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 the indictment dated July 16, 2018 drafted by Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, 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.