Ahmet Altan stood trial for his column titled “Büyük Savaş Başladı” (“The Great War Has Started) published on June 19, 2010 in Taraf Newspaper.
The said article was about a meeting between two members of the Court of Cassation concerning the release of the former Chief Public Prosecutor of Erzincan, İlhan Cihaner, and the promotion of a judge who would release Cihaner, as Head of Chamber in the Court of Cassation, which was covered by the press at the time.
Cihaner were detained on February 16, 2010 on the orders of Erzurum’s Specially Authorized Public Prosecutor, who in turn would later be arrested under the scope of investigations against Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ). At the time of his detention, Cihaner was investigating the activities of the Fethullah Gülen Sect. The meeting that Ahmet Altan dwelled upon in his article concerned a discussion between two members of the Court of Cassation on a possible “scenario” of Cihaner’s release. Cihaner was indeed released on June 18, 2010, confirming this “scenario.”
Indictment prosecutor, in the indictment he drafted on August 19, 2010, claimed that Altan “used expressions that were insulting the honor, dignity, and prestige of the plaintiffs, the article was humiliating and derogatory, and exceeded the limits of freedom of expression.”
The indictment cites İlhan Cihaner as the complainant, and member of the Court of Cassation; as the injured party.
At the first hearing on May 21, 2019, Ahmet Altan’s lawyer submitted to the court a petition by İlhan Cihaner stating that he withdrew his complaint. From then on, İlhan Cihaner and member of the Court of Cassation figured as participants in the case.
During the trial, Cihaner did not attend the hearings. At the second hearing on September 17, 2019, Ahmet Altan was acquitted.