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Abdulkadir Turay - Trial for Membership of a Terrorist Organization

Journalist Abdulkadir Turay was a correspondent for the Dicle News Agency, which was closed down in October 2016 by a decree law. He had begun his journalism career at the same agency.

Turay was taken into custody on May 5, 2016, during a raid on his house in Mardin’s Savur district. After four days in custody, he was arrested on May 8 on allegations of “membership of a terrorist organization” on orders from the Mardin First Criminal Court of Peace.

He was transported to Mardin E-Type Closed Prison.

On January 18, 2017, prosecutor Vural Eker completed the indictment against 10 individuals, including Turay. In the indictment, he was charged with “membership of a terrorist organization.” The Mardin Second High Criminal Court accepted the indictment. In the indictment, Turay’s telephone calls as well as his television appearances were presented as evidence in support of the indictment.

At the final hearing on September 26, 2018, Turay was sentenced to 9 years in prison on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization.” His detention was continued with this ruling.

The case was taken to the Court of Appeal. The appeal process is ongoing. Turay and the other defendants were sentenced to a total of 65 years and 3 months in prison.

Turay is now held in Mardin E-Type Closed Prison as a prisoner on remand.

Abdulkadir Turay Üyelik Davası (İddianame)

Adnan Bilen - Trial for Insulting the President

An investigation was initiated against journalist Adnan Bilen in 2018 on allegations of “insulting the President of the Republic” with his social media posts, pursuant to Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code. The investigation was conducted by the Van Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Prosecutor Özgur Katipkaya drafted the indictment. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan figured as “injured party” in the two-page indictment completed on February 25, 2019.

Bilen’s Facebook posts, on which the accusation was based, were also included in the indictment. According to the open research record dated May 16, 2017, Bilen’s two posts from 2015 and 2017 formed the grounds for accusation.

On December 31, 2017, Bilen had shared President Erdoğan’s family photo with the comment “A disgrace”; and on July 31, 2015, he had posted a photomontage featuring the President’s photo, titled “fascist agha”, with the comment “May Selo join the guerrilla, may Apo never speak again, and may Mağo Agha be pleased. Selahattin Demirtaş is such a nuisance. He can bother you even from thousands of miles away. Just look, President Tayyip Erdoğan is in China now, but still could not shake off the nuisance…”

The indictment states that the open-source research record is dated May 16, 2017; strikingly, this predates the first post forming the grounds for accusation.
Prosecutor Katipkaya stated the posts were “aimed at the honor and dignity of the injured party”, and requested that Bilen be punished under Article 299/1.2 of the Turkish Penal Code on “Insulting the President of the Republic.”

Van Fourth Criminal Court of First Instance accepted the indictment against Bilen and a lawsuit was filed. The date of the first hearing of the lawsuit was set as July 19, 2019. Judge Cengizhan Aksu presided over the hearing. Bilen was in attendance in the courtroom. The complainant President Tayyip Erdoğan’s lawyer Hüseyin Aydın submitted a petition to participate in the proceedings. Bilen, in his defense during the hearing stated, “I have worked as a journalist for 20 years. The texts forming the subject matter of the case belong to someone else. These texts are not degrading or humiliating, but only constitute a harsh criticism. Thousands of other people shared this text on the social media. However, a lawsuit has been filed against only me. Even the author who wrote the text has not been sued.”

The court adjourned the trial until November 8, 2019, 10:10 am.

Adnan Bilen - Hakaret Davası (İddianame)

Adnan Bilen - Hakaret Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

Ahmet Altan - Violation of Confidentiality Trial

Ahmet Altan is standing trial on allegations of “violating the confidentiality of investigation” and “attempting to influence the fair trial principle,” for his article “Mafyanın Dışında Kim Kaldı” (“Who Remains Out of the Mafia”) published in Taraf Newspaper on July 11, 2009.

In his article, Altan discussed an anti-“gang” operation by the Sakarya Police Department in the district of Akyazı. He claimed that the “gang” members investigated by the police were indeed relatives of the mayor of Akyazı, who was from AKP, and that Sakarya Police Chief Faruk Ünsal had informed the “gang” members that an operation was being launched against them.

In July 2009, the Sakarya Public Prosecutor’s Office started an investigation against Altan upon a complaint filed by Sakarya Police Chief Faruk Ünsal. In the indictment against Altan, completed on September 4, 2019, the prosecutor requested a prison sentence of 1 to 3 years pursuant to Article 285 of the Turkish Penal Code. Furthermore, he demanded that Altan be imposed a judicial fine under Article 288 of the Turkish Penal Code.

The Kadıköy Second Criminal Court of First Instance accepted the indictment. However, the investigation against Altan was suspended. Nonetheless, the case was later reopened when Altan was imposed a judicial fine in a separate case for “Insulting the President of the Republic.”

With the reopening of the case, the trial began at Istanbul Anadolu Second Criminal Court of First Instance. The first hearing of the trial took place on April 12, 2019, about 10 years after the indictment was drafted.

Judge Lokman Kazan informed Ahmet Altan that the charges of “attempting to influence the fair trial principle” could be dropped if he agreed to pay 1061 TL; however, Altan refused.

The next trial will be held on November 12, 2019.

Ahmet Altan - Gizliliği İhlal Davası (İddianame)

Ahmet Altan - Gizliliği İhlal Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

Ahmet Altan - Gizliliği İhlal Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

Ahmet Altan - Gizliliği İhlal Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

Ahmet Altan - Gizliliği İhlal Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

Ahmet Altan - Trial for Insulting the Members of the Court of Cassation

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. These two members of the Court of Cassation were detained on February 16, 2010 on the orders of Erzurum’s Specially Authorized Public Prosecutor Osman Şanal, 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.”

Prosecutor Dursun Yılmaz, 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 Ersan Ülker, who was Head of the 11th Chamber of the Court of Cassation at the time, 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 Ersan Ülker 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.

Ahmet Altan - Yargıtay Üyelerine Hakaret Davası (İddianame)

Ahmet Kanbal - Social Media Trial

Ahmet Kanbal, a reporter for the Mesopotamia News Agency, was taken into custody on February 8, 2018 for his social media posts. After spending one day in custody, he appeared in court and was released.

Public Prosecutor Erol Sümer completed an indictment against Kanbal on March 26, 2018. In the 3-page indictment, 33 Tweets by Kanbal were cited as evidence. All of the Tweets concerned the “Operation Olive Branch” launched on January 20, 2018 by the Turkish Armed Forces into the Afrin province of northern Syria. Kanbal was charged with ”continuously spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization through the media.”

Upon the acceptance of the indictment by the İzmir Second High Criminal Court, a lawsuit was filed against him on charges of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization.”

The first hearing of the case was on November 20, 2018. Kanbal stated that his posts fell under the scope of journalistic activities:

“These cannot be seen as crimes. Had the prosecutor, who drafted the indictment, read the news mentioned in the tweets, he would have seen that they were all news articles. Even if I stand trial, I will continue to work as a journalist for peace. Journalism is a profession of courage not fear.”

At the hearing, the prosecutor stated his opinion that Kanbal was “continuously spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization through the media.” The hearing was postponed to February 26, 2019 after the defense lawyer requested additional time for preparation of defense against the prosecutor’s opinion as to the accusations.

At the final hearing of the trial, it was decided that the case file be sent to the Ministry of Justice, to be brought under the scope of Turkish Penal Code, Article 301. The trial will continue depending on the pending response from the Ministry of Justice.

Ahmet Kanbal - Sosyal Medya Davası (İddianame)

Akman, Alayumat - Espionage Trial

Journalists Erdoğan Alayumat and Nuri Akman were taken into custody on July 13, 2017 on the grounds of “reasonable suspicion” while they were following a news story in the Islahiye district of Gaziantep. After 14 days in custody, the two journalists were referred to the Criminal Court of Peace for arrest.

Nuri Akman was released “on condition of judicial control.” However, Erdoğan Alayumat was arrested on charges of “being a member of a terrorist organization”, “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization”, “militia and support activities for a terrorist organization” and “disclosing the secrets of the Republic of Turkey.” During the court interrogation, they were questioned about their news articles, photos taken along the border, and journalistic discussions over the phone.

Hatay Public Prosecutor Tacettin Pınar completed the indictment for the case on November 3, 2017. The Second High Criminal Court accepted the indictment on November 23, 2017.

The first hearing of the case was held on February 2, 2018. The court ruled that the General Staff be consulted as to whether the photographs cited as evidence in the indictment are indeed “confidential documents of the state”, and that Alayumat’s detention and Nuri Akman’s judicial control would continue.

The second hearing was held on April 25. At this hearing, too, the court ruled to keep Alayumat in prison. Since the General Staff had not yet sent a written statement clarifying whether the campus photographed by the journalists was indeed used for military purposes, it was ruled that a new writ be issued. The trial was adjourned until May 24, 2017.

At the third hearing, the General Staff had still not sent a written statement as to whether the campus photographed by the journalists was “a forbidden military zone belonging to the state.” The court ruled to release Alayumat without judicial control and to continue the judicial control of Nuri Akman. The trial was adjourned until October 19, 2018.

Akman, Alayumat -Casusluk Davası (İddianame)

Ali Ahmet Böken - TRT Trial

TRT News Coordinator Ali Ahmet Böken was taken into custody on August 11, 2016. He was accused of “placing FETÖ members in Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) ” and “having TRT broadcast programs serving the purposes of FETÖ.”

The prosecutor requested a prison sentence of 7.5 to 15 years for “being a member of a terrorist organization.” He was sentenced to 9 years and 9 months in prison for alleged membership of an armed terrorist organization.

An appeal process is underway for the case.

Ali Ahmet Böken - TRT Davası (İddianame)

Ali Ahmet Böken - TRT Davası (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Ali Ünal - Zaman Trial

An arrest order was issued for Ali Ünal, a former columnist at the shuttered Zaman Newspaper, under the scope of an investigation on ex-columnists and managers of the newspaper, based on allegations of “leading a terrorist organization”, namely “FETÖ / Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization - PDY / Parallel State Structure.”

Ünal was taken into custody in the Eşme district of Uşak on August 11, 2016. After five days in custody, he was arrested upon a ruling of Uşak Second Criminal Court of Peace, on charges of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” and “establishing or managing a terrorist organization.”

Uşak Public Prosecutor Elif İkiz completed a 300-page indictment against him on September 28, 2017. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was mentioned in the indictment as “the injured party.” Uşak Second High Criminal Court accepted the indictment, which requested two aggravated life sentences and an additional prison sentence of 29.5 years. The indictment cited as evidence Ünal’s 17 articles published in Zaman Newspaper on various dates and the opinions he expressed on a variety of TV discussion programs.

The first hearing of the case was held on January 4, 2018. At the first hearing, Ünal made his defense for the 17 articles in question, asked for his release, but was rejected. The court ordered the continuation of his detention and adjourned the trial until February 27, 2018.

At the second hearing held on February 27, 2018, Ünal stated that he did not receive instructions from Gülen and members of the organization, and that his name did not appear at any level of the organization.

The fourth hearing was held on July 18, 2018. At this hearing, stating her opinion as to the accusations, prosecutor Elif İkiz requested that Ünal be sentenced to 15 to 20 years in prison on charges of “attempting to abolish the constitutional order”, and “establishing or managing an armed terrorist organization.” The trial was adjourned until September 5, 2018.

At the fifth hearing, the new prosecutor assigned to the case reiterated the opinion as to the accusations and requested that Ünal be sentenced.

Ünal asked for additional time for defense. The trial was adjourned until November 14, 2018. In the final hearing, Ünal was sentenced to 19 years and 6 months in prison for “being a member of a terrorist organization.” His lawyers filed an appeal against the verdict to the court of appeal.

Ünal was not brought to court in any of the hearings. He attended the hearing through the courtroom video-conferencing system SEGBİS, from prison.

Ali Ünal - Zaman Davası (İddianame)

Ali Ünal - Zaman Davası (Gerekçeli Karar)

Ali Ünal - Zaman Davası (İstinaf Mahkemesi Kararı)

Alican Uludağ - Violation of Confidentiality Trial

An investigation was initiated against Alican Uludağ, a reporter for the Cumhuriyet newspaper, on charges of “violating the confidentiality of investigation” in his articles titled “Dört Hakim ve Savcı, HSYK’nin İhraç Ettiği İsimler Arasında Yok”, (“Four judges and prosecutors are not among the ones who were sacked by the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors”) and “Evet’çi Savcı FETÖ toplantısında” (The judge who called for a “yes” in the referendum was at the FETÖ meeting”) published in the Cumhuriyet on March 20, 2017.

In the news article, Uludağ cited the statements received from a secret witness named “Çakıl” within the scope of the investigation against FETÖ in Antalya. Accordingly, “Çakıl” had claimed that certain judges and prosecutors had ties to FETÖ. These statements had been sent to the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK); however, the individuals mentioned by “Çakıl” had not figured among the names later expelled from the judiciary by HSYK. Uludağ coded three of the four names, but openly cited Cevdet Kayafoğlu’s name. Prior to the April 16, 2017 constitutional referendum, the then Antalya Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Kayafoğlu had stated on social media, “Those who vote ‘No’ will be treated just like members of PKK.”

Halil İbrahim Puran, a prosecutor at the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, completed the indictment against Uludağ on May 31, 2017. The four judges and prosecutors cited by Uludağ in his article were presented as complainants in the indictment. The prosecutor requested a prison sentence of one to three years as well as judicial fines for Uludağ on charges of “violating the confidentiality of investigation” by publishing a secret witness statement, as per Article 285 of the Turkish Penal Code.

The Istanbul Second Criminal Court of First Instance presiding over the proceedings ordered that Uludağ’s statement be taken in Ankara.

Uludağ gave his statement at the 34th Criminal Court of First Instance in Ankara, on December 6, 2018.

Following the statement, the first hearing of Uludağ’s trial was held on February 7, 2019 at the Istanbul Second Criminal Court of First Instance.

Alican Uludağ - Gizliliği İhlal Davası (İddianame)

Alican Uludağ - Gizliliği İhlal Davası (Karar)

Altan - Trial for Insulting the President

Journalist and writer Ahmet Altan published an article titled “Yeni Ergenekon” (“New Ergenekon”) on May 8, 2016 on the website P24. In his article, Altan stated, “the government was caught in the act of theft and carried out a ‘judicial coup’.”

Altan used the following statements in his article:

“Erdoğan explicitly stated that he will not abide by the constitution and started to rush towards an illegal dictatorship. (…) And if you cannot run the country but want to become a dictator, your only remaining choice will be guns.”

Upon a complaint by President Erdoğan, an investigation was launched against Ahmet Altan on June 13, 2016. It was claimed that Altan had committed the crime of “insulting the President” as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 299. On November 22, 2016, permission was received from the Ministry of Justice to file a lawsuit for this offense.

In his statement to the prosecutor, Ahmet Altan rejected the charge of “insulting the President.” He stated that it is not forbidden to criticize the government, but that President Tayyip Erdoğan’s lawyer tries to present it as an insult.

Umut Tepe, a prosecutor at the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Press Crimes Investigation Bureau drafted the indictment about Altan on January 9, 2017. It was claimed that Altan had written, “Tayyip Erdoğan creates social conflict and chaos due to his political greed,” and “Erdoğan builds SS units to commit massacres under the pretext of war in the Southeastern Anatolia Region.” It was also claimed that Altan accused Erdoğan of arms smuggling in his article.

The indictment also offered an assessment of European Convention on Human Rights, Article 10, which concerns freedom of thought and expression. The prosecutor indicated that this article of the convention stipulates “freedom of thought and expression covers not only those ideas that are appreciated and accepted, but also those ideas which are deemed offensive, shocking and disturbing.” The indictment went on to state “Although it is emphasized that (…) this allows for diversity of opinion, and tolerance, which are sine qua non in a democratic society,” and then claimed that Ahmet Altan should be sentenced for his article.

The Istanbul 30th Criminal Court of First Instance accepted the indictment against Ahmet Altan. The first hearing of the trial was held on May 16, 2017. Ahmet Altan was in Silivri Prison pending trial for “FETÖ Media Main Trial”, and so he was connected to the court via the video-conferencing system dubbed Audio and Visual Information System (SEGBİS). At the first hearing, Altan did not request time to prepare his defense, and said he would not use his right to remain silence. Altan criticized the prosecutor’s citation of the aforementioned article of the European Convention on Human Rights on freedom of thought and expression, followed by the phrase “although.” Altan said, “The prosecutor does not have the right to write in this way; by using the expression ‘although’ the prosecutor positions himself above the constitution and commits a crime.” Altan rejected a possible deferment of the announcement of the verdict, and instead requested to be acquitted. The judge Muazzez Cerşit gave Ahmet Altan’s lawyers Veysel Ok and Sinil Nuhoğlu additional time to draft a written defense and present evidence.

The trial was adjourned until the final hearing for the drafting of written defense and presentation of evidence for the case. The judge in charge changed twice during the proceedings; however, Judge Muazzez Cerşit one again presided over the final hearing. Meanwhile, President Tayyip Erdoğan who had filed a complaint against Altan demanded to participate in the proceedings and this demand was accepted.

At the seventh hearing of the trial held on March 19, 2019, the verdict about Altan was announced. Judge Muazzez Cerşit sentenced Altan to 11 months and 20 days in prison, reducing the normal prison term due to his good conduct. The sentence was converted to a judicial fine of 7,000 TL.

Ahmet Altan - Cumhurbaşkanına Hakaret Davası (İddianame)

Ahmet Altan - Cumhurbaşkanına Hakaret Davası (Gerekçeli Karar)

Ahmet Altan - Cumhurbaşkanına Hakaret Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

Arafat Dayan - Demokratik Ulus Newspaper Trial

The prosecutor drafted five separate indictments for the editor-in-chief of the weekly newspaper Demokratik Ulus (Democratic Nation), for news articles in five issues published between September 25, 2012 and November 5, 2012.

All the indictments were drafted by prosecutor Muammer Akkaş.

In the indictments, Dayan was charged with “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” and “printing and issuing the organization’s publications.”

These separate indictments about Dayan drafted by the same prosecutor on the same grounds were merged at the proceedings during Istanbul 23rd High Criminal Court.

All five of these two-page indictments were completed on January 7, 2013, and presented to the court.

Arafat Dayan, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper figured as defendant in the indictment since he was responsible for the content published, as per the Press Law.

In the first indictment about the newspaper, it was stated that articles published on the issue dated September 25 - October 2, 2012 “spread propaganda for a terrorist organization” and thus an investigation was launched. The indictment indicated that the newspaper published announcements by Kurdistan Workers’ Party (in Kurdish: Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê/PKK) within the stories titled “HPG, Bayrak tepesine yönelik eylemin sonuçlarını açıkladı” (HPG announced the results of its attack on Bayrak hill) on page 15 and “Kendinize güveniyorsanız hodri meydan!” (Bring it on, if you trust yourselves!) on page 18.

The indictment claimed that there was propaganda for a terrorist organization in the texts and photos of the articles “Yüreğimizin sesidir Botan” (Botan is the sound of our hearts) on page 24 and “Gerilla ve zaman” (Guerilla and time) on page 32. It was argued that an article titled “15. Yıl Mücadelesi” (15th Year in Struggle) on page 8 of the newspaper, featuring a photo of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and describing him as “Leader of the Kurdish People, Abdullah Öcalan” was “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization.”

The third indictment covered the news and articles on the issue dated October 16-21, 2012. It was indicated that in the said issue, the article “Yeter artık DİYORUZ” (We SAY enough) on page 1 and the articles on pages 16., 17. and 18. featured the opinions of PKK leader Murat Karayılan. The prosecutor also claimed that there were elements of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” in the article “Ulusal mücadelede tutarlı olmak lazım” (Coherence is a must in national struggle) on pages 1 and 11, “Okullar kışlalardan daha tehlikelidir” (Schools are more dangerous than barracks) on pages 1 and 14, and the article “Kürdistan’daki TC okulları temerküz kamplarıdır” (Turkish state schools in Kurdistan are concentration camps).

The fourth indictment pressed charges concerning the content in the issue dated October 30 - November 5, 2012, focusing on the article “Bu onurlu direnişe herkes sahip çıksın” (Everyone must embrace this honorable resistance) on page 1 and “Rojin yoldaşımız kararlı ve yürekli bir kadın militandı” (Comrade Rojin was a determined and courageous woman militant) on page 32.

The fifth and final indictment covered the news and articles on the issue dated November 13-19, 2012, filing charges against the articles titled “Savaşta zafer, yaşamda özgürlük” (Victory in war, freedom in life), “Rojava devrimine sahip çıkmak” (Embracing the Rojava revolution), “HPG yaşamını yitiren 8 gerillanın kimliğini açıkladı” (HPG announces the identities of 8 guerillas who lost their lives) on page 5.

After his evaluations on the news and articles, prosecutor Akkaş provided the same information on the last sections of all the indictments: He claimed that although a notification was sent to him, Arafat Dayan, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper had not come to the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and therefore took part directly in these crimes.

The indictments stated that the freedom of thought was under protection in Turkey, but that the articles in question “praised the terrorist and violent methods of the terror organization”, and thus crossed the boundaries of the freedom of thought. As such, it was requested that Dayan be sentenced on charges of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” and “printing and publishing the organization’s publications.”

Dayan submitted a two-page petition to the court, stating who had written the articles cited in the indictment. In this regard, he stated that he could not be held responsible since the names of the authors were known. Dayan did not attend the hearings.

He attended only the last hearing on November 23, 2013. At the hearing, prosecutor Durmuş Yiğit stated in his opinion on the accusations that the articles “spread propaganda that praised or encouraged the use of methods such as violence, coercion and threats used by the organization”, and requested that Dayan be sentenced to prison.

The panel of judges consisted of Mustafa Bağarkası (chair) and members Canel Rüzgar and Hakan Dede. They ruled that Dayan had indeed committed the crime of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” and had to be imprisoned.

Dayan was sentenced to 2 years in prison for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” as per Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2. Since the crime was committed multiple times and via the media, the panel of judges increased the prison sentence to five years.

In consideration of the good conduct of Dayan, the panel of judges later dropped the sentence to 4 years and 2 months. Later an appeal was filed at the court of appeal; however, the latter upheld the sentence and rejected the application for appeal.

After the sentence was upheld, Dayan was arrested on July 1, 2016. He is currently serving the prison sentence.

Arafat Dayan Demokratik Ulus Gazetesi Davası (İddianame)

Arafat Dayan Demokratik Ulus Gazetesi Davası (Gerekçeli Karar)

Avşar, Önemli - Trial for Targeting a Public Official

Daily Cumhuriyet’s reporter Seyhan Avşar penned a news article on March 6, 2019, reporting that Istanbul Public Prosecutor Asım Ekren, who had prepared the first indictment against Sözcü newspaper’s employees, had stood trial himself in the past.

According to his article, prosecutor Asım Ekren had been denounced by the suspects of an earlier investigation of his. A lawsuit was filed against Ekren for this reason, and he had been sentenced to prison. The court had then alleviated the sentence, ordering that Ekren be removed from public office for “2 months and 15 days” for professional misconduct. According to the news article, Ekren’s sentence was upheld by the Court of Cassation. The report asked how Ekren could continue to serve as prosecutor despite this sentence.

Necdet Önemli, the manager of Sözcü newspaper’s web site, published this article concerning the prosecutor in the case against his newspaper. The news article made references to daily Cumhuriyet and Seyhan Avşar, but no other aspects were mentioned.

An investigation was launched against Avşar and Önemli on charges of targeting the prosecutor Asım Ekren.

Prosecutor Asım Ekren was mentioned as “injured party” in the indictment against Avşar and Önemli.

The indictment indicated that Ekren had filed a lawsuit against the employees of the Sözcü newspaper, for alleged “membership in a terrorist organization.” For this reason, Avşar and Önemli were charged of “targeting a public official -namely, Ekren- who takes part in the fight against terrorism” (Anti-Terror Law, Article 6/1).

Prison sentences of 1 to 3 years are requested for Avşar and Önemli.

The first hearing of the trial will be held on January 9, 2020.

Avşar, Önemli - Hedef Gösterme Davası (İddianame)

Aykol-Kızılkaya Trial for Insulting the President

On August 11, 2016, Prosecutor Murat İnam of the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Press Crimes Investigation Bureau, drafted an indictment against Hüseyin Aykol, Co-Editor in Chief of the Özgür Gündem newspaper, and İnan Kızılkaya, the managing editor of the newspaper. The indictment concerned the news story published on the first page of Özgür Gündem dated April 8, 2016 with the title “Şahsı İçin Ülkeyi Yıkıyor” (“He Destroys the Country for Self-Interest”). The following expressions were presented as the ground for accusation: “Upon Erdoğan’s orders for the demolition of buildings in Silopi, a 70-year-old grandmother and a 2-year baby were killed”, “Bahçeli says, either me or the country. Erdoğan, having reached an agreement with the Ergenekon group in return for his presidency, continues to give massacre orders.” The other news stories subject to investigation were “Erdoğan Kelle Avcılığına Soyundu” (“Erdoğan Tries His Hand in Headhunting”) published on page 7 of the newspaper and “2 Yaşındaki Bebeği Katlettiler” (“They Massacred a 2-Year-Old Baby) published on page 8.

In the indictment, the prosecutor stated the following about these stories: “These news articles make statements against the President concerning the incidents of Şırnak and Silopi, which exceed the limits of criticism and of freedom of expression to insult the President. Although it was possible to report the event within the limits of proper criticism, the President was defamed, being portrayed as a headhunter giving massacre orders, making threats and issuing genocidal orders. As such the stories constitute the crime of insulting the President.”

The Istanbul Second Criminal Court of First Instance accepted this indictment mentioning President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as complainant.

On August 23 2016, another indictment, drafted by Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office, Press Crimes Investigation Bureau prosecutor Umut Tepe, was sent to the same court with the request to merge the two indictments. In this indictment mentioning Aykol and Kızılkaya as suspects, President Erdoğan figured as complainant. The indictment cited the following phrases to charge the suspects for “insulting the president.” The news article titled “Fitnenin başı bu zirvededir” (“The chief of enmity is at this summit”) on the 1st page of the newspaper dated April 15, 2016, read “…Although he argues that sectarianism is equal to instigating enmity, Erdoğan supports ISIS and provokes animosity against the Kurds, making many feel that the real chief of enmity is right here in this summit.”

Another indictment drafted by prosecutor Murat İnam on September 20, 2016 mentioned Eren Keskin, Özgür Gündem’s editor-in-chief and İnan Kızılkaya, its managing editor, as suspects. President Erdoğan again figured as complainant. The ground for accusation was the news story titled “Erdoğan’ın Dediği Oldu” (“Erdoğan Carried the Day”) published on page 1 of the issue dated March 23, 2016.

Davut Zerman, a prosecutor at the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office Press Crimes Investigation Bureau, drafted another indictment on October 7, 2016 charging Kızılkaya and Aykol of “insulting the President.” The article titled “Vahşete Saray ödülü” (“The Palace Awards Atrocity”) published on page 1 of the issue dated April 25, 2016, was the subject of this indictment. The indictment was dispatched to the same court with a request for merger.

In yet another indictment drafted by Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office, Press Crimes Investigation Bureau prosecutor Umut Tepe on October 26, 2016 mentioned the writer İhsan Çaralan and managing editor İnan Kızılkaya as suspects and President Erdoğan as complainant. The ground for charges was the story titled “Aynı Yer Aynı Katil“ (“Same Place, Same Killer“) on the 1st page of the issue dated May 31, 2016.

Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Press Crimes Investigation Bureau prosecutor Ahmet Dalgalı also drafted an indictment against İnan Kızılkaya on December 21, 2016 for “Insulting the President”, concerning the article titled “Tarihi Uyarı” (“ Historical Warning”) published on August 4, 2016. President Erdoğan figured as complainant in this indictment as well.

These six separate indictments sent to the Istanbul Second Criminal Court of First Instance were merged. The first hearing of the trial took place in January 2017.

The verdict was issued on the 9th hearing held on October 25, 2018.

Aykol and Kızılkaya were sentenced to 1 year 6 months in prison on charges of ”insulting the President.” The judge stated that the journalists committed this crime publicly and increased the sentence to 1 year 9 months in prison.

The judge, claiming that the journalists had committed the same crime multiple times, increased the sentence further to 2 years, 2 months and 8 days. Then, in consideration of the conduct of the journalists during court, the judge reduced their sentences to 1 year, 10 months and 26 days. The judge ordered a deferment of the announcement of the verdict for Kızılkaya, and a probation period of 5 years.

The judge sentenced İhsan Çaralan to one year in prison for the same offense. Claiming that Çaralan had committed this crime publicly, the judge increased the sentence to 1 year and 2 months in prison. Then, in consideration of Çaralan’s behavior in court, the judge reduced the sentence to 11 months and 20 days. The judge ordered a deferment of the announcement of the verdict, and a probation period of 5 years.

As for Eren Keskin, the judge stated that other trials on the same charges were underway at the Istanbul Second Criminal Court of First Instance concerning her, and ruled that this trial be dropped since the other trials covered the date of this accusation as well.

Ayşegül Doğan - Trial for Leading a Terrorist Organization

From 2015 onwards, many journalists and politicians were investigated for the activities of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) in Diyarbakır. Journalist Ayşegül Doğan was among the journalists investigated. The investigation on Doğan was conducted by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office Terror Crimes Investigation Bureau in 2018.

Prosecutor Şahsuvar Yıldız drafted the indictment for the investigation on journalist Ayşegül Doğan concerning the DTK’s activities. The indictment, completed on May 23, 2018, consisted of 86 pages. The remarks about Doğan were on pages 70-76 of the indictment.

The rest of the indictment claimed the DTK constituted the third pillar of Abdullah Öcalan’s “four-pillar paradigm”, acting as a supposed constituent assembly or organization. It was claimed the DTK was established and structured at the behest of Abdullah Öcalan with a view to implementing “the strategy of Democratic Autonomy”, and was a legislative organ operating like a parliament. The indictment also cited Abdullah Öcalan’s meeting minutes with his lawyers concerning the DTK.

In the section about journalist Doğan, the voice recordings of four of her phone calls are presented. Two of these calls concerned news contacts, while the other two were about her invitation to workshops by the DTK. In the phone call dated November 15, 2011, cited in the indictment, Doğan tells G. that news stories concerning the defendant Abdullah Öcalan should be “formulated meticulously.” In another phone call, Doğan tells a member of the DTK that she was disappointed for not receiving an invitation to their workshop on unsolved murders and forced disappearances.

The phone call on May 8, 2012 concerns a proposition to Doğan for acting as moderator in the meeting titled Democratic Autonomy Workshop organized by the DTK.

The fourth call mentioned in the indictment is between Doğan and a consultant to an MP, regarding the individuals who will participate in the Erbil Kurdish Women Conference.

Moreover, Doğan’s activities in the DTK’s Permanent Assembly and various the DTK commissions are also presented as ground for charges.

Based on such evidence, prosecutor Yıldız requested that Doğan be sentenced to prison of up to 22.5 years on charges of “establishing and leading an armed terrorist organization” as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 314, paragraph 1.

The Diyarbakır Ninth High Criminal Court accepted the indictment against Doğan and a lawsuit was filed. The first hearing of the case was held on November 21, 2018. Doğan presented her defense at the hearing, stating that her contacts with the DTK were aimed only at journalism, and that this could be confirmed by the archival records of that period. Arguing that the phone calls cited in the indictment concern solely journalistic activities, Ayşegül Doğan made explanations against every charge pressed against her. The next hearing of the case was held on April 3, 2019. Doğan did not attend this hearing. The panel of judges ordered that Doğan’s voice samples be compared with the voice recordings presented in the case file as evidence, and that the Forensic Medicine Institute prepare a report on this subject.
The third hearing of the case was held on September 11, 2019.

Enver Akman (president of the panel), Abdullah Kılıç (prosecutor), Ramazan Dündar and Mehmet Tur (judges) were present. Doğan did not attend this hearing. His lawyer Ahmet Özmen said that Doğan could not attend the hearing due to a surgery. The president of the panel of judges stated that the audio surveillance voice recordings concerning Doğan had been sent to Istanbul Forensic Medicine Institute for examination, but their report had not yet been received.

The trial was adjourned until December 25, 2019.

Ayşenur Parıldak - Zaman Trial

Ayşenur Parıldak, a reporter at the shuttered Zaman newspaper was taken into custody on August 4, 2016. Parıldak was charged for membership of an armed terrorist organization, and the prosecutor requested a prison sentence between 7.5 and 15 years.

In the indictment it was alleged that the application Bylock was installed on Parıldak’s phone. At the second hearing of the trial, the court requested an identity report on the telephone line that figured in the indictment. After media outlets close to the government reported the order for Parıldak’s release in a critical tone, the court’s request was fulfilled.

The report stated that the telephone line in question belonged to Parıldak. The release order was not implemented as the prosecutor’s office opposed it. İsmail Ademoğlu, the judge who had ordered Parıldak’s release, was removed from his post and appointed to the Ankara Regional Court.

During the trial, Parıldak claimed that the telephone line in question did not belong to her; however, this was not accepted by court. She was sentenced to seven years and six months in prison on charges of membership of an armed terrorist organization. The decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal and Court of Cassation. Since August 11, 2016, she has been serving time in Sincan Women’s Closed Prison.

Ayşenur Parıldak - Zaman Davası (İddianame)

Ayşenur Parıldak - Zaman Davası (Gerekçeli Karar)

Ayşenur Parıldak - Zaman Davası (Yargıtay Kararı)

Ayşenur Parıldak - Zaman Davası (İstinaf Mahkemesi Kararı)

Baransu, Çoban - MGK News Trial

On November 28, 2013, Taraf newspaper penned an article titled “Gülen’i Bitirme Kararı 2004 MGK’da Alındı” (“The Decision to Finish Gülen Taken at the National Security Council (MGK) in 2004”), which cited a document about the MGK meeting dated August 25, 2004. After the news story was published, the Prime Minister’s Office, National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and MGK filed a criminal complaint against Taraf newspaper in December 2013. After Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office reached a decision of lack of jurisdiction, the criminal complaints were forwarded to Istanbul. Subsequently, an investigation was launched against Mehmet Baransu, a reporter at Taraf Newspaper, and Murat Şevki Çoban, the then-managing editor of the newspaper.

Following the publication of the news story, the then-government spokesman and minister in charge of media relations, Bülent Arınç said, “This is not journalism but disrespect.” The then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated, “Should we go on and make such revelations, too? The world would tremble. The state has hidden secrets, which must not be disclosed to anyone. This has nothing to do with the freedom of press.”

The trial is underway at the Istanbul Anadolu 10th High Criminal Court.

At the first hearing on June 3, 2015, Mehmet Baransu was in Silivri Prison for another offense. He couldn’t attend the hearing due to an illness.

His lawyer Sercan Sakallı said, “In the current trial, my client has published this news story in order to protect public interest, and this is in conformity with the constitution.”

The lawyer requested that a letter be sent to National Security Council (MGK) to learn whether there was an administrative or judicial investigation on this issue, and another letter be sent to the Turkish Parliament for the related parliamentary questions to be answered. The court accepted both requests.

At the second hearing on September 9, 2015, Baransu’s lawyer Serkan Sakallı and the lawyer of both defendants, Veysel Ok, demanded that the case be dropped since the statute of limitations stipulated in the Press Law had expired.

The lawyer for the complainant National Security Council stated, “The case has nothing to do with press or freedom of press. The indictment refers to articles in the Turkish Penal Code. We see malicious intent here. The secret documents of the state were disclosed via the press with malicious intent.”

The lawyer for the other complainant, National Intelligence Organization, also requested the rejection of defense lawyers’ demands. Prosecutor Kenan Pehlivan likewise requested the rejection of the demands in question. The panel of judges obliged.

Mehmet Baransu stated that he would make a defense on the procedures, and also requested time to draft a defense against the accusations.

The panel of judges accepted the requests of the National Security Council - Secretariat General and the Undersecretariat of National Intelligence Organization to participate in this public case.

At the third hearing on November 17, 2015, the lawyers requested again that the case be dropped as per the Press Law. Baransu stated that he agreed with his lawyers. The panel of judges again rejected the request.

Baransu indicated that for this hearing he was taken from prison at 11:00, he had not eaten anything, it was 18:00 and he could barely stand, and that he would not present a defense.

At this hearing, the court ordered that Çoban be exempted from all the hearings, and that letters be sent to the National Intelligence Organization, Turkish Armed Forces and Ministry of Interior to learn whether any judicial or administrative investigation was launched as regards the document in question.

At the fourth hearing on March 10, 2016, Baransu stated that the lawsuit had not been filed within the four-month period stipulated by the Press Law.

At the fifth hearing on April 19, 2016, Baransu’s lawyer stated that the hearing had started 3.5 hours late, and requested the postponement of the hearing so that the defense would not be divided. The court accepted the request.

At the sixth hearing on May 2, 2016, Baransu started to present his defense. The defense was recorded with the court videoconferencing system SEGBIS. In his additional defense against a possible accusation pursuant to Turkish Penal Code Articles 334/1, 336/1 (“Obtaining and disclosing confidential information”), Baransu pleaded non-guilty and stated that he was simply doing his job.

At the seventh hearing on September 22, 2016, the prosecutor Halil İbrahim Beşer stated that even if additional time were given to them as regards the charge of “Obtaining and disclosing confidential information”, Mehmet Baransu and Murat Şevki Çoban had to be sentenced separately for the other charges in the indictment, such as “Obtaining documents relating to state security”, “Disclosing documents relating to state security”, “Disclosing documents relating to the duties of the MİT.” Prosecutor Beşer requested that Baransu and Çoban be imprisoned for a period of from 21 years, 9 months to 47 years, 6 months pursuant to Articles 326/1, 329/1, 43/1 of Turkish Penal Code and Article 27 of MİT Law. Baransu said he disagreed with the judicial opinion of the prosecutor.

The eighth hearing of the case was held on November 9, 2016. Baransu’s lawyer Ahmet Emre Bayrak indicated that his client had been taken from prison in the early hours of the morning, had not eaten anything, and was unable to present a defense. Baransu stated that he was not delivered all the documents in the file, and demanded extra time. The court accepted the request to give him extra time for the defense, because the hearing normally scheduled for 14:00 had started at 18:30.

At the ninth hearing on February 8, 2017, Baransu could not be brought to the hearing because he had been transferred to the Adana F-Type High Security Closed Prison.

Baransu was brought to the 10th hearing on April 19, 2017. At this hearing, Baransu requested that the NSC document, the “FETÖ Umbrella Indictment” published in Hürriyet newspaper, Report of the Parliamentary Commission for the Investigation of the Coup, the minutes of “Internet Memorandum”, and some newspapers be added to the file. His request was rejected.

At the 11th hearing on July 5, 2017, Baransu stated, “The court has rejected all the documents that I requested to be included in the case. I’m trying to gather the documents together. It takes much time due to the state of emergency and my imprisonment; I have difficulty in accessing documents.”

On October 25, 2017, the 12th hearing was held. Stating that he had been transferred to the hospital due to an illness, Baransu indicated that the treatment would last long: “I had prepared all my documents. Then they confiscated the documents I was going to present to you. They seized the books. If the court writes an official letter, I will be able to present my evidence.” The court ruled that the documents that Baransu claimed were seized by the prison administration be presented to the court.

Baransu could not attend the 13th hearing on January 9, 2018, due to another trial at the Istanbul 23th High Criminal Court.

At the 14th hearing on March 21, 2018, Baransu’s defense lawyer resigned. Baransu stated that he would hire another lawyer. Baransu was given time for his final defense.

Baransu and his new lawyer Yahya Engin attended the 15th hearing on June 27, 2018. Baransu requested some documents from the court. His lawyer demanded time, stating that he had been recently appointed to the case.

Baransu could not attend the 16th hearing held on October 17, 2018 due to another trial of his at a separate court. He could not attend the 17th hearing on December 12, 2018 and the 18th hearing on March 6, 2019 due to health issues.

He attended the 19th hearing on June 19, 2019 without a lawyer. He indicated that he had previously been tried and acquitted at the Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance and Ankara 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance for this file. He requested that the case be rejected and dropped since the statute of limitations had expired.

A new prosecutor was appointed to the case. The court ordered that the case be referred to the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office for the opinion as to the accusations.

At the 20th hearing held on September 24, 2019, the prosecutor claimed in his judicial opinion that the crime was committed via the press and requested that the case be referred to the 2. High Criminal Court for lack of jurisdiction.

At the 20th hearing of the case on September 24, the court gave extra time to the lawyers to prepare a statement against the prosecutor’s opinion.

Murat Şevki Çoban did not attend the 21th hearing held on October 24, 2019. Çoban’s lawyer Figen Çalıkuşu, Mehmet Baransu and Baransu’s lawyer Yahya Engin presented a defense against the prosecutor’s opinion. The court decided to send the case to the prosecution for the drafting of the opinion as to the accusations.

Baransu, Çoban - MGK Haberi Davası (İddianame)

Beritan Canözer - Trial for Membership of a Terrorist Organization

Jin News Agency reporter Beritan Canözer stood trial for testimonies given by witnesses with known identities. In the indictment dated December 5, 2018, drafted by the Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor’s Office, it was stated that an investigation was launched against Beritan Canözer as it was alleged by witnesses that she was a member of the armed terrorist organization PKK/KCK, was active within the organization, and acted upon the orders and instructions of senior leaders within its hierarchical structure.

Canözer was claimed to be a part of the said organization in statements given by Canan Ceylan, Rifayi İpek, Mehmet Salih Ateş, and Baran Aslan, who are separately standing trial for membership to the armed terrorist organization PKK/KCK.

The indictment drafted by Prosecutor Ayhan Ataman stated that Canözer in her statement indicated that she had no connection to the armed terrorist organization PKK/KCK, she was not a part of the organization, she did not know the witnesses against her, and she did not accept their testimonies. Canözer was charged with membership of an armed terrorist organization pursuant to Turkish Penal Code, Articles 314/2, 53, 58/9 and Anti-Terror Law, Article 5.

The first hearing of the case was held on March 20, 2019, at the Diyarbakır Ninth High Criminal Court. Witnesses Mehmet Salih Ateş and Baran Aslan connected to the court via the Audio and Video Information System (SEGBİS), and stated that they did not know Canözer and that their statements had been extracted by torture. At the second hearing on June 26, the prosecutor asked Canözer to be sentenced to 7.5 to 15 years. Her lawyer requested additional time and the trial was adjourned until October 16, 2019.

Canözer was acquitted of all charges in the final hearing of the trial.

Beritan Canözer - Üyelik Davası (İddianame)

Berzan Güneş - Social Media Trial

Berzan Güneş, a reporter for the Mezopotamya News Agency, was detained on June 11, 2018, in Şırnak. He was arrested on charges of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” with his social media posts.

However, since further investigations were launched against him, Güneş went abroad. The trial continues in his absence.

Berzan Güneş - Sosyal Medya Davası (İddianame)

Çağdaş Erdoğan - Propaganda Trial

Çağdaş Erdoğan was taken into custody on September 2, 2017, in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district for allegedly photographing the social facilities of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT).

Çağdaş Erdoğan was detained for 11 days and then arrested on September 13 on charges of “membership of PKK/KCK” and “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization.” An indictment was drafted against him on October 30, 2017. The 37-page indictment drafted by prosecutor Arman İlhan made ample use of screenshots from Erdoğan’s social media accounts and personal web site, presenting these as grounds for both charges. The indictment argued that Erdoğan’s claims “to have photographed MİT facilities by mistake, without knowledge of their actual function” were implausible, and claimed instead that Erdoğan took the photos “on the orders of PKK/KCK” and “with a view to collecting reconnaissance for planning terrorist attacks.”

The indictment went on to argue that Erdoğan “maintained an organic and hierarchical connection to PKK/KCK and acted in line with the instructions and calls of the organization,” and that he “made propaganda for the organization” multiple times with his posts on social media and his personal web site. Erdoğan’s first hearing took place on February 13, 2018. He was released at the first hearing.

At the fifth hearing on May 7, 2019, the prosecutor announced his opinion as to the accusations.

Accordingly the prosecutor requested that Erdoğan be acquitted on charges of “membership” but sentenced for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” with his social media posts, as per Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2. The prosecutor also requested that Erdoğan’s time in prison be deducted from his sentence.

At the final hearing on September 5, 2019, the court ruled that Erdoğan be acquitted on charges of “membership” and be sentenced to 1 year, 8 months in prison for “continuously spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization.” The court also ordered that the time spent in prison be deducted from the sentence, and deferred the announcement of the verdict.

Çağdaş Erdoğan - Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Can Dündar - Solidarity with Özgür Gündem Trial

The Istanbul 8th Criminal Court of Peace “temporarily” shut down the newspaper Özgür Gündem on August 16, 2016. Previously, in order to support the newspaper in the face of mounting pressure, the “Editor-in-chief on Watch” campaign had been launched on May 3, 2016, whereby prominent individuals took turns as the editor-in-chief of the newspaper. The campaign had become necessary after lawsuits were filed against the newspaper’s co-editors-in-chief Eren Keskin and Hüseyin Aykol, and its managing editor İnan Kızılkaya.

The campaign ended on August 7, 2016. Özgür Gündem was permanently shut down by Decree Law no. 675 on October 29, 2016.

Investigations were launched against 49 of the 56 editors-in-chief on watch who joined the campaign. Eleven of these investigations ended in a verdict of
non-prosecution. Thirty-seven lawsuits were filed. The lawsuit against Deniz Türkali was dropped due to statute of limitations.

The lawsuits took place in Istanbul’s 13th, 14th, and 22th High Criminal Courts.

Defendants

Charges were pressed against these 37 individuals: A. Kumru Başer, Ahmet Nesin, Ayşe Batumlu, Ayşe Düzkan, Beyza Üstün, Can Dündar, Celal Başlangıç, Celalettin Can, Cengiz Baysoy, Çilem Küçükkkeleş, Derya Okatan, Dicle Anter, Erol Önderoğlu, Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, Faruk Balıkçı, Faruk Eren, Fehim Işık, Hüseyin Tahmaz, Hakkı Boltan, Hasan Cemal, Hasan Hayri Şanlı, İbrahim Bodur, İhsan Çaralan, Julide Kural, Murat Çelikkan, Murat Uyurkulak, Nadire Mater, Necmiye Alpay, Nevin Erdemir, Öncü Akgül, Ragıp Duran, Said Sefa, Şanar Yurdatapan, Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Tuğrul Eryılmaz, Veysi Altay, Yıldırım Türker.

Verdicts of non-prosecution

Verdicts of non-prosecution were issued for the following 11 names who joined the campaign: İhsan Eliaçık, Sebahat Tuncel, Ahmet Abakay, Eşber Yağmurdereli, Hasip Kaplan, Işın Eliçin, Kemal Can, Mustafa Sönmez, Melda Onur, Uğur Karadaş, Nurcan Baysal.

27 editors-in-chief on watch were sentenced

The court handed down prison sentences totaling 352 months, 15 days in prison and 68,000 TL in fines to the following 27 individuals who joined the campaign: Şanar Yurdatapan, İbrahim Bodur, Cengiz Baysoy, İmam Canpolat, Çilem Küçükkeleş, Nadire Mater, Yıldırım Türker, Hasan Cemal, Faruk Balıkçı, Dicle Anter, Derya Okatan, Kumru Başer, Ayşe Batumlu, Jülide Kural, İlham Bakır, Murat Uyurkulak, Murat Çelikkan, Beyza Üstün, Nevin Erdemir, Hakkı Boltan, Hasan Hayri Şanlı ve Tuğrul Eryılmaz, Hüseyin Aykol, Ayşe Düzkan, Ragıp Duran, Mehmet Ali Çelebi and Hüseyin Bektaş.

Çelikkan and Düzkan served time

Of the editors-in-chief on watch whose sentences were not deferred, Murat Çelikkan was placed in Kırklareli Prison on August 14, 2017, then transferred to an open prison on October 14, 2017, and finally released on October 21, 2017.

Another editor-in-chief on watch whose sentence was not deferred was Ayşe Düzkan, who was put to Bakırköy Women’s Prison on January 29, after the Court of
Appeal upheld her sentence, to serve 1 year, 6 months in prison. She was later transferred to the Eskişehir Open Prison and finally released on June 12, 2019.

First three editors-in-chief arrested were later acquitted.

The first editors-in-chief on watch to be arrested in this investigation were Erol Önderoğlu, Ahmet Nesin and Şebnem Korur Fincancı. These three figures were arrested on June 20, 2016, and released 10 days later. All of them were acquitted of all charges at the 11th hearing held on July 17, 2019.

10 editors-in-chief on watch still stand trial

Of the editors-in-chief on watch who participated in the campaign, Faruk Eren, the president of the press employees union DİSK Basın-İş; İhsan Çaralan and Fehim Işık, contributors to Evrensel newspaper; journalists Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, Celal Başlangıç, Celalettin Can and Öncü Akgül stand trial at the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court. Upon the request of the lawyers, the panel of judges ordered the merger of the cases for these six individuals who served as editors-in-chief and cases for other individuals whose articles and letters were published in the newspaper during those days. These individuals include the newspaper’s ex Co-Editor-in-Chief and contributor Hüseyin Aykol, and columnist Ömer Ağın.

The proceedings continue for the editors-in-chief on watch Can Dündar, Said Sefa and Veysi Altay, whose trials are held separately.

Kızılkaya figures as defendant in all 37 trials

In all of the 37 lawsuits, managing editor İnan Kızılkaya stood trial as defendant. A large number of these lawsuits against Kızılkaya were merged with the Özgür Gündem Main Trial.

Charges

The 37 editors-in-chief on watch stand/stood trial on charges of “Spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” as per Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) no. 3713; “Publishing and disseminating the announcements and declarations of terrorist organizations” as per Article 6 of the Anti-Terror Law; “Publicly inciting to commit crime” as per Article 215/1 of Turkish Penal Code; and “Praising the crime and criminal” as per Article 214/1 of the Turkish Penal Code.
The prosecutor requested prison sentences of 1 to 5 years as per Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2; 1 to 3 years as per Anti-Terror Law, Article 6/2; up to 2 years as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 215/1; from 6 months to 5 years as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 214/1; totaling prison sentences of 2.5 to 15 years for each of the 37 editors-in-chief on watch.

Can Dündar’s trial

The last hearing of the case against Can Dündar was held on July 18, 2019. The trial was postponed since the arrest warrant against Dündar could not be implemented and the trial continued in his absence. The trial was adjourned until November 28, 2019.

Can Dündar - Özgür Gündem Dayanışma Davası (İddianame)

Canan Coşkun - Insulting the President of the Republic Trial

Upon a criminal complaint filed by President Erdoğan, a lawsuit was brought against Cumhuriyet reporter Canan Coşkun on November 25, 2015, for the news story titled “Erdoğan Buyurdu, Gazetecilik Tutuklandı” (At Erdoğan’s Behest, Journalism Under Arrest) on charges of “Insulting the President.”

In the indictment that he completed on November 13, 2017, Prosecutor Asım Ekrem stated that “the news story includes Can Dündar’s statements that it is Erdoğan who should be tried, and the news story argues that the President handles the trial like a personal matter, claiming that he acts with personal enmity and hatred and issues unlawful instructions for the suspect’s arrest.”

The following explanation was given as to why the lawsuit was filed two years after the publication of the news story, against normal legal procedures: “Although it has been observed that the four-month period stipulated for in Article 26 of the Press Law has expired for the printed version of the story, the same story is also published on the internet and can be accessed from the links in the file, so that the case is not subject to statute of limitations.”

At the first hearing, Coşkun’s lawyer stated that the Press Law should be applied unconditionally, and that the publication of the news whether on the newspaper or on the website is the responsibility of the managing editor, not the journalist. The lawyer requested that the lawsuit be dropped and Coşkun immediately acquitted.

The court reached a verdict at the second hearing on June 20, 2019. The court acquitted Coşkun since there was a breach of the aforementioned article of Press Law.

Canan Coşkun - Cumhurbaşkanına Hakaret Davası (İddianame)

Canan Coşkun - Trial for Targeting

Canan Coşkun drafted a news report on the interrogation by prosecutors of the lawyers detained on September 20, 2017.

In the report, she made references to the testimony of Berk Ercan, a witness under arrest. She was charged with “Targeting Persons Involved in the Fight Against Terrorism ” (as per Turkish Penal Code 53/1, 58/9).

The Istanbul 26th High Criminal Court sentenced Canan Coşkun to 2 years, 3 months in prison on July 19, 2018.

Canan Coşkun - Hedef Gösterme Davası (İddianame)

Cansu Pişkin - Afrin News Trial

Cansu Pişkin penned a news story about the change of prosecutor in the investigation against Boğaziçi University students who were detained, and it was published in Evrensel newspaper dated April 5, 2018, and on the newspaper’s website. The story read:

“… Prosecutor Onur Rıfat Atılgan, who was in charge of the investigation, was replaced by Ergun Güçlü on the day the students were brought to court. Ergun Güçlü is a prosecutor at Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Bureau for Investigation of Terror and Organized Crime, and had described HDP, the third largest party in the Parliament, as a ‘party engaged in politics under instructions from the terrorist organization’ in a previous indictment …”

An indictment was completed by Prosecutor Yavuz Şahin on November 14, 2018, and Cansu Pişkin stood trial for “Making comments on public prosecutors and citing their identity in an explicit manner.”

At the hearing on May 7, 2019, Pişkin was sentenced to 10 months in prison as per Article 6 / 1 of the Anti-Terror Law no. 3713. The court deferred the announcement of the verdict.

The court reduced the 1-year prison sentence by 1/6, “in consideration of its possible effects on the defendant’s future.”

Cansu Pişkin - Afrin Haberi Davası (İddianame)

Cem Şimşek - Evrensel Trial

İsmail Cem Şimşek - İftira Davası (İddianame)

Ceren Sözeri - Albayrak Trial for Compensation

A lawsuit has been filed against Ceren Sözeri, a journalist at the Evrensel newspaper, for her article titled, “AKP’ye kim oy kaybettirdi” (“Who made AKP lose votes”) published on April 7, 2019. Serhat Albayrak, vice chairman of the pro-government Turkuvaz Media Group claimed a total of 200,000 TL in compensation for damages, from Sözeri and the company publishing the newspaper. Serhat Albayrak is the brother of Minister of Treasury and Finance Berat Albayrak, the son-in-law of President Tayyip Erdoğan. Turkuvaz Media Group counts among its subsidiaries the pro-government newspapers and TV channels Sabah, Takvim, ATV and A Haber.

In her article, Sözeri discussed how in the local elections held on March 31, 2019, the Anadolu News Agency’s broadcast was interrupted for 14 hours as the votes were being counted. She also questioned how the Anadolu News Agency could collect data from ballot boxes all over Turkey.

The petition for the complaint presented the following phrase in Sözeri’s article as ground for accusation:

“The pro-government media does not refrain from disseminating fabricated news and hate speech, especially Sabah-ATV, known to be close to the Pelican group (…)”
“Sabah-ATV group (…) engaged in a reckless production of lies.”

It was claimed that Sözeri targeted Albayrak with these expressions, “incriminating Albayrak with dark and baseless insinuations” and “blemishing his prestige.”

It was alleged that Sözeri’s article inflicted damaged on Albayrak’s rights and commercial prestige.

Albayrak’s petition was accepted by the Istanbul Second Commercial Court of First Instance. The first hearing will be held on March 4, 2020.

Ceren Sözeri - Albayrak Tazminat Davası (Şikayet Dilekçesi)

Çetin Kurşun - Ciwan News Trial

Çetin Kurşun, an employee of the Azadiya Welat newspaper shuttered by a decree law, was taken into custody on February 6, 2018, in a police raid to his family home in Kızıltepe, along with his brother S.K. His computer was seized as well.

After 13 days in custody, Kurşun gave a statement to the prosecutor and was referred to the court. The court released S.K. on condition of judicial control and ordered the arrest of Çetin Kurşun on charges of “committing a crime for the terrorist organization without being its member.” Kurşun was placed in Mardin E-Type Closed Prison on February 19, 2018.

The prosecutor Kemal Doğan completed the investigation and drafted an indictment on December 11, 2018.

The indictment stated that the investigation was launched upon a written statement sent by İzmir Police Department to Mardin Police Department on January 18, 2018 indicating that the web site ciwannews.net could be linked to PKK. It was found out that the said website was registered with a phone number that belonged to Çetin Kurşun, being used by Kurşun’s brother.

The indictment consisted almost entirely of news stories and content published on the website ciwannews. Among these there were news stories dated February 7, 2018, a date when Kurşun was in custody. The indictment presented as evidence two copies of Azadiya Welat newspaper found in Kurşun’s home, a press ID for Azadiya Welat, a hard disc, a mobile phone and a drinking glass featuring the logo of the Solidarity Association of Prisoners’ Families (TUHAD-FED). It was indicated that the indictment was drafted before the criminal reports for the digital materials reached the prosecutor’s office.

In the indictment, the prosecutor requested that Çetin Kurşun and his brother be sentenced for “membership of terrorist organization” as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 314/2.

The first trial of the proceedings took place on February 7, 2019, nearly one year later. In the third hearing on May 30, 2019, the court sentenced Çetin Kurşun to three years in prison for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization involving coercion, violence and threats,” but released him in consideration of the time he spent in jail.

Çetin Kurşun - Ciwan News Davası (İddianame)

Çetin Kurşun - Ciwan News Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

Çiğdem Toker - Agrobay Trial

The company Agrobay Seracılık, which belongs to the Bayburt Group, sued the journalist Çiğdem Toker claiming 1.5 million TL for damages for her article titled “Rusya’ya Domatesler de Bayburt’tan” (“Tomatoes sent to Russia from Bayburt”) published in Cumhuriyet newspaper.

The company claimed that Toker “publicly defamed the company” with her article. At the first hearing, the court requested information from the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Stockbreeding about tomato trade with Russia. The trial was adjourned until December 6, 2018.

Çiğdem Toker - Agrobay Davası (Şikayet Dilekçesi)

Çiğdem Toker - PTT News Trial

On April 22, 2018, Çiğdem Toker published an article in the Cumhuriyet newspaper titled “PTT’nin ayrıcalıklı şirketi” (The privileged company of PTT). In the article, she stated that the Turkish postal company PTT granted a tender for the procurement of 70 million TL worth of cameras to the company STM by “invitation,” that the latter received a payment of 42 million TL without having delivered any product, and that according to the trade registry gazette, STM’s board members included Reha Denemeç, an ex-MP from AKP who currently served as Chief Consultant to President. In response, PTT sued Çiğdem Toker, the then Chairman of Cumhuriyet newspaper Akın Atalay, Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu, Managing Editor Farun Eren, demanding 50 thousand TL in compensation for damages.

The first three hearings of the trial were dedicated to the completion of official paperwork. For example, the court requested a copy of Cumhuriyet newspaper featuring the article in question and an examination of Toker’s socio-economic situation.

At the end of the trial, the court ordered that the claim for compensation and trial be dropped.

Çiğdem Toker - PTT Haberi Davası (Şikayet Dilekçesi)

Çiğdem Toker - Şenbay News Trial

The mining company Şenbay Madencilik sued journalist Çiğdem Toker for her article “Tasarruf Arıyorsanız Metro İhalelerine Bakın” (Examine the Subway Tenders if You Want to Economize), in the Cumhuriyet newspaper dated October 22, 2017, requesting compensation for immaterial damages.

The company submitted a petition of complaint to the Ankara Civil Court of First Instance on November 29, 2017. The petition claimed that Toker “degraded the company, by attacking its commercial prestige”. The petition was accepted by Ankara 13. Civil Court of First Instance in May 2018 and a lawsuit was filed against Toker requesting 1.5 million in compensation for immaterial damages.

The first hearing of the case was held on December 11, 2018, at Ankara 13. Civil Court of First Instance. However, the trial was adjourned as the judge was on leave. A the second and third hearings, Şenbay Madencilik demanded that the documents for the subway tender mentioned in Toker’s article be requested from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure.

The fourth hearing was held on October 17, 2019, at Ankara 13. Civil Court of First Instance.

Çiğdem Toker - Şenbay Haberi Davası (Şikayet Dilekçesi)

Social Media Trial About Çitil

Charges were pressed against eight individuals, seven of whom are journalists, for sharing in their social media account the news story “Kuşatmanın adı ‘Bayrak 12’, başındaki isim Musa Çitil” (“Name of the siege is ‘Bayrak 12’, and it is led by Musa Çitil”) about the military operation in Sur district, led by Gendarmerie Deputy General Commander, Lieutenant General Musa Çitil.

Çitil filed a complaint with Diyarbakır Chief Prosecutor’s Office claiming that he was being “targeted” with the said story. Upon this complaint, an investigation was launched against Ömer Çelik, News Manager of Dicle News Agency (DİHA) shuttered by a Decree Law; DİHA reporters Çağdaş Kaplan, Hamza Gündüz, Selman Çiçek and journalist A. Vahap Taş; İnan Kızılkaya, the Managing Director of the shuttered Özgür Gündem newspaper who posted the story on the newspaper’s official social media account; the newspaper’s Publisher Kemal Sancılı; and a social media user named S.G.

In February 2016, Diyarbakır Chief Prosecutor’s Office completed its investigation against those who shared the story on their social media accounts and drafted an indictment. In his indictment, prosecutor Tufan Çaldıran requested 1 to 3 years in prison for the seven journalists on charges of “Targeting individuals having taken part in the fight against terror.”

An additional prison sentence of 1 to 5 years was requested for DİHA reporter Selman Çiçek for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” with his social media posts. In their defense, journalists acknowledged that they shared the news story in their social media accounts.

The indictment further claimed that the DİHA reporter Selman Çiçek committed the crime of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” by praising and legitimizing the violent acts of the organization through his social media posts.

The indictment was accepted by Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court and the first hearing was held on October 3, 2018.

Musa Çitil submitted a 40-page petition to Aydın 2nd High Criminal Court two days before the hearing on January 16. In reference to reporters’ testimony that “We published a news story under the scope of the freedom of press,” he claimed that “Considering the timing and continuity of the said posts, it is evident that these individuals have persisted in their support and propaganda activities for the separatist terror group by posting my name and photo; they have tried to denigrate the successful anti-terror operations conducted by myself, all members of Gendarmerie General Command and other security forces by penning and posting fabricated news; and they have attempted to demoralize security personnel performing their duty with success.”

In his petition, Çitil also submitted ‘additional evidence’ against the journalists in question, namely news stories about the trial and its first hearing published in various media outlets. In his petition to the court, Çitil also submitted his verdict of acquittal given by Çorum 2nd High Criminal Court and upheld by Court of Cassation, in the lawsuit concerning the murder of 13 villagers in the Derik district of Mardin. Çitil demanded to participate in the trial and asked for the severest punishment for the journalists.

The forth hearing of the trial took place on October 2, 2019. In the hearing, the prosecutor Abdullah Kılıç submitted his judicial opinion, claiming that the defendants, in their social media posts, targeted Musa Çitil who took part in the military operation dubbed “Bayrak 12” against PKK. As such, he requested that they be sentenced as per Article 6/1 of Anti-Terror Law, No. 3713 for targeting individuals having taken part in the fight against terror. The trial was adjourned until December 18, 2019, since the journalists and their lawyers demanded time for drafting additional defense.

Çitil Sosyal Medya Davası (İddianame)

Cumhuriyet Newspaper Trial

On the orders of the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office Anti-Terrorism Branch squads launched an operation against the Cumhuriyet newspaper on October 31, 2016.

The editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu as well as writers Aydın Engin, Hikmet Çetinkaya and Hakan Kara, Cumhuriyet Book Supplement’s editor-in-chief Turhan Günay, reader representative Güray Tekin Öz, lawyer Bülent Utku and two other employees were taken into custody from their homes.

After learning about the arrest warrants against them, cartoonist Musa Kart, columnist Kadri Gürsel, lawyer Mustafa Kemal Güngor and executive Önder Celik went to the police by their own will.

Newspaper writers and executives were arrested on November 5, 2016, on the orders of Judge Mustafa Çakar of Istanbul Ninth Criminal Court of Peace. Only the writers Aydın Engin and Hikmet Çetinkaya, along with two other newspaper employees were released with a ban on leaving the country.
The newspaper’s Chief Executive Officer Akın Atalay was abroad when the arrest warrant was issued against him, and got arrested on November 12, 2016 upon returning to Turkey.

It was later found out that the prosecutor Murat İnam in charge of the investigation was indeed standing trial for 10 charges, including “membership of FETÖ” and “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order.” İnam’s file was being examined by the Court of Cassation. After this information that could change the course of proceedings surfaced, İnam was taken from the Cumhuriyet trial, to be replaced by Istanbul Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Mehmet Akif Ekici and prosecutor Yasemin Baba.

Cumhuriyet reporter Ahmet Şık was taken into custody on December 29, 2016. The charges against him were based on his news articles and tweets. On December 30, 2016, he was arrested on allegations of “spreading propaganda for the terrorist organizations FETÖ, DHKP/C and PKK.” Şık’s case was later merged with the Cumhuriyet case.

Former Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper, Can Dündar and reporter İlhan Tanır were also part of the investigation. However, since Dündar and Tanır were abroad, their cases were separated from the main case. Their proceedings continued in their absence.

Istanbul Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Mehmet Akif Ekici and prosecutor Yasemin Baba completed on April 3, 2017 the indictment against 18 writers and executives of the daily Cumhuriyet. Istanbul 27th High Criminal Court accepted the indictment, and the Cumhuriyet trial began on April 19, 2017.
In the indictment, Cumhuriyet’s writers and executives were charged with “aiding and abetting armed terrorist organizations without being a member” and “breaching professional trust.”

The newspaper’s writers and executives were also charged with communicating with individuals who “allegedly used the smartphone application Bylock” or “were being investigated for FETÖ membership.”

Orhan Erinç, the publisher of Cumhuriyet, cartoonist Musa Kart and writer Hakan Kara’s phone calls to a holiday company were presented as evidence of criminal ties. CEO Akın Atalay’s connection to his colleague, lawyer Faik Işık was also depicted as criminal. In the past, Işık had also served as lawyer of President Tayyip Erdoğan. The reader representative, Güray Tekin Öz, was among the journalists charged with “communicating with an individual investigated for FETÖ membership.” However, that individual was simply the owner of a pastry shop which Güray Tekin Öz shopped from. Articles, headlines and tweets were cited as evidence for the charges.

Some Cumhuriyet employees testified against the writers and executives standing trial.

The Cumhuriyet newspaper trial began on July 24, 2017, a date celebrated in Turkey as the day of “the abolition of censorship in the press.” The first hearing lasted five days. At the end of the hearing, Güray Tekin Öz, Musa Kart, Hakan Kara, Turhan Günay, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Bulent Utku and Önder Çelik were released.
At the third hearing on September 25, 2017, Kadri Gürsel was released.

At the hearing on December 25, 2017, journalist Ahmet Şık presented a defense harshly critical of the government. Judge Abdurrahman Orkun Dağ ordered that Şık be removed from the courtroom for allegedly “breaching the limits of defense and disrupting court order.” In response, Akın Atalay and Murat Sabuncu chose not to present their defenses.

Murat Sabuncu and Ahmet Şık were released at the sixth hearing dated March 9, 2018. The court ordered the continuation of Akın Atalay’s detention. Judge Abdurrahman Orkun Dağ, explained this decision saying, “The captain is the last to abandon ship; so Mr. Atalay will be staying with us.”

On January 11, 2018, the Constitutional Court announced its verdict on the individual application of Turhan Günay, the editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet’s Book Supplement. The court ruled that Günay’s “right to personal liberty and safety” had been violated.

The Cumhuriyet trial continued with the 8th hearing: On the second day of the eighth hearing which started on April 24, 2018, the court announced its verdict on the writers, cartoonist, reporters and executives.

Although in the indictment no defendant was accused of “establishing and leading an armed organization,” all defendants were sentenced on this charge.
All defendants were sentenced to prison pursuant to Article 220, paragraph 7 of the Turkish Penal Code, that is, “knowingly and willingly assisting a terrorist organization without being involved in the hierarchical structure of the organization.”

The court handed down prison sentences of 7 years 13 months 15 days for Akın Atalay, 6 years 3 months for Orhan Erinç, 7 years 6 months for Murat Sabuncu, 2 years 6 months for Kadri Gürsel, 3 years 9 months for Güray Tekin Öz, 3 years 9 months for Musa Kart, 3 years 9 months for Hakan Kara, 7 years 6 months for Aydın Engin, 6 years 3 months for Hikmet Çetinkaya, 7 years 6 months for Ahmet Şık.

The court also ordered the release of Akın Atalay upon the announcement of the verdict.

All defendants were absolved from allegations of “breach of professional trust” directed against them in the indictment. Turhan Günay and two other newspaper employees were acquitted.

Can Dündar’s and İlhan Tanır’s cases were separated as they were abroad.

The Appeal Process

Appeals were filed against the verdict at a court of appeal. However, the Istanbul Regional Court Third Criminal Chamber upheld the decisions on February 18, 2019. The court of appeal did not find any violation of procedures and merits of the law in the verdict of the local court. It found no deficiency in the evidence presented and in the procedures. As such, the court of appeal upheld the prison sentences.

Upon this decision, Musa Kart, Hakan Kara and Güray Tekin Öz, who had previously been jailed pending trial for 9 months, went back to prison, along with two newspaper executives. According to the Code of Criminal Procedure, they could not file an appeal at the Court of Cassation since they were sentenced to less than 5 years in prison.

The proceedings in the Court of Cassation were completed while Kart, Kara and Öz, together with two other newspaper executives were in Kandıra Prison.

Court of Cassation Proceedings

Those who were handed down prison sentences of more than five years by the local court filed an appeal at the Court of Cassation. Pending the Court of Cassation 16th Criminal Chamber’s examination of the case, Court of Cassation Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office presented a judicial opinion concerning the verdict.

The Court of Cassation Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office requested that the prison sentences for Orhan Erinç, Akın Atalay, Murat Sabuncu, Hikmet Çetinkaya, Aydın Engin and Ahmet Şık be overturned, and that all journalists except for Ahmet Şık be acquitted.

In the judicial opinion, it was also requested that Ahmet Şık be sentenced on charges of not “aiding the organization,” but “praising a terrorist organization, and violence” and “spreading propaganda.”

Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office further demanded that a possible decision by Court of Cassation to overturn the verdict should also include Musa Kart, Hakan Kara, Güray Öz Tekin and two newspaper executives, who had went back to prison after the court of appeal’s decision to uphold the first verdict.

Following this judicial opinion, Court of Cassation’s 16th Criminal Chamber examined the appeal.

The 16th Criminal Chamber completed its examination on September 12, 2019, and reached a verdict in line with the judicial opinion of the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, overturning the prison sentences for Akın Atalay, Orhan Erinç, Murat Sabuncu, Aydın Engin, Hikmet Çetinkaya and Ahmet Şık.

The chamber also ruled the reversal of prison sentences for Güray Tekin Öz, Musa Kart and Hakan Kara, which had been upheld by the court of appeal. Öz, Kart and Kara were released but banned from going abroad.

The Court of Cassation upheld the prison sentence of 3 years 1 month and 15 days for the newspaper’s accountant Emre İper.

The Chamber overturned the prison sentence of 7 years 6 months handed down to Ahmet Şık by the court of first instance; however, requested that he stand trial for “legitimizing the actions of a terrorist organization” as per Anti-Terror Law, Article 6 and “degrading state institutions” as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 301.
The proceedings for all defendants will start again at İstanbul 27th High Criminal Court.

Constitutional Court Proceedings

While they were in prison, the 10 Cumhuriyet journalists and executives standing trial filed an individual appeal for violation of rights to Constitutional Court on December 6, 2016. Constitutional Court reached a verdict on these applications on May 2, 2019.

The Constitutional Court rejected the appeals for violation of rights by Akın Atalay, Murat Sabuncu, Güray Tekin Öz, Musa Kart, Hakan Kara, Ahmet Şık and three newspaper executives.

In its verdict on May 2, 2019, the Constitutional Court ruled that only Kadri Gürsel’s “right to personal liberty and safety” and “freedom of expression and press” had been violated.

European Court of Human Rights Proceedings

On November 9, 2016, the 10 writers and executives of the newspaper filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights for rights violations. The European Court of Human Rights continues to examine their file.

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Davası (İddianame)

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Davası (Gerekçeli Karar)

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Davası (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Davası (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Davası (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Davası (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Davası (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Davası (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Davası (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Davası (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Davası (Yargıtay Cumhuriyet Başsavcılığı Tebliğnamesi)

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Davası (Yargıtay Kararı)

Cumhuriyet Gazetesi Davası (İstinaf Mahkemesi Kararı)

Hayri Demir, Sibel Hürtaş - Afrin Operation Social Media Trial

Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation against those criticizing the Operation Olive Branch initiated by the Turkish Armed Forces on January 22, 2018 into the Afrin province of northern Syria. Under the scope of the investigation, 12 people, including journalists Demir and Hürtaş, were detained on the evening of the same day in house raids.

The suspects were taken to the indoor gym used by Ankara Police Department, Anti-Terror Branch as a detention center.

During the police interrogation, Demir and Hürtaş were questioned about their social media posts on the Afrin operation.

Journalist Hürtaş was referred to the prosecutor’s office at the Ankara Courthouse on January 25, 2018. Her statement was taken on charges of “publicly inciting the population to hatred and animosity” and “spreading propaganda of a terrorist organization via the media”. Hürtaş was subsequently released on condition of judicial control.

Journalist Demir was brought to Ankara Courthouse on January 26, 2018. Before he was taken to the prosecutor’s office, he was referred to Criminal Court of Peace on the same charges, with a request for his arrest. The judge on duty ordered that Demir be released with a ban on leaving the country.

The indictment against the defendants was completed on April 9, 2018 by Muhammet Akif Ongun, a prosecutor at the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. A lawsuit was filed when Ankara 15. High Criminal Court accepted the indictment on May 14, 2018.
The first hearing of the trial was scheduled for September 6, 2018.

At the first hearing, the court ordered the release of 3 defendants under arrest.

At the second hearing of the trial, the defendants’ requests for additional time for preparing their defense was accepted and the trial was adjourned until January 22, 2019. All the defendants were excluded from hearing.

The third hearing was held on March 27, 2019. At the hearing, the prosecutor Nuri Gül requested that the permission of Ministry of Justice be requested for trying seven defendants including Demir for “defaming The Turkish nation, Republic of Turkey, state institutions and organs” as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 301. The court decided to apply to the Ministry of Justice for the investigation of Demir and 6 other defendants as per Article 301.

The next hearing of the case was scheduled for July 3, 2019. At this hearing, the investigation permission letter from the Ministry of Justice had not yet arrived, and therefore, the trial was adjourned until December 3, 2019.

Hayri Demir, Sibel Hürtaş - Afrin Operasyonu Sosyal Medya Davası (İddianame)

Hayri Demir, Sibel Hürtaş - Afrin Operasyonu Sosyal Medya Davası (Savunma)

Hayri Demir, Sibel Hürtaş - Afrin Operasyonu Sosyal Medya Davası (İkinci Savunma)

Deniz Yücel - Propaganda of an Organization Trial

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation against Deniz Yücel, the Turkey representative of the German newspaper Die Welt, on charges of “spreading PKK / KCK and FETÖ propaganda” and “inciting hatred and animosity among the people.” On February 14, 2017, Yücel was summoned to the Istanbul Police Department to give a statement and was taken into custody within the scope of the investigation numbered 2018/2873. On February 27, 2017, he was arrested on the orders of the Istanbul Ninth Criminal Court of Peace.

Hasan Yılmaz, Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor of Istanbul, drafted the indictment numbered 2018/7041 with case number 2018/1395 against Deniz Yücel on February 13, 2018. The prosecutor’s office translated Yücel’s eight-page German news article in Die Welt, and claimed that expressions such as “a senior PKK commander” and “Öcalan, the commander-in-chief of PKK” were tantamount to “praising a terrorist organization and its ideology.” The prosecutor’s office also described an interview by Yücel with PKK leader Cemil Bayık as a criminal offense in this scope, as well as his news article on Hacer Aslan, who was burnt to death in a basement during police operations in Cizre in 2016. Furthermore, Deniz Yücel was accused of spreading propaganda for the FETÖ / PDY armed terrorist organization because of his coverage of the coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Moreover, journalist Yücel was charged with “inciting hatred and animosity among the people” for the humorous anecdote recounted by an interviewee, and for the expression “Armenian genocide” in a news article of his. The prosecutor cited further evidence for the charges in the indictment, such as a book by Fethullah Gülen found in Deniz Yücel’s apartment, and his HTS (Historical Traffic Search) records.

According to these records, between 2014 and 2017, journalist Yücel had met with 59 persons registered in the police database for alleged affiliation with PKK / KCK, and this was cited as ground for the charges against him. The indictment was accepted by the Istanbul 32nd High Criminal Court and a lawsuit was filed against Deniz Yücel. After the indictment was accepted, journalist Deniz Yücel was released by court order on February 16, 2018, following approximately one year in prison.

The first hearing of the case was held on June 28, 2018. Since Deniz Yücel had returned to Germany, he did not attend the hearing. During the first hearing followed by observers from the German Consulate General in Istanbul and the German media, Yücel’s lawyer Veysel Ok argued that the indictment was actually drafted by law enforcement officers, and was based on illegally obtained documents and records. Lawyer Ok stated that an individual who was not member of a terrorist organization was being presented as such, and demanded that the police report be removed from the case file since it was not legal. He also requested that his client be acquitted immediately. The court rejected the lawyer’s demands for the removal of the police report from the file, and immediate acquittal, and ordered that Deniz Yücel’s statement be taken via letter of request (that the statement be taken where the defendant is and then sent to the court).

The trial was adjourned until October 17, 2019.

Deniz Yücel - Örgüt Propagandası Davası (İddianame)

Diren Keser - Propaganda Trial

Journalist Diren Keser was detained in February 2017 after police raided his home in Mersin. Keser was detained at the Anti-Terror Branch of the Mersin Police Department for 14 days.

The reason for his custody could not be learned at first because a confidentiality order was issued for his case. However, during the interrogation at the end of the 14th day, he was asked about his social media posts.

Keser was released on February 16, 2017 on condition of “judicial control.”

The indictment in the scope of the investigation concerning his social media posts was drafted by Mustafa Erdal, one of the prosecutors at Mersin Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Terror and Organized Crime Investigation Bureau.

In the eight-page indictment completed on December 2, 2017, only one page was dedicated to Keser’s identity and investigation details, while six pages included information on the history, objectives and activities of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê/PKK).

In the indictment, the accusations against Keser took only half a page. Here, the prosecutor listed the Facebook posts forming the ground for accusation; however, he did not provide their content. The five posts in question were mentioned in the indictment as follows:

• On 26/11/2014, Keser shared a photo of small children wearing rags belonging to the separatist terror group on a social media sharing platform open to third parties,
• On 06/11/2014, he shared a video of an interview with members of the separatist terror group, which featured the rags symbolizing the separatist terror group,
• On 21/10/2014, he shared images of the armed separatist group,
• On 09/07/2015, he shared separate images of 10 members of the separatist terror group, indicating that they had lost their lives,
• On 20/10/2014, he shared images of armed members of the separatist group”

After providing these social media posts on which the accusation was based, prosecutor Erdal stated, “He spread propaganda for the members of the terrorist organization by frequently sharing the images of armed group members who extensively conducted and continue to conduct armed terrorist activities, instead of expressing an opinion, discussing a topic or sharing texts and images about a social event in his posts…”

Accordingly prosecutor Erdal requested that journalist Diren Keser be sentenced for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” as per Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2. Erdal requested that Keser be sentenced to imprisonment of 1 to 5 years. On the grounds that the crime was committed in a continuous manner, he further demanded that the sentence be increased by 1/3 to imprisonment from 1 year 3 months to 8 years 9 months.

The indictment was accepted by Mersin 9th High Criminal Court and a lawsuit was filed against journalist Keser. The first hearing of the case took place on December 26, 2017. Keser was in attendance at the hearing. Yavuz Koç (chair), Gökhan Kızıl and Reşit Çağlar (judges) and İhsan Doğan (prosecutor) were present.

Presenting his defense at the hearing, Keser indicated that he shared these posts as a journalist: “I wanted to share articles by various columnists on Facebook; however, when posted on the page, the images of the armed individuals you mention have become more prominent. It was not possible for me to change this. That is how I shared the posts dated October 21 and 22 in question. My posts include different photos, for instance in the video where children sing a song, it is seen that these children wear red, yellow and green colors and traditional headscarves. These are local garments, and various politicians also don clothes in these colors. In the video showing Kader Ortakkaya’s speech, even she is not aware of the individual and flag that appear behind her: She is simply delivering a speech against war and ISIS; and I did not act with criminal intent in sharing this video.”

At the hearing, in his opinion as to the accusations, the prosecutor requested that Keser be sentenced for these charges.

The panel of judges handed down a prison sentence of 1 year 6 months to Keser for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization.” In addition, on grounds that the crime was committed via the press, the sentence was increased by half to 1 year and 15 months. Moreover, considering that he had committed the same crime multiple times in continuous fashion, the sentence was further aggravated by 1/3 to 1 year, 21 months, 22 days in prison. The court then decided to reduce the sentence to 1 year, 16 months and 3 days considering Keser’s good conduct during the hearing.

Keser’s lawyer, Ali Kozan, filed an appealed at the court of appeal. Adana Regional Court 2nd Criminal Chamber reached a verdict on February 19, 2018. The court upheld the sentence about Keser, who was then taken into custody and was arrested on July 2, 2019. He was placed in Mersin Tarsus T-Type Closed Prison. He is currently serving time in prison.

Diren Keser - Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Diren Keser - Propaganda Davası (Gerekçeli Karar)

Diren Keser - Propaganda Davası (İstinaf Mahkemesi Kararı)

Dirik, Acarer - Trial for Sarin Gas News

Istanbul Members of Parliament from the People’s Republican Party (CHP), Eren Erdem and Ali Şeker, held a press conference on October 21, 2015, at CHP’s Istanbul Headquarters. During the press conference, the MPs claimed that an investigation over alleged shipment of sarin gas from Turkey to ISIS had been dropped.

The Cumhuriyet newspaper’s Izmir correspondent Hakan Dirik penned a news story about the allegations expressed at the press conference. In his article, Dirik also provided further information he obtained from the CHP MP Eren Erdem.

The news story by Dirik, and a separate article by Acarer claimed that the ISIS investigation in Adana was closed on the orders of the-then Minister of Justice, Bekir Bozdağ. According to the allegations in the said news story and article, Bozdağ had phoned the prosecutor conducting the investigation and said, “Let us know before you launch an operation against organizations with Islamic links”.

Following the publication of the news story and article, Minister Bozdağ filed a criminal complaint against Dirik and Acarer on charges of “slander”. Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office ruled for lack of jurisdiction and referred the case to Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office established that at the press conference covered by the news story and article, the MPs had not mentioned Bekir Bozdağ.

Dirik and Acarer were sued on charges of “slander via the media”.

The trial began on November 9, 2017. The court requested an expert report on the press conference by the MPs. After examining the report, the court will decide whether or not to hear Eren Erdem, who is currently in detention for a separate case.

The trial will continue on October 18, 2019.

Dirik, Acarer - Sarin Gazı Haberi Davası (İddianame)

Düzkan, Duran, Aykol, Çelebi - Trial for Solidarity with Özgür Gündem

The Istanbul 8th Criminal Court of Peace “temporarily” shut down the newspaper Özgür Gündem on August 16, 2016. Previously, in order to support the newspaper in the face of mounting pressure, the “Editor-in-chief on Watch” campaign had been launched on May 3, 2016, whereby prominent individuals became the editor-in-chief of the newspaper in turn. The campaign had become necessary after lawsuits were filed against the newspaper’s co-editors-in-chief Eren Keskin and Hüseyin Aykol, and its managing editor İnan Kızılkaya.

The campaign ended on August 7, 2016. Özgür Gündem was permanently shut down by Decree Law no. 675, on October 29, 2016.

Investigations were launched against 49 of the 56 editors-in-chief on watch who joined the campaign. Eleven of these investigations ended in a verdict of non-prosecution.

Thirty-seven lawsuits were filed. The lawsuit against Deniz Türkali was dropped due to statute of limitations.

The lawsuits took place in İstanbul’s 13th, 14th, and 22nd High Criminal Courts.

The defendants

Charges were pressed against these 37 individuals: A. Kumru Başer, Ahmet Nesin, Ayşe Batumlu, Ayşe Düzkan, Beyza Üstün, Can Dündar, Celal Başlangıç, Celalettin Can, Cengiz Baysoy, Çilem Küçükkkeleş, Derya Okatan, Dicle Anter, Erol Önderoğlu, Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, Faruk Balıkçı, Faruk Eren, Fehim Işık, Hüseyin Tahmaz, Hakkı Boltan, Hasan Cemal, Hasan Hayri Şanlı, İbrahim Bodur, İhsan Çaralan, Julide Kural, Murat Çelikkan, Murat Uyurkulak, Nadire Mater, Necmiye Alpay, Nevin Erdemir, Öncü Akgül, Ragıp Duran, Said Sefa, Şanar Yurdatapan, Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Tuğrul Eryılmaz, Veysi Altay, Yıldırım Türker.

Verdicts of non-prosecution

Verdicts of non-prosecution were issued for the following 11 names who joined the campaign: İhsan Eliaçık, Sebahat Tuncel, Ahmet Abakay, Eşber Yağmurdereli, Hasip Kaplan, Işın Eliçin, Kemal Can, Mustafa Sönmez, Melda Onur, Uğur Karadaş, Nurcan Baysal.

27 editors-in-chief on watch were sentenced

The court handed down prison sentences totaling 352 months, 15 days in prison and 68 thousand TL in fines to the following 27 individuals who joined the campaign: Şanar Yurdatapan, İbrahim Bodur, Cengiz Baysoy, İmam Canpolat, Çilem Küçükkeleş, Nadire Mater, Yıldırım Türker, Hasan Cemal, Faruk Balıkçı, Dicle Anter, Derya Okatan, Kumru Başer, Ayşe Batumlu, Jülide Kural, İlham Bakır, Murat Uyurkulak, Murat Çelikkan, Beyza Üstün, Nevin Erdemir, Hakkı Boltan, Hasan Hayri Şanlı ve Tuğrul Eryılmaz, Hüseyin Aykol, Ayşe Düzkan, Ragıp Duran, Mehmet Ali Çelebi and Hüseyin Bektaş.

Çelikkan and Düzkan served time

Of the editors-in-chief on watch whose sentences were not deferred, Murat Çelikkan was placed in Kırklareli Prison on August 14, 2017, then transferred to an open prison on October 14, 2017 and finally released on October 21, 2017.

Another editor-in-chief on watch whose sentence was not deferred was Ayşe Düzkan, who was put to Bakırköy Women’s Prison on January 29, after the Court of Appeal upheld her sentence, to serve 1 year, 6 months in prison. She was later transferred to the Eskişehir Open Prison and finally released on June 12, 2019.

The first three editors-in-chief arrested were later acquitted

The first editors-in-chief on watch to be arrested in this investigation were Erol Önderoğlu, Ahmet Nesin and Şebnem Korur Fincancı. These three figures were arrested on June 20, 2016 and released 10 days later. All of them were acquitted of all charges at the 11th hearing held on July 17, 2019.

10 editors-in-chief on watch still stand trial

Of the editors-in-chief on watch who participated in the campaign, Faruk Eren, the president of the press employees union DİSK Basın-İş; İhsan Çaralan and Fehim Işık, contributors to Evrensel newspaper; journalists Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, Celal Başlangıç, Celalettin Can and Öncü Akgül stand trial at İstanbul 14. High Criminal Court. Upon the request of the lawyers, the panel of judges ordered the merger of the cases for these six individuals who served as editors-in-chief and cases for other individuals whose articles and letters were published in the newspaper during those days. These individuals include the newspaper’s ex Co-Editor-in-Chief and contributor Hüseyin Aykol, and columnist Ömer Ağın.

The proceedings continue for the editors-in-chief on watch Can Dündar, Said Sefa and Veysi Altay, whose trials are held separately.

Kızılkaya figures as defendant in all 37 trials

In all of the 37 lawsuits, managing editor İnan Kızılkaya stood trial as defendant. A large number of these lawsuits against Kızılkaya were merged with the Özgür Gündem Main Trial.

Charges

The 37 editors-in-chief on watch stand/stood trial on charges of “Spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” as per Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) no. 3713; “Publishing and disseminating the announcements and declarations of terrorist organizations” as per Article 6 of the Anti-Terror Law; “Publicly inciting to commit crime” as per Article 215/1 of Turkish Penal Code; and “Praising the crime and criminal” as per Article 214/1 of the Turkish Penal Code.

The prosecutor requested prison sentences of 1 to 5 years as per Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2; 1 to 3 years as per Anti-Terror Law, Article 6/2; up to 2 years as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 215/1; from 6 months to 5 years as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 214/1; totaling prison sentences of 2.5 to 15 years for each of the 37 editors-in-chief on watch.

Düzkan, Duran, Aykol, Çelebi - Solidarity Trial

In a separate indictment, Ayşe Düzkan and Ragıp Duran were charged with “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”, “publicly inciting to crime”, “praising crime and criminals”. At the first hearing of their case, the case of Düzkan and Duran was merged with the case of journalists Mehmet Ali Çelebi, Hüseyin Aykol and Hüseyin Bektaş.

At the end of the proceedings, the court handed down sentences of 3 years 9 months in prison to Hüseyin Aykol, and 1 year 6 months in prison to Ayşe Düzkan, Ragıp Duran and Mehmet Ali Çelebi. The court of appeal upheld these verdicts.

Journalist Ayşe Düzkan was released after completing her prison sentence of 4.5 months of prison.

Düzkan, Duran, Aykol, Çelebi - Özgür Gündem Dayanışma Davası (İddianame)

Düzkan, Duran, Aykol, Çelebi - Özgür Gündem Dayanışma Davası (İddianame)

Ece Sevim Öztürk - FETÖ Propaganda Trial

An investigation was launched on June 8, 2018, against the owner and editor-in-chief of the online news web site Çağdaş Ses, Ece Sevim Öztürk, due to her social media posts and comments about the coup attempt of July 15. She was investigated for links to the FETÖ (Fethullahist Terrorist Organization). A detention order was issued on the same day and she was taken into custody on June 14 with a house raid.

Ece Sevim Öztürk was taken to the public prosecutor’s office on June 20. After her testimony, she was sent to the Istanbul Criminal Court of Peace on watch. Following her testimony in court, she was arrested on charges of “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed terrorist organization” and “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization.” She was placed in Bakırköy Women’s Prison.

The indictment against her was drafted by Istanbul Public Prosecutor Uygur Kaan Arısoy on August 6. Istanbul 37th High Criminal Court accepted the indictment on August 28.

In his indictment, Arısoy presented Öztürk’s documentary on the July 15 coup attempt titled “Deniz Kuvvetlerinin En Karanlık Günü: 15 Temmuz” (“The Darkest Day of the Navy: July 15”) among the evidence. The prosecutor requested her to be sentenced for her documentary and her social media posts, arguing that “she contributes to FETÖ’s attempts to cast a shadow on the legitimacy of the general elections of June 24, create social turmoil, revive the organization, and free its leaders and members from prison.”

The first hearing was scheduled to November 1, 2018.

Delivering her defense in the first hearing of the trial, Öztürk stated that the indictment presented her Tweets in question as “an attempt to aid the organization without being a member” with a view towards “creating chaos before the June 24 elections.” Öztürk argued that this was a forced argument. In its interim ruling, the court ordered that her detention should continue since her posts seemed to contribute to “FETÖ’s social media campaigns to portray July 15 as a controlled coup, imaginary coup or staged coup; there is a strong possibility of criminal activity and simple judicial control would be insufficient.”

Ece Sevim Öztürk - FETÖ Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Economic Coup Attempt Trial

The business news web site Bloomberg HT published a story on the depreciation of the TL and its effects in August 2018. The story was penned by Bloomberg Turkey reporter Fercan Yalınkılıç and their director of intelligence Kerim Karakaya. At the time, the US dollar had climbed from 4.70 TL to 7 TL in the Turkish markets in two weeks owing to the crisis between the USA and Turkey about the imprisonment of Pastor Andrew Brunson.

The Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency sent a notification to Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on August 14, 2018, four days after the publication of the news story. The resulting investigation was then merged with the cases of 36 other individuals for violating Capital Markets Law with their social media posts on the depreciation of TL, banks, and the Turkish economy.

At the end of the investigation, the prosecutor drafted an indictment against 38 individuals including Yalınkılıç and Karakaya, as well as Mustafa Sönmez, Merdan Yanardağ, Sedef Kabaş and Orhan Kalkan on charges of violating the Capital Markets Law.

The Public Prosecutor Kenan Zurnacı completed the indictment in May 2019 and submitted it to the court.

In the indictment, the prosecutor accused 38 individuals including Kerim Karakaya and Fercan Yalınkılıç of Bloomberg news agency who penned the said news story, as well as journalists Mustafa Sönmez, Sedef Kabaş, Mervan Yanardağ and Orhan Kalkan of “attempting to stage an economic coup.”

The first section of the indictment covered the content of the news story published on August 8, 2018. According to the indictment, the news story claimed that Turkish banking system was faced with its severest FX crisis since 2001, two banks refused to sell FX on August 10, one bank refused a client’s demand to withdraw 5 thousand dollars, there was a huge increase in customer demands for withdrawing FX from accounts, and BRSA invited all senior bank executives to a meeting on August 11. The prosecutor Zurnacı stated that these phrases “run contrary to the facts, and are designed to give the impression that our national banking and finance system is in tatters.”

The indictment also made references to official online announcements by BRSA and Association of Turkish Banks dated August 11 indicating that the news story did not represent the truth.

It was also stated that the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency filed a criminal complaint with Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on August 14, 2018.

The indictment indicated that during the investigation initiated upon this criminal complaint, it was observed that real persons had “launched attacks serving the same purpose on their social media accounts,” and therefore presented as evidence the social media posts of the defendants during August and September 2018.
Prosecutor Zurnacı listed in the indictment the social media posts related to economic crisis by Karakaya, journalists and other defendants.

Prosecutor Zurnacı then provided his general assessments, claiming that the defendants “targeted the economic order and stability of the Republic of Turkey.” According to the prosecutor, 38 people made “statements and declarations designed to create chaos, and cast a shadow on companies, institutions and organizations.” According to Zurnacı, their aim was to “damage market confidence.”

The prosecutor associated the said posts with the violation of the Capital Markets Law, accusing the defendants of “market manipulation” as per its Article 107, which reads as follows:

“Those who make purchases and sales, give orders, cancel orders, change orders or realize account activities with the purpose of creating a wrong or deceptive impression on the prices of capital market instruments, their price changes, their supplies and demands, shall be sentenced to imprisonment from two years up to five years and be punished with a judicial fine from five thousand days up to ten thousand days.”

Prosecutor Zurnacı is also requesting that the suspects be deprived of certain rights as stipulated by Turkish Penal Code, Article 53/1.

The indictment was accepted by the Istanbul Third Criminal Court of First Instance and a lawsuit was filed against the defendants. The first hearing of the case was scheduled for September 20, 2019. Journalists and their lawyers were present at the hearing. The judge was Hüseyin Tanfer Ayhan. Following the identity check, the defendants presented their defenses.

The journalists argued that their news stories and posts fell within the framework of journalistic activities that served the public interest. The lawyers demanded the acquittal of the journalists.

After the defendants and defense lawyers, the lawyers for Capital Markets Board and BRSA took the floor. The CMB’s lawyer reiterated their request that the defendants be sentenced for the charges. BRSA demanded to be involved in the case on grounds that it suffered damages from the crime in question.

At the end of the hearing, the court rejected the defense lawyers’ demand for acquittal, and accepted BRSA’s request to be involved in the case due to alleged damages from the crime.

The next hearing of the case will be held on January 17, 2020.

Ekonomik Darbe Girişimi Davası (İddianame)

Dündar, Gül - MİT Trucks Trial

Photos of trucks belonging to National Intelligence Organization (MİT) transporting ammunition to the north of Syria were published by Cumhuriyet newspaper with the signature of Can Dündar, the editor-in-chief. On May 29, 2015, the headline of the newspaper read “İşte Erdoğan’ın Yok Dediği Silahlar” (“Here are the weapons whose existence Erdoğan denied”). On the same day, the newspaper’s website published photos from the search conducted in the trucks.

The very same day, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation against Can Dündar, on charges of “obtaining documents regarding the security of the state”, “political and military espionage”, “disclosing confidential information” and “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”
President Tayyip Erdoğan personally filed a complaint against Can Dündar, and during a live broadcast dated June 1, 2015, on a TV channel, he targeted Dündar directly: “He will pay a heavy price, I will not let him go.”

On June 12, 2015, Cumhuriyet newspaper’s Ankara Representative Erdem Gül published a news story about the criminal report concerning the ammunition found inside the trucks, under the title “Jandarma Var Dedi” (“The Gendarmerie Confirms the Ammunition”).

The launch of an investigation against Dündar was announced on May 29, 2015 by Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. However, Dündar and Gül were called to testify at the Çağlayan Courthouse in Istanbul about 6 months after the launch of the investigation.

Istanbul Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor İrfan Fidan in charge of the investigation referred Dündar and Gül to the Criminal Court of Peace for arrest. Dündar and Gül were charged with “knowingly and willingly aiding a terrorist organization without being a member”, “political and military espionage” and “disclosing confidential information.”

Judge of the Criminal Court of Peace, İsmail Yavuz stated that the images of MIT trucks were first published by Can Dündar. In actual fact, Aydınlık newspaper had published the images on January 21, 2014, under the title “İşte TIR’daki Cephane” (“Here is the ammunition in the truck”).

Dündar and Gül were arrested on November 26, 2015. Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor Hadi Salihoğlu stated the following after the arrest order was issued:
“The investigation has nothing to do with the ‘freedom of press’, which is under constitutional protection, and we have taken no action in violation of individual rights and freedoms.”

President Tayyip Erdoğan had previously indicated in his statement concerning Dündar that “This action by the suspect, who is targeting the interests of the state by publishing fabricated images and information, can in no way be considered as journalism.”

Constitutional Court Proceedings

Can Dündar and Erdem Gül applied to the Constitutional Court on December 6, 2015 following their arrest. When they filed their application, the indictment against them had not yet been drafted.

The Constitutional Court ruled that the rights of Dündar and Gül had been violated, on February 25 -shortly before March 25, when the indictment would be completed and the trial would begin. Dündar and Gül were duly released.

President Tayyip Erdoğan made the following remark about the Constitutional Court’s ruling:

“I will remain silent on the ruling by the Constitutional Court, but I don’t have to accept it. I don’t respect this ruling. In fact, the first instance court could have insisted on its own ruling.”

Indictment

President Tayyip Erdoğan and National Intelligence Organization figured as complainants in the indictment drafted by Istanbul Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor İrfan Fidan.

55 news stories and articles were presented as evidence for the charges against Can Dündar. However, none of these articles and news had been investigated before. Only one investigation had been initiated about an article, ending in a decision of non-prosecution.

The indictment’s section concerning Erdem Gül featured only his testimony at the prosecutor’s office and the titles of three news stories. In fact, one of these news stories belonged to not him, but another Cumhuriyet reporter.

It was claimed that Dündar and Gül made publications “attempting to link the state and government to terrorist activities.” According to the prosecutor Dündar and Gül were “in union of action and thought with the terror group FETÖ/PDY.”

The indictment requested that Can Dündar and Erdem Gül be sentenced to one count of aggravated life sentence, one count of life sentence and an additional prison sentence of up to 30 years. Dündar and Gül were charged with “Obtaining confidential information of the state for the purpose of political or military espionage” (Turkish Penal Code 328/1), “Disclosing confidential information about state security for purposes of espionage” (Turkish Penal Code 330/1), “Employing coercion and violence to destroy the government of the Republic of Turkey, or to keep it from performing some or all of its tasks” (Turkish Penal Code 312/1) and “knowingly and willingly aiding a terrorist organization without being a member” (Turkish Penal Code 220/7).

The indictment against Dündar and Gül was accepted by İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court on February 5, 2016. The trial began on March 25, 2016. The hearing was closed to the public.

However, the defenses presented during the hearings and the prosecutor’s questions were shared on the social media via the Twitter accounts of various lawyers’ associations.

At the fourth hearing of the trial on May 6, 2016, the prosecutor announced his opinion as to the accusation concerning Dündar and Gül.

The prosecutor requested up to 25 years in prison for Dündar. In his opinion, the prosecutor pressed charges for “Obtaining and disclosing confidential information about state security or domestic and foreign politics, and complicity in this crime.” The prosecutor requested up to 10 years in prison for Gül. In his opinion, the prosecutor accused Gül of “Disclosing confidential information about state security or domestic and foreign politics.”

The prosecutor requested that the case for charges of “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed terrorist organization without being a member, and attempting a coup” leveled against Dündar and Gül be separated. Accordingly, the final verdict in the trial against the soldiers and prosecutors who had stopped and searched the trucks in question, taking place at Court of Cassation’s 16. Criminal Chamber, had to be awaited.

The trial was temporarily adjourned before the announcement of the verdict on Dündar and Gül. In the meanwhile, Dündar was attacked by an assailant named Murat Şahin in the square in front of the courthouse. Şahin shouted “traitor” during his attack. Dündar escaped unscathed, while the NTV reporter Yağız Şenkal received an injury in his leg. The trial continued after the attack.

The court sentenced Dündar to 5 years, 10 months in prison on charges of “disclosing confidential state documents” (Turkish Penal Code 329/1). Gül was likewise sentenced to 5 years in prison on charges of “disclosing confidential state documents.”

Dündar and Gül were acquitted of charges of “attempting a coup.”

As the proceedings continued, Court of Cassation overturned the verdict about Dündar and Gül. Court of Cassation ruled that Dündar should stand trail not for “disclosing confidential state documents” but for “obtaining the state’s confidential information for purposes of espionage” (Turkish Penal Code 328/1). The new charged to be leveled against Dündar according the Court of Cassation ruling could result in to 15 to 20 years in prison pursuant to Turkish Penal Code, Article 328/1.

Court of Cassation ordered the acquittal of Erdem Gül. After the Court of Cassation overturned the first verdict, Erdem Gül stood trial for “disclosing confidential state documents” and was acquitted.

It was ruled that Dündar and Gül should stand trial for “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed terrorist organization without being a member, and attempting a coup” in a separate trial. The first hearing for this trial took place on September 21, 2016. This trial against Dündar continued in his absence, since he was abroad. CHP MP Enis Berberoğlu was also added to this file as defendant. Berberoğlu was charged with “obtaining the state’s confidential information for the purpose of political and military espionage, and knowingly and willingly aiding the armed organization FETÖ / PDY.” The Prosecutor’s Office claimed that Berberoğlu was the person who gave Can Dündar the information and documents in the news story published in Cumhuriyet.

At the third hearing of this trial on March 11, 2017, the prosecutor expressed his opinion as to the accusations. Prison sentences of up to 10 years were requested for Can Dündar and Erdem Gül on charges of “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed terrorist organization without being a member.” At the 8th hearing of the trial on June 14, 2017, CHP MP Enis Berberoğlu was sentenced to 25 years in prison. The execution of the sentence against Berberoğlu was suspended since he was an MP.

It was ruled that the trial for charges of “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed terrorist organization without being a member, and attempting a coup” against Dündar and Gül should continue in yet another file. So for the third time, a trial began with a separate case number and its first hearing took place on October 4, 2017. In his opinion as to the accusations, the prosecutor requested prison sentences of 7.5 to 15 years for Can Dündar and Erdem Gül. He claimed that Dündar and Gül “knowingly and willingly aided an armed terrorist organization without being a member.” At the ninth hearing of this trial, it was ruled that Gül’s case be dropped, since the lawsuit had not been filed within the 4-month statute of limitations stipulated in the Press Law. The case about Dündar was separated since he was abroad.

Can Dündar’s trial, separated and merged during the judiciary proceedings, will adjourn on October 21, 2019. Dündar stands trial on charges of “obtaining the state’s confidential information for purposes of espionage” and “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed terrorist organization without being a member, and attempting a coup.”

Dündar, Gül - MİT Tırları Davası (İddianame)

Dündar, Gül - MİT Tırları Davası (Gerekçeli Karar)

Dündar, Gül - MİT Tırları Davası (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Dündar, Gül - MİT Tırları Davası (Yargıtay Kararı)

Hüseyin Aykol, Eren Keskin, Reyhan Çapan - Özgür Gündem Trial

The investigation against Eren Keskin, the Editor-in-Chief of Özgür Gündem Newspaper and its Managing Editor Reyhan Çapan, was initiated in 2016 by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Press Crimes Investigation Bureau.

The indictment was drafted on April 13, 2016 with reference to the news stories and articles published in Özgür Gündem on March 9, 2016. The indictment was accepted by the 13. High Criminal Court of Istanbul.

The indictment cited as evidence the declarations of “autonomy” in cities in the Southeast Turkey, and pressed charges for “spreading propaganda for actions realized by the terrorist organization PKK/KCK”, “inciting to hatred and violence” and “inciting a section of the population to crime”.

Since the prosecutor could not determine the real identity of the author who used the pseudonym “Seyit Botan” to sign the articles in question, he held Eren Keskin and Reyhan Çapan responsible for their content. He claimed that these articles amounted to propaganda for a terrorist organization. The files for Özgür Gündem contributors who were already in prison, namely İslam Tüner, Methi Kaya and Lütfi Yavuzaslan, and the editor-in-chief Hüseyin Aykol were then merged with this file.

On April 18, 2019, it was ordered that Eren Keskin’s file be separated and merged with the Özgür Gündem main trial underway at the İstanbul 23. High Criminal Court.

The prosecutor submitted his opinion as to the accusations at the 12th hearing, in July 2019. He requested that all the defendants be sentenced for “inciting to crime “, “praising the crime and the criminal” and “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”; and that Hüseyin Aykol and Reyhan Çapan be sentenced also for “continuously committing a crime”.

The trial was adjourned until November 21, 2019 for the defendants to prepare their defense as to the accusations.

Hüseyin Aykol, Eren Keskin, Reyhan Çapan - Özgür Gündem Davası (İddianame)

Esra Solin Dal - Trial for Membership of a Terrorist Organization

On October 9, 2018, Mesopotamia News Agency Reporter Esra Solin Dal’s home was raided due to an alleged denunciation. Dal’s video camera and cell phone, and her brother’s computer were seized. After three days in detention, she was released on condition of judicial control.

On December 6, 2018, Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor Şahsuvar Yıldız issued an indictment against Dal. The 36-page indictment cited Dal’s phone calls for journalistic purposes as evidence of crime. In the indictment, the prosecutor pressed charges against Dal for membership of an armed terrorist organization, basing himself on “secret witness statement and phone records confirming this statement, open source research records, video analyses and photographic identification reports, the defense statement of the suspect, and the examination of the entire file”.

Dal was acquitted at the first hearing of the case on March 20, 2019.

Esra Solin Dal - Üyelik Davası (İddianame)

Evrensel Newspaper -Bilal Erdoğan Compensation Trial

The Evrensel newspaper published a news story titled “Rüşvet ata sporumuzdur” (“Bribery is our ancestral sport”) on March 9, 2014.

The story signed by M. Utku Şengür made references to voice recordings which surfaced during the corruption investigations that began on December 17, 2013, to suggest that bribery was a tradition that went back to Ottoman times. It was claimed that in the said voice recordings the then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called his son Bilal Erdoğan when the police operation began, telling him to take out the cash hidden in their home.

Erdoğan’s lawyers Ahmet Özel, Ferah Yıldız, Hatice Özay, Sara Kanalka, Murat İlvan, Faruk Karagüzel sued the managing editor of the newspaper Arif Koşar and the contributor M. Utku Şengür after the publication of the story.

On October 21, 2016, lawyer Ahmet Özel submitted a petition of complaint to the criminal court of peace on duty, stating that the limits of journalism had been exceeded since the news story contained fabricated information and accounts, which constituted “an attack against the rights, duty and prestige of Erdoğan.” He also claimed that the news story incited hatred and enmity.

The petition further indicated that the correction sent by Erdoğan’s lawyers to the newspaper was accepted, but not published.

The lawyer requested 50,000 TL in immaterial compensation from the legally responsible persons Koşar and Şengür, for “attack on personal rights.”

The petition was processed by the Istanbul 20th Civil Court of First Instance. Devrim Avcı Özkurt, the lawyer for Koşar and Şengür, stated in his petition that the news story was published for journalistic purposes and was in compliance with the laws.

Özkurt also stated the following in his petition: “Due to the nature of a democratic polity, not necessarily everyone has the same views. Therefore, individuals who appear in public, such as politicians, executives and administrators, may not always come across news stories that praise them. If one looks at the news story which forms the subject matter of this case with such a perspective, it is evident that that it remains within the limits of press freedom, in complete accordance with principles of journalism.”

For these reasons, Özkurt requested that the case be dropped for being ”unfounded”.

In cases where compensation is demanded, the courts of first instance are in charge. The proceedings are based on the petition of complaint; the prosecutor does not draft an indictment, and does not attend the hearings.

The final hearing was held on October 15, 2019. Erdoğan’s lawyer Ela Ezgi Yelmen, and defendants Koşar and Şengür’s lawyer Mustafa Söğütlü attended the hearing.
Yelmen requested that the case be accepted.

The defense lawyer Söğütlü stated that the statute of limitations for the said news story had expired and that the story must be viewed within the scope of the freedom of press. He requested that the case be dropped.

Without adjourning the trial, Judge Hakan Çırak reached a verdict and ruled that the case be dropped due to the expiry of the statute of limitations.

Evrensel Gazetesi-Bilal Erdoğan Tazminat Davası (Şikayet Dilekçesi)

Evrensel Newspaper Paradise Papers Trial

Energy Minister Berat Albayrak and his brother Serhat Albayrak filed a complaint against the editor-in-chief of Evrensel newspaper, Fatih Polat, for publishing news stories about Paradise Papers, which shed light on offshore investments by politicians and business people from all over the world.

A decision of non-prosecution was reached for Polat since the managing editor was responsible for the content of the publications. Then another complaint was filed about the former Managing Editor Çağrı Sarı and a lawsuit was filed against her on charges of “insult and slander.” She was acquitted at the sixth hearing of the case.

Evrensel Gazetesi Paradise Papers Davası (İddianame)

Evrensel Paradise Papers Cartoon Trial

After Paradise Papers concerning the offshore investments of politicians and business people from all over the world were leaked, a cartoon was published in the Evrensel newspaper on July 7, 2017, about the offshore accounts of Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and his sons.

On November 10, 2017, Binali Yıldırım and his son Erkam Yıldırım filed a lawsuit demanding compensation for immaterial damages against cartoonist Sefer Selvi who drew the said cartoon, Evrensel’s editor Çağrı Sarı (who was the newspaper’s managing editor on the date in question), and the company publishing the newspaper, Bülten Basın Yayın Reklamcılık Tic. LTD. ŞTİ.

The first hearing was held on July 19, 2018. At the second hearing, which took place on November 8, 2018, the court ruled that Sefer Selvi and the company Bülten Basın Yayın Reklamcılık pay TL 5,000 of compensation for immaterial damages to each of the complainants.

Evrensel Paradise Papers Karikatür Davası (İddianame)

Fatih Polat - Trial for Insulting the President of the Republic

On May 26, 2017, on the web site theblacksea.eu, journalist Craig Shaw published a news article titled “President Erdoğan’s family in secret offshore ship deal” where he stated, “Through offshore companies in the Isle of Man and Malta, the Erdoğans secretly own an oil tanker worth nearly 25 million USD called the Agdash.”

On November 28, 2017, Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, at the weekly parliamentary group meeting of his party, disclosed the swift codes and transfer receipts for 15 million dollars allegedly wired by Erdoğan’s son, brother-in-law, father-in-law of his daughter, and executive assistant to the Isle of Man. Craig Shaw’s news story was based on these documents.

Shaw wrote in his article that the Malta Files, concerning the international money transfers by politicians and business people in different countries of the world, included information about Erdoğan family’s companies in the Isle of Man and Malta as well. Malta Files was a project by the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) journalism network established by media outlets such as TheBlackSea.eu, Der Spiegel, Le Soir, Mediapart, NRC, El Mundo, Dagens Nyheter, Expresso, L’Espresso, Falter and Politiken, and had been published on May 2017.

On May 28, 2017, Fatih Polat published Shaw’s article in his column on the website of Evrensel newspaper, under the title “What does the Erdoğan family say about these claims?”

Fatih Polat stands trial on charges of “publicly insulting the President” following the completion of an indictment by prosecutor Aykut Çelik on October 24, 2018.

The third hearing of the case will be held on November 14, 2019 at 9.30 a.m.

Fatih Polat - Cumhurbaşkanına Hakaret Davası (İddianame)

Fatih Polat - Cumhurbaşkanına Hakaret Davası (Savunma)

Fatih Polat - Trial for Phone Call Between Gökçek and Kuzu

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 Hasan Ülgünar 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.

Fatih Polat - Gökçek ile Kuzu Görüşmesi Haberi Davası (İddianame)

Ferhat Parlak - Silvan Mücadele Newspaper Trial

The publisher and correspondent of the Silvan Mücadele newspaper, Ferhat Parlak was taken into custody after a police raid to his home in Diyarbakır’s Silvan district on April 11, 2018. After three days in custody, he was referred to the prosecutor’s office.

Following the procedures at the prosecutor’s office, three individuals in custody were sent to the criminal court of peace with a request of judicial control, and Parlak and Ercan Aşıcı with a request of arrest.

The court ruled in line with the requests of the prosecutor’s office, and ordered the arrest of Parlak and Aşıcı on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization” and released the other three individuals on condition of judicial control.

Parlak, placed in Diyarbakır D-Type Closed Prison, stated that he was arrested for his journalistic activities: “Journalism is being criminalized in our region. I do not accept the accusations. I am in high spirits despite everything.” The indictment against Parlak was subsequently completed and the first hearing was scheduled for July 8, 2019. Parlak appeared before the judge 450 days after his detention, and the indictment against him was based on the charges in another case, of which Parlak had been acquitted previously. The indictment cited among the evidence CDs, DVDs, flash memory, hard disk, mobile phone, books, magazines and some newspapers, which had been seized by the Silvan Public Prosecutor’s Office within the scope of a separate investigation, but then returned to Parlak, after the court reached a decision of non-prosecution.

Another item presented as evidence against Parlak is an interview he conducted with Murat Karayılan during a press tour to Kandil mountain during the so-called “peace process”, together with other journalists including a reporter of the Anadolu Agency. The indictment also includes the Contents page of Parlak’s book “Şehitler Şehri Silvan” (Silvan: The City of Martyrs), which discusses the unsolved murders of the 1990s, and the biographies of those murdered. In his statement, Parlak indicated that “No investigation was launched against the book and it was not banned. It is a legally published book, available in the library of the Turkish Grand National Assembly as well. They are trying to prosecute not the perpetrators of the unsolved murders, but those who write about them.”

It is claimed in a testimony by a secret witness that Parlak threw a petrol bomb at an armored police car. Parlak asks this claim to be investigated, through an examination of the footage in the said vehicle’s camera, footage from MOBESE security cameras in the vicinity, and any fingerprints taken after the said assault.

The indictment mentions various names, who were allegedly recruited to the terrorist organization by Ferhat Parlak. However, in his testimony, Parlak describes where these people live and their professions. These individuals actually exist but they have no ties to the said organization. Parlak requests that these people, whom he is unacquainted with, come and testify at the court.

The indictment claims that Parlak shot footage for the terrorist organization and shared these in his newspaper and social media accounts for propaganda purposes. Parlak, however, claims that he is simply a journalist. He proves that numerous other journalists were active during the armed clashes in Silvan and that mainstream newspapers published images similar to his as well. The prosecutor requested that Parlak stand trial on charges of “membership of an armed organization” pursuant to Law no. 5237 Article 314/2, Law no. 3713 Article 5, Law no. 5237 Articles 53, 58/9, 63. The trial took place at Diyarbakır 11. High Criminal Court and Parlak was released at the first hearing on July 8, 2019. The trial was adjourned until November 6, 2019.

Ferhat Parlak - Silvan Mücadele Davası (İddianame)

FETÖ Media Main Trial

After the coup attempt of July 15, numerous operations were launched against the media, and one such operation targeted Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak.

Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan were detained on July 10, 2016. The accusation was to pass “subliminal messages” about the coup attempt on a television show on the evening of July 14, the day before the coup attempt on July 15th. Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan had discussed the latest news together with Nazlı Ilıcak in a program on Can Erzincan TV. As such, the concept of “subliminal message”, which would later be described as “knowing the coup beforehand” went down in Turkish legal and political history.

Ahmet Altan, his brother Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak stood trial along with 17 other people. Nine of them were journalists. However, many of the names included in the investigation and trial, such as the Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanlı of the shuttered Zaman newspaper, were never tried since they had gone abroad.

In the indictment, the charges against them was not limited to “giving subliminal messages about the coup attempt”. Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak, as well as Abdülkerim Balcı, Ali Çolak, Bülent Keneş, Mehmet Kamış and Şemsettin Efe were charged of numerous offenses. It was claimed that the journalists “attempted to overthrow the Parliament and Government or to prevent them from performing their duties”, “attempted to overthrow the constitutional order”, and the prosecutor requested three counts of aggravated life sentence for each of them. The prosecutor requested an additional 7 and a half to 15 years of imprisonment for the journalists for “committing crimes on behalf of an armed terrorist organization, without being a member.”

The trial began with the first hearing on July 19, 2016.

At the second hearing in September 2016, Ahmet Altan stated that he would waive his right to appeal even if a single piece of evidence was to be submitted against him.

At the fourth hearing of the case on December 11, 2016, the prosecutor’s office declared its opinion as to the accusations, where it had changed the accusations against the journalists. The journalists were now only charged with “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order”. As such, the imprisonment requested for the journalists was reduced from three counts of aggravated life sentence to “aggravated life sentence”. On the other hand, the prosecution also retracted the charge that Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak were “members of an armed terrorist organization.”

At the end of the trial which started on February 12, 2018 and lasted for 5 days, the verdict about the journalists was announced. Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak were sentenced to aggravated life sentences. Journalists were charged with “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order”. The court ordered that the files of the defendants abroad be separated from the main case.

The Constitutional Court and European Court of Human Rights Proceedings

Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan applied to the Constitutional Court on November 8, 2016. When this effort at first yielded no result, they also applied to the European Court of Human Rights. European Court of Human Rights asked the defense of the government of Turkey about the applications.

On January 11, 2018, the Constitutional Court ruled that Mehmet Altan’s rights had been violated. However, the Istanbul 26. High Criminal Court did not comply with the Constitutional Court’s decision and did not order the release of Mehmet Altan. This was probably a first in Turkish judicial history.

The court resisted the verdict of the Constitutional Court, and sentenced Mehmet Altan to aggravated lifelong imprisonment. Mehmet Altan, Ahmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak were charged with “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order”.

Istanbul 26. High Criminal Court’s resistance against the Constitutional Court’s verdict of rights violation and release of the defendant continued for a long time. Mehmet Altan could be released only with a ruling of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice, 2. Criminal Chamber which was in charge of the appeal proceedings, before the said proceedings began.

Nazlı Ilıcak also filed an individual application with the Constitutional Court in the process. However, her application about the violation of her rights was rejected.

The ECHR later ruled that the rights of both Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan had been violated.

The Appeal Proceedings

The verdict was taken to the court of appeal. Istanbul Regional Court of Justice, 2. Criminal Chamber, which was in charge of the appeal proceedings, ruled that Mehmet Altan be released before the trial began. In this verdict, the court made reference to the Constitutional Court’s decision which the local court had not applied.

The first hearing of the appeal proceedings began on September 21, 2018. At the second hearing on October 2, 2018, the court of appeal upheld the aggravated life sentence handed down by the local court.

Court of Cassation Proceedings

The file was taken to the Court of Cassation for appeal.

On January 8, 2019, Court of Cassation Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office sent its notification to the 16. Criminal Chamber of Court of Cassation. The Chief Public Prosecutor requested that the aggravated life sentences for Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak be overturned. According to the notification, Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak had to stand trial not for “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order”, but for “knowingly and willingly aiding a terrorist organization without being a part of the hierarchical structure within the organization”. This represented a possible reduction of the prison sentences handed down to Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak. However, the local court had retracted the accusation that the journalists were “members of an armed terrorist organization”.

Court of Cassation’s 16. Criminal Chamber overturned the verdict about Ahmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak. Court of Cassation ruled that Ahmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak should be tried for not “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order”, but for “aiding the armed terrorist organization FETÖ / PDY without being part of its hierarchical structure”, in accordance with the request of the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. The chamber ruled for the acquittal of Mehmet Altan.

With this verdict of the Court of Cassation, the retrial process began. The file was referred back to the Istanbul 26. High Criminal Court, which had functioned as the first-instance court. This is the very court which had charged the journalists with 3 counts of aggravated life sentence and up to 15 years in prison, and had resisted the Constitutional Court’s verdict of release for Mehmet Altan.

Ahmet Altan has been prisoned pending trial since September 23, 2016 and Nazlı Ilıcak since July 29, 2016.

Retrial

Following the decision of the Court of Cassation to overturn the verdict, the retrial began on October 8, 2019. At the hearing, Mehmet Altan’s ban on leaving the country was lifted. Ahmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak’s requests for release were rejected.

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (İddianame)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Karar)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Gerekçeli Karar)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Savunma)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Savunma)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Savunma)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Savunma)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (AİHM Kararı)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Esas Hakkında Savunma)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Esas Hakkında Savunma)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (İlk Savunma)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (İstinaf Mahkemesi İlk Savunma)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Karar Duruşma Tutanağı)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Karar Duruşma Tutanağı)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (İstinaf Mahkemesi Karar Duruşma Tutanağı)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (İstinaf Mahkemesi Karar Duruşma Tutanağı)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (İkinci Savunma)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (İstinaf Mahkemesi Son Savunma)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Yargıtay Cumhuriyet Başsavcılığı Tebliğnamesi)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Yargıtay Cumhuriyet Başsavcılığı Tebliğnamesi)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Yargıtay Kararı)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (Yargıtay Kararı)

FETÖ Medya Ana Dava (İstinaf Mahkemesi Kararı)

FETÖ Media Organization

After the coup attempt of July 15, numerous journalists working at different media outlets were taken into custody for alleged links to “Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization - Parallel State Structure /FETÖ-PDY”.

The names of those who would be detained were first published by media outlets close to the government. The first detentions took place on July 27, 2016. The investigation was ordered by Fuzuli Aydoğdu, Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor of Istanbul.

Here are the individuals first taken into custody during the investigation: Osman Nuri Öztürk, Ali Akbulut, Bülent Keneş, Mehmet Kamış, Hüseyin Döğme, Süleyman Sargın, Veysel Ayhan, Şeref Yılmaz, Mehmet Akif Afşar, Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Alaattin Güner, Faruk Kardıç, Metin Tamer Gökçeoğlu, Faruk Akkan, Mümtazer Türköne, Şahin Alpay, Sevgi Akarçeşme, Ali Ünal, Mustafa Ünal, Zeki Önal, Hilmi Yavuz, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Lalezar Sarıibrahimoğlu, Ali Bulaç, Bülent Korucu, İhsan Duran Dağı, Nuriye Ural, Hamit Çiçek, Adil Gülçek, Hamit Bilici, Şenol Kahraman, Melih Kılıç, Nevzat Güner, Mehmet Özdemir, Fevzi Yazıcı, Sedat Yetişkin, Oktay Vızvız, Abdullah Katırcıoğlu, Behçet Akyar, Murat Avcıoğlu, Yüksel Durgut, Zafer Özsoy, Cuma Kaya, Hakan Taşdelen, Osman Nuri Arslan, Ömer Karakaş.

Some of these individuals were detained in raids on their homes. However, some of them were not found in their homes. Therefore, certain individuals were detained only later. Individuals detained first within the scope of the investigation were held at the Istanbul Police Department’s Public Security Branch in Gayrettepe.

After the procedures at the police, Nazlı Ilıcak, Seyit Kılıç, Yakup Sağlam, Bayram Kaya, Cihan Acar, Bünyamin Köseli, Emre Soncan, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Abdullah Kılıç, Habip Güler, Mehmet Gündem, Cuma Ulus, Hanım Büşra Erdal, Hüseyin Aydın, Bülent Mumay, Haşim Söylemez, Ali Akkuş, Yakup Çetin, Arda Akın and Ufuk Şanlı were brought to the Çağlayan Courthouse on July 30, 2016. They were interrogated by the prosecutor’s office, and were referred to the court: 20 of them with a request for their arrest and Bülent Mumay with a request for judicial control. The panel of judges ordered that journalists Nazlı Ilıcak, Bayram Kaya, Haşim Söylemez, Seyid Kılıç, Emre Soncan, Cuma Ulus, Hanım Büşra Erdal, Habib Güler, Ufuk Şanlı, Yakup Çetin, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Ali Akkuş, Abdullah Kılıç, Cihan Acar, Bünyamin Köseli, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu and Hüseyin Aydın be arrested for “membership of a terrorist organization”. Yakup Sağlam and Arda Akın were released on condition of judicial control. Under the judicial control provisions, the court ruled that the two suspects were banned from leaving the country and had to go to the police station for signature once a week. The court ordered the release of Bülent Mumay and Mehmet Gündem.

Of those detained under the same investigation but on different dates, pop singer and Meydan newspaper columnist Atilla Taş, journalists Murat Aksoy and Mutlu Çölgeçen, National Party chairman and contributor to Türk Solu magazine Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu were arrested on September 2, 2016, on charges of “knowingly and willingly aiding FETÖ without being part of its hierarchical structure”. The journalists referred to the court on the same day, namely Ayhan Şimşek, İskender Yunus Tiryaki, Dinçer Gökçe and Levent Arap were released on condition of judicial control.

All of the detained journalists were taken to Silivri High Security Closed Prison. The trial of the journalists began 8 months later. Files of some of the names detained under the investigation were separated. Finally, an indictment against 29 people, 2 of whom were journalists, was drafted by Istanbul Public Prosecutor Murat Cağlak. The 196-page indictment was completed on January 16, 2017 and submitted to the court. The indictment covered the following individuals: Abdullah Kılıç, Ahmet Memiş, Ali Akkuş, Atilla Taş, Bayram Kaya, Bülent Ceyhan, Bünyemin Köseli, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Cihan Acar, Cuma Ulus, Davut Aydın, Emre Soncan, Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Habip Güler, Halil İbrahim Balta, Hanım Büşra Erdal, Hüseyin Aydın, Muhammet Sait Kuloğlu, Muhterem Tanık, Murat Aksoy, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Mutlu Çölgeçen, Oğuz Usluer, Said Sefa, Seyid Kılıç, Ufuk Şanlı, Ünal Tanık, Yakup Çetin, Yetkin Yıldız.

These individuals consisted of employees, owners and writers of the Millet, Cihan Haber Ajansı, Zaman, Meydan, Yeni Hayat, Bugün newspaper, and Rotahaber and Samanyolu Haber web sites.

On page 112 of the indictment, there was comprehensive information on the organization and creation of “Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization- Parallel State Structure /FETÖ-PDY”. Such information was provided in similar cases as well.

The section on the defendants focused on the newspapers and web sites that they worked for. The journalists were charged for working at media outlets shuttered by Decree Laws, for their articles in these outlets, and their social media posts.

The indictment was accepted by Istanbul 25. High Criminal Court and a lawsuit was filed. The date of the first hearing was scheduled as March 27-31, 2017. 26 defendants were under arrest, while one defendant was free. Of the defendants, journalists Said Sefa and Bülent Ceyhan did not attend the hearing since they were fugitives. The hearing was held in the large hall on the ground floor of Çağlayan Courthouse because of the high number of defendants and spectators.

On the last day of the hearings, the prosecutor requested the release of 13 individuals, and the panel of judges ordered the release of 21 out of the 26 defendants under arrest, including these 13. However, the prosecutor objected to the release of 8 journalists scheduled for that day. 26. High Criminal Court processed and approved this objection right away, and issued a second arrest order for Hanım Büşra Erdal, Ahmet Memiş, Bayram Kaya, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Cuma Ulus, Habib Güler, Halil İbrahim Balta and Muhammet Said Kuloğlu. These eight people thus remained in prison. On the same day, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued an arrest warrant for the 13 people whom the prosecutor had requested to be released and the court had ordered to be released, due to the “coup investigation”. These people were taken from prison to police custody. As part of this investigation, seven people were arrested for “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” and “attempting to overthrow the government of Republic of Turkey”. The reason for their arrest was presented as “the evidence against the suspects, the nature of the alleged offense, and the possibility of escape.”

The suspects thus interrogated were arrested by the criminal court of peace that they were referred to, and sent back to prison. Release orders had been issued for the following individuals: Abdullah Kılıç, Ahmet Memiş, Ali Akkuş, Atilla Taş, Bayram Kaya, Bünyemin Köseli, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Cihan Acar, Cuma Ulus, Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Habip Güler, Halil İbrahim Balta, Hanım Büşra Erdal, Hüseyin Aydın, Muhammet Sait Kuloğlu, Murat Aksoy, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Oğuz Usluer, Seyid Kılıç, Yakup Çetin and Yetkin Yıldız.

The second hearing of the case was held on April 27, 2017. Witnesses for the journalists were also heard at this hearing. The court adjourned the trial until July 6, 2017. At the end of that hearing, the court announced its interim ruling, rejected the release requests by 13 defendants and their lawyers, and adjourned the case until October 24. At the third hearing of the case, the panel of judges had changed for the third time. The trial began with the chair of the panel of judges reading the documents that had been sent to the court. A written statement from the General Directorate of Security claimed that the defendants Bülent Ceyhan, D. A., Mutlu Çölgeçen, Oğuz Usluer, Seyit Kılıç and Ufuk Şanlı had downloaded the application ByLock on their mobile phones. However, A., Usluer and Kılıç rejected this claim.

Meanwhile, a new indictment was drafted by Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor İrfan Fidan about the 13 people who had been arrested again after the release order. This second indictment concerning 13 individuals charged them with “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” and “attempting to overthrow the government of the Republic of Turkey”, requesting two counts of aggravated life sentence.

The indictment claimed that “the suspects followed FETÖ’s orders to open an account in Bank Asya or deposit a large amount of money in an already existing account, some of them used ByLock, some of them had phone calls with senior leaders of FETÖ”. Furthermore, it was alleged that the suspects objected to the operations against the Gülen Sect launched after December 17-25, 2013, and supported the organization.

The first hearing of this case was held on August 16-17, 2017 at the Istanbul 25. High Criminal Court. 13 of the defendants were in attendance at the hearing. Chair of the panel of judges, Taner Akıncı, judges Emre Efe Şimşek and Özlem Atuk Şimşek took their seats. At the hearing, the rearrested journalists presented their defense. At the end of the hearing, the court ordered the release of Bünyamin Köseli and Cihan Acar with a ban on leaving the country and the continuation of the detention of the other defendants, as well as the continuation of judicial control for Ali Akkuş. The court ruled that this trial be merged with the other trial where the defendants were accused of “membershio p of a terrorist organization”. The trial was adjourned until October 24, 2017. In that hearing, the defendants and their lawyers expressed their opinions about the reports on Bank Asya and ByLock use which had been sent to the court. According to the report on Bank Asya, six of the defendants including Atilla Taş had no account at Bank Asya, the accounts of four other defendants were dubious, and the other defendants did have accounts at the said bank but these showed no out-of-ordinary transaction. At the end of the hearing, the court ordered the release of journalists Atilla Taş and Murat Aksoy from prison.

After the decision to merge the two cases, the second hearing was scheduled for December 3-4, 2017. Witnesses continued to be heard at this hearing. A total of six witnesses were interrogated about Bünyamin Köseli, who had been released at the previous hearing, and Sait Sefa, for whom there was an arrest warrant, and the defendants in detention Bayram Kaya, Ahmet Memiş and Muhammed Sait Kuloğlu. After the testimonies of the witnesses, the prosecutor presented his judicial opinion, and requested the continued detention of all the defendants. Then the defendants took the floor to respond to witness testimonies.

The next hearing of the case was held on February 8, 2018. The prosecutor submitted his opinion as to the accusations, and requested that the charge of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” be dropped. However, he requested that all the defendants except Murat Aksoy, Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu and Muhterem Tanık be charged with “membership of FETÖ / PDY terrorist organization” and that all the defendants who had been previously released be arrested, except Aksoy.

In his opinion as to the accusations, the prosecutor also requested that the cases of Said Sefa and Bülent Ceyhan, who were fugitives, be separated. After the prosecutor’s opinion, the defense lawyers took the floor and criticized the prosecutor’s requests since the digital report and the other evidence were in favor of their clients. Most of the lawyers also drew attention to the absence of concrete evidence that would justify the allegations of “membership of a terrorist organization” against their clients. At the end of the hearing, former Zaman business correspondent Halil İbrahim Balta was released on condition of judicial control due to health issues. The court then adjourned the trial until February 22-23, 2018 due to the lawyers’ demand for additional time to prepare their defense.

In the interim ruling, the court ordered that the files of the fugitives Bülent Ceyhan and Said Sefa be separated since they were also sued for “membership of a terrorist organization” and that the file of the detainee Emre Soncan also be separated, and merged with a newly filed lawsuit against him. Following this interim ruling, the number of defendants in the trial fell from 29 to 26.

The final hearing of the case was held on March 7-8, 2018. Following the defense presented, the journalists were asked to express their final remarks about the prosecutor’s opinion. Then the court announced its verdict, handing down sentences to 23 defendants for “membership of an armed terrorist organization”.
Journalist Murat Aksoy was sentenced to 2 years, 1 month in prison on charges of “knowingly and willingly aiding the organization, without taking part in the hierarchical structure of the organization”. Atilla Taş was also sentenced to 3 years, 1 month, 15 days in prison. The court ruled that these defendants would not be detained for the moment.

The panel of judges acquitted M. T., the wife of the owner of Rotahaber web site, Ünal Tanık.

The court ordered that 11 the following defendants be sentenced for “membership of a terrorist rganization” to 6 years, 3 months in prison -the lower limit for this crime: Former writer and editor of Habertürk newspaper Abdullah Kılıç; Zaman newspaper’s Ankara correspondent Bayram Kaya; Zaman newspaper’s culture and arts correspondent Bünyamin Köseli; Aksiyon magazine’s reporter Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu; Bugün newspaper’s correspondent Cihan Acar; Zaman newspaper’s correspondent Habip Güler; Zaman newspaper’s business correspondent Halil İbrahim Balta; Zaman newspaper’s correspondent Hanım Büşra Erdal; Cihan News Agency reporter Hüseyin Aydın; Zaman newspaper’s correspondent Yakup Çetin; and Türk Solu magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu.

The remaining 12 defendants were sentenced to 7 years, 6 months of imprisonment on charges of “membership of an armed terrorist organization” due to “the nature of the crime committed and the intensity of criminal intent”. This group included: Haberdar.com‘s news coordinator Ahmet Memiş; Zaman’s former news manager Ali Akkuş; the founder of Şubuhaber news web site Muhammed Sait Kuloğlu; former news manager of Bugün newspaper Mustafa Erkan Acar; Sabah newspaper’s former Ankara news editor Mutlu Çölgeçen; Habertürk TV’s former coordinator Oğuz Usluer; TRT news reporter Seyid Kılıç; Millet newspaper’s business news director and former contributor to al-Monitor, Ufuk Şanlı; Rotahaber website’s owner Ünal Tanık; editor of Active Haber website Yetkin Yıldız; Habertürk TV’s former news manager Cuma Ulus; and teacher Davut Aydın.

The court also ordered the change of the status of all detainees to “prisoner on remand”, and ordered the arrest of previously released Ali Akkuş.
Lawyers objected to the sentences at the court of appeal. Istanbul Regional Court’s 2. Criminal Chamber upheld the prison sentences on October 22, 2018. The court of appeal ordered the continued detention of the defendants, and rejected the defendants’ appeal in substance. 2. Criminal Chamber ruled that the evidence presented in the file was adequate and sufficient to convict the defendants, and that the local court’s decision was in keeping with the laws.

After the court of appeal upheld the prison sentences, Atilla Taş and Murat Aksoy, who had been sentenced to less than five years, went back to prison. Aksoy was released on probation on January 4, 2019 and Taş on February 8, 2019 after serving their sentences.

The court of appeal’s decision to uphold the sentence was then referred to the Court of Cassation since the prison sentences were over five years.

The appeal proceedings at the Court of Cassation are still underway. The individuals who were handed down prison sentences are still prisoners on remand.

FETÖ Medya Yapılanması (İddianame)

FETÖ Medya Yapılanması (Gerekçeli Karar)

FETÖ Medya Yapılanması (Savunma)

Gökhan Öner - Denizli Dicle News Agency Trial

On April 27, 2018, the following anonymous message was sent to Denizli Police Department, Electronic Intelligence Department at 14.08: “I am Kurdish, too. But Nevzat’s son M. from Sarayköy, construction worker M. K. from Esentepe, their friends E. and E. K., and DİHA reporter Gökhan will stage a bomb attack that will massacre scores of Turks and Kurds in Denizli. They will avenge the deaths of the terrorists killed in the East and Syria. These individuals have received an order from the terrorist organization, the guerilla”.

On April 28, 2018, construction workers M. D., E.B., M.K., E.H. and journalist Gökhan Öner were taken into custody in house raids. They were detained in the police department for seven days. Following the end of the detention period, the suspects were released pending trial, while Gökhen Öner was arrested. Denizli Prosecutor Uğur Atakul drafted the indictment on June 8, 2018.

After three months of imprisonment, Gökhan Öner was released in the first hearing like the other defendants, pending trial. Gökhan Öner pleaded not guilty for all the charges, indicating in his statements to the prosecutor and the court that he was simply a journalist, the tip-off was unfounded, and the police had no material evidence.

At the end of the trial, Öner was sentenced to 10 months in prison. The court ordered the deferment of the announcement of the verdict.

Gökhan Öner - Denizli DİHA Davası (İddianame)

Güleçyüz, Özdabak - Trial for Spreading Propaganda for a Terrorist Organization

The indictment against the editor-in-chief of Yeni Asya Newspaper, Kazım Güleçyüz and cartoonist Halil İbrahim Özdabak was completed on December 7, 2018. The indictment was accepted by Istanbul 29. High Criminal Court.

The first hearing of the trial was held on May 2, 2019.

Güleryüz stated that he had been actively involved in publishing for 41 years and journalism for 27 years. He said that in all his writings, books and speeches, he upheld the rule of law, justice, democracy, human rights and freedoms, peace, and had a resolute stance against coups and terror. He claimed that the charges in the indictment were diametrically opposed to this perspective of his. He rejected the charges.

The court was adjourned for the drafting of the opinion as to the accusations. Before the second hearing of the case, the prosecutor stated that the indictment had been sent to the panel of judges over UYAP.

Güleçyüz, Özdabak - Örgüt Propagandası Davası (İddianame)

Harun Çümen - FETÖ Trial

Harun Çümen, former editor-in-chief of the shuttered Zaman Newspaper, was detained on March 4, 2018 and arrested on March 7, 2018. He is currently in Balıkesir Prison. The indictment against Çümen and three other individuals was drafted on October 1, 2018 by Ahmet Gezgin Çam. The indictment was accepted by Istanbul 32. High Criminal Court.

In the indictment it was stated that Çümen “had an account at Bank Asya, was a member of the trade union called PAK MEDYA İŞ SENDİKASI, and had four phone calls with a senior leader of FETÖ/PDY” and that he was registered to the Social Security Institution by the company Feza Gazetecilik A.Ş. which was “sanctioned for alleged links to the armed terror group FETÖ/PDY”.

In his defense provided in the indictment, Çümen stated that after graduating from Istanbul University in 1996, he began working as an intern reporter at Zaman Newspaper, and had risen to the position of managing editor at the newspaper, where he worked until 2016. He explained that “I was practically obliged to join the said trade union as a Zaman Newspaper employee.” He indicated that the said individual he talked to on the phone was simply the editor-in-chief of Zaman Newspaper. He added that he had come to Keşan on March 4, 2018 to purchase olives and olive oil.

“I worked at Zaman newspaper, the media arm of the said organization, only to make a living. I have these connections due to my work. After the newspaper was closed down, I could not receive my severance pay. I am an injured party for this reason”, he added. He stated that he had no information about the individuals mentioned in the indictment who were detained in another vehicle on the same day in Keşan, allegedly trying to go abroad. he pleaded not guilty for the charges in the indictment.

The first hearing was held on January 8, 2019, and at the last hearing held on July 18, 2019, Çümen was sentenced to 7 years, 6 months in prison on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization”.

The Zaman Newspaper had been closed down in July 2016 as per the Decree Law No. 668 titled “Measures to be Taken Under the State of Emergency and Actions Against Certain Institutions and Companies”.

Harun Çümen - FETÖ Davası (İddianame)

Hasan Cemal - Silvan Trial

Hasan Cemal was sued for his article titled “Silvan’dan: Bizi acılara, ölümlere o kadar alıştırdılar ki…” (“From Silvan: They have accustomed us to death…”) published on December 4, 2015 on the news web site T24, where he shared his observations from Silvan and his interviews with two locals and the then-Silvan Co-Mayor.

Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor Kenan Karaca completed his indictment on June 28, 2018. Prosecutor Karaca cited phrases by the individuals that Hasan Cemal had spoken to, such as “You can’t solve the problem and bring peace with tanks and cannons”, “They have accustomed us to death and suffering …”, “…We do not lose anything from our ambition to struggle”, and claimed that by publishing these phrases in his article Cemal “legitimized the activities of the terrorist organization”, “praised and supported violent acts” and “encouraged people to employ such methods”.

The prosecutor claimed that Hasan Cemal had committed the crime of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” via the press as per Article 7/2 of Anti-Terror Law. He requested that Cemal be punished with prison of 1.5 to 7.5 years.

The trial lasted 3 hearings. At the final hearing on May 7, 2019, the court sentenced Cemal to 1 year, 6 months, 22 days of prison pursuant to Article 7/2 of Anti-Terror Law. Since Cemal was sentenced to 1 year, 3 months of imprisonment by another court on charges of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”, his sentence was reduced. As a result, the court handed down a judicial fine of 3360 TL to Hasan Cemal.

Hasan Cemal - Silvan Davası Download

Hasan Cemal - Silvan Davası (İddianame)

Hasan Cemal - Silvan Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

Hayri Demir - Membership and Propaganda Trial

Journalist Hayri Demir was taken into custody in Ankara on March 16, 2017, and after eight days in detention he was released on condition of judicial control. In this investigation, Demir was charged for the news stories he penned from northern Syria controlled by Democratic Union Party (PYD - Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat). The indictment was completed by Ankara Public Prosecutor Muhammed Akif Ongun on May 16, 2019 at the end of more than two years of investigation.

When the indictment was issued, it turned out that the evidence in the investigation was obtained by the prosecutor when the camera memory cards stolen by thieves who had broken into Demir’s house on February 28, 2016 ended up in the police department. According to the indictment, an individual named Ö.H. had found the said memory cards on the street where Demir lived less than 24 hours after the breaking and entering, and sent these to the police.

The prosecutor claimed in the indictment that the footage and photo taken by Demir in Syria for journalistic purposes were tantamount to “activity within a terrorist organization”. The indictment also cited Demir’s social media posts and charged him for “membership of a terrorist organization” and “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”.

The indictment was accepted by Ankara 15. High Criminal Court, where Demir’s trial was underway. Demir was charged of “membership of an armed terrorist organization” and “spreading propaganda for an armed terrorist organization”, and the trial began on September 24, 2019.

Demir attended the hearing, stated that he had not been presented the indictment, and demanded extra time for preparing his defense. The court accepted Demir’s request and adjourned the trial until October 23, 2019.

Presenting his defense at the second hearing of the trial, Demir drew attention to the fact that the charges against him corresponded entirely to his journalistic activities and that the file included no evidence apart from these activities: “This file is nothing but a conspiracy against me,” Demir said. He indicated that the case was filed after the memory cards stolen from his house were handed over to the police, and stated that the evidence was obtained in an illicit manner. Demir demanded his acquittal.

The trial was adjourned until January 23, 2020.

Hayri Demir - Üyelik, Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

İdris Sayılğan - DİHA Trial

A graduate of Mersin UNiversity, Faculty of Communications, the journalist İdris Sayılğan worked between 2014-2016 for the Dicle News Agency, which would later be shut down by a Decree Law. In the morning of October 17, 2016, he was taken into custody with a police raid on his house for his interviews and phone calls with news sources and the articles published during his stint at DİHA as well as his social media posts. Sayılğan was detained for seven days alone in a cell, and prevented from contacting his lawyer. On October 24, 2016, he was arrested along with five other individuals on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization”.

After spending two weeks in Muş Prison, he was transferred to Trabzon E-Type Prison, 450 km away from his family home, without any justification. Muş Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office completed the investigation 9 months after Sayılğan’s arrest and drafted the indictment. Public Prosecutor Mustafa Demirbaş, who prepared the indictment, demanded that Sayılğan be sentenced to prison for 7.5 to 15 years, for “membership of a terrorist organization”. Prosecutor Demirbaş based his claim of “membership of a terrorist organization” on Sayılğan’s 65 telephone conversations with news sources. The other five people who were tried together with Sayılğan on the same charges appeared before the judge on November 8, 2017, 13 months after being arrested. In none of the five hearings was Sayılğan brought before the judge.

Due to his long detention and the absence of efficient legal proceedings, Sayılğan’s lawyers, that is Veysel Ok and Barış Oflas from Association of Media and Legal Studies (MLSA) filed his individual application with the Constitutional Court on July 11, 2018. In the application it was stated that Sayılğan’s news stories and related interviews ought to be considered as falling within the limits of the freedom of press, and that Sayılğan was being discriminated against for working at DİHA, resulting in a violation of his personal security and freedom, safety of his private life, right to fair trial, and freedom of expression. However, the Constitutional Court did not announce a verdict. In response, lawyers from MLSA and from London-based organization for the freedom of press, Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI) filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights for journalist İdris Sayılğan who was in prison for over 2 years, on October 9. The application file points to a violation of the provisions of Articles 5, 6, 10, 13 and 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), namely the right to freedom and security, the right to a fair trial, freedom of expression, and the right to an effective remedy.

It was also emphasized that Sayılğan was detained solely for his interviews with news sources, and for the news he penned, in a clear violation of his rights to freedom of expression, and of the rights of personal security and freedom. Furthermore, it was underlined that Sayılğan is a journalist, thus demanding that the Court give priority to his case. This is the first time in Turkey that an international organization gives its support to the ECHR application by a journalist.

İnce, Uğur - Birgün Newspaper, Fuat Avni Trial

A lawsuit was filed against the former managing editors of Birgün Newspaper’s website, Barış İnce and Cansever Uğur, as well as two executives of the company publishing the newspaper, for reporting on the tweets from the Twitter account called “Fuat Avni”.

The indictment against Barış İnce, Cansever Uğur and the other two executives was completed on July 16, 2019 by Istanbul Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor, Murat Çağlak.

For reporting on the tweets by “Fuat Avni” at a time when the conflict between the government and the Gülen surfaced, İnce and Uğur were charged for “knowingly and willingly aiding a terrorist organization without taking part in its hierarchical structure”.

In the indictment it was stated that İnce and Uğur “did not use the Bylock application”, “had no records in associations, companies with links to FETÖ or in Bank Asya” and “had made no contact with FETÖ’s senior leaders”.

In the indictment, the following statement about İnce and Uğur was especially noteworthy:

“It was seen that the suspects do not have hierarchical ties with the terrorist organization, and that they published numerous news stories against the organization in the past. ”

Despite all these, İnce and Uğur were charged with ““knowingly and willingly aiding a terrorist organization without taking part in its hierarchical structure” as per Turkish Penal Code, Articles 220/7 and 314/2. Furthermore, the prosecutor requested a 50% increase in the sentence as per Anti-Terror Law, Article 5/1. Thus, he requested prison sentences of 7.5 to 15 years for İnce and Uğur.

The indictment was accepted by Istanbul 32. High Criminal Court on August 30, 2019.

The date of the first hearing has yet to be announced.

İnce, Uğur - Birgün Gazetesi Fuat Avni Davası (İddianame)

İshak Karakaş - Propaganda Trial

İshak Karakaş, editor-in-chief of the newspaper Halkın Nabzı and writer of Artı Gerçek web site, was taken into custody on January 22, 2018 in a house raid under the scope of the investigation against social media criticisms towards the Operation Olive Branch launched by Turkish Armed Forces into the Afrin province of Syria.

Karakaş was arrested on January 26, by Istanbul 9. Criminal Court of Peace on duty, on charges of “spreading propaganda for an organization”. Nine of the suspects along with Karakaş were arrested in this investigation against 10 suspects. According to the indictment drafted by Public Prosecutor Ergün Güçlü, Karakaş was charged for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” pursuant to Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2.

The first hearing of the case was held on May 8, 2018 at Istanbul 28. High Criminal Court. Defendant Karakaş and the other detainees were released on condition of judicial control. Karakaş’s probation was ended at the hearing on November 20, 2018, and his ban on going abroad was lifted on January 17, 2019.

At the hearing on January 17, the public prosecutor’s office submitted the opinion as to the accusations and requested that İshak Karakaş be sentenced for “continuously spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”.

At the end of the trial, Karataş was sentenced to 1 year, 6 months, 22 days of imprisonment.

İsmail Cem Şimşek - Albayrak Insult Trial

The news story titled “Albayrak İşçilere Saldırı Programının Sinyalini Verdi” (Albayrak Gave the Signal for a Program of Attack Against Workers”) was published on Evrensel Newspaper and its web site on July 14, 2018.

Minister of Treasury and Finance Berat Albayrak filed a complaint against İsmail Cem Şimşek, the managing editor of Evrensel Newspaper on July 20, 2018. The following was stated in the petition:

“The title of the story is very provocative and dangerous; in a very dangerous game of misperception, the newspaper has made an incorrect statement about economic policy, and presented it as a campaign of violence.…”

Albayrak didn’t just file a complaint about the news story. He also sent a “correction” to the newspaper via court. Bakırköy 1. Criminal Court of Peace accepted Albayrak’s request and a “correction and response” was sent to Evrensel Newspaper for publication. However, Albayrak then filed a second complaint against Şimşek and the newspaper’s manager, and stated in the petition dated September 27, 2018, that the correction was not published by the newspaper in line with the court decision.

In fact, the correction text sent by Albayrak had been published in the newspaper. However, it was titled “Correction” rather than “Our Response to the Fabricated News Story by Evrensel About Mr. Berat Albayrak”.

The indictment against the former managing editor of Evrensel Newspaper İsmail Cem Şimşek and the manager of the company publishing the newspaper was completed on October 30, 2018.

In the indictment, the prosecutor requested that Şimşek be sentenced for “insulting a public officer” pursuant to Articles 125/1 and 125/3-a of the Turkish Penal Code, with a prison term from 1 year to 2 years. The indictment also requested that Şimşek be handed down a heavy judicial fine of 10 to 100 thousand TL pursuant to Article 18 of the Press Law, namely “not publishing a correction or response”.

The trial took four hearings. At the end of the trial, the chair of the panel of judges, Gül Sema Çevik sentenced Şimşek to a fine of 41,660 TL for “not publishing a correction as required”. Şimşek was acquitted of the charges that he insulted Berat Albayrak with the news story.

İsmail Cem Şimşek - Albayrak Hakaret Davası (İddianame)

İsmail Cem Şimşek - Albayrak Hakaret Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

İsmail Cem Şimşek - Albayrak Hakaret Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

İsmail Cem Şimşek - Trial for Insulting the President

The former managing editor of Evrensel Newspaper, İsmail Cem Şimşek was charged with “insulting the President” as per Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code, for the news article titled “Alman Karikatüristler Erdoğan’ı Fena Çizdi” (“The German Cartoonists’ Nasty Portrayal of Erdoğan”) published on the website of the newspaper on August 1, 2015.

An investigation was launched upon Erdoğan’s complaint, and the cartoons in German were translated into Turkish.

In his statement at the prosecutor’s office İsmail Cem Şimşek stated that cartoons had been published in 2015, and pointed to the expiry of the statute of limitations. He also indicated that the cartoons’ illustrators, and the newspapers and magazines that published them were known, and that he was not responsible for the cartoons.

On March 11, 2019, a permission was received from the Ministry of Justice to sue Şimşek for “insulting the President” as per Article 299/1 of the Turkish Penal Code.

The indictment against Şimşek was completed on May 8, 2019 by Bülent Demirbilek, a prosecutor from İstanbul Bakırköy Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. The first hearing of the case was held on October 10, 2019 at Bakırköy 27. Criminal Court of First Instance. The lawyers argued that as per Press Law, the trial had to be referred to the 2. Criminal Court of First Instance, which is responsible for press-related offenses. At the second hearing held on October 31, 2019, the court ruled for lack of jurisdiction and forwarded the case to 2. Criminal Court of First Instance.

İsmail Cem Şimşek - Cumhurbaşkanına Hakaret Davası (İddianame)

Şirin Kabakçı - FETÖ Trial

Şirin Kabakçı was detained on May 11, 2017 under the investigation against FETÖ (Fethullahist Terrorist Organization), on the orders of Konya Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. Kabakçı was charged with “membership of a terrorist organization.”

13 days later (May 24, 2017) Şirin Kabakçı was taken to the public prosecutor’s office, and arrested on the same day upon the orders of Konya 3. Criminal Court of Peace for alleged “membership of a terrorist organization”.

  1. High Criminal Court of Konya sent the indictment completed on October 2, 2017, to Istanbul on October 10, 2017 due to “lack of jurisdiction”. The indictment was accepted by Istanbul 35. High Criminal Court.

The first hearing was held on June 19, 2018, 17 months after he was detained and arrested. Şirin Kabakçı was released pending trial, at the fourth hearing of the case on condition of judicial control.

Karşı Newspaper Trial

The case against Karşı Newspaper employees accusing the newspaper of being FETÖ’s instrument was merged with the case against Eren Erdem, its former editor-in-chief and former CHP MP. Murat Çağlak drafted the indictment of the case against the employees, and Fahri Mutlu Tosun drafted the indictment against Eren Erdem.

In this case with 12 defendants, there are two defendants prisoned pending trial, one is journalist Eren Erdem, and the other is a social media user who also owns an internet news site and is accused for his messages.

At the second hearing of the case, the court ordered Erdem’s release, but upon the objection of the prosecutor, a second arrest warrant was issued for Erdem. Erdem left the prison, spent the night at the gendarmerie, was referred to a higher court and then arrested again.

At the final hearing on March 1, 2019, the court sentenced Eren Erdem to 4 years, 2 months, Emre Erçiş to 3 years, 1 month, 15 days and acquitted Mehmet Bozkurt and Kutlu Esendemir, on charges of “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed terrorist organization without taking part in its hierarchical structure”.

Karşı Gazete Davası (İddianame)

Karşı Gazete Davası (İddianame)

Karşı Gazete Davası (Gerekçeli Karar)

Kaya-Aykol- Kızılkaya / Özgür Gündem Trial

Due to articles published in the Özgür Gündem newspaper, which was later closed with a Decree Law, separate investigations were initiated by Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Press Crimes Investigation Bureau. After the lawsuits were filed, 14 indictments were merged by the Istanbul 2. Criminal Court of First Instance.

The prosecutors drafted 1 indictment for Hatip Dicle, 10 for Hüseyin Aykol, 14 for İnan Kızılkaya and 2 for Zana Kaya.

In the indictments, they were charged with “publicly defaming the government, the judiciary or the police force”, and “publicly defaming the Turkish nation, republic and Grand National Assembly of Turkey”.

The trial awaits the execution of the arrest warrant against Kurdish politician Hatip Dicle.

Ali Sönmez Kayar - ETHA Trial

Etkin News Agency (ETHA) reporter Ali Sönmez Kayar was taken into custody by police officers on February 1, 2018 as he left the agency. He was taken to İstanbul Vatan Police Station and his lawyers were not informed of the reason for his detention. Under the scope of the same investigation, nine members of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP) were taken into custody.

After six days in custody, he was referred to Bakırköy Courthouse on February 6, 2018. In the interrogation, he was questioned about protests and activities organized by ESP between 2013 and 2015, and statements against Kayar by three “secret witnesses”.

After the prosecutor’s interrogation, he was referred to court on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization (Marxist Leninist Communist Party - MLKP)”. Bakırköy Third Criminal Court of Peace ordered his arrest on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization.” Six other people aside from Kayar were arrested. He was sent to Silivri No. 2 F-Type Closed Prison.

Public Prosecutor Ufuk Can Gazezoğlu drafted the indictment against Kayar. The 242-page indictment was completed on March 1, 2018. It was accepted by Istanbul 32. High Criminal Court on April 11, 2018. The indictment requested that Kayar be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison, on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization.”

The first hearing of the case was held on July 13, 2018.

At the hearing, Kayar presented his defense and said, “The protests and activities that I follow for journalism purposes are presented as ground for accusation. I do not accept the accusation. I have committed no crime.”

At the first hearing, the court ruled the continuation of Kayar’s detention.

Kayar was released on October 31, 2018 on condition of “judicial control.”

The next hearing will be held on October 13, 2019.

Kazım Kızıl - Insulting the President of the Republic Trial

In April 2017, a referendum was held for the amendment of certain constitutional articles to transition to an executive presidential system. After the referendum, protests were organized before the offices of the High Election Board (YSK) in many cities, and in İzmir, the documentary film-maker and journalist Kazım Kızıl who was following the protest was detained, along with 23 protesters.

Although he was detained on charges of violating the Law no. 2911 on Meetings and Protest Rallies, he was arrested four days later on charges of insulting the President through his social media posts dating from 2016. Six other defendants were also arrested for allegedly violating Law No. 2911. All the defendants were charged with insulting the President because of the slogans they chanted during the protest.

Kızıl stated that during the protest where he was detained, he heard the police talk among themselves, saying “Did you get Kazım, too?”

At the first hearing of the trial, held three months later, he was released along with six other prisoners in the same case. Erdoğan’s lawyer, who had asked to participate in the hearings, did not come to any.

At the final hearing of the case on June 19, 2019, Kızıl was sentenced to 1 year in prison on charges of “insulting the president”. The time he spent in prison was deducted from this sentence.

Kazım Kızıl - Cumhurbaşkanına Hakaret Davası (İddianame)

KCK Media Trial

46 journalists and media professionals are sued since 2012 in the KCK Media Trial on charges of “leading a terrorist organization” or “membership of a terrorist organization.”

The process began on December 20, 2011 when the police raided the houses of journalists and Kurdish media outlets such as Dicle News Agency (DİHA), Özgür Gündem newspaper, Fırat News Agency and Roj TV in early morning hours, taking into custody 49 journalists under the scope of the operation against Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK).

The indictment completed on April 27, 2012, depicted journalistic efforts as “activities for a terrorist group”, and used phrases such as “alleged journalism activities”, “participating in a protest in the guise of reporter”, “new stories that damage or jeopardize the image of the state”, “It was seen that the suspect was not involved in journalistic activities, but penned stories that benefited the terror organization.”

KCK Media Trial became the largest trial against journalists in Turkish history and the first example of collective lawsuit against journalists. 37 of the 46 journalists and media professionals sued remained in prison between 9 months to 2.5 years.

From September 10, 2012 to March 3, 2014, 10 hearings comprising 32 sessions were held at Specially Authorized 15. High Criminal Court. Following the first hearing which lasted three days, the court ordered that the lawsuit be transferred from Çağlayan Courthouse to the courtroom in the Silivri for reasons such as “defendants’ actions during the trial, and the small size of the courtroom”, on November 12, 2012.

Since the specially authorized courts were abolished by legal amendment on February 21, 2014, the proceedings take place at İstanbul 3. High Criminal Court at the
Çağlayan Courthouse. The opinion as to the accusations has yet to be presented.

The 18. hearing will take place on February 25, 2020.

KCK Basın Davası (İddianame)

Selman Keleş, Arif Aslan - Trial for Membership of a Terrorist Organization

Dihaber Agency’s reporter Selman Keleş, and journalist Arif Arslan, who worked for Van İpekyolu Municipality, were detained on March 20, 2017 while taking photos of the concrete barriers in front of the Van Metropolitan Municipality building. They were arrested on March 31, 2017. Dihaber Agency, which Keleş worked for, was closed down by Decree Law No. 693 issued on August 25, 2017.

An indictment was drafted by Van Public Prosecutor Emrah Güngör, on charges of “membership of an armed terrorist organization”. Keleş and Arslan were released at the first hearing on November 21, 2017. Upon the prosecutor’s objection to this ruling, a second arrest warrant was issued against them.

Selman Keleş was detained in Diyarbakır on December 12, 2017 and released on December 13, 2017. He left Turkey and applied for asylum in Switzerland. The court put Arif Aslan on probation and banned him from going abroad.

The hearing on September 5, 2019 lasted three minutes. The court adjourned the trial until January 16, 2020 on the grounds that the statement of Selman Keleş, who had applied for asylum in Switzerland, could not be taken.

Selman Keleş, Arif Aslan - Üyelik Davası (İddianame)

Selman Keleş, Arif Aslan - Üyelik Davası (İddianame)

Kibriye Evren - JinNews Trial

Jin News correspondent Kibriye Evren was taken into custody during an operation on October 9 in Diyarbakır. She was arrested on October 11 and placed in Diyarbakır E-Type Closed Prison. The investigation about Evren was completed by Public Prosecutor’s Office and an indictment was drafted on October 18, 2018. Prosecutor Şahsuvar Yıldız leveled charges of “membership of a terrorist organization” and “spreading propaganda of a terrorist organization” in the indictment, which was accepted by Diyarbakır 5. High Criminal Court; the first hearing was scheduled for December 6, 2018.

The indictment presented Kibriye Evren’s journalistic activities and social media posts as criminal activities, and the secret witnesses and electronic tip-offs were deemed sufficient to open an investigation against her.

The 25-page indictment drafted by the prosecutor against Evren cited as evidence secret witness statements, social media posts and journeys abroad. The indictment presented the activities of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), and of Kongreya Jinên Azad (KJA) and Tevgera Jinên Azad (TJA), which were shuttered by Decree Law, as criminal activities. The indictment dwelled upon the structure of KCK in a 11-page section, and upon associated institutions on 6 pages, claiming that all of their activities were illegal.

The indictment also portrayed TJA’s activities on the women’s question, and protests and events against male violence as “activities on behalf of a terrorist organization”, based on the following anonymous electronic tip-off sent to the Electronic Intelligence Branch over the internet: “TJA center. Mr. police officer, good evening. I want to give you information about PKK. Their women used to hang out in KJA. When that was closed then, they renamed it TJA. Women gather there. It is in the Ofis district. All they do is get together to talk about Öcalan and his isolation. Their fiercest militants go there. If I learn anything else, I will again message you.” It was further claimed that the Diyarbakır-based DTK, which has representatives in numerous cities, was an illegal structure with links to the “organization”. DTK’s meetings organized with the participation of MPs, mayors, NGOs, political parties, associations and unions, as well as being a DTK member or delegate were presented as criminal acts.

According to the indictment, the grounds for launching an investigation against Kibriye Evren were the statement given by a secret witness dubbed “EZEL” to the prosecutor on 03.07.2018 at the Diyarbakır Anti-Terror Branch; the statement given by a secret witness dubbed “FİRAR” to the prosecutor on 12.09.2018 at the Diyarbakır Anti-Terror Branch; the statement given by a secret witness dubbed “CESUR YÜREK” to the prosecutor on 28.03.2016; as well as Evren’s social media posts.
It was further claimed that Kibriye Evren’s name was mentioned in the documents obtained during the examination of digital materials seized upon a search warrant issued by Ankara 11. High Criminal Court on 27.11.2010. In addition, a photo taken on 20.08.2010 by Evren on the way to picnic with her friends was also added to the file as evidence of crime. Her journeys abroad for journalistic activities between 2015 and 2018 were likewise presented as evidence of crime.

The first hearing was held on December 6, 2018, the second hearing on January 10, 2019, the third hearing on April 16 and May 7, 2019. Kibriye Evren could not attend the last two hearings because she was on hunger strike. At the hearing on July 18, the panel of judges did not announce its verdict as its members had changed. Evren presented her defense in Turkish. The expected release order was not issued on September 24, and the 8th hearing will be held on November 12, 2019.

Kibriye Evren - JinNews Davası (İddianame)

Yasin Kobulan - Social Media Trial

Yasin Kobulan, a reporter for the Mesopotamia Agency, stood trial for his six social media posts from 2015. These posts consisted of news stories about the events that transpired during the curfew in southeastern Anatolia, when Kobulan was working for the now shuttered Dicle News Agency.

He refused the accusations during the interrogations at the police and prosecutor’s office, saying that these posts were taken from news web sites, he was a journalist, he had simply shared the news stories from web sites with the general public, and that these news stories and comments fell within the scope of the freedom of thought and expression.

The prosecutor Yavuz Şahin, in the indictment he completed on October 1, 2018, argued that Kobulan “has committed the offense in question by portraying Turkish Armed Forces’ operations against the terror group in the southeast as massacres, and by justifying and legitimizing the violent acts of the terror group.”

The first hearing was held on December 26, 2018. The prosecutor Mustafa Güner requested that the defendant be sentenced as per Article 7/2 (second clause), Article 43/1 and Article 53 of the Turkish Penal Code, for “spreading propaganda for an armed terrorist organization”.

At the second hearing of the trial, Kobulan was sentenced to 1 year, 6 months, 22 days in prison for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”. The court ordered a deferment of the announcement of the verdict.

Yasin Kobulan - Sosyal Medya Davası (İddianame)

Lezgin Akdeniz - /Propaganda of an Organzation Trial

Mezopotamya Agency reporter Lezgin Akdeniz was among the 142 people detained in Diyarbakır on October 9, 2018, within the scope of an investigation conducted by Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor Şansuvar Yıldız drafted an indictment against Akdeniz, who was held in custody for three days. The indictment was accepted by Diyarbakır 9. High Criminal Court on January 18, 2019.

The indictment claimed that Akdeniz “was a member of the terrorist organization” based only on the statements of the secret witness code named “Ezel”; and accused him of “spreading continuous propaganda for the terrorist organization”, for putting a like on a news story on Facebook concerning the liberation of Rakka from ISIS: The prosecutor requested a total sentence of 22 years in jail. The investigation centered on ‘KCK’, and in the indictment, the charges pressed against Akdeniz took a quarter of a page. The indictment featured the statement by the secret witness “Ezel”, who claimed that Akdeniz -who had indeed never gone abroad- took instructions from Murat Karayılan and Cemil Bayık, and communicated these to members of the organization.

The indictment also included another statement by the secret witness Ezel, where he claimed that Akdeniz had met with members of the organization in Iraq, via Skype. In the indictment, in reference to these secret witness statements, the prosecutor requested a prison sentence of 10 to 22 years for Akdeniz, on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization”. The first hearing of the trial was held on March 27, 2019.

A verdict was reached at the first hearing: Akdeniz was acquitted of the charge of “membership of a terrorist organization” and sentenced to 1 year, 3 months in prison for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”. The court also ordered the deferment of the announcement of the verdict.

Lezgin Akdeniz - Örgüt Propagandası Davası (İddianame)

Mağden, Ketenciler - Insulting the President of the Republic Trial

The Nokta magazine, shuttered in April 2016 published a story titled “Semih: The Tayyip-like figure on Survivor Island”, and in response, the participant of the TV show in question, Semih Öztürk filed a complaint with Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office against Perihan Mağden and the news web site T24 which republished the said story. An investigation was launched upon this complaint by Öztürk, who claimed that Perihan Mağden insulted him and the President.

In this scope, the prosecutor’s office took the statement of Perihan Mağden. Mağden indicated in her statement at the prosecutor’s office that she had criticized Semih Öztürk, a competitor at the television show Survivor Island, for his unusual behavior, and had pointed to some similarities between Öztürk and the President. She stated that the article was not about the President, and that there was no complaint filed by the lawyers of the President. She cited jurisprudence by ECHR underlining that criticism can sometimes be severe, shocking and offensive.

T24’s editor-in-chief İnan Ketenciler also gave a statement within the scope of the investigation, indicating that the article was not penned by T24, and that they had only republished it from Nokta magazine. He pleaded not guilty for the charges in question.

The prosecutor indicated in the indictment that during the investigation he could not reach the original of the piece in question, since Nokta magazine was shut down under the state of emergency by a Decree Law, and their web site was barred from access.

In the indictment completed by the Public Prosecutor Yasemin Baba on June 6, 2017, it was claimed that Perihan Mağden had committed an offense, going beyond the limits of criticism. Prosecutor Baba also argued that republishing the same article on the website T24 was a repetition of the same offense. Baba had received the consent of the minister, which was necessary for pressing charges of insulting the President, and requested that the suspects be tried and sentenced.
The first hearing of the case was held on November 2, 2017, upon the acceptance of the indictment by 2. Criminal Court of First Instance. İnan Ketenciler attended the first hearing as defendant and requested additional time, stating that he wanted to hire a lawyer to defend him at court. The judge asked Ketenciler about his statements during investigation, and his objection against the petition of the lawyer, who wanted to intervene in the case on behalf of President Erdoğan. The court decided to accept the involvement of President Erdoğan’s lawyer in the trial.

At the fourth hearing of the case held on November 22, 2018, an arrest warrant in absentia was issued for Perihan Mağden, since she did not attend the hearings and did not gave her statement. Mağden attended the fifth hearing of the case on January 10, 2019 and presented her defense. She explained that in her article in question she focused on Semih Öztürk, who had become the most controversial participant due to his behavior in the highly popular TV show “Survivor Island”. She stated that in her article she established similarities between Semih Öztürk and the President, and explained that Öztürk with his highly criticized behavior tried to capitalize on the popularity of the President. Mağden underlined that as a columnist such a criticism was her right and a part of her profession. Mağden indicated in that her article was not about the President but Semih Öztürk, that she had no intention of insulting anyone, and refused the charges.

In the sixth hearing held on February 21, 2019, Halil Kocabaş, the lawyer of İnan Ketenciler requested additional time for the defense against the accusations.

Mağden, Ketenciler - Cumhurbaşkanına Hakaret Davası Download

Mağden, Ketenciler - Cumhurbaşkanına Hakaret Davası (İddianame)

Mağden, Öğreten - Insulting the President of the Republic Trial

In September 2015, the magazine Nokta was banned and pulled off the shelves for its cover that read “Erdoğan-Style Selfie”. Perihan Mağden, a contributor to the said magazine gave an interview on September 14, 2015 to journalist Tunca İlker Öğreten from the news web site diken.com.tr, stating that “President Erdoğan acts like a wild tiger that has been cornered”.

Due to this metaphor used in the interview, the writer Perihan Mağden, journalist Tunca İlker Ögreten who conducted the interview, and Orhan Şahin and Mehmet Çağlar Tekin executives of the Yurt newspaper which published the interview, were all charged with “insulting the President”.

At the final hearing of the trial held at Istanbul 2. Criminal Court of First Instance on January 10, 2019, Mağden and Öğreten were each fined 7 thousand TL on charges of “insulting the President”. The court did not postpone the fines for Öğreten and Mağden, but acquitted Şahin and Tekin of the charges.

Mağden, Öğreten - Cumhurbaşkanına Hakaret Davası (İddianame)

Mazlum Dolan - Trial for Membership of a Terrorist Organization

A curfew was declared when Mazlum Dolan, a reporter with the Dicle News Agency that would later be shuttered after the July 15 coup attempt by a Decree Law dated October 29, 2016, was following a news story in the Sur district of Diyarbakır. For 79 days, Dolan was trapped in an apartment in the district, but continued to report. A military operation was launched with the onset of the curfew, and Dolan announced that he was trapped in a building and that they had taken refuge in the basement due to the ongoing military operation.

In reaction, professional associations of journalists made efforts to evacuate Dolan, however, it was in vain. Dolan’s lawyers applied to the European Court of Human Rights on February 17, 2016, to impose a temporary suspension of the curfew.

On February 19, 2016, journalists including some who participated in the News Watch, wanted to march to the town of Sur for Mazlum Dolan. The rally was stopped by the police. Dolan was evacuated on the evening of the same day along with five civilians, accompanied by military personnel.

After being evacuated from the district, Dolan was taken to Diyarbakır Police Department’s Anti-Terror Branch. He was detained there for five days. Following police procedures, he was referred on February 23 to 1. Criminal Court of Peace, which issued a warrant for the arrest of Dolan and four others.

The grounds for the arrest warrant were denunciations, statements by secret and known witnesses, and gunpowder traces on their clothes -despite the fact that they had just left the district of Sur, which was under heavy bombardment.

The indictment against Dolan and 39 people was drafted by prosecutor Mustakim Türkyılmaz in July 2016, and submitted to the court.

In the indictment, 20 people including journalist Mazlum Dolan were charged with “membership of a terrorist organization”, “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” and “violating the law on meetings and demonstrations“. A prison sentence of 7.5 to 15 years was requested for Dolan on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization”.

“Aggravated life sentence” was requested for 20 other defendants for “attempting to break the unity and integrity of the Turkish state”.

The first 28 pages of the indictment dwelled upon the history and foundation of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party / Partiya Karkeren Kürdistan (PKK). This same section provided ample information on the events that transpired under the curfew, when the army launched operations against the ditches and barricades built in Kurdish cities. A separate sub-section focused on the operation in the district of Sur.

Then came information on the investigation process. It was indicated that Dolan and five other civilians were arrested by security forces on February 19, 2016 at about 16.00, on Yıkık Kaya Street.

The information and assessments about journalist Dolan began on page 47 of the indictment. This section provided information on the digital material found in body search as he was being evacuated from the district, as well as on his clothes -including their brands. It was indicated that no element of crime was found in the digital examination of the said material.

The indictment also offered the statements about Dolan of a secret witness code-named “Mudanya 2016”. However, these statements were contradictory, since the secret witness referred to Dolan as “the mother of this girl”, although Dolan is male.

There was no further assessment about Dolan in this part of the indictment. In the “legal assessment” section found on page 104, however, it was stated about Dolan and others that “in the framework of the so-called ‘autonomous administration’, they acted on the orders of the PKK / KCK terrorist organization within its hierarchy and through organic connection with it, aiding and assisting members in armed resistance; providing logistic support to members in armed resistance in the Sur district and the operation area, took part in the organizational hierarchy, and thus committed the crime of ‘membership of a terrorist organization’ as charged.”

The first hearing of the case was held on December 28, 2016. Dolan presented his defense on the first day of the trial. Dolan rejected the charges and said, “In the indictment, another person’s statement is written under my name. I’m a reporter with DİHA. My house is in Sûr. I went there as a journalist. I stayed at my aunt Fatma Ateş’s house. I was sending news stories to the agency that I work for. It was impossible to avoid traces of explosives in the basement where we were trapped. I plead not guilty of the charges. I demand to be released.”

The second hearing of the case was held on May 16, 2017. Dolan and his lawyer Resul Tamur were in attendance.

Following the defendants’ defenses, the statements of secret witnesses were read. The prosecutor in charge requested that Dolan and the other defendants remain in prison.

The court ordered Dolan and eight others to be released on condition of “judicial control”.

The court adjourned the trial until September 17, 2017.

Dolan went abroad some time after he was released. The trial against Dolan continues in his absence.

Mazlum Dolan Üyelik Davası (İddianame)

Mehmet Ali Genç - Propaganda Trial

Various investigations were launched against Mehmet Ali Genç because of the news stories in the newspaper Atılım where he served as managing editor.

All investigations were carried out on charges of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”, citing the stories published in two issues of the newspaper in April and May 2016. Three separate indictments were drafted about Genç, and these were completed and submitted to the court on September 22, 2016.

The first indictment prepared by prosecutor Murat İnam consisted of a single page. It stated that the article titled “Making way for freedom” published in the issue of April 29, 2016 contained “propaganda for a terrorist organization”. However, the content of the article was not included in the indictment.
Prosecutor İnam also stated that the “defendant’s claim that the articles fell within the limits of the freedom of press and thought are not credible.”

The prosecutor demanded a prison sentence of 1 to 5 years for Genç for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” pursuant to Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2, as well as deprivation of certain rights as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 53.

The second indictment against Genç was drafted by prosecutor Murat İnam.Prepared on the same date as the first indictment (September 22, 2016), it also consisted of a single page. This second indictment was based on three separate news stories published on May 13, 2016. While the content of the stories was not included in the indictment, the headings were written down: “MLKP militia on patrol in Gazi district”, “Funeral for two TİKKD guerillas”, “HBDH claimed the bomb attack against the bakery shop whose owners killed Ali İsmail.”

Prosecutor İnam claimed that these stories were tantamount to “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” and requested that Genç be sentenced. The prosecutor demanded a prison sentence of 1 to 5 years for Genç for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” pursuant to Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2, and asked it to be increased by half since the crime was committed via the media. he also requested that Genç be deprivation of certain rights.

The third indictment against Genç was drafted at the end of the investigation against the Özgür Gençlik Dergisi magazine, since he was its managing editor as well. This indictment by Murat İnam consisted of two pages, and like the two other indictments, was completed on September 22, 2016 and submitted to the court.
The indictment based its accusations on ten separate articles in the March - April issue of the magazine: “In memory of two communist women”, “Your identity is ours”, “Portrait: Şengül Boran”, “Suhan’s early farewell”, “Women’s revolution”, “We shall multiply amidst the butterflies you adored so much”, “Rainbow after the rain: Ivana Hoffman”, “Kurdish women continue to resist”, “Colonialism will e trampled, oppressed peoples will prevail” and “From Cerattepe to Cizre, we continue to raise the resistance”.

Prosecutor İnam based himself on these articles and associated images to claim that these “spread propaganda for a terrorist organization” pursuant to Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2. He requested a sentence of 1 to 5 years in prison and deprivation of certain rights for Genç.

The three indictments prepared by prosecutor Murat İnam were accepted by Istanbul 22. High Criminal Court and a lawsuit was filed. The hearings were held on November 17, 2016 for the three. Fikret Demir (chairman of the panel of judges), Yusuf Kılıç and Barış Cömert (judges) and prosecutor Burhan Temtek took part in all three hearings. In his defense, Genç stated in summary that they did not engage in propaganda for any organization, and that the articles should be viewed within the scope of the freedom of press and expression.

Prosecutor Cömert demanded that Genç be punished as charged in his separate judicial opinions for the three cases.

As regards the first indictment, Genç was sentenced to one year in prison for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”. This was increased by half since the crime was committed through the press, to 1 year, 6 months. Then his sentence was reduced for good conduct to 1 year, 3 months.

Under the scope of the second indictment, he was sentenced to 1 year, 6 years of imprisonment. This was increased by half since the crime was committed through the press, to 1 year, 15 months. Then his sentence was reduced for good conduct to 1 year, 10 months, 15 days.

Under the scope of the third case, the court ruled for a prison sentence of 1 year, 3 months for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”.

Genç was sentenced to a total of 4 years, 4 months, 15 days in three separate cases on the same day.

The appeal process against the verdict was rejected and the prison sentence was upheld.

Genç is serving time at Adana F-Type High Security Closed Prison.

Mehmet Ali Genç - Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Mehmet Ali Genç - Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Mehmet Ali Genç - Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Mehmet Dursun Üyelik Davası

Mehmet Dursun Üyelik Davası (İddianame)

Mehmet Güleş - Trial for Membership and Propaganda

Mehmet Güleş, the Elazığ correspondent of the shuttered news agency DİHA, was detained on December 6, 2016 during an identity check at Elazığ Courthouse, where he went for news coverage. A day later, he was referred to the court, was arrested for “membership of a terrorist organization”, and taken to Elazığ E-Type Closed Prison.

The indictment cited as evidence against Güleş 35 phone calls for journalistic purposes and television reporting, as well as 20 posts on his social media accounts. He was charged with “membership of a terrorist organization” and “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”.
The first hearing of the trial was held on April 3, 2017.

At the hearing dated May 3, 2017, Güleş was sentenced to 9 years, 4 months, 15 days of imprisonment for “membership of a terrorist organization” and “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”.

An appeal was filed against the verdict at the appeal court, and then at the Court of Cassation. On October 16, 2018, 16. Criminal Chamber of the Court of Cassation upheld the verdict about Güleş. Since then, Güleş is held in Elazığ Closed Prison No. 1 since December 7, 2016.

His individual application to the Constitutional Court has not yet been processed.

Mehmet Güleş Üyelik ve Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Mehmet Güleş Üyelik ve Propaganda Davası (Gerekçeli Karar)

Mehmet Gündem - FETÖ Prapaganda Trial
Meryem Yıldırım Propaganda Davası

Meryem Yıldırım Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Meryem Yıldırım Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Meşale Tolu - ETHA Trial

Meşale Tolu - ETHA Davası (İddianame)

Mümtazer Türköne - Erdoğan'a Hakaret

Mümtazer Türköne - Erdoğan'a Hakaret (İddianame)

Nazlı Ilıcak - Espionage Trial

Nazlı Ilıcak - Casusluk Davası (İddianame)

Necla Demir Propaganda Davası

Necla Demir Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Nedim Türfent - DİHA Trial

Nedim Türfent - DİHA Davası (İddianame)

Meltem Oktay, Uğur Akgül - DİHA Trial

Meltem Oktay, Uğur Akgül - DİHA Davası (İddianame)

Meltem Oktay, Uğur Akgül - DİHA Davası (Gerekçeli Karar)

Önderoğlu, Fincancı, Nesin - Özgür Gündem Trial

Önderoğlu, Fincancı, Nesin - Özgür Gündem Davası (İddianame)

Önderoğlu, Fincancı, Nesin - Özgür Gündem Davası (İddianame)

Önderoğlu, Fincancı, Nesin - Özgür Gündem Davası (İddianame)

Önderoğlu, Fincancı, Nesin - Özgür Gündem Davası (Savunma)

Osman Akın Propaganda Davası

Osman Akın Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Osman Akın Yeni Yaşam Davası

Osman Akın Yeni Yaşam Davası (İddianame)

Osman Akın Yeni Yaşam Propaganda Davası

Osman Akın Yeni Yaşam Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Ozan Kaplanoğlu - Propaganda Davası

Ozan Kaplanoğlu - Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Ozan Kaplanoğlu - Propaganda Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

Ozan Kaplanoğlu - Propaganda Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

Özden, Korkmaz - Didim Afrin Press Release Trial

Özden, Korkmaz - Didim Afrin Açıklaması Davası (İddianame)

Özgür Gündem Main Trial
Özgür Gündem Raid - "Resisting and Insulting the Police" Trial
Eren, Işık, Mavioğlu et. al. - Solidarity with Özgür Gündem Trial

Eren, Işık, Mavioğlu vd. - Özgür Gündem Dayanışma Davası (İddianame)

Eren, Işık, Mavioğlu vd. - Özgür Gündem Dayanışma Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

Özgür Gündem's Columnists and Co-Editors in Chief Trial

Özgür Gündem Yazarları ve Eş Yayın Yönetmenleri Davası (İddianame)

Özgürlükçü Demokrasi Trial
Pelin Ünker - Paradise Papers Insult Trial

Pelin Ünker - Paradise Papers Hakaret Davası (İddianame)

Pelin Ünker - Paradise Papers Slander Trial

Pelin Ünker - Paradise Papers İftira Davası (İddianame)

Rahmi Yıldırım - Akar Hakaret Davası

Rahmi Yıldırım - Akar Hakaret Davası (İddianame)

RedHack Trial
Rojhat Doğru Üyelik Davası

Rojhat Doğru Üyelik Davası (İddianame)

Rojhat Doğru Üyelik Davası (Duruşma Tutanağı)

Safiye Alağaş - Propaganda of an Organization Trial

Safiye Alağaş - Propaganda Davası (İddianame)

Pınar Gayıp, Semiha Şahin - ETHA Trial

Pınar Gayıp, Semiha Şahin - ETHA Davası Download

Seda Taşkın - Propaganda of an Organization Trial

Seda Taşkın - Örgüt Propagandası Davası (İddianame)

Sertaç Kayar - Social Media Posts Trial

Sertaç Kayar - Sosyal Medya Paylaşımları Davası (İddianame)

Sertaç Kayar - Yöneticilik Davası

Sertaç Kayar - Yöneticilik Davası (İddianame)

Bülent Şık - Ministry of Health Trial

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 response, Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation against Bülent Şık.

In the indictment dated July 16, 2018 drafted by Prosecutor Gökhan Boydak, 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.

Bülent Şık - Sağlık Bakanlığı Davası (İddianame)

Bülent Şık - Sağlık Bakanlığı Davası (Savunma)

Sözcü Newspaper Trial
Sözcü Newspaper's First Trial

Sözcü Gazetesi İlk Davası (İddianame)

Taraf Newspaper "Egemen Harekat Planı" Trial

Taraf Gazetesi "Egemen Harekat Planı" Davası (İddianame)

Havva Cuştan, İsminaz Temel - ETHA Trial

Havva Cuştan, İsminaz Temel - ETHA Davası (İddianame)

Tuğba Özer - İHH Davası

Tuğba Özer - İHH Davası (İddianame)

Duygu Güvenç, Alican Uludağ - Brunson Trial

A lawsuit was filed against Cumhuriyet newspaper reporter Alican Uludağ and ex-reporter Duygu Güvenç on July 27, 2018, for their news stories published in Cumhuriyet about the American pastor Andrew Brunson who detained in Turkey. In separate news stories, Uludağ and Güvenç wrote that Brunson’s subsequent release was based on political and diplomatic, rather than legal reasons.

The investigation initiated by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office claimed that the journalists “publicly defamed the state’s judicial organs.” The investigation file was sent to the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of Istanbul, where the Cumhuriyet is located.

In their statements at the prosecutor’s office, Uludağ and Güvenç indicated that they did not defame judiciary organs in their stories and did not have such intent, emphasizing that they simply exercised their rights of journalism and criticism.

Istanbul Public Prosecutor Celal Sarıdere, who is in charge of the investigation, drafted an indictment against the two journalists for allegedly “defaming the Turkish nation, Republic of Turkey and Turkish Grand National Assembly” as per Article 301 of Turkish Penal Code, upon the Ministry of Justice’s approval dated September 5, 2018. Sarıdere completed his indictment on October 1, 2018.

The trial continues at Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. The first hearing of the case was held on December 20, 2018. Alican Uludağ attended the hearing, presented his defense and pleaded not guilty.

The second hearing on April 4, 2019, and the third hearing on June 20, 2019, could not be held, since the judge Nursel Bedir, who presides over the case, was on leave. Duygu Güvenç presented her defense at the fourth hearing on October 10, 2019.

The trial was adjourned until January 9, 2020 at 10:50.

Duygu Güvenç, Alican Uludağ - Brunson Davası (İddianame)

Van TV Propaganda Davası
Yener Dönmez - Tape Plot Trial
Yusuf Karataş - Membership of an Organization Trial

Yusuf Karataş - Yöneticilik Davası (İddianame)

Zaman Newspaper Main Trial

10 former writers and employees of the newspaper Zaman, shuttered by Decree Law No. 668 on July 27, 2016, were taken into custody following the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. Before it was closed down, a special administrator had been appointed to the newspaper on March 4, 2016, on the orders of Istanbul Sixth Criminal Court of Peace. An operation had been launched with arrest warrants for 47 newspaper employees.

Within two weeks of the coup attempt, Zaman writers Ahmet Turan Alkan, Ali Bulaç, Mümtazer Türköne, Şahin Alpay, İhsan Duran Dağı, Nuriye Ural and Lalezar Sarıibrahimoğlu, night editor İbrahim Karayeğen, and Ankara Representative Mustafa Ünal were taken to police stations on different dates for their statements to be taken.

Writers Ali Bulaç, Şahin Alpay, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Mustafa Ünal, Nuriye Ural and Lalezar Sarıibrahimoğlu were arrested on July 30, 2016. Mümtazer Türköne and Mehmet Özdemir were arrested on August 4, and İbrahim Karayeğen on July 25, and then sent to prison. İhsan Duran Dağı and Orhan Kemal Cengiz were released without being referred to the court after interrogation by police and prosecutors.

There were separate indictments for the lawsuits filed against the individuals detained in this operation and subsequent operations, some of which were members of Zaman newspaper’s administrative staff. 11 journalists figured as defendants in the “Zaman Newspaper Main Case”, nine journalists in “FETÖ Media Main Case” and 27 journalists in the “FETÖ Media Organization” case. Istanbul Thirteenth High Criminal Court accepted the indictment against 11 journalists standing trial in the “Zaman Newspaper Main Case” on April 24, 2017. The indictment had 30 defendants, 11 of which were journalists.

İsmet Bozkurt, a prosecutor at the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, drafted the indictment. The indictment described the newspaper Zaman, in which these journalists were employees or writers, as “FETÖ’s flagship in the media”. The writers were charged for the articles in their columns or even their titles. However, it was stated in the indictment that the passages in question were not “cherry-picked”. It was also indicated that, “the articles went far beyond simply opposing or criticizing the government”. The indictment read as follows:

“Even in those articles that do not seem to include criminal elements, the writers cross the boundaries of the freedom of press to use expressions that violate the rights of state authorities and institutions, and thereby serve the purposes of the organization… ”

The indictment requested that each journalist be sentenced to three counts of aggravated life sentence, plus an additional 7.5 to 15 years in prison, on allegations of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order, Parliament, and government of the Republic of Turkey or to prevent their functioning” (Turkish Penal Code, Articles 309/1, 311/1 and 312/1), and “membership of an armed organization” (Article 314/2).

The court did not accept all the charges directed against the journalists in the indictment. The journalists were absolved of the charges of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order, Parliament, and government of the Republic of Turkey or to prevent their functioning”, but were sentenced for “membership of an armed organization”.

The trial began with a hearing on September 18, 2017. Lalezar Sarıibrahimoğlu and Nuriye Ural, who had been imprisoned pending trial for 2 and a half months, and Mehmet Özdemir, imprisoned pending trial for 1 year 9 months, were acquitted.

Ali Bulaç was sentenced to 21 months in prison and Ahmet Turan Alkan to 8 years and 9 months, having spent two years in prison. İbrahim Karayeğen was released after the announcement of a 9-year prison sentence. İhsan Duran Dağı and Orhan Kemal Cengiz, who had not been detained, were acquitted at the end of the trial.

Having spent 20 months in detention, Şahin Alpay was released only after the Constitutional Court ordered his release two times, ruling that his rights were violated. In an unprecedented event in Turkish legal history, the first-instance court resisted twice the Constitutional Court’s order for his release. Alpay was not released by the local court resisting the Constitutional Court whose decisions are supposed to be final, but instead by an order of the court in charge of the appeal proceedings. After Alpay was released, he was sentenced to 8 years 9 months in prison.

The Istanbul Regional Court’s Second Criminal Chamber upheld the decision of the first-instance court. The file was referred to the Court of Cassation for review.

Mümtazer Türköne has been in prison since August 4, 2016 and Mustafa Ünal since July 30, 2016.

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (İddianame)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Karar)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Savunma)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Savunma)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Savunma)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Savunma)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Savunma)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Anayasa Mahkemesi Kararı)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (AİHM Kararı)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Tahliye Kararı)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Esas Hakkında Savunma)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Esas Hakkında Savunma)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Esas Hakkında Savunma)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (Esas Hakkında Savunma)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (İlk Savunma)

Zaman Gazetesi Ana Dava (İstinaf Mahkemesi Kararı)