He was born in Aydın in 1968. He was graduated from University of Istanbul, Faculty of Business.
Started journalism at Star TV in İzmir, in 1996. He was among the team that prepared the programme called “Batı Yakası”. Later, for a short term, he worked as a reporter at İzmir Bureau of Doğan News Agency. He joined Kanal D in August 2016. He prepared the programmes called “Seçim Çadırı” and “Sokak TV” at CNN Turk. He prepared and hosted the radio programme called “Konuşan Türkiye” at Best FM. Became the presenter of Kanal D programme “Ne yapmalı?” in 2010.
Started preparing “Fatih Portakal’la Çalar Saat” since the summer of 2010 at Fox TV. Hosted the news/current events programme “Fatih Portakal’la Türkiye’nin Trendleri” at the same tv channel. He became the host of the evening news at Fox TV in 2013. He quit this position in 2020.
Wrote two books called “ses’SİZ” and “Aklımla Dalga Geçme”. He was awarded the “Best Male News Host” at Golden Butterfly Awards in 2016 and 2017.
In April 2020, Justice and Development Party (AKP) Government took a number of measures against the coronavirus pandemic. Among which was a donation campaign called “Biz Bize Yeteriz”.
Members of the government, led by the President Erdoğan, shared the information of the bank accounts created for the campaign and invited the public to donate. President Erdoğan, in his speech regarding the measures, reminded the financial decisions taken during the Turkish Independence War in 1921, and said “Turkish nation is a nation that donated everything it had for its independence after Mustafa Kemal Atatürk signed the Tekalif-i Milliye Orders”.
Portakal, in his social media post, regarding measures taken along with the donation campaign, said “Will they remind the Tekalif-i Milliye Orders and ask money from those who have assets or savings by saying ‘we are going through difficult times”! Will they say we will pay back after corona! Unfortunately I can’t say never”.
After the social media post, both President Tayyip Erdoğan and Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency that regulates and supervises the free market economy in Turkey, filed an official complaint against Portakal. An investigation was launched on April 7, 2020. The social media post was restricted to public access by a court decision.
The indictment accused him of “Intentionally damaging the reputation, prestige or assets of a bank or disseminating inaccurate news” according to the article 74, as pointed out by article 158, entitled “Protection of the Reputation” of the Banking Law. He is requested; to be sentenced to, from one year to three years of imprisonment and to be fined, from one thousand days to two thousand days of judiciary fine. At the first hearing, the court accepted the indictment prepared for the accusation of “insulting the President”, against him through the same social media post.
He is released pending trial.
Journalist Fatih Portakal, on April 6, 2020, tweeted “Will they remind the Tekalif-i Milliye Orders and ask money from those who have assets or savings by saying ‘we are going through difficult times”! Will they say we will pay back after corona! Unfortunately I can’t say never” on his personal account.
The tweet was about the financial measures taken against the coronavirus pandemic in Turkey, by Justice and Development Party (AKP) Government. Government had launched a donation campaign called “Biz Bize Yeteriz Türkiye” as the country was battling with the pandemic. Details of the bank accounts, opened for the campaign, were shared by the members of the government and public was called to action.
President Erdoğan, in his speech had said “Turkish nation is a nation that donated everything it had for its independence after Mustafa Kemal Atatürk signed the Tekalif-i Milliye Orders”. Erdoğan had underlined the “Tekalif-i Milliye Orders” and reminded the financial measures and obligations taken in 1921, during the Independence War. Some of these obligations regulated authorisations such as additional taxes and partial partial seizure of property.
President Erdoğan, on April 7, 2020, following the tweet, filed an official complaint against journalist Fatih Portakal to Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. Complaint was made by Erdoğan’s attorney Ahmet Özal, on Erdoğan’s behalf. Complaint claimed that the tweet “contained incorrect expressions aiming to manipulate the public”.
Attorney Özel, whoo announced the complaint with a written statement said, President Tayyip Erdoğan “had underlined the importance of national solidarity talked about the kind responses received about this voluntary campaign” and “mentioned Tekalif-i Milliye Orders as an historic example”.
Complaint claimed that Portakal, with that tweet, “had made statements saying owners of assets or savings were going to be forced to donate which was neither intended nor said by Erdoğan”. It was claimed that “All these were incorrect and aiming to manipulate the public”.
Same day, around the same time, Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency(BDDK) that regulates and supervises the free market economy in Turkey, filed an official complaint against Portakal too.
BDDK in the complaint claimed that the tweet “was in a manner to shake the trust toward banks”. It was claimed that “sectoral and general economy, as well as the banks, could be affected by the action”. Tweet was claimed to have “aimed to create an environment of panic and manipulate asset owners into believing that their assets were not safe”.
Following the complaints Smuggling, Narcotics and Economic Crimes Investigation Bureau of Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation against Portakal.
Portakal’s attorneys presented a written defence statement to the prosecutor’s office. The statement said that, questions that may come to people’s minds after the President mentioned ‘Tekalif-i Milliye’, were asked and that was one of the requirements of the job. It was stated that “it was not possible to damage a bank or aim to hurt its reputation” with the tweet. It was claimed that he had expressed his thoughts by use of detection and irony and used his constitutional rights.
The written statement presented by Portakal’s attorneys too, stated that in order to violate the Banking Law, a bank must be targeted and with this tweet, which did not target any banks, legal borders, as expressed by the definition of the law, were not crossed.
Aforementioned tweet, on April 8, 2020, faced a restriction of access decision by Istanbul 5th Criminal Court of Peace, as well as the launch of an investigation against Portakal. The indictment against Portakal was completed on April 27, 2020.
The indictment against journalist Fatih Portakal was completed by Smuggling, Narcotics and Economic Crimes Investigation Bureau of Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on April 27, 2020. The indictment cited Portakal’s tweet and summarised Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency’s complaint. Agency was the “complainant” of the indictment.
President Tayyip Erdoğan, too, had filed a complaint against Portakal, regarding the tweet. The indictment did not give any details of Erdoğan’s complaint.
The indictment also mentioned the reasoning of the article 74 of the Banking Law, of which Portakal was accused. Reasoning of the article said the following:
“Since the actions of banks depend on trust, news regarding must are expected to be made with due sensitivity. Reputation-damaging news about banks may lead to fund draws in these institutions or to deteriorate their financial situation by causing these organisations to obtain funds under worse conditions, and even damage to the sector and the general economy depending on the organisation’s position in the sector.”
The indictment stated that Portakal published the tweet “at a time when Turkey was battling was COVID19, which was declared a pandemic by WHO”. Following allegations were made:
“It is understood that the post aimed to create a perception and opinion that the assets and savings of those who have them in banks, can be requested by the state by using corona as an excuse and can be repaid after corona, and this situation may shake the trust in the banking sector altogether.”
The indictment accused Portakal of violating the article 158/1 of the Banking Law. Said article regulates the sanctions of the who violate article 74 of the same law. According to that Portakal was accused of “intentionally damaging the reputation, prestige or assets of a bank or disseminating inaccurate news”. He was requested to be sentenced to, from one year to three years of imprisonment and from one thousand days to two thousand days of judiciary fine.
Portakal was also requested to be “bereaved of specific rights” according to the article 53 of the Turkish Penal Code.
The indictment was accepted by Istanbul 46th Criminal Court of First Instance.
Journalist Fatih Portakal’s trial started with the first hearing on September 24, 2020 at Istanbul 46 Criminal Court of First Instance. Fatih Portakal was present alongside his attorneys. Portakal stated that he could not completely comprehend why he was being tried and said:
“It is a very simple question, which could be asked by simply anyone without needing to be a journalist, following Mister President’s words. When the President mentioned Tekalif-i Milliye Orders of Independence War times, I simply wondered “if they were going to ask for something”. Any regular citizen without being a journalist can ask this question.
However if Mister President is talking about that, as a journalist and a citizen, I will ask this question. I am a journalist. I am a citizen. I have constitutional rights. I have freedoms of thought and expression.”
Portakal did not accept the announcement of a possible imprisonment sentence to be deferred.
Portakal’s attorney Ece Güner Toprak, too, stated that physical elements of the crime were not formed, and said “A bank’s reputation need to be targeted, which absolutely does not occur. Or baseless news need to be spread, which too is not committed. Physical elements are not present. Specific intentions do not exist. Moral elements are completely missing”.
Prosecutor of the case requested the new indictment, prepared against Portakal for the accusation of “insulting the President” through same tweet, to be accepted.
Court accepted the new indictment, prepared against Portakal for the accusation of “insulting the President” through same tweet. Therefore trial was rule to continue with the consolidation of two indictments.
Second hearing of the case is set to November 5, 2020.
Saat 14.00’da başlaması gereken duruşma, 15 dakika gecikmeyle, saat 14.15’te başladı. Fatih Polat, duruşmaya avukatları ile birlikte katıldı.
Fatih Polat, ilk duruşmada savunmasını yaptı.
Niçin yargılandığını tam olarak anlamadığını belirten Portakal, şunları söyledi:
“6 Nisan tarihli paylaşımım, Sayın Cumhurbaşkanı’nın söylediği söz üzerine, gayet basit, gazeteci olmasına gerek yok, herkesin sorabileceği bir soru. Milli mücadele sırasında Tekalifi Milliye’yi, 2020’de Cumhurbaşkanının demesi, aklıma, ‘bir şeyler mi istenecek?’ sorusunu getirdi. Bunu sadece bir gazeteci değil, normal bir insan da sorabilir?”
Cumhurbaşkanı Tayyip Erdoğan’ın karşısında olması durumunda soruyu gazeteci kimliği ile soracağını kaydeden Portakal, savunmasına şöyle devam etti:
“Yaptığım meslekten ötürü her cümlemin her sözcüğünü seçerek kullanırım. O iletiyi yazarken her sözcüğü düşündüm. Orada ‘el koyma’ yok. El koyma 2020 Türkiye’sinde mümkün değil. Serbest piyasa var, bankacılık sistemi ortada. Mümkün değil.
Cümlede ‘istenir mi’ diye soruyorum. Bu durum tespiti. Art niyet, BDDK ya da başka bankayı hedef alarak yazılmış, onların itibarlarını zedeleyecek bir söz yok. 25 yıldır gazeteciyim, ikinci kez hakim önüne çıkıyorum. Ne kuruma ne bankaya, herhangi bir bankayla husumetim de hakaretim de olamaz.
Ama sayın Cumhurbaşkanı o cümleyi kuruyorsa ben gazeteci ve yurttaş olarak sorarım. Ben gazeteciyim. Yurttaşım. Anayasadan gelen haklarım var. ifade özgürlüğüm, düşünce özgürlüğüm var.
Ben bunu bir yurttaş olarak sorguladım hem de gazeteci olarak sorguladım. Ben onu yazmasaydım cesaretle oraya dökmeseydim insanların kafasında soru işareti kalacaktı. Ben o iletiyi göndererek insanların kafasındaki soru işaretini de göndermiş oldum ayrıca sözü söyleyenin de yardımcısı oldum.”
Portakal; hakkındaki olası bir hapis cezası kararında, hükmün açıklanmasının geri bırakılmasını kabul etmedi.
Portakal’ın avukatı Ece Güner Toprak da suçun maddi unsurlarının oluşmadığını kaydederek, “Bir bankanın itibarının hedef alınması gerekiyor bu kesinlikle yok. Bankanın adı yok. Ya da asılsız haberin yayılması gerekiyor, bu da kesinlikle yok. Maddi şart mevcut değil. Özel kasıt yok. Manevi unsurdan tamamen yoksun” dedi.
Toprak, şu ifadeleri kullandı:
“Gerçek şu ki sayın Cumhurbaşkanının sözleri yanlış anlamaya çok müsaitti. O an milyonların aklına aynı soru geldi ve belki de müvekkilimizin yorumu sayesinde hükümet, Tekalifi Milliye benzeri tedbiri düşünmediğini söyledi. Müvekkilim ifade özgürlüğünü kullandı. Müvekkilim ya da herhangi bir yurttaş Cumhurbaşkanının ya da herhangi bir yöneticiyi sorgulayamayacaksa, yorum yapamayacaksa Anayasadaki ifade özgürlüğü kalmamış demektir. Anayasa’daki basın ve ifade özgürlüğü maddeleri, demokratik cumhuriyet ifadeler hala geçerli midir? İfade özgürlüğü aykırı sorgulayan düşünceleri koruyorsa vardır.”
Portakal’dan şikayetçi olan, Bankacılık Düzenleme ve Denetleme Kurumu (BDDK) avukatı Deniz Kubat ise davaya müdahillik taleplerinin kabul edilmesini talep ederken, şikayetlerinin de devam ettiğini kaydetti.
Duruşma savcısı; şikayetçi BDDK’nin yargılamaya katılma talebinin kabul edilmesini istedi.
Savcı, ayrıca; Portakal hakkında aynı sosyal medya mesajı üzerinden “Cumhurbaşkanına hakaret” iddiasıyla hazırlanan yeni iddianamenin kabul edilmesini talep etti.
Mahkeme, Bankacılık Düzenleme ve Denetleme Kurumu’nun yargılamaya katılma talebini kabul etti.
Mahkeme, ayrıca; Portakal hakkında, aynı sosyal medya paylaşımı üzerinden, “Cumhurbaşkanı’na hakaret” suçlamasıyla hazırlanan yeni iddianameyi de kabul etti.
Yargılamanın, 5 Kasım 2020 tarihinde görülecek ikinci duruşma ile devam etmesine karar verildi.
Koronavirüs pandemisi karşısında alınan önlemler kapsamında, adliyeye; tek sıra halinde girildi. Girişler bariyerlerle çevrilmişti.
Yine önlemler kapsamında, adliyeye girişte; önce ateş ölçümü yapıldı. Ardından X-Ray taraması yapıldı.
Duruşmanın yapıldığı salonun önünde herhangi bir bariyer yoktu.
Mahkeme Salonu Koşulları
Mahkeme, büyük bir duruşma salonunda görüldü.
Koronavirüs pandemisi karşısında alınan önlemler kapsamında, izleyiciler için ayrılan oturma yerlerinden her iki tanesinden birine, sosyal mesafe kuralı nedeniyle bant çekildi.
Duruşmayı, sadece dört gazetecinin takip etmesine izin verildi.
Duruşmayı; Medya ve Hukuk Çalışmaları Derneği, DİSK Basın-İş Sendikası, Bağımsız Gazetecilik Platformu (P24) gözlemcileri ile çok sayıda basın mensubu takip etti.
Portakal hakkındaki yargılamanın ilk duruşması başlamadan önce, mahkeme salonunun önüne özel güvenlik görevlileri çağrıldı.
Duruşmayı sadece dört gazetecinin takip etmesine izin verildi. Ancak, özel güvenlik görevlileri; duruşma boyunca salonda kaldı.
Fatih Portakal - “Damaging the Reputation, Prestige or Assets of a Bank” Trial (Indictment)
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