Yasin Kobulan, a reporter for Mesopotamia Agency, stood trial over six social media posts that he published in 2015. These posts consisted of news stories about the events that transpired during a curfew in southeastern Anatolia, when Kobulan was working for the now-shuttered Dicle News Agency.
Kobulan denied the allegations during interrogations by the police and the prosecutor’s office, saying the posts linked to news websites, that he was a journalist, and that he had simply shared the news stories with the general public, and that the news stories and comments fell within the scope of freedom of thought and expression.
Prosecutor Yavuz Şahin, in the indictment he filed on Oct. 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 Dec. 26, 2018. 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 one year, six months and 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)
Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office completed an indictment against Vakit newspaper’s former Ankara Representative Yener Dönmez for publishing footage about Deniz Baykal, the then-Chairman of People’s Republican Party, CHP, on the web site “habervaktim.com.tr.” The prosecutor requested that Dönmez be sentenced to prison for “membership of an armed terror organization”, “violation of privacy” and “obtaining personal data through illegal means”.
In the indictment it was claimed that journalist Yener Dönmez employed the encrypted chat application Bylock, used by members of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) to communicate among themselves, and that the suspect adopted the pseudonym “Soner” within FETÖ’s structure. It was further claimed that “the suspect Yener Dönmez published online footage about complainant Deniz Baykal as part of FETÖ activities, suggesting that he is a member of the said organization. His actions constitute the crimes of membership of an armed terrorist organization, obtaining personal data through illegal means, and violation of privacy”.
The indictment explained that footage about the private life of Deniz Baykal was obtained through technical surveillance in order to attain the organization’s goals and purposes: “To that end, the footage was handed over to the suspect Cevheri Güven, who in turn passed the footage on to the managers of internethaber.com, Süleyman Özışık ve Abdulbaki Özışık, as well as to habervaktim.com so as to be published online; however, the witnesses Süleyman Özışık and Abdulbaki Özışık did not publish the footage, while the suspect Yener Dönmez, the former Ankara representative of Vakit newspaper did publish the footage on the web site habervaktim.com”.
Yener Dönmez stands trial at Ankara 14. High Criminal Court in line with the indictment completed on August 4, 2017.