan worked between 2014-2016 for the Dicle News Agency, which would later be shut down by a Decree Law. In the morning of October 17, 2016, he was taken into custody with a police raid on his house for his interviews and phone calls with news sources and the articles published during his stint at DİHA as well as his social media posts. Sayılğan was detained for seven days alone in a cell, and prevented from contacting his lawyer. On October 24, 2016, he was arrested along with five other individuals on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization”.

After spending two weeks in Muş Prison, he was transferred to Trabzon E-Type Prison, 450 km away from his family home, without any justification. Muş Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office completed the investigation 9 months after Sayılğan’s arrest and drafted the indictment. Public Prosecutor Mustafa Demirbaş, who prepared the indictment, demanded that Sayılğan be sentenced to prison for 7.5 to 15 years, for “membership of a terrorist organization”. Prosecutor Demirbaş based his claim of “membership of a terrorist organization” on Sayılğan’s 65 telephone conversations with news sources. The other five people who were tried together with Sayılğan on the same charges appeared before the judge on November 8, 2017, 13 months after being arrested. In none of the five hearings was Sayılğan brought before the judge.

Due to his long detention and the absence of efficient legal proceedings, Sayılğan’s lawyers, that is Veysel Ok and Barış Oflas from Association of Media and Legal Studies (MLSA) filed his individual application with the Constitutional Court on July 11, 2018. In the application it was stated that Sayılğan’s news stories and related interviews ought to be considered as falling within the limits of the freedom of press, and that Sayılğan was being discriminated against for working at DİHA, resulting in a violation of his personal security and freedom, safety of his private life, right to fair trial, and freedom of expression. However, the Constitutional Court did not announce a verdict. In response, lawyers from MLSA and from London-based organization for the freedom of press, Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI) filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights for journalist İdris Sayılğan who was in prison for over 2 years, on October 9. The application file points to a violation of the provisions of Articles 5, 6, 10, 13 and 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), namely the right to freedom and security, the right to a fair trial, freedom of expression, and the right to an effective remedy.

It was also emphasized that Sayılğan was detained solely for his interviews with news sources, and for the news he penned, in a clear violation of his rights to freedom of expression, and of the rights of personal security and freedom. Furthermore, it was underlined that Sayılğan is a journalist, thus demanding that the Court give priority to his case. This is the first time in Turkey that an international organization gives its support to the ECHR application by a journalist.

İnce, Uğur - Birgün Newspaper, Fuat Avni Trial

A lawsuit was filed against the former managing editors of Birgün Newspaper’s website, Barış İnce and Cansever Uğur, as well as two executives of the company publishing the newspaper, for reporting on the tweets from the Twitter account called “Fuat Avni”.

The indictment against Barış İnce, Cansever Uğur and the other two executives was completed on July 16, 2019 by Istanbul Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor, Murat Çağlak.

For reporting on the tweets by “Fuat Avni” at a time when the conflict between the government and the Gülen surfaced, İnce and Uğur were charged for “knowingly and willingly aiding a terrorist organization without taking part in its hierarchical structure”.

In the indictment it was stated that İnce and Uğur “did not use the Bylock application”, “had no records in associations, companies with links to FETÖ or in Bank Asya” and “had made no contact with FETÖ’s senior leaders”.

In the indictment, the following statement about İnce and Uğur was especially noteworthy:

“It was seen that the suspects do not have hierarchical ties with the terrorist organization, and that they published numerous news stories against the organization in the past. ”

Despite all these, İnce and Uğur were charged with ““knowingly and willingly aiding a terrorist organization without taking part in its hierarchical structure” as per Turkish Penal Code, Articles 220/7 and 314/2. Furthermore, the prosecutor requested a 50% increase in the sentence as per Anti-Terror Law, Article 5/1. Thus, he requested prison sentences of 7.5 to 15 years for İnce and Uğur.

The indictment was accepted by Istanbul 32. High Criminal Court on August 30, 2019.

The date of the first hearing has yet to be announced.

İnce, Uğur - Birgün Gazetesi Fuat Avni Davası (İddianame)

İshak Karakaş - Propaganda Trial

İshak Karakaş, editor-in-chief of the newspaper Halkın Nabzı and writer of Artı Gerçek web site, was taken into custody on January 22, 2018 in a house raid under the scope of the investigation against social media criticisms towards the Operation Olive Branch launched by Turkish Armed Forces into the Afrin province of Syria.

Karakaş was arrested on January 26, by Istanbul 9. Criminal Court of Peace on duty, on charges of “spreading propaganda for an organization”. Nine of the suspects along with Karakaş were arrested in this investigation against 10 suspects. According to the indictment drafted by Public Prosecutor Ergün Güçlü, Karakaş was charged for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” pursuant to Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2.

The first hearing of the case was held on May 8, 2018 at Istanbul 28. High Criminal Court. Defendant Karakaş and the other detainees were released on condition of judicial control. Karakaş’s probation was ended at the hearing on November 20, 2018, and his ban on going abroad was lifted on January 17, 2019.

At the hearing on January 17, the public prosecutor’s office submitted the opinion as to the accusations and requested that İshak Karakaş be sentenced for “continuously spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”.

At the end of the trial, Karataş was sentenced to 1 year, 6 months, 22 days of imprisonment.

İsmail Cem Şimşek - Albayrak Insult Trial

The news story titled “Albayrak İşçilere Saldırı Programının Sinyalini Verdi” (Albayrak Gave the Signal for a Program of Attack Against Workers”) was published on Evrensel Newspaper and its web site on July 14, 2018.

Minister of Treasury and Finance Berat Albayrak filed a complaint against İsmail Cem Şimşek, the managing editor of Evrensel Newspaper on July 20, 2018. The following was stated in the petition:

“The title of the story is very provocative and dangerous; in a very dangerous game of misperception, the newspaper has made an incorrect statement about economic policy, and presented it as a campaign of violence.…”

Albayrak didn’t just file a complaint about the news story. He also sent a “correction” to the newspaper via court. Bakırköy 1. Criminal Court of Peace accepted Albayrak’s request and a “correction and response” was sent to Evrensel Newspaper for publication. However, Albayrak then filed a second complaint against Şimşek and the newspaper’s manager, and stated in the petition dated September 27, 2018, that the correction was not published by the newspaper in line with the court decision.

In fact, the correction text sent by Albayrak had been published in the newspaper. However, it was titled “Correction” rather than “Our Response to the Fabricated News Story by Evrensel About Mr. Berat Albayrak”.

The indictment against the former managing editor of Evrensel Newspaper İsmail Cem Şimşek and the manager of the company publishing the newspaper was completed on October 30, 2018.

In the indictment, the prosecutor requested that Şimşek be sentenced for “insulting a public officer” pursuant to Articles 125/1 and 125/3-a of the Turkish Penal Code, with a prison term from 1 year to 2 years. The indictment also requested that Şimşek be handed down a heavy judicial fine of 10 to 100 thousand TL pursuant to Article 18 of the Press Law, namely “not publishing a correction or response”.

The trial took four hearings. At the end of the trial, the chair of the panel of judges, Gül Sema Çevik sentenced Şimşek to a fine of 41,660 TL for “not publishing a correction as required”. Şimşek was acquitted of the charges that he insulted Berat Albayrak with the news story.

İsmail Cem Şimşek - Albayrak Hakaret Davası (İddianame)

İsmail Cem Şimşek - Albayrak Hakaret Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

İsmail Cem Şimşek - Albayrak Hakaret Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

İsmail Cem Şimşek - Trial for Insulting the President

The former managing editor of Evrensel Newspaper, İsmail Cem Şimşek was charged with “insulting the President” as per Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code, for the news article titled “Alman Karikatüristler Erdoğan’ı Fena Çizdi” (“The German Cartoonists’ Nasty Portrayal of Erdoğan”) published on the website of the newspaper on August 1, 2015.

An investigation was launched upon Erdoğan’s complaint, and the cartoons in German were translated into Turkish.

In his statement at the prosecutor’s office İsmail Cem Şimşek stated that cartoons had been published in 2015, and pointed to the expiry of the statute of limitations. He also indicated that the cartoons’ illustrators, and the newspapers and magazines that published them were known, and that he was not responsible for the cartoons.

On March 11, 2019, a permission was received from the Ministry of Justice to sue Şimşek for “insulting the President” as per Article 299/1 of the Turkish Penal Code.

The indictment against Şimşek was completed on May 8, 2019 by Bülent Demirbilek, a prosecutor from İstanbul Bakırköy Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. The first hearing of the case was held on October 10, 2019 at Bakırköy 27. Criminal Court of First Instance. The lawyers argued that as per Press Law, the trial had to be referred to the 2. Criminal Court of First Instance, which is responsible for press-related offenses. At the second hearing held on October 31, 2019, the court ruled for lack of jurisdiction and forwarded the case to 2. Criminal Court of First Instance.

İsmail Cem Şimşek - Cumhurbaşkanına Hakaret Davası (İddianame)

Şirin Kabakçı - FETÖ Trial

Şirin Kabakçı was detained on May 11, 2017 under the investigation against FETÖ (Fethullahist Terrorist Organization), on the orders of Konya Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. Kabakçı was charged with “membership of a terrorist organization.”

13 days later (May 24, 2017) Şirin Kabakçı was taken to the public prosecutor’s office, and arrested on the same day upon the orders of Konya 3. Criminal Court of Peace for alleged “membership of a terrorist organization”.

  1. High Criminal Court of Konya sent the indictment completed on October 2, 2017, to Istanbul on October 10, 2017 due to “lack of jurisdiction”. The indictment was accepted by Istanbul 35. High Criminal Court.

The first hearing was held on June 19, 2018, 17 months after he was detained and arrested. Şirin Kabakçı was released pending trial, at the fourth hearing of the case on condition of judicial control.

Şirin Kabakçı - FETÖ Davası (İddianame)

Karşı Newspaper Trial

The case against Karşı Newspaper employees accusing the newspaper of being FETÖ’s instrument was merged with the case against Eren Erdem, its former editor-in-chief and former CHP MP. Murat Çağlak drafted the indictment of the case against the employees, and Fahri Mutlu Tosun drafted the indictment against Eren Erdem.

In this case with 12 defendants, there are two defendants prisoned pending trial, one is journalist Eren Erdem, and the other is a social media user who also owns an internet news site and is accused for his messages.

At the second hearing of the case, the court ordered Erdem’s release, but upon the objection of the prosecutor, a second arrest warrant was issued for Erdem. Erdem left the prison, spent the night at the gendarmerie, was referred to a higher court and then arrested again.

At the final hearing on March 1, 2019, the court sentenced Eren Erdem to 4 years, 2 months, Emre Erçiş to 3 years, 1 month, 15 days and acquitted Mehmet Bozkurt and Kutlu Esendemir, on charges of “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed terrorist organization without taking part in its hierarchical structure”.

Karşı Gazete Davası (İddianame)

Karşı Gazete Davası (İddianame)

Karşı Gazete Davası (Gerekçeli Karar)

Kaya-Aykol- Kızılkaya / Özgür Gündem Trial

Due to articles published in the Özgür Gündem newspaper, which was later closed with a Decree Law, separate investigations were initiated by Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Press Crimes Investigation Bureau. After the lawsuits were filed, 14 indictments were merged by the Istanbul 2. Criminal Court of First Instance.

The prosecutors drafted 1 indictment for Hatip Dicle, 10 for Hüseyin Aykol, 14 for İnan Kızılkaya and 2 for Zana Kaya.

In the indictments, they were charged with “publicly defaming the government, the judiciary or the police force”, and “publicly defaming the Turkish nation, republic and Grand National Assembly of Turkey”.

The trial awaits the execution of the arrest warrant against Kurdish politician Hatip Dicle.

Ali Sönmez Kayar - ETHA Trial

Etkin News Agency (ETHA) reporter Ali Sönmez Kayar was taken into custody by police officers on February 1, 2018 as he left the agency. He was taken to İstanbul Vatan Police Station and his lawyers were not informed of the reason for his detention. Under the scope of the same investigation, nine members of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP) were taken into custody.

After six days in custody, he was referred to Bakırköy Courthouse on February 6, 2018. In the interrogation, he was questioned about protests and activities organized by ESP between 2013 and 2015, and statements against Kayar by three “secret witnesses”.

After the prosecutor’s interrogation, he was referred to court on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization (Marxist Leninist Communist Party - MLKP)”. Bakırköy Third Criminal Court of Peace ordered his arrest on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization.” Six other people aside from Kayar were arrested. He was sent to Silivri No. 2 F-Type Closed Prison.

Public Prosecutor Ufuk Can Gazezoğlu drafted the indictment against Kayar. The 242-page indictment was completed on March 1, 2018. It was accepted by Istanbul 32. High Criminal Court on April 11, 2018. The indictment requested that Kayar be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison, on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization.”

The first hearing of the case was held on July 13, 2018.

At the hearing, Kayar presented his defense and said, “The protests and activities that I follow for journalism purposes are presented as ground for accusation. I do not accept the accusation. I have committed no crime.”

At the first hearing, the court ruled the continuation of Kayar’s detention.

Kayar was released on October 31, 2018 on condition of “judicial control.”

The next hearing will be held on October 13, 2019.

Kazım Kızıl - Insulting the President of the Republic Trial

In April 2017, a referendum was held for the amendment of certain constitutional articles to transition to an executive presidential system. After the referendum, protests were organized before the offices of the High Election Board (YSK) in many cities, and in İzmir, the documentary film-maker and journalist Kazım Kızıl who was following the protest was detained, along with 23 protesters.

Although he was detained on charges of violating the Law no. 2911 on Meetings and Protest Rallies, he was arrested four days later on charges of insulting the President through his social media posts dating from 2016. Six other defendants were also arrested for allegedly violating Law No. 2911. All the defendants were charged with insulting the President because of the slogans they chanted during the protest.

Kızıl stated that during the protest where he was detained, he heard the police talk among themselves, saying “Did you get Kazım, too?”

At the first hearing of the trial, held three months later, he was released along with six other prisoners in the same case. Erdoğan’s lawyer, who had asked to participate in the hearings, did not come to any.

At the final hearing of the case on June 19, 2019, Kızıl was sentenced to 1 year in prison on charges of “insulting the president”. The time he spent in prison was deducted from this sentence.

Kazım Kızıl - Cumhurbaşkanına Hakaret Davası (İddianame)

KCK Media Trial

46 journalists and media professionals are sued since 2012 in the KCK Media Trial on charges of “leading a terrorist organization” or “membership of a terrorist organization.”

The process began on December 20, 2011 when the police raided the houses of journalists and Kurdish media outlets such as Dicle News Agency (DİHA), Özgür Gündem newspaper, Fırat News Agency and Roj TV in early morning hours, taking into custody 49 journalists under the scope of the operation against Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK).

The indictment completed on April 27, 2012, depicted journalistic efforts as “activities for a terrorist group”, and used phrases such as “alleged journalism activities”, “participating in a protest in the guise of reporter”, “new stories that damage or jeopardize the image of the state”, “It was seen that the suspect was not involved in journalistic activities, but penned stories that benefited the terror organization.”

KCK Media Trial became the largest trial against journalists in Turkish history and the first example of collective lawsuit against journalists. 37 of the 46 journalists and media professionals sued remained in prison between 9 months to 2.5 years.

From September 10, 2012 to March 3, 2014, 10 hearings comprising 32 sessions were held at Specially Authorized 15. High Criminal Court. Following the first hearing which lasted three days, the court ordered that the lawsuit be transferred from Çağlayan Courthouse to the courtroom in the Silivri for reasons such as “defendants’ actions during the trial, and the small size of the courtroom”, on November 12, 2012.

Since the specially authorized courts were abolished by legal amendment on February 21, 2014, the proceedings take place at İstanbul 3. High Criminal Court at the
Çağlayan Courthouse. The opinion as to the accusations has yet to be presented.

The 18. hearing will take place on February 25, 2020.

KCK Basın Davası (İddianame)

Selman Keleş, Arif Aslan - Trial for Membership of a Terrorist Organization

Dihaber Agency’s reporter Selman Keleş, and journalist Arif Arslan, who worked for Van İpekyolu Municipality, were detained on March 20, 2017 while taking photos of the concrete barriers in front of the Van Metropolitan Municipality building. They were arrested on March 31, 2017. Dihaber Agency, which Keleş worked for, was closed down by Decree Law No. 693 issued on August 25, 2017.

An indictment was drafted by Van Public Prosecutor Emrah Güngör, on charges of “membership of an armed terrorist organization”. Keleş and Arslan were released at the first hearing on November 21, 2017. Upon the prosecutor’s objection to this ruling, a second arrest warrant was issued against them.

Selman Keleş was detained in Diyarbakır on December 12, 2017 and released on December 13, 2017. He left Turkey and applied for asylum in Switzerland. The court put Arif Aslan on probation and banned him from going abroad.

The hearing on September 5, 2019 lasted three minutes. The court adjourned the trial until January 16, 2020 on the grounds that the statement of Selman Keleş, who had applied for asylum in Switzerland, could not be taken.

Selman Keleş, Arif Aslan - Üyelik Davası (İddianame)

Selman Keleş, Arif Aslan - Üyelik Davası (İddianame)

Kibriye Evren - JinNews Trial

Jin News correspondent Kibriye Evren was taken into custody during an operation on October 9 in Diyarbakır. She was arrested on October 11 and placed in Diyarbakır E-Type Closed Prison. The investigation about Evren was completed by Public Prosecutor’s Office and an indictment was drafted on October 18, 2018. Prosecutor Şahsuvar Yıldız leveled charges of “membership of a terrorist organization” and “spreading propaganda of a terrorist organization” in the indictment, which was accepted by Diyarbakır 5. High Criminal Court; the first hearing was scheduled for December 6, 2018.

The indictment presented Kibriye Evren’s journalistic activities and social media posts as criminal activities, and the secret witnesses and electronic tip-offs were deemed sufficient to open an investigation against her.

The 25-page indictment drafted by the prosecutor against Evren cited as evidence secret witness statements, social media posts and journeys abroad. The indictment presented the activities of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), and of Kongreya Jinên Azad (KJA) and Tevgera Jinên Azad (TJA), which were shuttered by Decree Law, as criminal activities. The indictment dwelled upon the structure of KCK in a 11-page section, and upon associated institutions on 6 pages, claiming that all of their activities were illegal.

The indictment also portrayed TJA’s activities on the women’s question, and protests and events against male violence as “activities on behalf of a terrorist organization”, based on the following anonymous electronic tip-off sent to the Electronic Intelligence Branch over the internet: “TJA center. Mr. police officer, good evening. I want to give you information about PKK. Their women used to hang out in KJA. When that was closed then, they renamed it TJA. Women gather there. It is in the Ofis district. All they do is get together to talk about Öcalan and his isolation. Their fiercest militants go there. If I learn anything else, I will again message you.” It was further claimed that the Diyarbakır-based DTK, which has representatives in numerous cities, was an illegal structure with links to the “organization”. DTK’s meetings organized with the participation of MPs, mayors, NGOs, political parties, associations and unions, as well as being a DTK member or delegate were presented as criminal acts.

According to the indictment, the grounds for launching an investigation against Kibriye Evren were the statement given by a secret witness dubbed “EZEL” to the prosecutor on 03.07.2018 at the Diyarbakır Anti-Terror Branch; the statement given by a secret witness dubbed “FİRAR” to the prosecutor on 12.09.2018 at the Diyarbakır Anti-Terror Branch; the statement given by a secret witness dubbed “CESUR YÜREK” to the prosecutor on 28.03.2016; as well as Evren’s social media posts.
It was further claimed that Kibriye Evren’s name was mentioned in the documents obtained during the examination of digital materials seized upon a search warrant issued by Ankara 11. High Criminal Court on 27.11.2010. In addition, a photo taken on 20.08.2010 by Evren on the way to picnic with her friends was also added to the file as evidence of crime. Her journeys abroad for journalistic activities between 2015 and 2018 were likewise presented as evidence of crime.

The first hearing was held on December 6, 2018, the second hearing on January 10, 2019, the third hearing on April 16 and May 7, 2019. Kibriye Evren could not attend the last two hearings because she was on hunger strike. At the hearing on July 18, the panel of judges did not announce its verdict as its members had changed. Evren presented her defense in Turkish. The expected release order was not issued on September 24, and the 8th hearing will be held on November 12, 2019.

Kibriye Evren - JinNews Davası (İddianame)

Yasin Kobulan - Social Media Trial

Yasin Kobulan, a reporter for Mesopotamia Agency, stood trial over six social media posts that he published in 2015. These posts consisted of news stories about the events that transpired during a curfew in southeastern Anatolia, when Kobulan was working for the now-shuttered Dicle News Agency.

Kobulan denied the allegations during interrogations by the police and the prosecutor’s office, saying the posts linked to news websites, that he was a journalist, and that he had simply shared the news stories with the general public, and that the news stories and comments fell within the scope of freedom of thought and expression.

Prosecutor Yavuz Şahin, in the indictment he filed on Oct. 1, 2018, argued that Kobulan “has committed the offense in question by portraying Turkish Armed Forces operations against the terror group in the southeast as massacres, and by justifying and legitimizing the violent acts of the terror group.”

The first hearing was held on Dec. 26, 2018. Prosecutor Mustafa Güner requested that the defendant be sentenced as per Article 7/2 (second clause), Article 43/1 and Article 53 of the Turkish Penal Code, for “spreading propaganda for an armed terrorist organization.”

At the second hearing of the trial, Kobulan was sentenced to one year, six months and 22 days in prison for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization.” The court ordered a deferment of the announcement of the verdict.

Yasin Kobulan - Sosyal Medya Davası (İddianame)

Kırkaya Propaganda Davası

Kırkaya Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Lezgin Akdeniz - Propaganda of an Organzation Trial

Mesopotamia Agency reporter Lezgin Akdeniz was among the 142 people detained in Diyarbakır on Oct. 9, 2018, within the scope of an investigation conducted by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. Public Prosecutor Şansuvar Yıldız drafted an indictment against Akdeniz, who was held in custody for three days. The indictment was accepted by Diyarbakır’s 9th High Criminal Court on Jan. 18, 2019.

The indictment claimed that Akdeniz “was a member of the terrorist organization” based solely on the statements of a secret witness codenamed “Ezel” and accused him of “spreading continuous propaganda for the terrorist organization” due to him ‘liking’ a news story on Facebook concerning the liberation of the city of Raqqa from ISIS. The prosecutor requested a total sentence of 22 years in jail.

The investigation was centered on the KCK [Kurdistan Communities Union, an umbrella organisation encompassing separatist Kurdish political movements], and in the indictment, the charges pressed against Akdeniz took up a quarter of a page. The indictment featured the statement by the secret witness Ezel, who claimed that Akdeniz had received instructions from Murat Karayılan and Cemil Bayık, two members of the top echelons of the KCK, and communicated them to members of the organization.

The indictment also included another statement by the secret witness claiming that Akdeniz had met with members of the organization in Iraq, via Skype. In the indictment, in reference to these secret witness statements, the prosecutor requested a prison sentence of ten to 22 years for Akdeniz, based on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization.” The first hearing of the trial was held on March 27, 2019.

A verdict was reached at the first hearing. Akdeniz was acquitted of the charge of “membership of a terrorist organization” and sentenced to one year and three months in prison for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization.” The court also ordered the deferment of the announcement of the verdict.

Lezgin Akdeniz - Örgüt Propagandası Davası (İddianame)

Mağden, Ketenciler - Insulting the President of the Republic Trial

Nokta magazine, which was shuttered in April 2016, had published an article titled, “Semih: The Tayyip-like figure on Survivor Island.” The participant of the TV show in question, Semih Öztürk, filed a complaint with the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office against Perihan Mağden, and the news website T24, which had republished the Nokta story. An investigation was launched based on Öztürk’s complaint, which alleged that Perihan Mağden insulted him and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

In the course of investigating the complaint, the prosecutor’s office invited Perihan Mağden to give a statement. Mağden indicated in her statement at the prosecutor’s office that she had criticized Semih Öztürk, a competitor in the television show “Survivor Island,”” for his unusual behavior, and had pointed to some similarities between Öztürk and the President. She stated that the article was not about the President, and that there was no complaint filed by his lawyers. She cited jurisprudence by the European Court of Human Rights underlining that criticism can sometimes be severe, shocking and offensive.

T24’s editor-in-chief İnan Ketenciler also gave a statement as part of the investigation, indicating that the article was not penned by T24, and that they had only republished it from Nokta magazine. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in question.

The prosecutor indicated in the indictment that during the investigation he could not access the original article in question, since Nokta magazine was shut down by a decree issued during the state of emergency, and its website was no longer accessible.

In the indictment drafted by Public Prosecutor Yasemin Baba on June 6, 2017, it was claimed that Perihan Mağden had committed an offense that went beyond the limits of criticism. The prosecutor also argued that republishing the same article on the website T24 was a repetition of the same offense. Baba had received the consent of the justice minister, which was necessary for pressing the charge of insulting the President, and requested that the suspects be tried and sentenced.

The first hearing in the case was held on Nov. 2, 2017, after the indictment was accepted by the 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. İnan Ketenciler attended the first hearing as a defendant and requested additional time, stating that he wanted to hire a lawyer to defend him in court. The judge asked Ketenciler about his statements during the investigation, and his objection to the petition of a lawyer who wanted to intervene in the case on behalf of President Erdoğan. The court decided to accept the involvement of President Erdoğan’s lawyer in the trial.

At the fourth hearing in the case, held on Nov. 22, 2018, an arrest warrant in absentia was issued for Perihan Mağden, since she did not attend the hearings and did not give any statements to the court. Mağden attended the fifth hearing of the case on Jan. 10, 2019 and presented her defense. She explained that in her article in question, she had focused on Semih Öztürk, who had become the most controversial participant in the highly popular TV show “Survivor Island” due to his unusual behavior. She stated that, in her article, she established similarities between Semih Öztürk and the President, and explained that Öztürk, with his often-criticized behavior, tried to capitalize on the popularity of the President. Mağden underlined that, as a columnist, such criticism was within her rights and was part of her profession. Mağden indicated that her article was not about the President, but about Öztürk, that she had no intention of insulting anyone, and denied the accusations.

In the sixth hearing held on Feb. 21, 2019, Halil Kocabaş, İnan Ketenciler’s lawyer, requested additional time to prepare the defense against the accusations.

Mağden, Ketenciler - Cumhurbaşkanına Hakaret Davası Download

Mağden, Ketenciler - Cumhurbaşkanına Hakaret Davası (İddianame)

Mağden, Öğreten - Insulting the President of the Republic Trial

In September 2015, the magazine Nokta was banned and pulled off the shelves for its cover that read “Erdoğan-Style Selfie”. Perihan Mağden, a contributor to the said magazine gave an interview on September 14, 2015 to journalist Tunca İlker Öğreten from the news web site diken.com.tr, stating that “President Erdoğan acts like a wild tiger that has been cornered”.

Due to this metaphor used in the interview, the writer Perihan Mağden, journalist Tunca İlker Ögreten who conducted the interview, and Orhan Şahin and Mehmet Çağlar Tekin executives of the Yurt newspaper which published the interview, were all charged with “insulting the President”.

At the final hearing of the trial held at Istanbul 2. Criminal Court of First Instance on January 10, 2019, Mağden and Öğreten were each fined 7 thousand TL on charges of “insulting the President”. The court did not postpone the fines for Öğreten and Mağden, but acquitted Şahin and Tekin of the charges.

Mağden, Öğreten - Cumhurbaşkanına Hakaret Davası (İddianame)

Mazlum Dolan - Trial for Membership of a Terrorist Organization

A curfew was declared when Mazlum Dolan, a reporter with the Dicle News Agency that would later be shuttered after the July 15 coup attempt by a Decree Law dated October 29, 2016, was following a news story in the Sur district of Diyarbakır. For 79 days, Dolan was trapped in an apartment in the district, but continued to report. A military operation was launched with the onset of the curfew, and Dolan announced that he was trapped in a building and that they had taken refuge in the basement due to the ongoing military operation.

In reaction, professional associations of journalists made efforts to evacuate Dolan, however, it was in vain. Dolan’s lawyers applied to the European Court of Human Rights on February 17, 2016, to impose a temporary suspension of the curfew.

On February 19, 2016, journalists including some who participated in the News Watch, wanted to march to the town of Sur for Mazlum Dolan. The rally was stopped by the police. Dolan was evacuated on the evening of the same day along with five civilians, accompanied by military personnel.

After being evacuated from the district, Dolan was taken to Diyarbakır Police Department’s Anti-Terror Branch. He was detained there for five days. Following police procedures, he was referred on February 23 to 1. Criminal Court of Peace, which issued a warrant for the arrest of Dolan and four others.

The grounds for the arrest warrant were denunciations, statements by secret and known witnesses, and gunpowder traces on their clothes -despite the fact that they had just left the district of Sur, which was under heavy bombardment.

The indictment against Dolan and 39 people was drafted by prosecutor Mustakim Türkyılmaz in July 2016, and submitted to the court.

In the indictment, 20 people including journalist Mazlum Dolan were charged with “membership of a terrorist organization”, “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” and “violating the law on meetings and demonstrations“. A prison sentence of 7.5 to 15 years was requested for Dolan on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization”.

“Aggravated life sentence” was requested for 20 other defendants for “attempting to break the unity and integrity of the Turkish state”.

The first 28 pages of the indictment dwelled upon the history and foundation of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party / Partiya Karkeren Kürdistan (PKK). This same section provided ample information on the events that transpired under the curfew, when the army launched operations against the ditches and barricades built in Kurdish cities. A separate sub-section focused on the operation in the district of Sur.

Then came information on the investigation process. It was indicated that Dolan and five other civilians were arrested by security forces on February 19, 2016 at about 16.00, on Yıkık Kaya Street.

The information and assessments about journalist Dolan began on page 47 of the indictment. This section provided information on the digital material found in body search as he was being evacuated from the district, as well as on his clothes -including their brands. It was indicated that no element of crime was found in the digital examination of the said material.

The indictment also offered the statements about Dolan of a secret witness code-named “Mudanya 2016”. However, these statements were contradictory, since the secret witness referred to Dolan as “the mother of this girl”, although Dolan is male.

There was no further assessment about Dolan in this part of the indictment. In the “legal assessment” section found on page 104, however, it was stated about Dolan and others that “in the framework of the so-called ‘autonomous administration’, they acted on the orders of the PKK / KCK terrorist organization within its hierarchy and through organic connection with it, aiding and assisting members in armed resistance; providing logistic support to members in armed resistance in the Sur district and the operation area, took part in the organizational hierarchy, and thus committed the crime of ‘membership of a terrorist organization’ as charged.”

The first hearing of the case was held on December 28, 2016. Dolan presented his defense on the first day of the trial. Dolan rejected the charges and said, “In the indictment, another person’s statement is written under my name. I’m a reporter with DİHA. My house is in Sûr. I went there as a journalist. I stayed at my aunt Fatma Ateş’s house. I was sending news stories to the agency that I work for. It was impossible to avoid traces of explosives in the basement where we were trapped. I plead not guilty of the charges. I demand to be released.”

The second hearing of the case was held on May 16, 2017. Dolan and his lawyer Resul Tamur were in attendance.

Following the defendants’ defenses, the statements of secret witnesses were read. The prosecutor in charge requested that Dolan and the other defendants remain in prison.

The court ordered Dolan and eight others to be released on condition of “judicial control”.

The court adjourned the trial until September 17, 2017.

Dolan went abroad some time after he was released. The trial against Dolan continues in his absence.

Mazlum Dolan Üyelik Davası (İddianame)

Mehmet Ali Genç - Atılım Gazetesi Davası

Mehmet Ali Genç - Atılım Gazetesi Davası (İddianame)

Mehmet Ali Genç - Propaganda Trial

Various investigations were launched against Mehmet Ali Genç because of the news stories in the newspaper Atılım where he served as managing editor.

All investigations were carried out on charges of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”, citing the stories published in two issues of the newspaper in April and May 2016. Three separate indictments were drafted about Genç, and these were completed and submitted to the court on September 22, 2016.

The first indictment prepared by prosecutor Murat İnam consisted of a single page. It stated that the article titled “Making way for freedom” published in the issue of April 29, 2016 contained “propaganda for a terrorist organization”. However, the content of the article was not included in the indictment.
Prosecutor İnam also stated that the “defendant’s claim that the articles fell within the limits of the freedom of press and thought are not credible.”

The prosecutor demanded a prison sentence of 1 to 5 years for Genç for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” pursuant to Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2, as well as deprivation of certain rights as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 53.

The second indictment against Genç was drafted by prosecutor Murat İnam.Prepared on the same date as the first indictment (September 22, 2016), it also consisted of a single page. This second indictment was based on three separate news stories published on May 13, 2016. While the content of the stories was not included in the indictment, the headings were written down: “MLKP militia on patrol in Gazi district”, “Funeral for two TİKKD guerillas”, “HBDH claimed the bomb attack against the bakery shop whose owners killed Ali İsmail.”

Prosecutor İnam claimed that these stories were tantamount to “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” and requested that Genç be sentenced. The prosecutor demanded a prison sentence of 1 to 5 years for Genç for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” pursuant to Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2, and asked it to be increased by half since the crime was committed via the media. he also requested that Genç be deprivation of certain rights.

The third indictment against Genç was drafted at the end of the investigation against the Özgür Gençlik Dergisi magazine, since he was its managing editor as well. This indictment by Murat İnam consisted of two pages, and like the two other indictments, was completed on September 22, 2016 and submitted to the court.
The indictment based its accusations on ten separate articles in the March - April issue of the magazine: “In memory of two communist women”, “Your identity is ours”, “Portrait: Şengül Boran”, “Suhan’s early farewell”, “Women’s revolution”, “We shall multiply amidst the butterflies you adored so much”, “Rainbow after the rain: Ivana Hoffman”, “Kurdish women continue to resist”, “Colonialism will e trampled, oppressed peoples will prevail” and “From Cerattepe to Cizre, we continue to raise the resistance”.

Prosecutor İnam based himself on these articles and associated images to claim that these “spread propaganda for a terrorist organization” pursuant to Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2. He requested a sentence of 1 to 5 years in prison and deprivation of certain rights for Genç.

The three indictments prepared by prosecutor Murat İnam were accepted by Istanbul 22. High Criminal Court and a lawsuit was filed. The hearings were held on November 17, 2016 for the three. Fikret Demir (chairman of the panel of judges), Yusuf Kılıç and Barış Cömert (judges) and prosecutor Burhan Temtek took part in all three hearings. In his defense, Genç stated in summary that they did not engage in propaganda for any organization, and that the articles should be viewed within the scope of the freedom of press and expression.

Prosecutor Cömert demanded that Genç be punished as charged in his separate judicial opinions for the three cases.

As regards the first indictment, Genç was sentenced to one year in prison for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”. This was increased by half since the crime was committed through the press, to 1 year, 6 months. Then his sentence was reduced for good conduct to 1 year, 3 months.

Under the scope of the second indictment, he was sentenced to 1 year, 6 years of imprisonment. This was increased by half since the crime was committed through the press, to 1 year, 15 months. Then his sentence was reduced for good conduct to 1 year, 10 months, 15 days.

Under the scope of the third case, the court ruled for a prison sentence of 1 year, 3 months for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”.

Genç was sentenced to a total of 4 years, 4 months, 15 days in three separate cases on the same day.

The appeal process against the verdict was rejected and the prison sentence was upheld.

Genç is serving time at Adana F-Type High Security Closed Prison.

Mehmet Ali Genç - Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Mehmet Ali Genç - Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Mehmet Ali Genç - Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Mehmet Çakmakçı Üyelik Davası
Mehmet Dursun - Trial for Membership of a Terrorist Organization

Van Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation against journalist Mehmet Dursun. Dursun was summoned to Van Police Department to testify within the scope of the said investigation. Dursun went to the police on April 3, 2018 and was detained. After three days of detention he was brought to court.

Dursun was interrogated by a judge about phone calls he made in 2014. He was arrested on charges of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” following the interrogation by the judge. He was placed in Van T-Type Closed Prison upon the arrest warrant.

The indictment against him was completed by the public prosecutor Emrah Güngör on August 2, 2018 and submitted to the court.

In the indictment, the assessments and claims about Dursun were on page 17. Prosecutor Güngör made the following remarks based on Dursun’s telephone conversations in 2014:

“The suspect works in our province for Dicle News Agency which spends intense efforts to support the terror group PKK/KCK, has participated in street rallies organized by YDG-H -the youth branch of the said terror group- where security forces have come under attack, and has penned biased, exaggerated news stories which praise the terrorist group and denigrate the efforts of the security forces,

“The suspect has worked as a TV correspondent through phone connections for Sterk tv and Nüce tv which are controlled by PKK/KCK, reported on street rallies ending in clashes organized by BDP in Van, penned biased stories on people taken into detention, and informed and guided BDP leaders as to these detentions.”

In the spirit of similiar statements in other indictments against journalists, prosecutor Güngör claimed after providing this information that Dursun was a member of PKK’s “Press Committee”.

Furthermore, a social media post by Dursun which read “7.2 magnitude earthquake strikes Kurdistan”, concerning the earthquake dated November 12, 2017, was also cited as evidence for his crimes.

Afterwards Güngör alleged that Dursun “operated for the terrorist organization PKK under a legal cover in order to break the indivisible unity of the Turkish Republic” and requested that he be sentenced. He demanded that Dursun be sentenced to five to ten years of imprisonment on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization” pursuant to Article 314/2 of Turkish Penal Code, and that this penalty be further aggravated by half. At the same time, he requested that Dursun be deprived of certain rights as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 53.

Prosecutor Güngör’s indictment was accepted by Van 4. High Criminal Court and a lawsuit was filed.

The first hearing of the trial was held on December 5, 2018. Dursun was brought from Van T-Type Closed Prison where he was held, to the courtroom. Dursun’s lawyer Erhan Çiftçiler was also in attendance. Kerem Kırtay (chairman of the panel of judges), Şahin İş and Meral Parlar (judges) and Mustafa Özyurt (prosecutor) took their places.

During his defense at the trial, Dursun said that he worked as a registered correspondent at Dicle News Agency between 2013 and 2015, and that the phone calls he made during this period for journalistic purposes were presented as criminal in the indictment. Indicating that he followed the street rallies in question for journalistic purposes, Dursun continued as follows:

“The indictment tries to make it appear as if I participated in these rallies. The water cannon trucks (TOMA) present at the scene have cameras. They took footage. If this footage is examined, it will be seen that I was there only for news coverage.

“I did not pen any biased news stories, or any story to praise the organization. I didn’t report anything that would defame security forces or any other institution. My job as a correspondent with Dicle news agency is to inform the clients who phone me. STERK tv and NÜCE tv are the clients of our agency, and they called me in that capacity. I gave them information about the events.

“I worked as a journalist. I have nothing to do with KCK. The prosecutor tries to portray me as a member of a press committee in order to present my journalistic activity as illegal. I reject the accusation. I can’t even begin to understand why the indictment covers my Facebook post on the earthquake which hit the city of Sulaymaniyah in northern Iraq. According to the Iraqi constitution, this area is called Kurdistan Regional Government. This has no relation with Turkey.”

Attorney Erhan Çiftçiler stated the following during defense: “My client is engaged in journalism. He took no other kind of action. He cannot be portrayed as a member of KCK. My client was present in street rallies for news coverage purposes. He did not contact guerilla fighters on the mountains. His talks with his girlfriend are included in the indictment, and yet these have no relation to the organization in question. His phone calls were solely for purposes of news coverage. It is obvious that they were not intended to guide a mass of people.”

At the end of the hearing, the panel of judges ruled for the release of Dursun, taking into account the status of the evidence and the time he had already spent in prison. The second hearing of the case took place on May 15, 2019. Kerem Kırtay (chairman of the panel of judges), Şahin İş and Şerife Bağdat Oğuz (judges) and Mustafa Özyurt took part in the hearing.

Dursun didn’t attend the hearing.

The trial was adjourned until October 25, 2019.

Mehmet Dursun Üyelik Davası (İddianame)

Mehmet Güleş - Trial for Membership and Propaganda

Mehmet Güleş, the Elazığ correspondent of the shuttered news agency DİHA, was detained on December 6, 2016 during an identity check at Elazığ Courthouse, where he went for news coverage. A day later, he was referred to the court, was arrested for “membership of a terrorist organization”, and taken to Elazığ E-Type Closed Prison.

The indictment cited as evidence against Güleş 35 phone calls for journalistic purposes and television reporting, as well as 20 posts on his social media accounts. He was charged with “membership of a terrorist organization” and “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”.
The first hearing of the trial was held on April 3, 2017.

At the hearing dated May 3, 2017, Güleş was sentenced to 9 years, 4 months, 15 days of imprisonment for “membership of a terrorist organization” and “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”.

An appeal was filed against the verdict at the appeal court, and then at the Court of Cassation. On October 16, 2018, 16. Criminal Chamber of the Court of Cassation upheld the verdict about Güleş. Since then, Güleş is held in Elazığ Closed Prison No. 1 since December 7, 2016.

His individual application to the Constitutional Court has not yet been processed.

Mehmet Güleş Üyelik ve Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Mehmet Güleş Üyelik ve Propaganda Davası (Gerekçeli Karar)

Mehmet Gündem - FETÖ Prapaganda Trial

Mehmet Gündem was taken into custody as part of the investigation against Foundation of Journalists and Writers, together with 45 other individuals including Nuh Gönültaş, a contributor to the Bugün and Zaman newspaper, on charges of links to “Fethullahist Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Structure (FETÖ/PDY)”.

İstanbul Anadolu Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office had issued an arrest warrant for 111 individuals in 16 Turkish provinces as part of this investigation into Crimes Against the Constitutional Order.

The ground for the investigation was Fethullah Gülen’s role as the Honorary Chairman of the Foundation of Journalists and Writers.

The police procedures for Gündem and other defendants were completed on November 9, 2017 and they were brought to the courthouse. After the interrogation at the prosecutor’s office, he was referred to the court with a request for his arrest on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization” and “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization”. Anadolu Criminal Court of Peace on Duty ordered the arrest of Gündem and four other individuals including journalists Behram Kılıç and Nuh Gönültaş on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization”. Gündem was placed in Silivri Closed Prison No. 9.

The indictment against him was completed in June 2018. In the indictment, the prosecutor requested Gündem be sentenced to 7.5 to 15 years in prison.

The first hearing of the case was held at Istanbul 35. High Criminal Court on August 14, 2018. Before the hearing on May 7, 2019, the prosecutor submitted his opinion as to the accusations. At the hearing on July 9, 2017, the court sentenced Mehmet Gündem to 6 years, 10 months, 15 days of imprisonment, on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization”.

Meryem Yıldırım - Trial for Propaganda

An investigation was launched against journalist Meryem Yıldırım for her two social media posts in 2017. Yıldırım went to the police and gave her statement on March 20, 2019. During the interrogation Yıldırım was asked about her post dated March 30, 2017, which read “It has been 2 years… 24-year-old law student Şafak put his life at stake demanding justice for #BerkinElvan …#ŞafakYayla” and her post dated May 6, 2017 which read “Presenting an 18-year-old youth who went on hunger strike for #BerkinElvan as the top leader of DHKPC and legitimizing her murder… #SılaAbalay”.

In her interrogation under the investigation, Yıldırım stated that she did not remember the purpose of her posts as two years had passed by, and indicated that they were probably for journalistic purposes as she is a reporter. She also said that she did not know whether Şafak Yayla and Sıla Abalay were members of a terrorist organization or not.

At the end of the investigation, prosecutor Hafize Demir Hamurcu of İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Press Crimes Bureau completed the indictment.

The 3-page indictment completed on March 27, 2019 charged Yıldırım with “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”.

The indictment cited as evidence Yıldırım’s social media post dated March 30, 2017, which read “It has been 2 years… 24-year-old law student Şafak put his life at stake demanding justice for #BerkinElvan …#ŞafakYayla” and her post dated May 6, 2017 which read “Presenting an 18-year-old youth who went on hunger strike for #BerkinElvan as the top leader of DHKPC and legitimizing her murder… #SılaAbalay”.

Prosecutor Savcı Hamurcu indicated in the indictment that Şafak Yayla and Sıla Abalay mentioned in these posts were members of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party - Front (DHKP-C).

(Şafak Yayla was killed during an armed clash when on March 31, 2015 İstanbul Courthouse’s Chief Public Prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz was taken
hostage in his office and then killed. Sıla Abalay was killed during a clash with the police in Istanbul on December 7, 2016.)

The indictment was accepted by 37. High Criminal Court. The first hearing of the trial was scheduled for June 20, 2019. Yıldırım and her lawyer Şerif Özgür Urfa were in attendance. Hakan Özer (chairman of the panel of judges), Onur Engin Deniz and Merve Akyüz (judges) and prosecutor Hasan Adalı took part in the hearing. After the reading of the indictment, journalist Meryem Yıldırım stated the following in her defense:

“Two years have passed since I shared these posts. I don’t even remember posting them. They do not constitute a crime. They fall under the scope of the freedom of press and expression. I demand to be acquitted. If I am to be sentenced, I request a deferment of the announcement of the verdict.”

Şerif Özgür Urfa, Yıldırım’s lawyer, presented a written defense to the court. Urfa supported his client’s statements, and indicated that the said posts cannot be considered as propaganda.

The prosecutor Hasan Adalı, presenting his opinion as to accusations at the hearing, stated that the said posts did not fall within the scope of the freedom of thought and expression, since they served to legitimize the actions of DHKP-C and spread continuous propaganda. Prosecutor requested that Meryem Yıldıırm be sentenced.

After the prosecutor’s opinion as to accusations, Yıldırım said her final words: “I demand my acquittal. I have never approved of violent acts, and will never do so.”

The panel of judges announced their verdict, sentencing Meryem Yıldırım to 1 year, 3 months in prison for “spreading propaganda for DHKP-C”. In addition, since the crime was committed through the press, the sentence was aggravated by half, to 1 year, 10 months. The court further increased the sentence to 1 year, 16 months, 3 days since the crime was committed more than once. There were no reductions in the sentence.

Yıldırım’s lawyers applied to the appeal court against the prison sentence. The appeal process is still under way.

Meryem Yıldırım Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Meryem Yıldırım Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Meşale Tolu - ETHA Trial

Meşale Tolu was detained on April 30, 2017 in a police raid on her house. On May 5, she was referred to the public prosecutor’s office. She was ordered to be arrested by Istanbul 9. Criminal Court of Peace on charges of “membership of an armed terrorist organization” and “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”, and placed in Bakırköy Closed Prison.

Prosecutor Kenan Zurnacı completed the indictment with 18 defendants on July 7, 2017, and claimed based upon a secret witness statement from 2015 that Tolu had participated in commemorations for Şirin Öter, Yeliz Erbay and Ivana Hoffmann in 2014 as well as anti-corruption rallies by the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP). This case was then expanded to include other defendants accused of membership to the Marxist Leninist Communist Party (MLKP), with the total number of defendants reaching 26.

The prosecutor requested sentences as per Turkish Penal Code 314/2 (membership of a terrorist organization), 63/1 (restricting freedoms), 54/1 (confiscation of goods), 58/9 (repeated offense), 53/1 (deprivation of certain rights).

Meşale Tolu was released at the second hearing on December 18, 2017, on condition of judicial control and a ban on going abroad.

After her release, police officers from the Anti-Terror Branch (TEM) tried to take Meşale Tolu a police station and deport her. The ban on Tolu’s going abroad was lifted in August 2018. A German citizen of Turkish origin, Tolu returned to Germany.

Meşale Tolu - ETHA Davası (İddianame)

Mümtazer Türköne - Trial for Insulting Erdoğan

Mümtazer Türköne is standing trial for his column dated March 16, 2014 in the now shuttered Zaman newspaper, which was titled “Would it be this bad it were not obligatory”, on charges of “insult via audiovisual or written message” (Turkish Penal Code, Article 125).

In his article, Türköne dwelled upon a speech by the then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Antep. In his speech, Erdoğan had accused Berkin Elvan of being a “terrorist”: On June 16, 2013 Elvan was injured by a pepper gas canister fired by police on his way to buy bread, and passed away on March 11, 2014, after spending 269 days in coma. During the same speech, Erdoğan had also incited the crowd to boo Gülsüm Elvan, Berkin’s mother.

After the publication of the column, Erdoğan filed a complaint against Türköne. However, the prosecutor announced a decision of non-prosecution and did not file a lawsuit. Erdoğan’s lawyers appealed against this decision. Bakırköy 2. Criminal Court of Peace discussed the objection and overturned the decision of non-prosecution on October 14, 2014 on the grounds that “there is evidence pointing to crime and it is a court which should pass judgement on the evidence”.

Upon this decision, Prosecutor Mustafa Gökay completed an indictment on November 3, 2014 and requested that Mümtazer Türköne be sentenced to imprisonment of 1 to 2 years for “insulting a public official”. The case began on April 28, 2015.

At the hearing held on January 12, 2016, judge Aşkın Kocamanoğlu dropped the case against the defendant Mümtazer Türköne on the grounds that the lawsuit for “insulting a public official through the press” had not been filed within the 2-month legal deadline. The judge also ruled that it was not the defendant who had published the column on the newspaper website, and acquitted Türköne.

However, Court of Cassation’s 18. Criminal Chamber overturned the verdict of acquittal, and the trial resumed. The 5. hearing was held on September 11, 2019. Türköne was connected to the hearing from Silivri Prison, via the judiciary videoconferencing system SEGBİS. He indicated that he had penned the article 5 years ago, and asked for time to examine the file and the article he had written back then. The 6. hearing took place on October 15, 2019.

Mümtazer Türköne - Erdoğan'a Hakaret (İddianame)

Nazlı Ilıcak - Espionage Trial

A lawsuit was filed against Nazlı Ilıcak on charges of espionage in January 2018. In the indictment drafted by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and sent to the 15. High Criminal Court of Ankara, the prosecutor cited Article 330/1 of the Turkish Penal Code to request life imprisonment for Nazlı Ilıcak for allegedly “disclosing confidential information about the security of the state for purposes of espionage” with her article entitled “Askerî İstihbarat ve Tahşiyeciler” (“Military Intelligence and the Tahşiyeciler sect”). The indictment was drafted by Ankara Public Prosecutor Mehmet Turgay.

Ankara 15. High Criminal Court accepted the indictment but ruled for lack of jurisdiction, and sent the file to Istanbul High Criminal Court. In its decision, the Ankara court stated that the headquarters of Bugün newspaper was located in Istanbul and thus fell under the jurisdiction of Istanbul High Criminal Court.

The trial began on April 9, 2018 at the Istanbul 26. High Criminal Court.

Ilıcak presented her defense during the hearing, and indicated that she gave information about the Tahşiyeciler sect in an article she had written for Bugün newspaper, which was closed on January 2, 2015. She stated that this information was already available on social media and that the information in question was not confidential, and therefore not a matter of state security.

Ilıcak stated that the military prosecutor asked her questions on the matter and that she answered these questions. She indicated the following during her defense: “I told the military prosecutor twice that I got the information I shared on my column from a Twitter address, but I didn’t know whom this Twitter account belonged to or for what purpose it had been sent to me. The document that was sent to me stated that the Tahşiyeciler had links to al-Qaeda. I published this information about Tahşiyeciler on my column since Al Qaeda poses a danger for national security. I thought that publishing this information served the public interest.”

Ilıcak said “Being a journalist, I always received such documents. I don’t know for what purpose it was sent to me”, and demanded that the lawsuit be dropped for expiry of the statute of limitations.

The panel of judges decided to send the case file to the public prosecutor’s office for him to draft his opinion as to the accusations and adjourned the trial until May 23. At the hearing on that date, the prosecutor requested the court to accept the demand of the Ministry of National Defense to be involved in the trial, as well as the expansion of the investigation in order to determine whether Ilıcak shared the document in question on audiovisual media and social media.

Ilıcak, who connected to the courtroom via the judicial videoconferencing system SEGBIS, stated that the publication of the said article on social media or other media outlets did not concern her, and that the legal statute of limitations for the prosecutor to file a lawsuit against her had expired as per the Press Law. Ilıcak and her lawyers demanded indicated that the said period was 4 months and had already expired since the article was published in 2015: They demanded the case to be dropped.

At the end of the hearing, the court accepted the request of the prosecutor to expand the investigation and ordered that a letter be sent to RTÜK and Istanbul Police Department, Anti-Terror Branch to determine whether Ilıcak had made comments regarding the content of the article before and after the publication of the article. The court also accepted the request of the Ministry of Defense to become involved and adjourned the trial until September 6.

Ilıcak attended the third hearing held on September 6, 2018 via the SEGBİS system from the Bakırköy Prison where she was being held, and stated that she had not published the document in the question but had made comments regarding the content of the document.

Subsequently, the prosecutor submitted his opinion as to the accusations, and demanded that “Ilıcak be punished pursuant to Article 330 of the Turkish Penal Code, considering that although the document marked ‘secret’ had been destroyed, Ilıcak had gotten hold of it an published it, and that this crime had been committed through the media.”

Ilıcak took the floor after the prosecutor expressed his judicial opinion, asked this opinion to be sent to her and demanded additional time to prepare her defense. The court adjourned the trial until October 9, 2018.

Ilıcak attended that hearing via the SEGBİS system from the Bakırköy Prison and presented her defense against the prosecutor’s opinion as to the accusations. Ilıcak stated that only a photo of the document was published on her column, and that she had not shared the document. Ilıcak indicated that the document was sent from an open Twitter account, and that she would have retweeted it if her intention was to malevolently share the document with others.

While Ilıcak was presenting her defense, the Chairman of the Panel of Judges interrupted her and stated that they were only temporarily in charge of the case, and that there were lacunae in the case file. Seeing that the chairman pointed to the problems in the case file despite the fact that the judicial opinion had been submitted, Ilıcak requested to be acquitted.

Ilıcak’s lawyer Kemal Ertuğ Derin stated that the case had to be dropped due to the expiry of the 4-month statute of limitations stipulated in the Press Law. He argued that accusing Ilıcak of espionage was “contrary to the normal course of life” and demanded her acquittal.

The prosecutor reiterated his judicial opinion that he had already presented in the previous hearing, and requested life imprisonment for Ilıcak.
At the end of the hearing, the panel of judges announced their interim verdict and adjourned the trial until January 22, 2019 for the elimination of the lacunae in the case file.

Nazlı Ilıcak - Casusluk Davası (İddianame)

Necla Demir - Propaganda Trial

An investigation was launched against the journalist Necla Demir when she was managing editor of the web site Gazete Karınca. Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office, Press Crimes Investigation Bureau initiated the investigation on January 21, 218 following a tip-off to the Prime Minister’s Office Communication Center (BİMER).

After the tip-off, a report on Gazete Karınca was drafted by Istanbul Police Department on May 8, 2018, arguing that in various articles, the web site presented Turkey as an “occupying state”.

Within the scope of the investigation, an indictment was drafted against Demir on the grounds of 15 news stories published on the website between January 21, 2018 and March 25, 2018. Demir was charged with “spreading continuous propaganda for a terrorist organization”.

The indictment was accepted by Istanbul 33. High Criminal Court and a lawsuit was filed. The first hearing of the case was held on May 23, 2019.

Necla Demir and her lawyer Özcan Kılıç attended the hearing. In her defense, journalist Necla Demir stated that the news stories corresponded to journalistic activities: “The indictment prepared against me due to the news stories about Afrin published in Gazete Karınca in 2018 goes against the law, and freedom of the press. These stories were published to inform the public within the limits of freedom of thought and expression.”

Indicating that she faces 13 years in prison, Demir stated, “This indictment violates the freedom of expression as defined by the Turkish Constitution and ECHR. I do not accept these charges. The stories correspond to journalism. Therefore, I demand my acquittal.”

Necla Demir’s lawyer Kılıç took the floor afterwards and demanded that his client be exempted from the hearings. Kılıç also added “The indictment states that the crime was committed through the press, but this is inapplicable to publications on the digital media.”

The prosecutor presented his opinion as to the accusations, and demanded that Necla Demir be sentenced for “spreading continuous propaganda for a terrorist organization”.

The hearing was adjourned until July 11, 2019 as lawyer Kılıç’s demand for additional time for preparing the defense was accepted by the court.

At the second hearing of the case, the Chairman of the Panel of Judges, Muhammed Zafer Terzi stated that the defense by journalist Demir was recorded via the judiciary videconferencing system SEGBİS at the first hearing, but it had not been transcribed since the SEGBİS had subsequently collapsed. For this reason, he asked that Demir be in attendance in court to submit her defense again. Demir’s lawyer Sercan Korkmaz agreed with Terzi. Terzi asked the lawyer, “Shall we issue a warrant or will you bring your client here?”, and the lawyer stated that he would bring his client.

Therefore, the trial was adjourned until October 11, 2019. At the 3. hearing, Demir reiterated in her defense that the news story in question was for purely journalistic purposes. The court ruled that there was no criminal offense, that the attributed crime was not defined as crime in the Constitution, and acquitted the defendant.

Necla Demir Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Nedim Türfent - DİHA Trial

Nedim Türfent worked as journalist in the Yüksekova district of Hakkari in 2015-2016, under curfew. On May 12, 2016, he was detained in Van under the scope of an investigation conducted by Yüksekova Prosecutor’s Office.

Türfent was arrested on May 13, 2016 on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization”, with reference to some of his news stories, and secret witness statements. He was first transferred to Hakkari Prison, then to Van M-Type Prison and subsequently to Van T-Type Closed Prison.

The trial took place at Hakkari 2. High Criminal Court. A verdict was reached on December 15, 2017 in this trial, where the prosecutor requested a prison sentence of up to 22.5 years. The prosecutor submitted his opinion as to the accusations at the hearing, requested the continuation of Türfent’s detention arguing that he could flee the country, and demanded that Türfent be sentenced for “membership of a terrorist organization”.

The court announced its verdict at the end of the hearing, sentencing Türfent to 7 years in prison for “membership of a terrorist organization” and then increasing this to 8 years, 9 months on the grounds that “his actions were continuous.“

The court’s detailed ruling stated that there was no evidence in the file that the witness statements were taken under “torture”. The document read, “The journalist did not cover certain events which would disturb any individual’s conscience, did not write a single word that could annoy the terrorist organization, and did not make a single negative remark about the terrorist organization.”

Türfent’s lawyers appealed against the verdict at the court of appeal. The court of appeal upheld the verdict. Thereupon an appeal was made to the Court of Cassation. On October 8, 2019, the 16. Criminal Chamber of the Court of Cassation upheld the prison sentence.

In addition, on July 3, 2018, an application was filed with the Constitutional Court with a request for urgent action and prioritization. The Constitutional Court has yet to discuss the case.

Türfent is currently held in Van T-Type Closed Prison.

Nedim Türfent - DİHA Davası (İddianame)

Meltem Oktay, Uğur Akgül - DİHA Trial

Oktay and Uğur Akgül, reporters for the Dicle News Agency, which would later be closed down with a Decree Law, were covering the curfew in the Nusaybin district of Mardin. While the military operation continued in the district, Oktay and Akgül’s house in Çatalözü neighborhood was raided by special operations squads. After the house search, the two journalists were detained.

It was claimed that Meltem Oktay and Uğur Akgül exposed sensitive information about the ongoing military operations. Oktay was arrested on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization”. Uğur Akgül was released, pending trial on charges of ”spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization“.

The evidence in the indictment consisted of 9 witness statements, including some by secret witnesses, as well as social media posts.

The first hearing of the trial was held on June 24, 2016. Meltem Oktay was released at the second hearing on August 18, 2016.

The final hearing took place on November 8, 2016. Oktay was acquitted from charges of ”membership of a terrorist organization”. However, Oktay was sentenced to 4 years of imprisonment on account of her Tweets. Uğur Akgül was sentenced to 2 years, 6 months in prison for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization“.

The verdict was upheld by the court of appeal in January 2017. Oktay was detained again on April 20, 2017 in Edirne following this ruling of the court of appeal. Akgül was arrested on August 8, 2018.

The 1. Judiciary Reform Package, which came into force on October 24, 2019 made it possible to appeal to prison sentences of less than 5 years as well, and as a result, Akgül was released from Mardin E-Type Closed Prison and Oktay from Gebze Women’s Closed Prison on October 25, 2019.

Meltem Oktay, Uğur Akgül - DİHA Davası (İddianame)

Meltem Oktay, Uğur Akgül - DİHA Davası (Gerekçeli Karar)

Önderoğlu, Fincancı, Nesin - Özgür Gündem Trial

Turkey Representative of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Erol Önderoğlu, writer Ahmet Nesin and Chairperson of Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV) Prof. Şebnem Korur Fincancı were arrested on June 20, 2016 on the grounds that they had participated in the “Editor-in-Chief on Watch” campaign organized to show solidarity with the newspaper Özgür Gündem. Önderoğlu and Korur Fincancı were released on June 30, 2016 and Nesin on July 1, 2016.

On June 21, 2016, the Public Prosecutor Eşref Durmuş drafted three indictments of 3 pages each, and accused the three journalists of “praising the crime and criminal”, “inciting to commit crime” and “propaganda for a terrorist organization”.

The trial began on November 8, 2016 at the 13. High Criminal Court of Istanbul located in Çağlayan.

In its opinion as to the accusations submitted at the 9. hearing on February 27, 2019, the prosecutor requested that all three journalists be sentences for all the crimes attributed.

At the 11. and final hearing of the case held at the 13. High Criminal Court of Istanbul on July 17, 2019, all three journalists were acquitted.
However, on the same day, the prosecutor Abdullah Gül, filed an appeal on the grounds that the verdict of acquittal was unlawful. The court of appeal has yet to rule on the verdict.

Önderoğlu, Fincancı, Nesin - Özgür Gündem Davası (İddianame)

Önderoğlu, Fincancı, Nesin - Özgür Gündem Davası (İddianame)

Önderoğlu, Fincancı, Nesin - Özgür Gündem Davası (İddianame)

Önderoğlu, Fincancı, Nesin - Özgür Gündem Davası (Savunma)

Osman Akın - Propaganda Trial

Prosecutor Yavuz Şahin from Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Press Crimes Investigation Bureau drafted an indictment against Osman Akın, managing editor of Yeni Yaşam newspaper. Istanbul 28. High Criminal Court accepted the indictment and the lawsuit was launched. The first hearing of the case on charges of “spreading continuous propaganda for a terrorist organization“ was scheduled for June 20, 2019.

Akın and his lawyer Özcan Kılıç were in attendance at the first hearing of the trial. Ersin Özaslan (chairman of the panel of judges), judges Muhsin Önay and Merve Çınar, and prosecutor Mehmet Fatih Aldemir were in charge.

Presenting his defense at the hearing, Akın stated the following in summary:

“I am the managing editor of Yeni Yaşam newspaper. I do not accept the charges levelled against me in the indictment. First of all, I would like to emphasize that the stories and articles in question are not discussed in a holistic manner in the indictment; a few words, concepts or phrases are singled out to constitute grounds for the accusations. There is no material and legal evidence or finding to point to propaganda for a terrorist organization in the news and articles in question.”

“These news stories and articles were taken from various web sites and news agencies, and were published for the purposes of informing the general public within the framework of the freedom of the press and expression, since they have journalistic value. These news stories and articles do not encourage acts of violence nor create an atmosphere of terror; nor do they incite the public and individuals to commit crime. I do not accept the charges levelled against me in this indictment.”

Afterwards, prosecutor Aldemir said that there was no further evidence to be added to the case file and submitted his opinion as to the accusations at the first hearing. He requested that Osman Akın be sentenced since “he spread propaganda to legitmize the violent methods of the armed terror group PKK/KCK, incite recourse to such violence, and drew public attention to the leader of the organization and to protests against his supposed isolation in prison.”.

The court was adjourned until October 22, for the preparation of defense against the opinion as to the accusations.

Osman Akın Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Osman Akın - Yeni Yaşam Trial

Yeni Yaşam newspaper published on March 1, 2019 a story titled “Cruelty Against Prisoners in Afrin”. After the news story was published, prosecutor Hidayet Sarıkaya of Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Press Crimes Investigation Bureau penned an indictment, which requested the sentencing of the managing editor of the said newspaper as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 301, that is,“explicity denigrating the state of the Turkish Republic, and its military and police organizations”.

The prosecutor Sarıkaya stated that the news story indicated that, after the operation by the Turkish army and the Free Syrian Army into Afrin, thousands of civilians were kidnapped in the city center and neighboring towns and handed over to the Turkish army; that some of these civilians were killed while others were locked in prisons set up in Afrin; and that certain individuals were arrested and brought to Turkey for allegedly belonging to the YPG - YPJ [People’s Defense Units]. The news story further claimed that those imprisoned were subjected to days and weeks of intense torture, from naked search to beating, and that all these civilians from Afrin were battered by the soldiers and prison guards. Prosecutor
Sarıkaya summarized this content in his indictment and portrayed it as “fabricated news”.

Prosecutor Sarıkaya claimed that the news story as a whole was tantamount to “denigrating the state of the Turkish Republic, and its military and police organizations,” and requested that Akın be sentenced to six months to two years of imprisonment as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 301/2.
The Istanbul 2. Criminal Court of First Instance accepted the indictment. The first hearing of the trial was held on October 1, 2019. The trial was adjourned considering the possibility that the new judiciary reform package could have an effect on the case.

The next hearing will be held on January 9, 2020.

Osman Akın Yeni Yaşam Davası (İddianame)

Osman Akın - Yeni Yaşam Propaganda Trial

An investigation was launched against Yeni Yaşam newspaper after a tip-off about its issues dated May 21-22, 2019. The two issues were not on the Department of Security’s Banned Publications List at that time. However, an individual named Namık Zafer Şahin residing in Kocaeli came to Kocaeli Başiskele Police Department and filed an application claiming that the Yeni Yaşam newspaper had committed crime. The Kocaeli Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office ruled for lack of jurisdiction and sent the file to Istanbul.

The investigation thus launched focused on three news stories about PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and another prisoner published on two issues dated May 21-22, 2015.

At the end of the investigation conducted by Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Press Crimes Investigation Bureau, prosecutor Osman Belen prepared an indictment. In the indictment Osman Akın, the managing editor, was accused for these three news stories. Akın was charged with “spreading continuous propaganda for a terrorist organization” as per Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law, and a prison sentence from 1 year, 3 months to 8 years, 9 months was requested.

The indictment was accepted by the Istanbul 24. High Criminal Court. The date of the first hearing was scheduled as January 14, 2020.

Osman Akın Yeni Yaşam Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Ozan Kaplanoğlu - Propaganda Trial

A tip-off e-mail was sent to Bursa Police Department concerning the editor of the news web site Bursa Muhalif, Ozan Kaplanoğlu. In the e-mail, it was claimed that Kaplanoğlu “spread propaganda for a terrorist organization” through the books he published on his web site.

He was detained on May 4, 2017. He was arrested on May 5, 2017 and sent to Denizli T-Type Prison.

The indictment against him was completed on June 2, 2017.

In the indictment it was claimed that Kaplanoğlu “worked towards the objectives and strategies of the terror group THKP/C” and “made efforts to recruit militants for the armed terrorist organization”.

The indictment alleged that Kaplanoğlu concealed his own name and published a book under the pseudonym ”Uğur Gündüz”. However, Uğur Gündüz was not a pseudonym. The book by Uğur Gündüz had been originally published in 1994. Ozan Kaplanoğlu was only 3 years old in 1994.

The indictment mentioned the results of an examination into Kaplanoğlu’s Facebook account.

He was also accused of attending commemoration rallies organized by Halkevleri.

Kaplanoğlu was charged with “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” through the press and a prison sentence of 1.5 to 7.5 years was requested.

At the first hearing held on August 2, 2017 at Bursa 10. High Criminal Court, he was released with a ban on going abroad.

The trial lasted 8 hearings. At the final hearing dated September 12, 2019, he was sentenced to 1 year, 6 months, 22 days of imprisonment on charges of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization through the press”.

An appeal has been filed against the verdict.

Ozan Kaplanoğlu - Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Ozan Kaplanoğlu - Propaganda Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

Ozan Kaplanoğlu - Propaganda Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

Özden, Korkmaz - Didim Afrin Press Release Trial

Didim Özgür Ses Newspaper and Mavi Didim Newspaper published a press release dated January 21, 2018 by the Didim District Organisation of the political party EMEP, which criticized the Turkish Armed Forces operation into the Syrian city of Afrin.

Didim Police Department conducted an examination and reached the conclusion that Mavi Didim and Özgür Ses newspapers’ publication on January 24, 2018 of EMEP Didim District Organization’s press release titled “Halt to the Afrin operation: Stop bombing the fraternity among peoples in Afrin and dragging Turkey into a possible regional war” could involve elements of crime.

As a result, an investigation was launched against Didim Özgür Ses newspaper’s owner Mustafa Öge, Mavi Didim Gazetesi newspaper’s owner Ergün Korkmaz, journalist Erdem Özden as well as the president of EMEP Didim District Organization on the grounds of the press release criticizing the Turkish army’s Afrin operation as published in the two newspapers on January 24, 2018.

The prosecutor stated that the press release published by the said newspapers spread black propaganda by criticizing the Turkish military operation into Afrin.

The indictment drafted by Didim Public Prosecutor Köksal Sekmen at the end of the investigation was completed on February 13, 2018 and accepted by the 1. Criminal Court of First Instance. A lawsuit was duly filed.

Although he referred to the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights on freedom of expression in his indictment, the prosecutor stated that all the defendants “incited the populace to hatred and enmity” as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 216/1

The first hearing was held on June 22, 2018, and the defendants presented their defense. Stating that they had no criminal intent, the journalists demanded their acquittal arguing that they publish the statements not only of EMEP but of all political parties. The defense lawyers stated that the publication of the press release in question represented no crime as alleged by the prosecutor, and that it was a part of journalistic activities designed to inform the public at large. Defense lawyer Ali İhsan Aktimur underlined that the news coverage about the said press release fell within the scope of the freedom of press.

All of the defendants were acquitted at the final hearing on April 9, 2019.

Özden, Korkmaz - Didim Afrin Açıklaması Davası (İddianame)

Özgür Gündem Main Trial

On August 16, 2016, Özgür Gündem newspaper was closed down by the Istanbul 8. Criminal Court of Peace on allegations of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”. Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Press Crimes Bureau issued an arrest warrant for nine of the newspaper’s executives and writers. Police raided the newspaper’s office in Istanbul. Arrest warrants were issued for the following nine people: Özgür Gündem’s publisher Kemal Sancılı, Editor-in-Chief Bilir Kaya, Managing Editor İnan Kızılkaya, Advisory Board Members Aslı Erdoğan, Necmiye Alpay, Eren Keskin, Filiz Koçali, Ragıp Zarakolu and Bilge Aykut Contepe.

Aslı Erdoğan was arrested on August 19, İnan Kızılkaya and Bilir Kaya on August 22, Necmiye Alpay on August 31 when she turned herself in, and Kemal Sancılı on January 2. Eren Keskin was referred to the court on August 25, 2016 by the prosecutor’s office where she went to testify about the arrest warrant. She was released on the same day by court order, on condition of judicial control. Aslı Erdoğan, Necmiye Alpay and Bilir Kaya were released on December 29, 2016 and İnan Kızılkaya and Kemal Sancılı were released on December 31, 2017. Kemal Sancılı was arrested again on May 11, 2018.

İstanbul Public Prosecutor Umut Tepe completed the indictment on November 9, 2016. Istanbul 23. High Criminal Court accepted the indictment on November 23, 2016. The 31-page indictment claimed that Özgür Gündem functioned like the “media outlet of the PKK/KCK terrorist organization”. The individuals were claimed to be members of “PKK/KCK/HPG/MLKP/KONGRA-GEL” and this claim was supported with various stories published by the newspaper. Prosecutor Tepe, accusing the newspaper of being the “mouthpiece of the terrorist organization PKK/KCK”, made the following remarks about the newspaper’s writers and executives:

“Intentional involvement as a Publisher / Advisory Board Member in a newspaper that is the mouthpiece of the terrorist organization PKK/KCK means giving support to the ultimate goal of the organization and acting on behalf of the organization.”

The prosecutor included among the criminal evidence six books by Abdullah Öcalan and Duran Kalkan, as well as Abdullah Öcalan’s photo and eight publications on Kurdish political history found during the search of the newspaper office.

In the indictment, the prosecutor mentioned and cited from four articles by Aslı Erdoğan, stating that she “portrayed terrorists as civilians”, criticized secırity forces’ operations against PKK, and “created the image that security forces massacred the civilian population”. The prosecutor then claimed based on these articles that Erdoğan “supported the ultimate goal of the terror group PKK/KCK and acted on behalf of it”.

The prosecutor cited Necmiye Alpay’s article titled “The Newspaper Creating its own Freedom” and dated June 5, 2016, and accused her for the phrase “The Özgür Gündem tradition is among the victims of the dirty war”. The prosecutor accused Necmiye Alpay of “defending and embracing the Özgür Gündem newspaper which functions like the media outlet of the terrorist organization”.

Four articles by Eren Keskin were mentioned in the indictment, which accused her of “spreading PKK/KCK propaganda”, “making militant declarations” and “trying to recruit supporters for the organization” with these articles. The indictment also stated that Keskin, who acted as Co-Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper for a while, did not know whether PKK/KCK leaders wrote articles for the newspaper under pseudonyms. When Eren Keskin wanted the expression “terrorist organization” to be struck out of her witness statement, indicating that as a human rights advocate she cannot use such an expression to describe any organization, the prosecutor accused her of being “the spin-doctor of the terrorist organization”.

Filiz Koçali and Ragıp Zarakolu were also accused for their articles in the indictment. The indictment also included the answers by Editor-in-Chief Bilir Kaya to the prosecutor’s questions as to why they published stories concerning the leaders of PKK/KCK. The indictment also featured answers by Bilir to a question about their news sources, and to another question about the books found in the newspaper’s office.

The indictment included İnan Kızılkaya’s testimony as to how he was insulted and battered by security forces while being taken into custody. Kızılkaya was accused of “supporting the ultimate goal of the organization and acting on behalf of the organization as attested by the fact that he is Managing Editor”.

The hearings started on December 29, 2016 at İstanbul 23. High Criminal Court. At the most recent hearing on July 3, 2019, the court accepted the prosecutor’s demand for more time for the drafting of the opinion as to the accusations and adjourned the trial until November 28, 2019.

Özgür Gündem Ana Davası (İddianame)

Özgür Gündem Raid - "Resisting and Insulting the Police" Trial

On August 16, 2016, Istanbul 8. Criminal Court of Peace ordered that Özgür Gündem newspaper be shuttered for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”.

On the day of the court order for closing down the newspaper, the newspaper building was raided by the police. While the police searched the building, they disrupted the IMC TV team who were doing a live broadcast. Twenty-two people including newspaper editors, the editor-in-chief and IMC TV reporters who were there for an interview were beaten and detained, with their hands handcuffed behind their back. The individuals in custody were released after their statements were taken by prosecutors on August 28, 2016.

The indictment was drafted by Istanbul Public Prosecutor Fazıl Arslanalp, and was accepted by Istanbul 5. Criminal Court of First Instance; a lawsuit was filed against 22 people, 17 of whom were journalists. Three police officers from Anti-Terror Branch who took part in the raid figured as complainants in the indictment.

The police officers who participated in the raid were heard at the court as complainants and witnesses. The confiscated materials belonging to the detained journalists have still not been returned.

The next hearing will be held on February 25, 2020.

Özgür Gündem Baskını - “Polise Direnme ve Hakaret” Davası (İddianame)

Eren, Işık, Mavioğlu et. al. - Solidarity with Özgür Gündem Trial

The Istanbul 8th Criminal Court of Peace “temporarily” shut down the newspaper Özgür Gündem on August 16, 2016. Previously, in order to support the newspaper in the face of mounting pressure, the “Editor-in-chief on Watch” campaign had been launched on May 3, 2016, whereby prominent individuals took turns as the editor-in-chief of the newspaper. The campaign had become necessary after lawsuits were filed against the newspaper’s co-editors-in-chief Eren Keskin and Hüseyin Aykol, and its managing editor İnan Kızılkaya.

The campaign ended on August 7, 2016. Özgür Gündem was permanently shut down by Decree Law no. 675 on October 29, 2016.

Investigations were launched against 49 of the 56 editors-in-chief on watch who joined the campaign. Eleven of these investigations ended in a verdict of
non-prosecution. Thirty-seven lawsuits were filed. The lawsuit against Deniz Türkali was dropped due to statute of limitations.

The lawsuits took place in Istanbul’s 13th, 14th, and 22th High Criminal Courts.

Defendants

Charges were pressed against these 37 individuals: A. Kumru Başer, Ahmet Nesin, Ayşe Batumlu, Ayşe Düzkan, Beyza Üstün, Can Dündar, Celal Başlangıç, Celalettin Can, Cengiz Baysoy, Çilem Küçükkkeleş, Derya Okatan, Dicle Anter, Erol Önderoğlu, Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, Faruk Balıkçı, Faruk Eren, Fehim Işık, Hüseyin Tahmaz, Hakkı Boltan, Hasan Cemal, Hasan Hayri Şanlı, İbrahim Bodur, İhsan Çaralan, Julide Kural, Murat Çelikkan, Murat Uyurkulak, Nadire Mater, Necmiye Alpay, Nevin Erdemir, Öncü Akgül, Ragıp Duran, Said Sefa, Şanar Yurdatapan, Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Tuğrul Eryılmaz, Veysi Altay, Yıldırım Türker.

Verdicts of non-prosecution

Verdicts of non-prosecution were issued for the following 11 names who joined the campaign: İhsan Eliaçık, Sebahat Tuncel, Ahmet Abakay, Eşber Yağmurdereli, Hasip Kaplan, Işın Eliçin, Kemal Can, Mustafa Sönmez, Melda Onur, Uğur Karadaş, Nurcan Baysal.

27 editors-in-chief on watch were sentenced

The court handed down prison sentences totaling 352 months, 15 days in prison and 68,000 TL in fines to the following 27 individuals who joined the campaign: Şanar Yurdatapan, İbrahim Bodur, Cengiz Baysoy, İmam Canpolat, Çilem Küçükkeleş, Nadire Mater, Yıldırım Türker, Hasan Cemal, Faruk Balıkçı, Dicle Anter, Derya Okatan, Kumru Başer, Ayşe Batumlu, Jülide Kural, İlham Bakır, Murat Uyurkulak, Murat Çelikkan, Beyza Üstün, Nevin Erdemir, Hakkı Boltan, Hasan Hayri Şanlı ve Tuğrul Eryılmaz, Hüseyin Aykol, Ayşe Düzkan, Ragıp Duran, Mehmet Ali Çelebi and Hüseyin Bektaş.

Çelikkan and Düzkan served time

Of the editors-in-chief on watch whose sentences were not deferred, Murat Çelikkan was placed in Kırklareli Prison on August 14, 2017, then transferred to an open prison on October 14, 2017, and finally released on October 21, 2017.

Another editor-in-chief on watch whose sentence was not deferred was Ayşe Düzkan, who was put to Bakırköy Women’s Prison on January 29, after the Court of
Appeal upheld her sentence, to serve 1 year, 6 months in prison. She was later transferred to the Eskişehir Open Prison and finally released on June 12, 2019.

First three editors-in-chief arrested were later acquitted.

The first editors-in-chief on watch to be arrested in this investigation were Erol Önderoğlu, Ahmet Nesin and Şebnem Korur Fincancı. These three figures were arrested on June 20, 2016, and released 10 days later. All of them were acquitted of all charges at the 11th hearing held on July 17, 2019.

Eren, Işık, Mavioğlu etc. - Solidarity Trial

Of the editors-in-chief on watch who participated in the campaign, Faruk Eren, the president of the press employees union DİSK Basın-İş; İhsan Çaralan and Fehim Işık, contributors to Evrensel newspaper; journalists Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, Celal Başlangıç, Celalettin Can and Öncü Akgül stand trial at the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court. Upon the request of the lawyers, the panel of judges ordered the merger of the cases for these six individuals who served as editors-in-chief and cases for other individuals whose articles and letters were published in the newspaper during those days. These individuals include the newspaper’s ex Co-Editor-in-Chief and contributor Hüseyin Aykol, and columnist Ömer Ağın.

The proceedings continue for the editors-in-chief on watch Can Dündar, Said Sefa and Veysi Altay, whose trials are held separately.

Kızılkaya figures as defendant in all 37 trials

In all of the 37 lawsuits, managing editor İnan Kızılkaya stood trial as defendant. A large number of these lawsuits against Kızılkaya were merged with the Özgür Gündem Main Trial.

Charges

The 37 editors-in-chief on watch stand/stood trial on charges of “Spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” as per Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) no. 3713; “Publishing and disseminating the announcements and declarations of terrorist organizations” as per Article 6 of the Anti-Terror Law; “Publicly inciting to commit crime” as per Article 215/1 of Turkish Penal Code; and “Praising the crime and criminal” as per Article 214/1 of the Turkish Penal Code.
The prosecutor requested prison sentences of 1 to 5 years as per Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2; 1 to 3 years as per Anti-Terror Law, Article 6/2; up to 2 years as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 215/1; from 6 months to 5 years as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 214/1; totaling prison sentences of 2.5 to 15 years for each of the 37 editors-in-chief on watch.

Eren, Işık, Mavioğlu vd. - Özgür Gündem Dayanışma Davası (İddianame)

Eren, Işık, Mavioğlu vd. - Özgür Gündem Dayanışma Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

Özgür Gündem's Columnists and Co-Editors in Chief Trial

The cases where the shuttered Özgür Gündem newspaper’s co-editors-in-chiefs, managing editor, and six contributors were tried on charges of “propaganda for a terrorist organization”, “praising the crime and criminal” and “explicitly inciting to crime” were merged.

On October 26, 2017, the Prosecutor’s Office requested that the defendants Reyhan Çapan, Emire Eren Keskin and Hüseyin Aykol be sentenced for “spreading propaganda for an armed terrorist organization through the media and in a continuous manner”, and stated that the other defendants did not need to be sentenced.

Seven people were sentenced on charges of “propaganda for a terrorist organization”, and eight were acquitted. the file of seven other people was separated from this case.

Özgür Gündem Yazarları ve Eş Yayın Yönetmenleri Davası (İddianame)

Özgürlükçü Demokrasi Trial

In the lawsuit where 14 employees of Özgürlükçü Demokrasi newspaper, which was closed on July 8, 2018 with Decree Law no. 701, stood trial, three journalists were sentenced to prison for “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member”, and one journalist for “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member” and “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”.

The arrest warrants against the defendants were issued on March 18, 2018. In the indictment drafted by Istanbul Public Prosecutor Uğur Kaan Arısoy, some news stories published in January, February and March 2018 were presented as criminal. All of these stories criticized the military operation by the Turkish Armed Forces into the Afrin region of Syria. The stories in question were “Savaş Çığırtkanlığına Hayır” (“No to Jingoism” - January 20, 2018), “Dünya Efrin Günü” (“World Afrin Day” - January 28, 2018) “Birlikteyiz Efrin’deyiz” (“We are together, we are in Efrin” - February 25, 2018), “Sur ve Kabataş’tan Sonra Efrin’de de Aynı Mizansen” (“The Scenario in Sur and Kabataş Reproduced in Efrin” - February 26, 2018), “Ateşkes Riyakarlığı” (“Cease Fire Hypocrisy” - February 28, 2018).

The newspaper’s editors Mehmet Ali Çelebi, Reyhan Hacıoğlu, Hicran Urun and İshak Yasul were each sentenced to 3 years, 1 month, 15 days for “aiding a terrorist organization”. Yasul was further sentenced to 1 year, 6 months, 22 days for “propaganda for a terrorist organization”. The files of the journalists Fırat Benli, Yılmaz Yıldız, Ersin Çaksu, Günay Aksoy and Önder Elaldı, for whom arrest warrants were issued, were separated from this case.

Özgürlükçü Demokrasi Davası (İddianame)

Özgürlükçü Demokrasi Gazetesi 301 Davası

Özgürlükçü Demokrasi Gazetesi 301 Davası (İddianame)

Pelin Ünker - Paradise Papers Insult Trial

The then-Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım filed a lawsuit against Cumhuriyet newspaper’s former finance editor and correspondent Pelin Ünker, for publishing the Paradise Papers, and claimed 500 thousand TL for damages. Binali Yıldırım also filed a criminal lawsuit against Ünker for “insulting a public official”. About five months later, a separate indictment was drafted, featuring Binali Yıldırım’s children Bülent Yıldırım and Erkam Yıldırım as complainants. In this second indictment, Ünker was charged with “insult and slander”. The second indictment was later merged with the case filed on charges “insulting a public official”.

Against the request of Ünker’s lawyer to merge all the files, Yıldırım’s lawyer argued that the subject matter of the files were different. As a result, the files were not merged. During the action for damages held on September 6, 2018, Yıldırım’s lawyer indicated that they had filed a criminal case, and in response the judge adjourned the hearings for the action for damages indefinitely, pending the conclusion of the criminal case.

The first hearing of the trial was held on December 27, 2018. The first hearing was marked by the interventions of the Yıldırım family’s lawyer and his influence over the judge.

When Yıldırım family’s lawyer Muhammed Gök stated “I think the defendant can present her defense now”, the judge asked Ünker to present her defense as to the accusations. Ünker remarked that she had sent questions to Yıldırım family’s lawyer regarding her news stories, and that her questions had not been answered. Yıldırım family’s lawyer Gök claimed that Ünker did not contact him.

Ünker’s lawyer Abbas Yalçın indicated that the news story titled “Hükümetin başı vergiden kaçıyor” (The prime minister evades tax) was not penned by Ünker.

The chairman of the panel of judges, in his interim verdict, accepted the complainant Binali Yıldırım’s and his sons’ demand to participate in the trial, and gave Ünker time to prepare her defense as to the accusations.

At the final hearing, Ünker was sentenced to 8 thousand 660 TL. She was also sentenced to 1 year, 1 month, 15 days of imprisonment for “slander”, without deferment of verdict. An appeal was subsequently filed against the verdict. The court of appeal decided to overturn the prison sentence and reduce the judiciary fine to 7 thousand 500 TL.

Pelin Ünker - Paradise Papers Hakaret Davası (İddianame)

Pelin Ünker - Paradise Papers Slander Trial

A criminal complaint was filed in 2017 against Pelin Ünker, for her Paradise Papers-related news stories published in Cumhuriyet newspaper, by the then-Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Berat Albayrak -who is also the son-in-law of President Tayyip Erdoğan-, Albayrak’s elder brother Serhat Albayrak and Berat Albayrak’s former colleague Çalık Holding Chairman Ahmet Çalık, on allegations of “insult” and “slander”.

The court ordered an access ban to the online version of the news story in question published on the website of Cumhuriyet newspaper. In her first defense, Ünker stated that she aimed to inform the public by examining the documents known as Paradise Papers. She said that her news story did not contain any criminal element and requested a verdict of non-prosecution.

In line with her request, the court ruled for non-prosecution on January 3, 2018. In its ruling, the court stated that “There was no instance of insult, and the article falls completely within the limits of the freeodm of expression”. As for the slander allegations, the court indicated that “Apart from reporting purposes, there was no action tantamount to slander, which would require the public authority to bring legal sanction or initiate an investigation, there was no illicit action corresponding to the crime of slander”.

However the complainants appealed against this ruling, and the appeal was accepted.

A new indictment was accepted on February 22, 2018, which accused Ünker not of insult but “slander via the media” and requested her to be sentenced.

Pelin Ünker - Paradise Papers İftira Davası (İddianame)

Rahmi Yıldırım - Akar Insult Trial

A lawsuit was brought against journalist Rahmi Yıldırım for the article titled “Genelkurmay Başkanı İçin Çok Üzüyorum” (“I’m So Sad for the Chief of General Staff”) published on his personal blog on February 3, 2017.

It was claimed that Yıldırım thereby insulted the then-Chief of General Staff, Hulusi Akar.

However, the trial was brought not upon a complaint by Hulusi Akar, but due to an anonymous, unsigned tip-off to the Antalya Police Department.

The indictment was accepted by Ankara Gölbaşı 3. Criminal Court of First Instance and a lawsuit was filed against Yıldırım with a request of imprisonment from 1 year, 2 months to 2 years, 4 months.

The first hearing of the trial was held on October 2, 2019. Yıldırım said that he did not use a single word of insult in his article but only ironic criticism, and that he truly “felt sad for Akar.”

The second hearing of the trial will take place on December 25, 2019.

Rahmi Yıldırım - Akar Hakaret Davası (İddianame)

RedHack Trial

The judiciary investigation no. 2016/157051 was launched by Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in 2016 when the Hacker group RedHack leaked e-mails by the then-Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Berat Albayrak. However the investigation was not about the issues revealed by the leaks, but rather against the journalists who covered the matter in news articles.

According to the information provided in the indictment drafted later, it was a tip-off e-mail sent to Istanbul Police Department on December 20, 2016 which prompted the prosecutor’s office to take action. According to this tip-off, “18-19 journalists sponsored by terrorist organizations” began to share the e-mails leaked by Redhack. As a result, six journalists were detained on December 25, 2016.

The journalists were kept in custody for 24 days, and among them, Birgün reporter Mahir Kanaat, DİHA news manager Ömer Çelik and editor of the news portal Diken, Tunca Öğreten were arrested by 8. Criminal Court of Peace. ETHA News Manager Derya Okatan, owner of Yolculuk newspaper Eray Saygın and DİHA reporter Metin Yoksu were released on condition of judicial control. The journalists who reported on Minister Albayrak’s e-mails leaked by the hacker group were charged with “membership of an armed terrorist organization ”, “committing a crime on behalf of the terrorist organization, without being its member”, “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”, “blocking or disrupting an information system, destroying or altering its data”.

Istanbul Public Prosecutor Yakup Ali Kahveci drafted the indictment (no. 2017/3327) against the journalists on June 23, 2017, and a lawsuit was filed with İstanbul 29. High Criminal Court. In the indictment, prosecutor Kahveci mentioned the groups PKK/KCK, DHKP-C, MLKP, FETÖ/PDY and ISIS, arguing that these acted in union to denigrate the constitutional organs of the Turkish state and their representatives. The prosecutor claimed that the hacker group Redhack which had broken into Berat Albayrak’s e-mail account and then published his correspondence had links to DHKP-C. In the indictment, Kahveci also stated that Redhack had altered the e-mail correspondence by Albayrak before publishing it.

As regards the news stories published by journalists to uphold the public interest, the prosecutor stated that these stories were designed to “Defame the energy minister Berat Albayrak and the legitimate government of which he is a part”, “damage the national energy policy” and “create the perception that the government and Minister Albayrak have links to the terrorist organization ISIS.” The basis for these charges was the statements of the secret witness using the pseudonym “Çakı” presented to the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. According to the claims of the secret witness, Redhack had uploaded the correspondence by Berat Albayrak to two separate e-mail accounts, and shared the passwords of these accounts over Twitter to a group of journalists. And their purpose was to create a “perception”, the very fashionable judiciary buzzword of recent years. In addition, the prosecutor included in the indictment the journalists’ social media posts and telephone conversations with their colleagues arrested or released in other cases, such as Deniz Yücel, as evidence of “propaganda for a terrorist organization” and “links with a terrorist organization”.

In addition, prosecutor Kahveci presented a police enquiry report concerning the anti-corruption operations of December 17/25 found among Birgün correspondent Mahir Kanaat’s belongings, as evidence of his membership to FETÖ. The first hearing of the case was held on October 24, 2017. Mahir Kanaat, Ömer Çelik and Tunca Öğreten appeared before court after 304 days in detention, and the panel of judges was chaired by Mustafa Çakar, the former judge of 8. Criminal Court of Peace who had ordered their arrest in the first place. Journalists presented their defense at the hearing.

ETHA News Manager Derya Okatan stated that she reported on the e-mail correspondence by Berat Albayrak leaked by Redhack and published on the Wikileaks web site for journalistic purposes, since public interest was at stake, and asked “Why did the minister discuss the secrets of the state in his personal e-mail account?”. Okatan pointed out that the investigation was launched 3 months after the e-mails were leaked, underlined the unlawful and inconsistent aspects of the prosecutor’s indictment, and emphasized the parallels between the indictment and some news articles published in pro-government media outlets.

Eray Sargın, the publisher of the daily Yolculuk, stated in his defense that the e-mails in question had news value and that all reporting on this issue fell within the scope of freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

Birgün reporter Mahir Kanaat stated that they had not been provided any information about the proceedings for the first 24 days that they were in custody due to the secrecy of the investigation, and that they learned about the charges against them from the Sabah newspaper: “So the supposed secrecy covered us but not the Sabah newspaper.” Kanaat reminded the court of Redhack’s statement that they had created the Twitter group in question themselves and added the journalists; he indicated that he did not save the said e-mails and did not report on them. Kanaat underlined that it is not a crime for him to follow Redhack’s Twitter account. As for the accusation that he is a “FETÖ member”, he responded, “I am a leftist coming from a leftist family. It is not possible for me to greet, let alone meet a right-winger. I consider this accusation to be an insult”.

Concerning his phone call to the journalist Deniz Yücel, which the prosecutor cited in the indictment as a criminal act, Kanaat stated, “Deniz Yücel is a journalist. A dialogue between two journalists is no different than a dialogue between two judges. Furthermore, it was not the prosecutor who ‘discovered’ Yücel’s identity, I told him that I spoke to Yücelon the phone”. Kanaat rejected the charge of “blocking or disrupting an information system, destroying or altering its data”, that is hacking, and indicated that they were held in prison for 10 months without any evidence, and that his son born in that period did not even recognize him.

DİHA correspondent Metin Yoksu stated in his defense that he was added to the Twitter group mentioned in the indictment against his will, and did not keep track of what was written in the group.

DİHA news director Ömer Çelik stated that he wanted to present his defense in his mother tongue, Kurdish, and that he was tortured at the time of his detention and then at the Diyarbakır Police Department. Afterwards, he was brought to Istanbul and was able to learn about the accusations only 24 days later.

Çelik stated, “Should we not see, write, or say that the king is naked?” In his speech, Çelik underlined the unlawfulness in Turkey, State of Emergency policies, and the pressure on the media, especially dissident and Kurdish media outlets.

News web site Diken’s editor Tunca Öğreten stated that he was accused of MLKP membership while being detained in his home, of DHKP-C membership at the police station, of Redhack membership at the prosecutor’s office, and of FETÖ membership at court. He indicated that in his news article he hadn’t commited any of the crimes attributed to him. Öğreten underlined that his news article did not mention the government’s energy policy nor establish a connection between ISIS and the energy minister, and that it was the prosecutor who made such a baseless association. Pointing to the absurdity of filing a lawsuit not about the topics which surfaced but against the news stories about the leak, Öğreten added that he was added to the group on Twitter against his will, left the group 2 days later and accessed the e-mails via the link shared on that group. In response to being accused in the indictment for following various Twitter accounts, he stated, “I follow leftist groups as well as ISIS-linked accounts on Twitter. Does that make me a jihadist Marxist?”.

Öğreten emphasized that there was indeed public interest in publishing news on these issues which were made the subject of the accusations, and demanded his release. Ömer Çelik, one of the detained journalists, was released at the first hearing, where the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Berat Albayrak demanded to take part in the trial proceedings. The court ordered the continuation of Mahir Kanaat and Tunca Öğreten’s detention.

Kanaat and Öğreten were released at the second hearing held on December 6, 2017. The next hearings of the case, where no detained defendants were left, were held on April 3 and September 13, 2018. The court is expecting an expert report on the digital examination of the evidence. The court rejected the defense lawyers’ demand that the judicial controls of the journalists be discontinued and the confiscated computers be returned to their owners. The sixth hearing of the case was held on January 8, 2019.

The next hearing was scheduled for April 16, 2019. The 8. hearing of the case was held on September 24, 2019. The panel of judges ordered the return of the seized digital materials to their owners and adjourned the trial until February 6, 2020.

RedHack Davası (İddianame)

Rojhat Doğru - Trial for Membership of a Terrorist Organization

An investigation was initiated against journalist Rojhat Doğru on allegations of “membership of a terrorist organization” by Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Doğru was investigated for following the “Kobane protests” organized in Diyarbakır in October 2014 for journalistic purposes. After the ISIS assault on the city of Kobane, in northern Syria, protests had taken place in Diyarbakır and neighboring towns, and dozens of people had lost their lives in the clashes. Massive demonstrations were held in the Bağlar district of Diyarbakır on October 6-9. Right after these demos, Doğru’s photos were published by media outlets close to Hizbullah and he was targeted. It was claimed that Doğru carried a gun, although it was seen in the photos that he was holding a camera. In this context, an investigation was launched against Doğru upon a complaint by R.Ö. who was wounded during the protests.

Doğru was detained on December 5, 2018 in Istanbul as part of the investigation. On the same day, he gave his statement over the judiciary videoconferencing system SEGBİS. Following his statement, the Diyarbakır 5. Criminal Court of Peace issued an arrest warrant against him on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization”.

After the arrest warrant, he was taken to Silivri High Security Closed Prison.

The indictment about Doğru was drafted and submitted to court by Bayram Örenci on June 21, 2018. In the three-page indictment, Doğru was accused of “attempting to destroy the unity of the state and the integrity of the country” and “attempting premeditated murder”. R.Ö. figured as complainant in the indictment. In addition to complainant R.Ö.’s statements and open source examination reports, the social media posts of Doğru were also presented as evidence in the indictment.

The indictment was accepted by Diyarbakır 8. High Criminal Court. The first hearing of the case was scheduled for January 10.

Journalist Doğru was not brought to the courtroom. Instead, he was connected to the courtroom from Silivri High Security Closed Prison over SEGBİS. His lawyer Resul Tamur represented Doğru. Mikail Demir (chairman of the panel of judges), Ümran Ekinci and Ceren Kara Akkaş (judges) and prosecutor Oğuz Özkan were present.

Doğru presented his defense over SEGBİS, and said the following: “I got acquainted with the complainant when he interviewed me in 2015. I had no other contact with him. The television he did the interview for supports the political party HÜDA-PAR. He works at İlke News Agency. I received an award in 2015 for the footage I shot. After I received the award, he started accusing me. After that I filed a criminal complaint against him. I also filed a criminal complaint against those who made the news storied that targeted me.

“I did not shoot at any person in any way, this is slander. As you can see in the photos, I was not among the crowd, I was not there to join the protest. I’m not among the ranks of those chanting slogans. I took the other photos mentioned in the indictment in Sulaymaniyah. The head office of the television I work for is there. It is a region close to Qandil. This is an area where the populace come for picnic, and since there began peace negotiations, there was no war. I went there for news coverage. I took the photo and I shared it on social media. Later on, HÜDA-PAR members shared these photos on social media and targeted me.

“I was there in my capacity as a journalist. I got an award for the footage I shot there. Even the Diyarbakır Chief of Police was present at that award ceremony. I was there because I was a journalist. The person who filed a complaint against me claims to have identified me, and they take the photos from my social media account. I’m a journalist, and I demand my acquittal”

The journalists that Doğru worked with were also heard as witnesses at the hearing. The next hearing was scheduled for February 26, 2019. Doğru was not brought to the second hearing either. He participated over SEGBİS, from the prison where he was detained. Ercan Arslan (chairman of the panel of judges), Mikail Demir and Ceren Kara Akkaş (judges) and prosecutor Oğuz Özkan were present.

During this short hearing, the court ordered the release of Doğru considering that the evidence was gathered to a large extent and the possibility of a change in the criminal offense attributed to him. Doğru was released on condition of judicial control, with a ban on going abroad.

The trial was adjourned until May 30, 2019. The complainant R.Ö. did not attend the first two hearings of the case.

Neither did he participate in the third hearing. At this hearing, an individual named D.G. was heard as witness since Doğru had his phone number. D.G., who was detained in Diyarbakır D-Type Closed Prison for a separate offense, stated that he did not know Doğru.

At the end of the hearing, the court issued an arrest warrant in absentia for the complainant R.Ö. to be brought to the next hearing, and adjourned the trial.

The next hearing was scheduled for October 15, 2019 at 11:20 a.m. At this hearing, the court ordered the discontinuation of the judicial control for Doğru. The court adjourned the trial until January 14, 2020.

Rojhat Doğru Üyelik Davası (İddianame)

Rojhat Doğru Üyelik Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

Safiye Alağaş - Propaganda of an Organization Trial

After banning access to Jin News web site eight times, Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) filed a criminal complaint against the web site’s News Manager Safiye Alağaş with Diyarbakır Proseuctor’s Office, alleging that the news stories on the web site were tantamount to propaganda for a terrorist organization.

An investigation was launched against Alağaş on March 26, 2018 following this complaint. Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor Tufan Çaldıran completed the investigation and prepared an indictment against Alağaş on July 5, 2018.

The indictment cited as evidence for crime the photos of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan used in news articles, photos of YPJ members [Yekîneyên Parastina Jin - Women’s Popular Defense Units] killed in combat, news stories about the attacks on Efrîn and various articles published under the column dubbed Women’s Pen.

In the indictment, up to five years of prison sentence was requested for Alağaş for ”spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization“. Safiye Alağaş gave her statement at Diyarbakır Police Department within the scope of this investigation, stressing that the agency is focusing on stories concerning women and children.

The first hearing of the indictment adopted by Dıyarbakır 4. High Criminal Court was held on December 11.

At the second hearing held on October 22, 2019, Safiye Alağaş was acquitted of the charges.

Safiye Alağaş - Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Pınar Gayıp, Semiha Şahin - ETHA Trial

İstanbul Prosecutor’s Office began an investigation across social media accounts to identify the names of those who participated in the funerals of Marxist Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) militants killed in action in Syria.

Under this investigation, Etkin News Agency (ETHA) report Pınar Gayıp and editor Semiha Şahin were detained on April 13, 2018 for “membership of the terrorist organization MLKP” and spreading propaganda for the said organization. The indictment against them was based on these claims.

The first hearing of the case was held on September 10, 2018 at Istanbul 23. High Criminal Court. Pınar Gayıp and Semiha Şahin were released at the 5th hearing of the case on June 13, 2019 on condition of house arrest, and ban on going abroad.

At that hearing, it was decided that the judicial control of the journalists would control. The next hearing is scheduled for December 11, 2019.

Pınar Gayıp, Semiha Şahin - ETHA Davası Download

Sayılğan Propaganda Davası

Sayılğan Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Seda Taşkın - Propaganda of an Organization Trial

Journalist Seda Taşkın was detained on December 20, 2017 in Muş while following a news story for Mesopotamia News Agency. Half an hour after she was identity checked and released, she was summoned to the Muş Police Department by a police officer saying “There is a document you need to sign” on the phone. On the road to the police department, an armored vehicle approached her, and the police detained her claiming “There is a serious tip-off about you”.

Her file was declared to be “secret”. Following the interrogation by the police, she was referred to the prosecutor’s office, which in turn referred her to the court demanding her arrest. On December 23, the criminal court of peace released her on condition of judicial control. After the Prosecutor’s Office objected to her release on December 27, she was detained again on January 22, 2018 during a police raid on her house in Ankara.

She was subsequently arrested on January 23, on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization” (Turkish Penal Code, 314/2) after her statement was taken by Bitlis Criminal Court of Peace via the judiciary videoconferencing system SEGBİS.

The indictment was completed on February 2, 2018 by Muş Public Prosecutor Muhammed Mustafa Demirbaş. Muş 2. High Criminal Court accepted the indictment on March 2, 2018 and opened a lawsuit. She stood trial on charges of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” (Anti-Terror Law, 7/2) and “membership of a terrorist organization” (TPC, 314/2).

The 47-page indictment cited as evidence the phone conversations she had with news sources, as well as news stories and social media posts.
The first hearing was held on April 30 at the Muş 2. High Criminal Court. Journalist Taşkın was connected to the hearing via SEGBİS from Sincan Women’s Prison. During the hearing it turned out that the tip-off e-mail about Taşkın came from an address with the extension “egm”, used by members of the police. The hearing was adjourned until July 2, 2018, while the court ordered the continuation of her detention.

At the second hearing of the case, the court ordered the continuation of her detention once again.

At the third hearing on September 12, 2018, the prosecutor submitted his opinion as to the accusations, and demanded that Taşkın be sentenced for “membership of a terrorist organization” and “continuously spreading propaganda”.

The court handed down a prison sentence of 7 years, 6 months at the final hearing.

The lawyers filed an appeal against the ruling with the Erzurum Regional Court, which ordered the release of Taşkın.

The final hearing of the appeal proceedings was held on May 15, 2019. At the end of the hearing, the court acquitted Taşkın on charges of “knowing and willingly aiding the organization without being part of its hierarchical structure”. However she was sentenced to 1 year, 11 months, 10 days of imprisonment on charges of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”, but the announcement of the verdict was deferred.

Upon the objection by the prosecutor’s office, the file was referred to the Court of Cassation, where the proceedings are still under way.

Seda Taşkın - Örgüt Propagandası Davası (İddianame)

Sertaç Kayar - Social Media Posts Trial

Sertaç Kayar, a reporter with the Sputnik Turkey web site, was charged with “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” based on his Facebook and Twitter posts. In the indictment he drafted on May 7, 2018, prosecutor Cem Koray Eryılmaz cited Kayar’s following posts on Facebook as evidence:

“His post dated November 15, 2017 reads “A comment on the BBC news story about YPG” and features a photo showing a mountain guerilla from PKK holding a weapon,

“His post dated October 17, 2017 reads ‘Today Kerkük, tomorrow the entire Kurdistan’,

“His post dated September 29, 2017 reads “We consider the threat against Kurdistan as a threat against Diyarbakır as well” and features a photo
of members of the terrorist organization.“

Sertaç Kayar told the prosecutor that the social media account in question indeed belongs to him, that he has been using it for about seven years, and that he himself has made the posts and comments in question.

Stating that he has been working as a journalist for 12 years, Kayar indicated that “he was working on news stories and photographs for national and international media outlets, that he had no links with PKK, and that therefore he did not accept the charges levelled against him”.

Kayar was charged, as per Law no. 3713, Article 7/2, of spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization through the press and in a continuous manner, by using his open social media profile, and the court ordered that he stand trial on these charges since there was sufficient suspicion to necessitate the opening of a public lawsuit.

Sertaç Kayar - Sosyal Medya Paylaşımları Davası (İddianame)

Sertaç Kayar - Trial for Leading a Terrorist Organization

An investigation was launched against Sertaç Kayar, a reporter for Sputnik Turkey web site, on January 17, 2018, by the Public Proseuctor Şahsuvar Yıldız. The indicement claimed that during 2010-2012 when Sertaç Kayar worked for Dicle News Agency (DİHA) as reporter, he was a member of the 101-strong permanent assembly of Democratic Society Congress (DTK), carried out journalistic activities on their behalf, participated in 31 different protests on separate dates organized by PKK/KCK and was a leader of the organization.

The indictment alleged that “DTK is an organization that corresponds to the ‘four pillars paradigm’ of Abdullah Öcalan and supposedly functioned as a constitutent assembly”; “DTK was founded and structured upon the orders of Abdullah Öcalan so as to implement the group’s strategy of democratic autonomy”; “It is the legislative organ that acts like the parliament of KCK/TM and operates as an assembly”.

The accusation of “leadership of a terrorist organization” is based on wire-tapping by the police as regards the demo organized by DTK on July 14, 2011.

The prosecutor’s office claimed that Kayar, between the years 2012- 2013, participated in DTK meetings with a view to establishing democratic autonomy and an independent Kurdistan, and this was detected through intelligence activities carried out as per Law of Criminal Procedure, Articles 135 and 140.

It is claimed that Sertaç Kayar made calls to invite individuals to DTK meetings and informed them about the meeting agendas.

The indictment also cites a statement by the witness Menderes Öner received on November 29, 2011 at Istanbul Police Department, Anti-Terror Branch: “The following are members of PKK terror organizations’ print and visual media branches… Sertaç Kayar was the chief correspondent of Dicle News Agency in Diyarbakır…”.

After listing these allegations, the prosecutor’s office requested that Kayar be sentenced to prison “for leading an armed terrorist organization and for a duration above the lower imprisonment limit for this crime, in consideration of the continuity, intensity and diversity of his activities”.

The prosecutor requested a prison sentence of 10 to 15 years of prison for “leading an armed terrorist organization” as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 314/1, and then the increase of this sentence to 15 to 22,5 years as per Anti-Terror Law, Article 5.

The first hearing of the trial in which Kayar was tried without detention took place at Diyarbakır 10. High Criminal Court on November 21, 2018. The court was chaired by judge Şükrü Altunay, and the other judges were Nuray Yalçın Erk and Haşim Taştan. The prosecutor was Mustafa Bilen.
Kayar attended the hearing along with his lawyer Şıvan Cemil Özen.

The lawyer Şıvan Cemil Özen stated that his client Sertaç Kayar penned a news story about the Fethullah Gülen sect in 2010 when he worked for Dicle News Agency, indicating how the sect leaked the answers to the KPSS exam. Özen indicated that an investigation was launched against Kayar for this story, and that the investigation had ended in a ruling of non-persecution. He requested that this ruling be included in his file, and stated that wire-tapping against Kayar began after this first investigation. Kayar stated that in the wire-tapping recording, there was talk about an individual named Sertaç, but no surname was mentioned.

Afterwards, the lawyer indicated that in the footage showing Sertaç Kayar going to the DTK meeting he had his camera case hanging on his arm, showing that he was there for journalistic purposes. The chairman of the panel of judges asked Sertaç Kayar if he knew Menderes Öner, and Kayar said that he did not remember him.

Lawyer Şıvan Cemil Özen demanded that Menderes Öner be heard as witness in court. At the end of the hearing, the court accepted the request that Menderes Öner be heard as witness.

The next hearing was scheduled for April 5, 2019. Şükrü Altunay (chairman of the panel of judges), Nuray Yalçın Erk and Haşim Taştan (judges) and Mustafa Bilen (prosecutor) took part in the hearing, and Kayar attended alongside his lawyer.

The hearing was postponed to June 26, 2019 as the statement of the witness Menderes Öner had not been taken. The same panel of judges took part in that hearing. It was indicated there that Menderes Öner’s statement was taken by Çorum High Criminal Court and that his statement had been added to the file. Şivan Özen, Kayar’s lawyer requested that the court demand information from Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor’s Office as to whether any information or document about Kayar was found during the search of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK). The chairman of the panel of judges requested the Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor’s Office to report whether any information or documents about the defendant were found during the search of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK).

The trial was adjourned until December 4, 2019.

Sertaç Kayar - Yöneticilik Davası (İddianame)

Sertaç Kayar - Yöneticilik Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

Bülent Şık - Ministry of Health Trial

Bülent Şık was a member of the Food Safety and Agricultural Research Center at Akdeniz University, between 2010-2016. During his stint at the center, he participated in a Ministry of Health study on the impact of environmental factors on health. The study ran between 2011-2016. Its title was “Assessment of Environmental Factors and Their Impact on Health in the Provinces of Kocaeli, Antalya, Tekirdağ, Edirne and Kırklareli.”

Since Bülent Şık signed the Petition for Peace issued on January 11, 2016, his work in the research center was discontinued and he was removed from the Ministry project. Moreover, he was dismissed from his position as a faculty member at the university, with the Decree Law numbered 677 and dated November 22, 2016.

The Ministry did not publish the results of the study although it directly concerned public health, and in response Şık penned a series of articles for Cumhuriyet newspaper on the Ministry’s study. The first article was published on April 16, 2018, and made the headline.

In his article, Şık stated that the study showed that pesticides hazardous for human health exceeded the maximum residual limits in green beans, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, parsley, strawberries, plums and apples, and that water had too much hydrocarbon residue with known carcinogenic effects.

The Ministry of Health filed a criminal complaint against Bülent Şık on April 17, 2018 on charges of “publishing information that had to be kept confidential and causing public unrest.”

In response, Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation against Bülent Şık.

In the indictment dated July 16, 2018 drafted by Prosecutor Gökhan Boydak, Bülent Şık was charged with “Disclosing Confidential Information”, “Obtaining Confidential Information” and “Disclosing Professional Secrets”.

The Istanbul Second Criminal Court of First Instance reached a verdict at the third hearing of the case, on September 26, 2019. Bülent Şık was acquitted of charges of “Disclosing Confidential Information” and “Obtaining Confidential Information.” However, he was sentenced to 1 year, 3 months in prison for “Disclosing Professional Secrets.”

The court ordered a deferment of the announcement of the verdict.

Bülent Şık - Sağlık Bakanlığı Davası (İddianame)

Bülent Şık - Sağlık Bakanlığı Davası (Savunma)

Sözcü Newspaper Trial

Police raided the homes of Sözcü newspaper’s owner and employees on May 19, 2017 for allegedly commiting crimes for FETÖ.

An arrest warrant was issued for the owner Burak Akbay who was not at home. İzmir correspondent Gökmen Ulu, the web site’s managing editor Mediha Olgun and finance director Y.Y. were detained. After one week of detention, Y.Y. was released pending trial. Mediha Ongun was held in custody until September 22, 2017 and Gökmen Ulu until November 8, 2017.

In his indictment dated September 26, 2017, Chief Public Prosecutor Asım Ekren accused Burak Akbay of “managing an armed terrorist organization and spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”, and Mediha Ongun, Gökmen Ulu and Yonca Yücekaleli of “knowingly and willingly aiding a terror organization without being part of its hierarchical structure”.

İstanbul 37. High Criminal Court accepted the indictment. It was stated that Sözcü published a story titled “Sözcü located Erdoğan” on July 15, 2016, the day of the coup attempt, pointing to the President’s whereabouts on that day. It was claimed that this was tantamount to “providing guidance to assassination attempts, and aiding and abetting the criminal offense”. Numerous news stories and columns from Sözcü newspaper were mentioned in the indictment under the charges of “knowingly and willingly aiding a terror organization without being part of its hierarchical structure”.

Meanwhile Chief Public Prosecutor had prepared a separate indictment accusing Sözcü’s editor-in-chief Metin Yılmaz and contributors Mustafa Çetin, Necati Doğru, Yücel Arı and Mustafa Emin Çölaşan of “knowingly and willingly aiding a terror organization without being part of its hierarchical structure”, to be merged with the indictment drafted by prosecutor Ekren. The same court accepted in December 2018 this second indictment which mentioned the previous indictment and tip-off petitions among the evidence.

At the hearing on January 18, 2019, the court ruled the merger of the two files, and scheduled the first hearing of the merged trial for March 12, 2019. However, the hearing was held on March 15, 2019. Before the hearing on April 18, 2019, the prosecutor submitted his judicial opinion requesting prison sentences. The 7. hearing of the case was held on October 28, 2019. In consideration of the changes introduced by the judiciary reform package, the court sent the file back to the public prosecutor for examination. The trial was adjourned until December 27.

Sözcü Gazetesi Davası (İddianame)

Sözcü Newspaper's First Trial

Police raided the homes of Sözcü newspaper’s owner and employees on May 19, 2017 for allegedly commiting crimes for FETÖ.

An arrest warrant was issued for the owner Burak Akbay who was not at home. İzmir correspondent Gökmen Ulu, the web site’s managing editor Mediha Olgun and finance director Yonca Yücekaleli were detained. After one week of detention, Yonca Yücekaleli was released pending trial. Ulu and Ongun remained in custody until the second hearing on November 8, 2017.

A prosecutor with Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Arif Cemal Özkurşun drafted the indictment in October 2017, claiming that the story “Sözcü located Erdoğan” signed by Gökmen Ulu and published at 16.25 on July 15, 2016, pointed to the President’s whereabouts on that day and was tantamount to “providing guidance to assassination attempts, and aiding and abetting the criminal offense”. Numerous news stories and columns from Sözcü newspaper were mentioned in the indictment under the charges of “knowingly and willingly aiding a terror organization without being part of its hierarchical structure”.

The 5th hearing, which was held on November 7, 2018, lasted 7 minutes. The newspaper’s lawyers demanded the abrogation of arrest warrants and judicial controls against their clients, and the court rejected this demand.

Sözcü Gazetesi İlk Davası (İddianame)

Taraf Newspaper "Egemen Action Plan" Trial

Faruk Söker, a prosecutor at İstanbul Terror and Organized Crime Investigation Bureau, drafted a 276-page indictment featuring the former employees and journalists of Taraf newspaper Mehmet Baransu, Ahmet Hüsrev Altan, Yıldıray Oğur, Yasemin Çongar and Tuncay Opçin as “suspects”. The defendants are charged for obtaining and publishing the top secret “Egemen Action Plan” by the General Staff. This plan drafted in 2003 included the military strategy to be implemented by 1. Army Corps in a possible war between Turkey and Greece.

The trial continues at Istanbul 13. High Criminal Court and Taraf Newspaper executives and the journalist Mehmet Baransu stand trial for “Disclosing confidential information about the security and political interests of the state, destroying documents related to the security of the state, using these documents for a separate purpose, stealing such documents, obtaining documents concerning state security.” (Turkish Penal Code, Articles 326/1, 43, 327/1, 329/1).

Taraf Gazetesi "Egemen Harekat Planı" Davası (İddianame)

Havva Cuştan, İsminaz Temel - ETHA Trial

The houses of 20 people including Etkin News Agency (ETHA) correspondents İsminaz Temel and Havva Cuştan, and lawyers from Law Office for the Oppressed (EHB) were raied on October 9, 2017. The raid was organized within the scope of an investigation initiated by Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

After the raid, Temel, Cuştan and 16 people were taken into custody. 13 members including Temel and Cuştan were arrested on October 25, 2017. Female detainees were taken to Bakırköy Women’s Closed Prison and male detainees to Silivri Closed Prison No. 9.

On March 22, 2018, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office drafted an indictment against 23 people, 13 of whom were already detained, and the indictment was accepted by Istanbul 27. High Criminal Court.

In the indictment drafted by the public prosecutor Kenan Zurnacı, remarkably, it was claimed that journalists İsminaz Temel and Havva Cuştan took part in the protests which they had covered as journalists. Secret witness statements were included in the file. All the charges dated back to before the year 2014.

The indictment requested that 23 individuals be sentenced for “membership of armed terrorist organization” [Marxist-Leninist Communist Party -MLKP] as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 314/2. and Anti-Terror Law Article 5/1 and “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” as per Anti-Terror Law Article 7/2. The penalties requested were prison sentences from 10 to 15 years pursuant to Turkish Penal Code, 312/2 and from 1 to 5 years according to Anti-Terror Law 7/2; in other words, prison sentences reaching 11 to 20 years in total.

The first hearing of the case was held on July 17, 2018. At the hearing on the first day of the two-day trial, the court members changed since the chairman of the panel of judges Abdurrahman Orkun Dağ was appointed to the Court of Cassation by the Judges and Prosecutors Board (HSK). Halit İçdemir, the senior member of the panel, was appointed as the chairman. A temporary judge was appointed to the panel from outside.

On the second day of the trial, the court ordered the release of five defendants, including journalist Havva Cuştan. The detention of seven people, including ETHA correspondent İsminaz Temel, was ordered to continue.

At the third hearing of the case, the court ordered the continuation of the detention of journalist İsminaz Temel and two persons.
İsminaz Temel was released at the fourth hearing of the case on February 14, 2019 with judicial control in the form of a ban on going abroad. At the trial on April 24, 2019, the last two detained defendants were also released.

The court ordered the continuation of the judicial controls in the form of a ban on going abroad. The trial was adjourned until November 26, 2019, 10:15 a.m.

Havva Cuştan, İsminaz Temel - ETHA Davası (İddianame)

Tuğba Özer - İHH Trial

A lawsuit was filed against İleri Haber web site’s correspondent Tuğba Özer, for her news story dated December 13, 2016 and titled “ISIS Mentality in Education: IHH-member teacher took a picture of his students holding hangman’s nooses”.

In her news story, Özer reported that a teacher who was a member of the Humanitarian Aid Foundation (İHH) -claimed to have links to armed groups- took a picture of his students holding hangman’s nooses in the classroom.

İHH claimed that Özer and İleri Haber web site commited the crimes of insult and slander, and demanded 10 thousand TL for immaterial damages.

In its petition for the case, İHH claimed that it was slandered through a fabricated, unfounded news story, which humiliated and defamed İHH.

The trial against Özer took place at İstanbul 23. Criminal Court of First Instance. At the 6. hearing of the trial on October 17, 2019, the chairman of the panel of judges Metin Özdemir sentenced Özer and İleri Haber web site to 5 thousand TL for immaterial damages.

Tuğba Özer - İHH Davası (İddianame)

Duygu Güvenç, Alican Uludağ - Brunson Trial

A lawsuit was filed against Cumhuriyet newspaper reporter Alican Uludağ and ex-reporter Duygu Güvenç on July 27, 2018, for their news stories published in Cumhuriyet about the American pastor Andrew Brunson who detained in Turkey. In separate news stories, Uludağ and Güvenç wrote that Brunson’s subsequent release was based on political and diplomatic, rather than legal reasons.

The investigation initiated by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office claimed that the journalists “publicly defamed the state’s judicial organs.” The investigation file was sent to the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of Istanbul, where the Cumhuriyet is located.

In their statements at the prosecutor’s office, Uludağ and Güvenç indicated that they did not defame judiciary organs in their stories and did not have such intent, emphasizing that they simply exercised their rights of journalism and criticism.

Istanbul Public Prosecutor Celal Sarıdere, who is in charge of the investigation, drafted an indictment against the two journalists for allegedly “defaming the Turkish nation, Republic of Turkey and Turkish Grand National Assembly” as per Article 301 of Turkish Penal Code, upon the Ministry of Justice’s approval dated September 5, 2018. Sarıdere completed his indictment on October 1, 2018.

The trial continues at Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. The first hearing of the case was held on December 20, 2018. Alican Uludağ attended the hearing, presented his defense and pleaded not guilty.

The second hearing on April 4, 2019, and the third hearing on June 20, 2019, could not be held, since the judge Nursel Bedir, who presides over the case, was on leave. Duygu Güvenç presented her defense at the fourth hearing on October 10, 2019.

The trial was adjourned until January 9, 2020 at 10:50.

Duygu Güvenç, Alican Uludağ - Brunson Davası (İddianame)

Van TV - Propaganda Trial

The investigation against Van TV began with a complaint filed by a person named Gürbüz Dağdelen with the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Ankara in 2016. In addition to Van TV, Dağdelen filed complaints about IMC TV, K24 TV, Hayat TV, Denge TV, MED Nuçe TV, Sterk TV, Newroz TV and Ronahi TV in his petition. He denounced these media outlets for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” and “fabricated news”. These media outlets would all later be closed down on July 27, 2016 by Decree Law No. 668, under the state of emergency.

Upon this petition of complaint, the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office initiated an investigation against the managers and employees of Van TV. Radio and Television Supreme Council’s (RTÜK) Monitoring and Evaluation Department completed its examination of the television channel’s broadcasts and the prosecution prepared the indictment based on this examination.

The final indictment was penned by Gökhan Şahin, a prosecutor at Van Prosecutor’s Office, Terror Crimes Investigation Bureau. The five-page indictment was submitted to the court on June 13, 2018.

In the indictment, TV employees Serdar Altan, Gülsün Altan, Kadir Cesur, Koçali Özipek, Nahide Aslan, Sibel Özcan as well as the parent company’s shareholders Gürcan Bayrakçı and Nedim Dalga figured as defendants. The employees and shareholders were charged with “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” as per Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2. The prosecutor stated that the crime was committed through the press, and requested -as per the second clause of the same article- that the sentence be aggravated by half. Furthermore, he requested that the sentences of all defendants apart from Gülsün Altan and Sibel Özcan be increased further as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 53, clause 1, concerning “continuously committing a crime”.

Based on the report sent by RTÜK, the prosecutor cited as evidence three news stories broadcast in the bulletins of Nahide Aslan’s news program “Gün Ortası” (Midday) on the dates February 19, 2016, March 16, 2016, May 14, 2016; one news story broadcast on Gülsün Altan’s program “Ana Haber” (Evening News) on March 20, 2016; three news stories broadcast on Kadir Cesur’s news bulletin dubbed “Gün Doğumu” (Daybreak) on March 16, 2016, March 21, 2016 and April 8, 2016; and one news story broadcast on July 27, 2015 on Sibel Özcan’s news bulletin “Ana Haber” (Evening News). Four of these stories covered developments regarding the curfews, while the others featured as guests Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MPs, who made remarks regarding current events.

On the basis of these news stories, the journalists presenting these programs were accused of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”. The prosecutor argued that Serdar Altan and Koçali Özipek, as well as the parent company’s shareholders were responsible for the content of the broadcasts, and demanded prison sentences.

Prison sentences ranging from 2 years, 1 month to 13 years, 1 month were requested.

The indictment provided the summaries of the journalists’ statements taken during the investigation. Then came the prosecutor’s assessment of the journalists’ actions. In the assessment part, it was stated that the journalists acted like the “spokespersons of the organization”; published news that defended and legitimized the actions and members of PKK / KCK terrorist organization, its symbols, and top leader; and upheld the organization’s ideology.

As for the managers and other officers, it was stated that “It is impossible for them to be not informed about the broadcasts for which they were responsible as managers, shareholders or managing editors” and they were thus held responsible for the content of the news stories.

The indictment was accepted by Van 4. High Criminal Court and a lawsuit was filed. The first hearing of the case was held on October 17, 2018.

While some defendants presented their defenses at this hearing, the court ruled at the end of the hearing that the journalists be kept exempt from attending the trial. The next hearing was held on February 13, 2019. At the hearing, the lawyers suggested that the 6 CDs containing Van TV’s broadcasts be sent to the court for examination, and the court accepted this request. The trial was adjourned till March 20, 2019.

At the third hearing, the defense lawyers requested that the CDs be given to them for examination. At the end of the hearing, the court ruled that the CDs containing the broadcasts providing the ground for accusations be sent to a panel of two expert witnesses for examination. The lawyers claimed that imposing legal sanctions on the managers went against the principle of the individuality of crime and punishment, and requested that the case be referred to the Constitutional Court; however, this demand was rejected by the court.

The next hearing was held on July 10, 2019. Lawyers asked for additional time to examine the report prepared by the committee of expert witnesses. This request by the lawyers was accepted, and the next hearing was scheduled for October 25, 2019. The court also ordered that file be sent to the public prosecutor’s office for the preparation of the opinion as to the accusations.

The trial was adjourned until February 11, 2020.

Van TV Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Yener Dönmez - Tape Plot Trial

Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office completed an indictment against Vakit newspaper’s former Ankara Representative Yener Dönmez for publishing footage about Deniz Baykal, the then-Chairman of People’s Republican Party, CHP, on the web site “habervaktim.com.tr.” The prosecutor requested that Dönmez be sentenced to prison for “membership of an armed terror organization”, “violation of privacy” and “obtaining personal data through illegal means”.

In the indictment it was claimed that journalist Yener Dönmez employed the encrypted chat application Bylock, used by members of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) to communicate among themselves, and that the suspect adopted the pseudonym “Soner” within FETÖ’s structure. It was further claimed that “the suspect Yener Dönmez published online footage about complainant Deniz Baykal as part of FETÖ activities, suggesting that he is a member of the said organization. His actions constitute the crimes of membership of an armed terrorist organization, obtaining personal data through illegal means, and violation of privacy”.

The indictment explained that footage about the private life of Deniz Baykal was obtained through technical surveillance in order to attain the organization’s goals and purposes: “To that end, the footage was handed over to the suspect Cevheri Güven, who in turn passed the footage on to the managers of internethaber.com, Süleyman Özışık ve Abdulbaki Özışık, as well as to habervaktim.com so as to be published online; however, the witnesses Süleyman Özışık and Abdulbaki Özışık did not publish the footage, while the suspect Yener Dönmez, the former Ankara representative of Vakit newspaper did publish the footage on the web site habervaktim.com”.

Yener Dönmez stands trial at Ankara 14. High Criminal Court in line with the indictment completed on August 4, 2017.

Zaman Newspaper Main Trial

10 former writers and employees of the newspaper Zaman, shuttered by Decree Law No. 668 on July 27, 2016, were taken into custody following the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. Before it was closed down, a special administrator had been appointed to the newspaper on March 4, 2016, on the orders of Istanbul Sixth Criminal Court of Peace. An operation had been launched with arrest warrants for 47 newspaper employees.

Within two weeks of the coup attempt, Zaman writers Ahmet Turan Alkan, Ali Bulaç, Mümtazer Türköne, Şahin Alpay, İhsan Duran Dağı, Nuriye Ural and Lalezar Sarıibrahimoğlu, night editor İbrahim Karayeğen, and Ankara Representative Mustafa Ünal were taken to police stations on different dates for their statements to be taken.

Writers Ali Bulaç, Şahin Alpay, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Mustafa Ünal, Nuriye Ural and Lalezar Sarıibrahimoğlu were arrested on July 30, 2016. Mümtazer Türköne and Mehmet Özdemir were arrested on August 4, and İbrahim Karayeğen on July 25, and then sent to prison. İhsan Duran Dağı and Orhan Kemal Cengiz were released without being referred to the court after interrogation by police and prosecutors.

There were separate indictments for the lawsuits filed against the individuals detained in this operation and subsequent operations, some of which were members of Zaman newspaper’s administrative staff. 11 journalists figured as defendants in the “Zaman Newspaper Main Case”, nine journalists in “FETÖ Media Main Case” and 27 journalists in the “FETÖ Media Organization” case. Istanbul Thirteenth High Criminal Court accepted the indictment against 11 journalists standing trial in the “Zaman Newspaper Main Case” on April 24, 2017. The indictment had 30 defendants, 11 of which were journalists.

İsmet Bozkurt, a prosecutor at the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, drafted the indictment. The indictment described the newspaper Zaman, in which these journalists were employees or writers, as “FETÖ’s flagship in the media”. The writers were charged for the articles in their columns or even their titles. However, it was stated in the indictment that the passages in question were not “cherry-picked”. It was also indicated that, “the articles went far beyond simply opposing or criticizing the government”. The indictment read as follows:

“Even in those articles that do not seem to include criminal elements, the writers cross the boundaries of the freedom of press to use expressions that violate the rights of state authorities and institutions, and thereby serve the purposes of the organization… ”

The indictment requested that each journalist be sentenced to three counts of aggravated life sentence, plus an additional 7.5 to 15 years in prison, on allegations of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order, Parliament, and government of the Republic of Turkey or to prevent their functioning” (Turkish Penal Code, Articles 309/1, 311/1 and 312/1), and “membership of an armed organization” (Article 314/2).

The court did not accept all the charges directed against the journalists in the indictment. The journalists were absolved of the charges of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order, Parliament, and government of the Republic of Turkey or to prevent their functioning”, but were sentenced for “membership of an armed organization”.

The trial began with a hearing on September 18, 2017. Lalezar Sarıibrahimoğlu and Nuriye Ural, who had been imprisoned pending trial for 2 and a half months, and Mehmet Özdemir, imprisoned pending trial for 1 year 9 months, were acquitted.

Ali Bulaç was sentenced to 21 months in prison and Ahmet Turan Alkan to 8 years and 9 months, having spent two years in prison. İbrahim Karayeğen was released after the announcement of a 9-year prison sentence. İhsan Duran Dağı and Orhan Kemal Cengiz, who had not been detained, were acquitted at the end of the trial.

Having spent 20 months in detention, Şahin Alpay was released only after the Constitutional Court ordered his release two times, ruling that his rights were violated. In an unprecedented event in Turkish legal history, the first-instance court resisted twice the Constitutional Court’s order for his release. Alpay was not released by the local court resisting the Constitutional Court whose decisions are supposed to be final, but instead by an order of the court in charge of the appeal proceedings. After Alpay was released, he was sentenced to 8 years 9 months in prison.

The Istanbul Regional Court’s Second Criminal Chamber upheld the decision of the first-instance court. The file was referred to the Court of Cassation for review.

Mümtazer Türköne has been in prison since August 4, 2016 and Mustafa Ünal since July 30, 2016.

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (İddianame)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Karar)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Savunma)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Savunma)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Savunma)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Savunma)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Savunma)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (AİHM Kararı)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Tahliye Kararı)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Esas Hakkında Savunma)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Esas Hakkında Savunma)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Esas Hakkında Savunma)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Esas Hakkında Savunma)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (İlk Savunma)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (İstinaf Mahkemesi Kararı)