Cumhuriyet Daily reporter Hazal Ocak’s article “Luxurious Appurtenances with View over Bosphorus” was published in the paper at October 6th, 2019.
The article underlined the fact that the zoning ban of historic Hüseyin Avni Paşa Grove, which had Hüseyin Avni Paşa Mansion inside its skirts. The article said “the zoning ban was lifter after businessman Mehmet Cengiz had bought the mansion”. It also pointed out that there were new constructions going on inside the Grove. It also included the reactions of the community dwellers.
After the article was published, Cengiz Holding CEO Mehmet Cengiz’s attorney Ahmet Mutlu, at October 7th, 2019, filed an official complaint at Istanbul Anadolu Civil Court of First Instance on Duty.
The complaint claimed that Cengiz’s “personal rights were violated”. It was claimed that the article was “against the reality”, “missing”, and “full of wrong and misleading information”. The complaint claimed that “These kind of news that aim to create the conception that a businessman is ‘a person acting against the law’, even though they are baseless, create irreparable damages regarding credibility and reputation”.
It was requested that a lawsuit of compensation for damages for 1 Million Turkish Liras was to be opened against journalist Hazal Ocak and Cumhuriyet Foundation President Alev Coşkun.
The trial started with the first hearing at January 8th, 2020 in Istanbul 14th Civil Court of First Instance.
Journalist Hazal Ocak and her attorney Buket Yazıcı were present at the hearing, as well as Mehmet Cengiz’s attorney Talanur Peker.
Judge, asked the parties if they would accepted an arbitrager. Both parties said they did not accept the arbitrager.
Journalist Hazal Ocak said, “Journalism was a childhood dream of mine. For the past 6 years I have been making news on city and the environment. At this location I made many news. There were many complaints about this area. Community dwellers care a lot about this place. I have gotten so many denunciations from there. Because of this I wrote the article. I was shocked to see the 1 million TL claim for damages. I do not accept the charges.”
Judge, asked both parties to notify the court in case if they had any witnesses.
Second hearing of the case took place at January 23rd, 2020. Judge, decided to write an official letter to the Istanbul Üsküdar Directorate of Land Registry in order to summon the land registers of the buildings that are subject to the news.
3rd case of the trial was held at March 4th, 2020. At this hearing, witnesses Hazal Ocak requested were heard.
Judge granted time to the parties to make statements against the witnesses. And also, by request of Hazal Ocak’s attorney, decided to summon the trial cases regarding the construction area. And also granted time to the parties to make statements against the witnesses.
The trial will continue with the 4th hearing at June 17th, 2020.