Ayşe Batumlu

Ayşe Batumlu is an attorney at law. She was a columnist for the now-closed Özgür Gündem newspaper.

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.

Batumlu was tried over her article published in Özgür Gündem newspaper on 2 March 2016 under the headline “O Küllerinden Yeniden Doğacak Özgür Kadınlar” [Those Free Women Who Will Be Reborn From Their Ashes]. She was charged with “publicly inciting people to commit crime”, “praising the offence and offenders” and “terrorist organisation propaganda”. The prosecution demanded that Batumlu be sentenced to imprisonment of between eighteen months and 12 years. The case file was merged with the case files of Eren Keskin and Hüseyin Aykol, co-executive editors of the newspaper, and the case files of other writers for the newspaper. The trial lasted approximately three years.

At the end of the trial, Batumlu was sentenced to imprisonment of fifteen months on the charge of “terrorist organisation propaganda by means of the media” on 21 May 2019. Her sentence was postponed.

"Özgür Gündem Newspaper Writers and Co-Editorial Directors" 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.

Several investigations were launched concerning the co-executive editors, managers and writers of the Özgür Gündem newspaper. Ayşe Batumlu was one of the writers who were placed under investigation.

The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of Istanbul launched an investigation concerning Batumlu on 2 March 2016 over the article published with the headline, O Küllerden Yeniden Doğacak Özgür Kadınlar [Those Free Women Who Will Be Reborn From Their Ashes].

Batumlu was not detained as part of the investigation. She was called to the prosecutor’s office to give testimony on 29 March 2016. Batumlu stated that she wrote the article to celebrate 8 March International Women’s Day. Batumlu stated the following in her testimony at the prosecutor’s office:

“For many years, I have fought for the freedom of expression and exercise of rights. My articles contain messages supporting demands for rights and freedoms. However, it is out of question that I have carried out propaganda for any illegal organisation in my articles.”

The indictment concerning Batumlu, Eren Keskin, the co-executive editor of the newspaper and Reyhan Çapan, managing editor-in-chief of the newspaper was completed on 27 May 2016.

The indictment concerning Batumlu, a writer for the now-closed Özgür Gündem newspaper, Eren Keskin, the co-executive editor of the newspaper and Reyhan Çapan, managing editor-in-chief of the newspaper was completed by the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of Istanbul on 27 May 2016.

The indictment listed the news items and articles published in the newspaper’s 2 March 2016 issue. Articles under the headlines, YPS-Jin Direnişi Yükseliyor [YPS-Jin Resistance Rises], Yürekler Sur ile Atıyor [Hearts Beat with Sur], Botan Sizinle Gurur Duyuyor [Botan Is Proud of You] and Kobani Ruhuyla Serhildan Günü [The Day of Uprising with the Spirit of Kobane] were cited as evidence for the accusations.

The indictment charged Ayşe Batumlu over the article, O Küllerden Yeniden Doğacak Özgür Kadınlar [Those Free Women Who Will Be Reborn From Their Ashes]. The indictment only listed the headline of the article written by Batumlu.

The indictment concerning Ayşe Batumlu was merged with 15 separate indictments concerning Eren Keskin and Hüseyin Aykol, the co-executive editors of the newspaper, Reyhan Çapan, managing editor-in-chief of the newspaper and Celalettin Can, Ayşe Berktay and Filiz Koçali, writers for the newspaper.

The merged indictments charged the managers and writers of the newspaper with “legitimising and praising the acts and activities of the PKK/KCK terrorist organisation members”, “depicting security officers as people who randomly kill people and disturb the peace”, and “praising and inciting armed attacks and pressure against security officers and all persons and groups who do not share their opinion” over the news reports and articles that were cited as evidence.

The indictments asserted that the publishing of this content “cannot be evaluated to fall within the scope of freedom of thought and expression or freedom of the press”.

Some of the indictments asserted that “for the recognition of the rights of the press to disseminate, criticise and interpret information, the information should be factual and current, and its disclosure should be to the public’s interest and benefit”. Some of the indictments claimed:

“If criticism contains unnecessary and unbeneficial statements, attributions or interpretations and uses language and expressions that generate hostility and doubt in an ordinary reader or contains defamatory, insulting and derogatory statements, the balance between the subject and expression is disrupted. The article or criticism thus becomes unlawful.”

The indictment charged Batumlu with “terrorist organisation propaganda” in accordance with Article 7/2 of the Law on Anti-Terrorism. The prosecution demanded that Batumlu be sentenced to imprisonment of between one year and five years.

The indictment also charged Batumlu with “publicly inciting people to commit crime” in accordance with Article 214/1 of the Turkish Penal Code. The prosecution demanded that Batumlu be sentenced to imprisonment of between six months and five years for this charge.

The indictment charged Batumlu with “praising the offence and offenders” in accordance with Article 215/1 of the Turkish Penal Code. The prosecution demanded that Batumlu be sentenced to imprisonment of up to two years for this charge.

In total, the prosecution demanded that Batumlu be sentenced to imprisonment of between eighteen months and 12 years.

It was also demanded that Batumlu “be deprived of the enjoyment of certain rights” in accordance with Article 53 of the Turkish Penal Code.

16 separate indictments concerning Batumlu, along with the co-executive editors and writers of the newspaper were merged and accepted by the 14th High Criminal Court of Istanbul.

The trial of Ayşe Batumlu, writer for the now-closed Özgür Gündem newspaper and co-executive editors and writers of the newspaper commenced with the first hearing at the 14th High Criminal Court of Istanbul on 26 May 2016.

Batumlu did not attend the hearing. The court ruled that a order be issued for Hüseyin Aykol, who resided in Ankara, to give his defensive statement in Ankara. The defensive statement was then added to the case file.

Ayşe Batumlu’s defensive statement was received with a directive sent by means of the 14th High Criminal Court of Istanbul to the 2nd High Criminal Court of Bursa, where Batumlu resided. In her defensive statement, Batumlu stated that she emphasised the struggle against gender inequality in the article which formed the basis of the accusations. She stated that the article did not contain references to any organisations, name of any organisation or a section which legitimised or incited any violent or coercive activities of an illegal organisation.

The second hearing of the trial took place on 29 September 2016. The panel of judges had changed at this hearing. The court ruled that Hüseyin Aykol and Nuray Özdoğan be exempted from the hearings, meaning their mandatory attendance to hearings was lifted.

The third hearing of the trial took place on 13 October 2016. One member of the panel of judges, who was present at the second hearing, had changed. The prosecutor for the hearing demanded that the case file be sent to the prosecutor’s office for the opinion of the prosecution as to the accusations to be prepared. The demand was accepted, and the hearing was adjourned.

The fourth hearing of the trial took place on 1 December 2016. The panel of judges had changed at this hearing. The prosecutor for the hearing demanded that the indictments concerning Reyhan Çapan, managing editor-in-chief of the newspaper, which were previously completed, and contained the same allegations with the present case file to be merged. Çapan’s attorney Sercan Korkmaz demanded additional time to prepare defensive statements against the indictments, the merger of which was demanded. The demand was accepted, and the hearing was adjourned.

The fifth hearing of the trial took place on 9 March 2017. The panel of judges had changed once again. The court ruled to wait for the merging of the defendants’ case files to be completed. The hearing was adjourned.

The sixth hearing of the trial took place on 28 June 2017. One member of the panel of judges had changed. The prosecutor for the hearing demanded that the case file be sent to the prosecutor’s office for the opinion of the prosecution as to the accusations to be prepared. The demand was accepted, and the hearing was adjourned.

The seventh hearing of the trial took place on 26 October 2017. One member of the panel of judges had changed. The prosecutor for the hearing presented the opinion of the prosecution as to the accusations at this hearing.

The opinion of the prosecution demanded Batumlu’s acquittal. It was stated that Batumlu “did not hold criminal liability in accordance with Article 11 of the Press Law”. The prosecution demanded that Nuray Özdoğan, Celalettin Can and Ayşe Berktay, writers of the newspaper and Reyhan Hacıoğlu, editor of the newspaper, be acquitted on the same grounds.

The opinion of the prosecution demanded that Eren Keskin and Hüseyin Aykol, co-executive editors of the newspaper and Reyhan Çapan, managing editor-in-chief of the newspaper be sentenced to imprisonment for the crime of “consecutive terrorist organisation propaganda by means of the media”.

Attorney Özcan Kılıç demanded additional time to prepare defensive statements against the opinion of the prosecution as to the accusations. The demand was accepted, and the hearing was adjourned.

The eighth hearing of the trial took place on 15 March 2018. The panel of judges had changed at this hearing. Attorney Özcan Kılıç demanded additional time to prepare defensive statements once again on the grounds of the case file being extensive. The demand was accepted, and the hearing was adjourned.

The ninth hearing of the trial took place on 7 May 2018. One member of the panel of judges had changed. Attorney Özcan Kılıç demanded additional time to prepare defensive statements on the grounds of the case file being extensive. The demand was accepted, and the hearing was adjourned.

The tenth hearing of the trial took place on 9 July 2018. The panel of judges had not changed at this hearing. Attorney Özcan Kılıç stated that the content which formed the basis of the accusations “fell within the scope of freedom of expression in accordance with rulings of the European Court of Human Rights and the Constitutional Court”. Stating that these rulings were binding, attorney Kılıç demanded his client’s acquittal.

The eleventh hearing of the trial took place on 9 October 2018. The panel of judges had changed at this hearing. Attorney Özcan Kılıç demanded that the case file concerning Eren Keskin, co-executive editor of the newspaper be merged with the case file of the trial being carried out at the 23rd High Criminal Court of Istanbul. The hearing was adjourned to receive the opinion of the 23rd High Criminal Court of Istanbul on the case merger request. The court also demanded the publication and copyright records of the now-closed Özgür Gündem newspaper from the Press Crimes Investigation Bureau of the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of Istanbul.

The twelfth hearing of the trial took place on 28 March 2019. It was announced that the Investigation Bureau of the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of Istanbul had sent the previously requested documents. The hearing was adjourned to receive the opinion of the 23rd High Criminal Court of Istanbul on the case merger demand.

The thirteenth hearing of the trial took place on 8 May 2019. The panel of judges had changed once again. It was announced that the 23rd High Criminal Court of Istanbul had rejected the request to merge the case file concerning Eren Keskin. Attorney Özcan Kılıç demanded additional time to prepare the final defensive statements. The demand was accepted, and the hearing was adjourned.

The fourteenth hearing of the trial took place on 21 May 2019.

The court ruled that Batumlu be sentenced to imprisonment of one year on the charge of “terrorist organisation propaganda” in accordance with Article 7/2 of the Law on Anti-Terrorism. However, the court ruled that the crime “was committed by means of the media”. The sentence was then increased by half and Batumlu was sentenced to imprisonment of eighteen months. Batumlu’s imprisonment sentence was reduced by one-sixth due to Batumlu’s “good conduct, attitude and behaviour during the trial process”.

Batumlu was thus sentenced to imprisonment of fifteen months on the charge of “terrorist organisation propaganda by means of the media”. The pronouncement of the judgment concerning the ruling was not delayed. The sentence was postponed.

However, in its opinion as to the accusations the prosecution had demanded Batumlu’s acquittal.

Batumlu was not sentenced over the charges of “praising the offence and offenders” and “publicly inciting people to commit crime”, with which she was charged in the indictment. This ruling was grounded on Article 44 of the Turkish Penal Code. According to Article 44, “A person who commits more than one offence through a single act may only be sentenced for the offence which carries the severest penalty”.

Batumlu’s attorneys launched an appeal against the imprisonment sentence at the court of appeals. The court of appeals’ examination concerning the ruling is underway.

14. Standing - May 21, 2019


Duruşma bir saat on dakika gecikmeli başladı.

Duruşmaya, yargılanan gazetecilerden Eren Keskin ve Reyhan Çapan katıldı.

Son savunmalar, Ses ve Görüntülü Bilişim Sistemi aracılığıyla kaydedildi.

Keskin ve Çapan, kısa birer savunma yaptı. Keskin ve Çapan; yargılanmalarına neden olan yazılarına basın ve ifade özgürlüğü kapsamında olduğunu söylediler.

Avukatlar, daha önce yaptıkları savunlarını tekrarladılar. Sanıkların beraatlerini talep ettiler.

Daha önceki duruşmada, hakkındaki başka bir yargılama kapsamında İstanbul Bakırköy Kadın Kapalı Cezaevi’nde tutuklu bulunan Reyhan Hacıoğlu’nun savunmasını yapmak üzere duruşmaya getirilmesine karar verilmişti.

Mahkeme Başkanı, Hacıoğlu’nun; duruşmanın görüldüğü İstanbul Çağlayan Adliyesi’ne getirildiğini söyledi.

Oysa avukat Özcan Kılıç, Hacıoğlu’nun; “duruşmayı protesto ettiğini ve duruşmaya katılmayacağını yazılı ve sözlü olarak beyan ettiğini” belirtti. Buna yönelik dilekçesini de mahkemeye gönderdiğini belirtti.

Yaklaşık bir saatlik bir saatlik beklemenin ardından, Hacıoğlu’nun Bakırköy Cezaevi’nde olduğu ve adliyeye gelmediği anlaşıldı.

Hacıoğlu’nun, duruşmaya katılmayacağını beyan ettiği dilekçesi, yargılama dosyasına eklendi.

Mahkeme başkanı, karar için; duruşmaya 10 dakika ara verdi.


Verilen aranın ardından, kararın açıklanması için duruşma salonunun kapısı açıldı. Ancak, duruşmaya katılan gözlemciler, karar açıklanırken, salona alınmadı.

Eren Keskin ve Reyhan Çapan; “zincirleme şekilde, basın ve yayın yoluyla terör örgütü propagandası yapmak” suçlamasıyla üç yıl dokuz ay hapis cezasına çarptırıldı. Çapan hakkındaki ceza ertelenmedi, cezaya ilişkin hükmün açıklanması geri bırakılmadı.

Hüseyin Aykol, “zincirleme şekilde, basın ve yayın yoluyla terör örgütü propagandası yapmak” suçlamasıyla iki yıl bir ay hapis cezasına çarptırıldı. Aykol hakkındaki ceza ertelenmedi, cezaya ilişkin hükmün açıklanması geri bırakılmadı.

Keskin, Aykol ve Çapan hakkındaki kararlara ilişkin istinaf mahkemesi incelemesi sürüyor.

Ayşe Batumlu ve Reyhan Hacıoğlu “basın ve yayın yoluyla terör örgütü propagandası yapmak” suçlamasıyla bir yıl üç ay hapis cezasına çarptırıldı. Karara ilişkin hükmün açıklanması geri bırakılmadı. Ancak ceza ertelendi.

Mahkeme; Celalettin Can, Nuray Özdoğan, Ayşe Berktay’ın ise beraatine karar verdi.

Filiz Koçali hakkındaki yargılama dosyasının ise ayrılmasına karar verildi.


Duruşma Öncesi

Yargılanan gazeteciler ve gözlemciler, duruşma öncesinde, duruşmanın görüleceği salonun bulunduğu koridora alınmadı.

Gazeteciler ve gözlemciler, duruşma salonuna; ancak duruşma başladıktan sonra alındı.

Mahkeme Salonu Koşulları

Mahkeme salonunda yaklaşık 20 kişilik izleyici alanı bulunuyordu. İçeride kolluk kuvveti yoktu. İki avukatın bulunduğu yerin karşısında yer alan masada, tercüman oturuyordu.

Duruşmaya Katılım

Duruşmayı; İrlanda Büyükelçiliği yetkilileri ile Medya ve Hukuk Çalışmaları Derneği (MLSA), Bağımsız Gazeteciler Platformu (P24), Türkiye Gazeteciler Sendikası (TGS) gözlemcileri takip etti.

Genel Gözlemler

Mahkeme heyeti, o gün boyunca, 12 duruşma gördü.

Bu yargılamanın duruşmasının o günkü listeye göre 11. sırada görülmesi gerekiyordu. Ancak duruşma, o günün listesinin son sırasına alındı.

13. Standing - May 8, 2019


Kapatılan Özgür Gündem Gazetesi’nde yazısı yayımlandığı için yargılanan H.G., duruşmaya; tutuklu bulunduğu hapishaneden Ses ve Görüntülü Bilişim Sistemi (SEGBİS) üzerinden katıldı.

Mahkeme Başkanı, H.G.’ye “ister Kürtçe ister Türkçe savunma yapabileceğini, mahkeme heyetinin anadilde savunma hakkına saygı duyduğunu, bu nedenle de mahkemede Kürtçe tercümanın hazır bulunduğunu” söyledi.

Cezaevinden yazdığı ve Özgür Gündem Gazetesi’nde, Mart 2016’da yayınlanan bir yazısı nedeniyle yargılanan H.G., savunmasını tercüman aracılığıyla Kürtçe verdi.

Duruşmaya, yargılanan gazetecilerden hiçbiri katılmadı.

Duruşma savcısı, daha önce açıkladığı esas hakkındaki mütalaasını tekrar etti.

Avukat Özcan Kılıç, daha önceki duruşmalarda dile getirdiği; Eren Keskin hakkındaki yargılama dosyasının, kamuoyunda “Özgür Gündem Gazetesi Ana Davası” olarak bilinen ve İstanbul 23. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi tarafından görülen yargılama dosyası ile birleştirme talebini yineledi.

Avukat Kılıç’ın talebi, tutanaklara yansıtılmadı.

Mahkeme bir önceki duruşmada, Keskin hakkındaki yargılama dosyalarının birleştirilmesi karşısında İstanbul 23. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi’nin görüşünün alınmasına karar vermişti. Mahkeme Başkanı, İstanbul 23. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi’nin, birleştirme talebi karşısında olumsuz görüş bildirdiğini açıkladı.

Mahkeme Başkanı, avukat Özcan Kılıç’tan, esas hakkındaki mütalaa karşısındaki savunmasını yapmasını istedi. Mahkeme Başkanı, “savunma yapılırsa, bu duruşmada karar vermek istediğini” belirtti.

Avukat Kılıç ise birleştirme talebi konusunda, bu mahkemenin ısrarcı olabileceğini vurguladı.

Kılıç, savunma için ek süre talep etti. Ayşe Berktay’ın avukatı Sercan Korkmaz da savunma için ek süre istedi.

Mahkeme; karar için, duruşmaya beş dakika ara verdi.


Mahkeme, avukatların savunma için ek süre taleplerini kabul etti.

Hakkındaki bir başka yargılama kapsamında Bakırköy Kadın Kapalı Cezaevi’nde tutuklu bulunan Reyhan Hacıoğlu’nun bir sonraki duruşmaya katılması ve hakkında hazırlanıp birleştirilen dosyalar karşısında savunmasını yapması için cezaevine yazı yazılmasına karar verildi.

Yargılamanın, 21 Mayıs 2019 tarihinde görülecek 14. duruşma ile devam etmesine karar verildi.


Duruşma Öncesi

Gözlemciler ve gazeteciler, duruşma öncesinde, duruşa salonunun bulunduğu koridora alınmadı. İzleyiciler, duruşma salonuna ancak duruşma başladıktan sonra alındı.

Mahkeme Salonu Koşulları

Mahkeme salonunda yaklaşık 20 kişilik izleyici alanı bulunuyordu. İçeride kolluk kuvveti yoktu. İki avukatın bulunduğu yerin karşısında yer alan masada ise tercüman oturuyordu.

Duruşmaya Katılım

Duruşmayı; Medya ve Hukuk Çalışmaları Derneği (MLSA), Bağımsız Gazetecilik Platformu (P24), Türkiye Gazeteciler Sendikası (TGS) gözlemcileri ile gazeteciler takip etti.

Genel Gözlemler

Mahkeme Başkanı; diğer yargılamalarda da yaptığı gibi, sanığa “sen” diye hitap etti.

Salonda Kürtçe tercümanın hazır bulunduğunu söylerken, “heyet olarak anadilde savunma hakkına saygı duyduklarını” birkaç kez vurguladı.

12. Standing - March 28, 2019


Duruşmaya, yargılanan gazetecilerden hiçbiri katılmadı.

İstanbul Cumhuriyet Başsavcılığı Soruşturma Bürosu’ndan daha önce talep edilen gazeteye ait künye bilgilerinin, mahkemeye ulaştığı açıklandı. Duruşma savcısı, daha önce açıkladığı esas hakkındaki mütalaasını tekrar etti. Ancak, savcı; künye bilgilerinin incelenmesinin ardından mütalaanın değişebileceğini ifade etti.

Avukat Özcan Kılıç, yargılanan gazeteci sayısı fazla olduğundan savunmalar için ek süre istedi. Avukat Kılıç, Eren Keskin’in bu davadaki yargılama dosyasının, İstanbul 23. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi’nde görülen ve kamuoyunda “Özgür Gündem Gazetesi Ana Davası” olarak bilinen yargılama dosyası ile birleştirilmesini talep etti.


Eren Keskin’in yargılama dosyaları ile ilgili birleştirme talebi karşısında, İstanbul 23. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi’nin görüşünün alınmasına karar verildi.

Yargılamanın, 8 Mayıs 2019 tarihli 13. duruşma ile devam etmesine karar verildi.


Duruşma Öncesi

Duruşma öncesinde gazeteciler, duruşmanın görüleceği mahkeme salonunun bulunduğu koridora alınmadı.

Duruşma başladıktan sonra sanıkların isimleri okunmaya başladı.

Gözlemciler, duruşma salonuna; duruşma başladıktan sonra alındı.

Mahkeme Salonu Koşulları

Mahkeme salonunda yaklaşık 20 kişilik izleyici alanı bulunuyordu. İçeride kolluk kuvveti yoktu. Mahkeme başkanı ve savcı mikrofon kullanmadığı için söyledikleri zor duyuldu.

Duruşmaya Katılım

Yargılanan gazetecilerden hiçbiri duruşmaya katılmadı.

Duruşmayı; Medya ve Hukuk Çalışmaları Derneği (MLSA) ve Bağımsız Gazetecilik Platformu (P24) gözlemcileri ile az sayıda gazeteci takip etti.

Genel Gözlemler

Duruşmada olağanüstü bir durum yaşanmadı.

"Özgür Gündem Newspaper Writers and Co-Editorial Directors" Trial (Reasoned Judgement)

"Özgür Gündem Newspaper Writers and Co-Editorial Directors" Trial (Minutes of the Hearing)

"Özgür Gündem Newspaper Writers and Co-Editorial Directors" Trial (Indictment)

"Özgür Gündem Newspaper Writers and Co-Editorial Directors" Trial 12. Standing (Minutes of the Hearing)

"Özgür Gündem Newspaper Writers and Co-Editorial Directors" Trial 13. Standing (Minutes of the Hearing)

"Özgür Gündem Newspaper Writers and Co-Editorial Directors" Trial 14. Standing (Minutes of the Hearing)

Contact: pressinarrest@gmail.com

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