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 May 14, 2020.