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 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.