Journalist/author Faruk Arhan was graduated from University of Istanbul, Faculty of Communication,School of Journalism.
He worked as a reporter and editor for years at newspapers such as Demokrasi, Ülkede Gündem, Radikal, Habertürk and webpages such as Bianet and Gazateport. He worked undertook the Chairman position of Progressive Journalists’ Association’s Istanbul branch between 2000 and 2001.
He wrote the books “Diyarbakırspor - Düğünde Kalabalık, Taziyede Yalnız”, “Diyarbakırspor’un 33 yılı – Geri Pas” and contributed to the book “Medya Eleştirisi ya da Hermes’i Sorgulamak”.
Journalist Arhan was accused of “insulting the President” for 3 different social media posts. He was acquitted with the decision of Istanbul 60th Criminal Court of First Instance.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s attorneys objected the decision. 3rd Criminal Chamber of Istanbul Regional Court of Justice that oversees the appeal trial overturned the acquittal decision. He was sentenced to 1 year 2 months 17 days of imprisonment. Announcement of the sentence was deferred.
Arhan was also accused of “degrading Turkish Nation, State of the Turkish Republic, Institutions and Organs of the State” for his social media posts. He was sentenced to 6 months 7 days of imprisonment. Announcement of the sentence was deferred.
Kayseri Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation against journalist Faruk Arhan for his social media posts. Kayseri Police Directorate investigated Arhan’s social media accounts. It was claimed that Arhan had ‘insulted the President” on his social media posts.
Prosecutor’s office reached a decision of rejection of venue and handed the investigation files to Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Arhan, in his statement at the prosecutor’s office, stated that his posts were within the scope of the freedom of expression and did not constitute crime.
The indictment against Arhan was completed at August 9th, 2017.
The indictment against journalist Faruk Arhan, was prepared by prosecutor Istanbul (Anatolian) Chief Public Prosector’s Office. The indictment was completed and presented to the court at August 9th, 2017. The indictment was 2-pages long.
President Tayyip Erdoğan, was mentioned as “the victim” in the indictment.
The indictment cited 3 post Arhan mad in his social media account. Posts were made at August 20th, 2015, December 25th, 2015 and July 17th, 2016. Said posts were as follows:
. “Young people are dying and cities are destroyed for this bellydancer’s sake. Sooner or later this will be called out. There is no solution. He will either flee, be tried. Or he will commit suicide.
Whatever it may be, I hope it does not take long. Otherwise there will be a civil war.”
. “Tibet İnan. From Silopi. A Kurdish women. Mother of 11. A grandmother. Her body was taken from the spot where she was shot 7 days ago. News are saying that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan convinced someone not to jump from the bridge. ‘He who saves a life from his car seat’ will not be called ‘a
murderer in Silopi’.”
. “There are still people calling this staged. No it is not. This was a coup attempt, made by the soldiers allegedly connected to the congregation, that was going to face an operation on the morning of July 16th (Ahmet Şık says so), who tried to steal a march on and messed up and humiliated the country in front of the whole world. RTE and his staff knew about this development. The staged part is not the coup attempt, it is AKP and RTE who waited (favour from God) despite the coup intel(suspicion). Because they assumed that the coup attempt was destined to fail and the wanted to use these opposing conditions for themselves. And they failed to do that. In reality, the losers of this were the pro-junta fascist and the winner was RTE fascism. In short, medium and long term the public is again the loser.”
Prosecutor, in the indictment, claimed that these posts “intended to insult therefore can not be considered within the scope of the expression of freedom”.
Arhan was accused of “insulting the President” in a successive manner, regulated by the articles 299 and 43 of the Turkish Penal Code. He was requested to be sentenced to from 1 year 5 months 15 days to 8 years 2 months of imprisonment.
Arhan was also requested to be “bereaved of specific rights” according to the article 53 Turkish Penal Code.
The trial of journalist Faruk Arhan, started at June 26th, 2018 with the first hearing held at Istanbul 60th Criminal Court of First Instance.
Arhan, in the defence statement he presented at the first hearing; stated that he shared his opinions and comments on events that occur in public as a journalist, within the scope of freedom of thought.
Arhan said; as he was writing momentarily, without going through an editorial filter, in a conversation nature, sometimes he may cause misunderstandings and he may have exceeded his intention. He denied the accusations.
President Tayyip Erdoğan’s attorney Ahmet Özer made a written statement. He claimed that Arhan “had used words against Erdoğan that would hurt his dignity, reputation and prestige”. He claimed that Arhan “had targeted Erdoğan’s personality, prestige and reputation”.
Arhan was acquitted at the first hearing. Istanbul 60th Criminal Court of First Instance’s verdict was as follows:
“The word, when considered as a whole, remain within the limits of the freedom of thought (…) He did not use words or verbs that would belittle or shake his or public’s opinion and feelings towards his social status, or any adjectives that would violate his dignity and prestige…”
However President Erdoğan’s attorneys, objected the decision of acquittal. Files were taken to the appeal court.
First hearing of the appeal trial was held at January 22nd, 2020 at 3rd Criminal Chamber of Istanbul Regional Court of Justice. Journalist Faruk Arhan was not present at the hearing. Arhan took part in the hearing through Sound and Video Information System (SEGBİS) from Antalya. President Tayyip Erdoğan’s attorney was absent with an excuse.
Arhan stated that his posts were within the scope of “freedom of expression and criticism”.
Arhan’s attorney Bülent Aşa, stated that the word “bellydancer” was used in the limits of criticism. Aşa, stated that the first degree court’s decision of acquittal was appropriate, considering the methods and laws, and requested that the appeal application made by Erdoğan’s attorneys to be denied.
Prosecutor presented his opinion as to the accusations and requested the appeal application to be denied.
2nd hearing of the appeal trial was held at February 26th, 2020. Arhan was not present at the hearing. Prosecution repeated their request for the denial of Erdoğan’s attorneys’ objection.
The decision lifted the acquittal decision reached bu Istanbul Anatolian 60th Criminal Court of First Instance.
Arhan was sentenced to 1 year 2 months 17 days of imprisonment for committing the crime of “publicly insulting the President” in a successive manner, regulated by the articles 299 and 43 of the Turkish Penal Code. Announcement of this sentence was deferred.