The book Ahmet Sever wrote about his impressions of the term he served as key press consultant of former President Abdullah Gül, “İçimde Kalmasın/Tanıklığımdır”, was published in 2018.
Justice and Development Party (AKP) Tekirağ MP and Parliamentary Deputy Speaker Mustafa Şentop, made an official complaint to the prosecutor’s office after the book was published.
In the denunciation, it was claimed that the crime was committed, in the part between pages 208 and 210 titled “Who is the AKP member that said we will send Gül and Davutoğlu in prison” of Sever’s book.
Due to the complaint of Şentop, Press Related Crimes Bureau of Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation against Sever.
The indictment against journalist Ahmet Sever was prepared by Press Related Crimes Bureau of Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on November 26, 2018 due to the complaint of Justice and Development Party (AKP) Tekirağ MP and Parliamentary Deputy Speaker Mustafa Şentop.
Subject matter of the indictment was the expressions used in the part titled “Who is the AKP member that said we will send Gül and Davutoğlu in prison” found between the pages 208 and 210 of Sever’s book “İçimde Kalmasın/Tanıklığımdır”
In the denunciation, it was claimed that the crime was committed, in the part between pages 208 and 210 titled “Who is the AKP member that said we will send Gül and Davutoğlu in prison” of Sever’s book. In this part was the evaluation of British Financial Times columnist David Gardner’s article, dated April 12, 2017, regarding the constitutional amendment referendum in Turkey on April 16, 2017 .
Gardner in his article had claimed that he had asked former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Former President Abdullah Gül if they had any plans of separating from the ruling Justice and Development Party and form an “opposition” party and his source had responded that “If they had taken a single step, they would be considered Gülenists and thrown in jail”.
Sever, in his book, had claimed that these were Mustafa Şentop’s words.
Sever’in kitabında, bu sözlerin Mustafa Şentop’a ait olduğu iddia edilmişti.
Sever’s article, published in T24 new site, titled “Even I can not save you Ahmet Hakan” was included in the indictment as well. Sever, in this article said that the claim “If they had taken a single step, they would be considered Gülenists and thrown in jail” was told him by Gardner. Article included the following phrases:
It was claimed that Sever, “by repeating the phrases from the book on T24 webpage, had committed the crime of insult in a successive manner”.
Sever, in the indictment, was accused of “publicly insulting a public officer due to the performance of his public duty”, “in a successive manner” according to the articles 125 and 43 pf the Turkish Penal Code. He was requested to be sentenced to, from one year five months 15 days to four years one month of imprisonment. Sever was also requested to be “bereaved of specific rights” according to the article 53 Turkish Penal Code.
The indictment was approved by Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance.
First hearing of the trial was held on March 21, 2019 at Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance.
At the hearing Ahmet Sever was represented by his attorney Filiz Aydın whereas Mustafa Şentop was represented by his attorney Pelinsu Demircan.
Attorney Aydın requested to take Sever’s statement abroad as he was living out of the country.
Şentop’s attorney Pelinsu Demircan, “Our complaint stands. We would like to take part in the case. It is established that the suspect had committed this crime, and also according to the article 247 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CMK) suspect is a fugitive, therefore we request a capture warrant to be issued against him to prevent the case from being procrastinated and also an official request to be written abroad due to his current address being abroad.“
Judge ruled to send an official dispatch to the Ministry of Justice to take Sever’s statement abroad. Hearing was adjourned.
Second hearing of the case was held on June 20, 2019. Hearing was adjourned with the same reason.
Judge ruled to listen former AKP Deputy Provincial Chairperson of Istanbul Fatih Tuna as witness. Witness Fatih Tuna, in his statement, said the following:
“At that time I was the AKP Deputy Provincial Chairperson of Istanbul. I was in charge of external relations. Financial Times wanted to interview me because of the referendum. However I sent them to Mustafa Şentop as I knew it was a legal matter. He gave the interview. I was present at the the time of the interview. I read the indictment. Subject matter chat of the indictment did not happen during said interview. This is all I know and saw.”
After that Sever’s attorney Göktaş said “I do not accept the statement of the witness. It is procedurally wrong to listen him, witness is biased and I request to ask the witness whether he spoke English or not and how was he aware of the content of the indictment since it was not read to him during the hearing”.
Hearing was adjourned to wait for the result of the official dispatch to take Sever’s statement abroad.
Fourth hearing was held on February 13, 2020. Hearing was adjourned with the same reason.
Fifth hearing of the case was to be held on May 14, 2020. However, the hearing was adjourned due to the measures taken against the “coronavirus” pandemics in Turkey. Next hearing is set to September 15, 2020.
The sixth hearing of the trial took place on September 15th, 2020. Sever did not attend the hearing. Sever was represented at the hearing by his lawyer Oya Aydın Göktaş.
The court had previously decided to wait for Sever’s statement to be taken in the country where he resides; however, the court’s demand had not been met.
With the onset of the Court Year 2020-2021, a previously lifted practice has been reintroduced. Accordingly, prosecutors can once again participate in hearings at the criminal courts of first instance. Their presence in these hearings had been ended in 2011. So a prosecutor attended Sever’s hearing as well.
The hearing prosecutor demanded that the deficiencies in the file be remedied. Sever’s lawyer, Oya Aydın Göktaş, also requested that Sever’s statement be received abroad.
The judge ruled to await Ahmet Sever’s statement to be taken abroad.
The trial will continue with the seventh hearing scheduled for December 3rd, 2020.
Press in Arrest is a database, monitoring, documentation and collective memory study of Press Research Association.
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