Journalist İsmail Yıldız was born in 1981 in Adıyaman. He studied at Süleyman Demirel University, Department of Theater.
He started journalism at Dicle News Agency (DİHA) in 2004.
The agency was closed down with a decree law issued under the State of Emergency, which was declared after the military coup attempt on July 15th, 2016. During the state of emergency, a number of media outlets were closed with decree laws issued by the government, without the approval of the Parliament.
Journalist Yıldız penned news, interviews, and film and theater criticism for press organizations such as Fırat News Agency (ANF), Birgün, Cumhuriyet, Radikal, Rudaw as well as DİHA. For two years, he was the editor-in-chief of the monthly Dersim Newspaper. He also wrote articles in the magazines Esmer, Tiroj and Revşne, and the website Postager. Yıldız is also a theater actor, and starred in short films.
Yıldız currently works for the television channel Rudaw. Yıldız uses the name “Rawin Sterk” in his journalistic work.
Until the hearing dated February 8th, 2013, Yıldız was detained in Kandıra F Type Closed Prison No. 1. He faces 7.5 to 15 years of imprisonment on charges of “membership of an armed terrorist organization”. He is currently not detained.
The prosecution has still not submitted its opinion as to the accusations although the trial started in September 2012.
He was taken into custody making news of the refuges on Turkish-Greek Border in Edirne on February 28, 2020 when he was working at Rudaw TV. He was brought to Ankara on the grounds that the investigation against him was ongoing in Ankara. After being detained for 6 days, on March 6, 2020, he was arrested on the grounds of “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation”. He was brought to Sincan Prison.”
The indictment accused him of “membership of an armed terrorist organisation” and “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation in a successive manner”. He was requested to be sentenced to, from eight years nine months to 23 years nine months of imprisonment.
At the first hearing of the case on September 2, 2020, after being detained for almost 6 months, he was released to pend trial. Files of this case was consolidated with the “KCK Press Case” where he too was being tried.
49 journalists and media professionals working for “Kurdish media” outlets, namely Dicle News Agency (DİHA), Özgür Gündem Newspaper, Fırat News Agency (ANF) and Roj TV were arrested in the early morning hours on December 20th, 2011, with police raids on their homes or media outlets in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Van, Adana and Diyarbakır.
Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter İsmail Yıldız figured among those taken under custody in Istanbul in an operation by armed police.
The journalists and media professionals thus detained were taken on the next day to the Istanbul Police Department’s Anti-Terror Branch on Vatan Avenue, Istanbul.
A “confidentiality / restriction order” was issued regarding the case. As a result, the journalists in custody were initially unable to learn the charges against them.
Seven of the detained journalists were released on Deceber 23rd after their interrogation at the prosecutor’s office. However, 42 journalists and media professionals including Yıldız were arrested. Yıldız was taken to Kandira No. 1 F Type Closed Prison.
According to the indictment, at the interrogation at the prosecutor’s office, Yıldız said, “He did not have any relationship with any terrorist organization, he was a theater player and an individual against violence, and he worked as freelance journalist as a second job. He added that his relationship with ANF consisted of penning news for money, he had nothing to do with any terrorist organization, the name ‘Rawin Sterk’ was the name his family gave him when he was born as ‘Sterk’ means ‘star’.”
He indicated that his press card was an international card issued by International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), and that he went overseas for a film shooting in Germany.
He explained that the sound recordings found in his house were interviews for Funda Danışman and Rojin Canan Akın’s book titled “Not As You Know”, and that he was given these recordings for transcription.
He stated that he had contacts with ANF editor İsmail Kayhan since he was the news manager, and that he connected to Roj TV’s live broadcasts not for money but for news reporting. He indicated that Roj TV was a subscriber of ANF, and therefore, he was connected to the TV about his news stories for ANF.
The indictment against 44 journalists and media professionals, including journalist İsmail Yıldız was completed on April 27th, 2012.
In the indictment, it was claimed that the so-called “KCK / PKK Press Committee” and “Democratic Enlightenment Union” (Yekîtiya Ragihandina Demokratik - YRD) guided the editorial policy and news coverage of the “Kurdish media”.
Dicle News Agency (DİHA), Fırat Publishing and Distribution Company, Gün Printing House (which printed the newspapers Azadiya Welat, Denge Welat, Özgür Gündem, Yeni Demokratik Toplum, Yeni Demokratik Yaşam, Yeni Demokratik Ulus and the magazines Özgür Halk, Demokratik Modernite, Yurtsever Gençlik), Fırat News Agency (ANF), Azadiya Welat Newspaper, Özgür Gündem Newspaper and other daily and weekly newspapers in Turkish; as well as various media or news outlets, including Roj TV, Medya TV, and Mezopotamya Radio, were listed among “KCK / PKK’s media outlets” in the indictment.
The indictment added that “KCK / PKK’s Press Committee has been holding regular meetings since 2001 to consolidate the hierarchy within the organization’s media network, and Press Conferences have transformed into YRD Conferences over time”, and that “The Press Committee’s editorial policy focused on establishing the state of Kurdistan”.
Journalistic activities were presented as “terror group’s activities” in the indictment. The indictment made frequent use of allegations and definitions such as “so-called journalism activities”, “news designed to denigrate the state”, “terror group-driven journalism”, “an independent journalist would not have penned such news stories” and “the photographs found in the computer denigrated state officials”.
37 pages of the 800-page indictment were dedicated to explaining the “KCK / PKK structure”; this section featured the arguments of the prosecutor as well as statements by three members of the organization and three secret witnesses who were captured or had surrendered. In addition, Abdullah Öcalan’s talks with his lawyers and the latters’ correspondence with each other were also included.
The next 100 pages offered a history of the “Kurdish media”. There were claims regarding the relationship between the organization and the newspapers, magazines, radios, televisions and web sites going back to the 1970s.
The prosecution claimed that many media outlets, especially DİHA, Fırat News Agency (ANF), Roj TV, were “broadcasting to serve the purposes of KCK / PKK”. The news, images, articles and interviews shared among these media outlets; statements of secret witnesses and suspects; and “KCK Charter’s sections related to the press” were presented to support these claims.
Journalists’ news stories, journalistic activities and coverage for media outlets such as Roj TV and ANF were presented as criminal activities.
In the indictment, 44 journalists and media employees were charged with “membership or leadership of a terrorist organization”.
The 24-page chapter on Yıldız began on page 612 of the indictment. This section consisted of Yıldız’s overseas travels, a list of 19 books seized from his house, wiretapping records of 19 phone calls, four Facebook posts, nine news stories and interviews by him, seven protests / rallies that he covered, and two secret witness statements.
In the section titled “archive records”, it was stated that Yıldız was detained during a protest organized by Democratic People’s Party (DEHAP) in 2005 and also during the “KCK operation” by the police in Adana in 2008.
The indictment also mentioned the dates when Yıldız left and returned to Turkey in 2011 by airplane.
The seized books were listed twice in the indictment.
The wiretapping records added as evidence to the indictment consisted of his journalistic conversations with Dicle News Agency (DİHA), his responses to phones from the ANF news desk, and his calls to Asrın Law Office to receive their comments for his news stories.
The prosecutor added his comments on the following conversations:
1- Wiretapping record dated October 2009 of Yıldız calling Asrın Law Office.
In his assessment of this wiretapping record, the prosecutor claimed that it was understood that “Yıldız worked for DİHA”, and that Yıldız had “connections to DTP, BDP and Asrın Law Office, the pinnacle of the organization’s leadership committee”.
2- Wiretapping record dated November 2011 of a conversation with a Roj TV employee.
In his assessment of this wiretapping record, the prosecutor claimed that Yıldız held a senior position in DİHA and accused him of “denigrating the police operations against KCK”. The prosecutor said that Yıldız “frequently went live on Roj TV to make comments on the public agenda to uphold the terror organization’s purposes; denigrated the Turkish state and government, spread propaganda for the organization by depicting police operations as political operations in line with the terror organization’s arguments, explicitly praised the leader of the organization A. Öcalan, and tried to defame KCK operations.”
3- Wiretapping record dated November 2011 of ANF editor and defendant in the trial, İsmet Kayhan calling Yıldız after an explosion in Ankara.
In his assessment of this wiretapping record, the prosecutor claimed “Yıldız came to the location before the incident took place, in order to broadcast it live; as such, he was informed of the organization’s actions before they took place”.
4- Wiretapping record dated November 2011 of a conversation with ANF editor and defendant İsmet Kayhan about signing news stories and a magazine.
In his assessment, the prosecutor stated that Yıldız said “you cannot be deemed an anarchist unless you swear at the state”. It was added that Kayhan “swore at the state in the magazine he was going to publish”, “said he knew people who swore at the state”, and that Yıldız also had connections to these individuals.
While listing the evidence obtained as a result of the examination of e-mails, the prosecutor stated that Yıldız had messaged with İsmet Kayhan 128 times via e-mail. The prosecutor added that Kayhan “was directly in contact with the reporters active within the Press Committee, and had these people pen news stories in favor of the organization at the ANF”. Wiretapping records of four messages between the e-mail account allegedly belonging to Kayhan, and Yıldız were also added to the indictment.
Stating that Yıldız had a Facebook account under the name “Rawin Sterk” and that he used this name in his social life and as a journalist, the prosecutor claimed that the name “Rawin Sterk” was a nom de guerre.
At the top of the list of materialized seized form Yıldız’s house were the books, which had been previously listed in the indictment as only titles:
1- “Struggle for Sovereignty in Kurdistan and the Democratic Revolutionary Stance”, A. Öcalan, March 2003, Çetin Yayınları. It was indicated that the book was banned by İstanbul 3. State Security Court on 25.03.2003, with an order for its seizure and recall.
2- “Defense for Free Humanity”, A. Öcalan, July 2003, Berdan Matbaacılık. It was indicated that the book was banned by Bingöl Criminal Court of Peace on 08.08. 2003, with an order for its seizure and recall.
3- “We Are Hidden in the Heart of the Mountain – Guerilla Poems 2”, January 2002, Aram Yayınları. It was indicated that the book was banned by İstanbul 2. State Security Court on 11.01.2002, with an order for its seizure and recall.
4- “Self Defense Strategy as the Legitimate Line of Struggle in 21. Century: HPG Headquarters Command”, Cemal Botan, Çetin Yayınları. It was indicated that the book was banned by İstanbul 3. State Security Court on 17.05.2004, with an order for its seizure and recall.
5- “Serhildan in the Democratic Liberation Struggle”, Mahsum Şafak, August 2001, Berdan Matbaacılık. It was indicated that the book was banned by İstanbul 3. State Security Court on 7.09.2001, with an order for its seizure and recall.
6- “The Leadership Reality and Apoist Politics”, A. Öcalan, September 2002, Çetin Yayınları. It was indicated that the book was banned by İstanbul 4. State Security Court on 11.09.2002, with an order for its seizure and recall.
7- “Arts, Literature and Kurdish Enlightenment”, A. Öcalan, 6 November 2003, Çetin Yayınları. It was indicated that the book was banned by İstanbul 1. State Security Court on 29.12.2003, with an order for its seizure and recall.
8- “Popular Heroes in Kurdistan”, A. Öcalan, 22 March 2004, Çetin Yayınları. It was indicated that the book was banned by İstanbul 1. State Security Court on 22.03.2004, with an order for its seizure and recall.
9- “Problems of Party Building and Our Tasks”, A. Öcalan, January 2002, Çetin Yayınları. It was indicated that the book was banned by İstanbul 2. State Security Court on 21101.2002, with an order for its seizure and recall.
10- “This Heart Shall Climb Over Mountains - Guerilla Poems Vol. 1”, Aram Yayınları. It was indicated that the book was banned by İstanbul 3. State Security Court on 26.03.2003, with an order for its seizure and recall.
11- “İmralı Discourses: Hope for Peace – Vol. 1”, A. Öcalan, November 2005, Çetin Yayınları. It was indicated that the book was banned by Kars Criminal Court of Peace on 29.03.2010, with an order for its seizure and recall.
12- “Dialogues in Free Life: 1995-1998 Analyses”, A. Öcalan, Çetin Yayınları. It was indicated that the book was banned by İstanbul 6. State Security Court on 30.09.2002, with an order for its seizure and recall.
13- “On Revolution in Culture and Arts”, A. Öcalan, October 2008, Aram Yayınları. It was indicated that the book was banned by İstanbul 9. High Criminal Court on 01.02.2008, with an order for its seizure and recall.
14- “Feast of Sun – Vol. 1”, A. Öcalan, Çetin Yayınları. It was indicated that the book was banned by İstanbul 2. State Security Court on 06.04.2005, with an order for its seizure and recall.
15- “Liquidating the Liquidationists”, A. Öcalan, Çetin Yayınları. It was indicated that the book was banned by İstanbul 2. State Security Court on 28.12.1993, with an order for its seizure and recall.
16- “Social Revolution and New Life”, A. Öcalan, February 2005.
17- “PKK: 20 Years of Separatist Violence”, İsmet G. Imset, June 1993.
18- “Free Youth Manifesto”, Çetin Yayınları.
19- “Struggle for Sovereignty in South Kurdistan and Democratic Revolutionary Stance”, A. Öcalan.
Some of the posts that Yıldız shared on his Facebook account under the name Rawin Sterk were also added to the indictment.
Under the title “seized materials”, the indictment listed the wiretapping records of Yıldız’s conversations with five people, including a lawyer and a journalist, as well as photographs, “press cards” of ANF reporters, and four music files allegedly “praising the terror organization”.
The news stories allegedly spreading propaganda for “the terrorist organization” were listed as follows in the indictment:
1- News story published on Evrensel Newspaper on 16 June 2009, titled “The indictment that includes everything” on the indictment against 63 individuals including DİHA reporter İsmail Yıldız drafted as a result of the “KCK Operations” in 2008.
2- Yıldız’s news story published on ANF on 7 September 2011 titled “Rifat Bali: Kurds face the danger of a pogrom like 6-7 September 1955”.
3- Yıldız’s news story published on ANF on 11 January 2011 titled “Lawyer Beştaş: Our clients will not step back”.
4- Yıldız’s news story published on ANF on 28 December 2011 titled “Üstündağ: They are listening to the Kurds’ project amazed”.
5- Yıldız’s news story published on ANF on 27 December 2011 titled “Writers’ Parliament: Oppression of languages is unacceptable”.
6- Yıldız’s news interview with Hakkı Devrim published on ANF on 22 October 2010 titled “We discuss the Kurdish question around betrayal, it is unacceptable”.
7- Yıldız’s news story published on ANF on 18 February 2011 titled “Atrocity in Gürpınar: 66 corpses found in 4 mass graves”.
8- Yıldız’s news story published on ANF on 30 December 2010 titled “Anti-Terror Law makes a come back: Youth once again taken under custody”.
9- Yıldız’s news story published on ANF on 10 January 2011 titled “Diyarbakır impoverished”.
Yıldız was claimed to participate in the following demonstrations:
1- It was claimed that Yıldız participated in a demonstration attended by BDP MP Sebahat Tuncel on 16 January 2011, “in the guise of a journalist to share footage and news with the terror organization’s media outlets”. ANF’s news story titled “Tarlabaşı and Dolapdere turns into a battlefield” was presented as evidence to this claim.
2- It was claimed that Yıldız participated in a demonstration in Istanbul on 2 March 2008 against Turkish Armed Forces’ air operation in Iraq.
3- It was claimed that Yıldız participated in a demonstration organized by BDP in Istanbul on 25 March 2011.
4- It was claimed that Yıldız participated in a demonstration organized by Istanbul Democratic City Council and BDP in Istanbul’s Gezi Park on 27 March 2013.
5- It was claimed that Yıldız participated in the demos against the operations against KCK in Istanbul on 19 April 2011, acting together with the protesters, and penning news articles titled “Thousands march towards Aksaray”, “Street clashes in İstanbul”, “Numerous detained and injured in Aksaray”, “Gas bombs thrown out of helicopters”, and “Police sprayed gas on protesters”.
6- It was claimed that Yıldız participated in a demonstration organized by BDP MPs on 16 May 2011, and penned a news article titled “Thousands take to the streets in İstanbul for the 12 guerillas killed”.
7- It was claimed that Yıldız participated on 18 September 2010 in a press conference by Human Rights Association, penned a news article titled “HRA: Misrepresentation of the Hakkari incident serves warmongers” and sent photos to media outlets about this news.
Under the title, “the statements of witnesses with ties to the organization, secret witnesses and suspects”, the prosecutor listed the following evidence about Yıldız:
1- “Secret witness no. 1” stated, “İsmail Yıldız: He was a member of DEHAP Youth Branch in 2000-2001, and he used to hang out in Mesopotamia Culture Center. In 2001, he went to the mountains to join the PKK terror organization. Afterwards I did not hear anything about this individual”.
2- Secret witness Bahar stated, “İsmail Yıldız: I know he was active in the press branch of the terror organization”.
The prosecutor charged Yıldız with “membership of an armed terror organization” and in the “legal assessment” section indicated that Yıldız was a member of “KCK Press Committee Turkey executive board”.
He claimed that Yıldız “penned news stories for the organization in connection with ANF and ROJ TV”, “had contacts with Kayhan and acted according to the instructions he received from him”, “wrote numerous stories spreading propaganda for the terror organization” and “had an ANF identity card”.
The prosecutor alleged that according to secret witness statements, Yıldız went to the mountains to join the terror organization and participated in the Press Committee, and that he was informed about protests in advance and communicated news stories on the protests to Kayhan.
In the indictment, the prosecutor charged Yıldız with “membership of an armed terror organization” as per Turkish Penal Code 314/2, demanding 5 to 10 years of imprisonment, and requested that the prison sentence be extended by half as per Anti-Terror Law Article 5. As such, Yıldız faces 7 years, 6 months to 15 years in prison for “membership of an armed terror organization”.
Furthermore, the prosecutor demanded that Yıldız be deprived of certain rights pursuant to Turkish Penal Code Article 53.
The “KCK Press Trial”, marked by debates on the right to defense in the mother tongue, was held at 15th High Criminal Court with Special Authority (10 episodes consisting of 32 sessions) from September 10th, 2012 to March 3rd, 2014. The hearings started at Çağlayan Courthouse and were moved to the courtroom in the Silivri campus on November 12th, 2012. From March 26th, 2014 to January 11th, 2018, 15 hearings were held at Istanbul 3rd High Criminal Court located in the Çağlayan Courthouse.
Defendants detained in different prisons, including the journalist İsmail Yıldız, were brought to Silivri for the hearings planned to last many days. After the trials ended, they were taken back to their prisons by road.
At the beginning of the trial, protests took place within the courtroom upon the rejection of requests for defense in the mother tongue. Afterwards, all journalists detained under the “KCK” investigation and their lawyers started a hunger strike. Defendants continued to respond in Kurdish and Zazaki during ID confirmation.
Frequently debates and protests erupted during the hearings, lawyers’ microphones were turned off, and the courtroom was evacuated upon the orders of the judge. 15. High Criminal Court filed six charges against the audience, lawyers and defendants for allegedly “protesting the court by applause” or “making statements that go beyond the limits of defense to constitute crime”.
It took six hearings to read out loud the 800-page indictment, and the 185-page indictment against two other defendants whose files were merged with the main case. The indictments were read out in turns by two TRT announcers, mainly to an empty hall. When the reading out of the indictments was completed at the 12th session on April 22nd, 2013, 11 of the 37 prisoners had been released.
In the 12th session on April 22nd, 2013, translators from the Kurdish Institute, which the lawyers had invited for interpretation from Kurdish were also in attendance. DİHA editor Ertuş Bozkurt, one of the detained defendants, read out the 25-page Kurdish defense drafted on behalf of all defendants. Detained defendants presented their individual defenses after this joint defense. The defense of the detained defendants was completed at the 17th hearing on June 18th, 2013. The defendants who were not detained commenced their defenses at the 19th hearing on September 25th, 2013, after the completion of the statements of lawyers of the detained defendants.
At the 5th hearing of the trial on November 13th, 2012, Yıldız -under arrest- was denied his request to hug his children present in the courtroom.
Taking the floor at the 7th hearing of the proceedings, on November 12th, 2012, lawyer Cem Gök said that, before touching upon the issues in the indictment, he wanted to provide information to the court about Yıldız. Gök said that Yıldız identified himself as an “anarchist” and explained what “anarchism” represents:
“In the wiretapping records included in the indictment, my client says that he is an anarchist; and this is presented as criminal evidence against him. However, on the contrary, the fact that my client is an anarchist shows that he is not a member of the KCK, as claimed”, he said.
Gök stated that it is unacceptable that the critical posts on Yıldız’s Facebook profile figure in the indictment as evidence: “If the prosecutor places these posts in the indictment and you judge my client based on these posts; then it is clear that he is being tried for his thoughts.” Gök said that the phone conversations in the indictment correspond to journalistic activities, and added that as a freelance journalist Yıldız worked for numerous newspapers.
Gök stated in the indictment, ANF news manager İsmet Kayhan is depicted as a “leader of the terror organizaton” and accordingly, all relations between him and the journalists and editors were presented as criminal ties. Gök, regarding the news stories added to the indictment, said, “The topic of a news story, the media outlet for which the news is penned, and news contacts cannot be subject of debate here. The content of the news may be discussed, however, as per the existing criminal laws, this does not fall within the authority of your court, but pertains to the press law.”
Lawyer Gök also said the following about secret witness statements:
“We are of the opinion that secret witness statements cannot be presented as evidence for continuation of detention, since we are not given the chance to interrogate the witness, we don’t know why the witness’ identity is kept secret, and secret witness statements were taken by agents not authorized to hear the witnesses.”
Emphasizing that the secret witness had said that he had seen Yıldız for the last time in 2001, Gök stated that it was not realistic for the witness to recognize Yıldız form a photo in 2008, and also pointed to other contradictions in the secret witness statement.
He underlined that the secret witness said about Yıldız that he was active in DEHAP’s Youth Branch in 2000-2001, but in fact DEHAP did not exist at that time.
Gök stated that the prosecutor accused Yıldız in the indictment of going to the site of a bomb explosion near his home and calling the news desk; however, Gök argued that this was simply the reaction of a journalist.
“People are being tried and detained with vague accusations. In the indictment, the prosecutor employs evidence that seems to incriminate my client, but does not present any evidence to his favor,” said Gök, and added that accusations such as “going to a demo in the guise of a journalist” rendered the indictment risible.
He said that the wife of his client, who had been in detention for 11 months, had given birth in the meanwhile, his child was growing up, and thus detention had turned into punishment for Yıldız. Gök demanded the release of Yıldız and other defendants.
Attorney Sinan Zincir also took the floor and demanded that Yıldız see his child for two minutes. The president of the court said that they had already reached a decision, and would not allow it.
Yıldız then took the floor and said that his baby is now 7.5 months old, asking why his request to see his baby for a couple of minutes was not accepted.
“You even have the right to demolish this courtroom and build a beautiful playground instead if you wish so. If it is really an obstacle before the judiciary proceedings, then a soldier may hold my baby and I can see her from up close.” The president of the court rejected the request, saying “Our court does not have the authority to grant such a visitation”.
At the 11th hearing of the trial on February 8th, 2013, Yıldız’s baby was not taken into the hall for “disrupting court order.”
Lawyer Ayşe Acinikli then took the floor and stated that house searches were not in compliance with regulations. Acinikli said, “For instance, in the house search document for İsmail Yıldız, we see the signature of but one witness, and in fact the name of that witness is not written down. The witness’ phone number and home address are not noted. Is it possible to confirm whether this witness is in fact a police officer or not?”
Lawyer Cem Gök stated that the interviews included in the indictment pertain to the book titled “Not As You Know” which focuses on the memories of individuals who were children during the 1990s. He explained that the interviews conducted by other journalists were transcribed by Yıldız, and he submitted the book to the court as evidence.
He said that one of the witnesses said that Yıldız “hanged out in Mesopotamia Culture Center in the years 2000-2002”, however, there was no such association back in those years.
He requested that the court sent a writ to Malatya Governor’s Office, Provincial Directorate of Associations to receive information on the matter.
Gök indicated that Yıldız allegedly “went to the mountains in 2001”, but indicated that Yıldız was indeed a student then, and took the university entrance exam (ÖSS) in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003. Gök requested that the court send a writ to Student Selection and Placement Center (ÖSYM) to receive information on the matter.
Gök said that the conflicting statements by “secret witness no. 1” were debunked in the court and asked that a criminal complaint be filed against the witness for perjury. The court accepted to send writs to Malatya Governor’s Office and ÖSYM to obtain information, but refused the request for the criminal complaint against the witness.
Yıldız was released at the end of this hearing along with seven other defendants.
The 12th hearing of the trial took place on April 22nd, 2013. The response from ÖSYM was read out by the president of the court. The response read, “For the individual in question who sat the exams 2000 ÖSS, 2001 ÖSS, 2002 ÖSS and 2003 ÖSS, the exam location information for 2000 ÖSS and 2001 ÖSS is not available; however, the location information regarding the 2002 ÖSS and 2003 ÖSS exams according to our records are provided in the attachment.”
Malatya Governor’s Office informed the court that “There is no association called Mesopotamia Cultural Center; no such association was registered either before or after 2000”.
19th hearing of the trial took place on September 15th, 2013. Yıldız stated in his defense in Turkish that he was kept in prison for 14 months and was released, 22 of his friends were still detained under this trial, and that there could be no legal explanation for this situation.
Stating that he had actually prepared his defense in Kurdish, Yıldız said, “I have to speak in Turkish since I will not accept speaking in my own tongue if I have to pay for the interpreter, that is if I am obliged to speak my mother tongue for a fee.”
Criticizing the police operations against KCK, Yıldız said, “The prosecution is wrong if they think that only they, or the government they serve can decide whether a media outlet is really a media outlet or not.”
Stating that his conversations with his wife took 27 pages in the annexed files, Yıldız underlined that this was tantamount to a violation of private life.
He touched upon the claim that he had participated in the protests despite going there with a camera. He said that he had to follow the protesters in the rally to cover the news story, and that “acting together with the protesters” cannot be directed against a journalist as an accusation.
Against accusations that he penned news stories for ANF, Yıldız said “I transitioned to ANF because it expanded my field of work, and my area of maneuver,” and gave examples from his news stories published by the mainstream media. He said that media outlets such as ANF, Roj TV, DİHA are engaged in journalistic activities and that he was not intimate with any ANF employee including İsmet Kayhan. He explained the editor-reporter relation he had with Kayhan.
Yıldız said that the name “Rawin Sterk” was not a code name but a name he used in both social life and in theatrical and journalistic activities, adding that “as a journalist I act in line with the international literature and do not have to comply with the state’s definitions”.
About the evidence against him presented in the indictment, he elaborated on the details of the defense already presented by the lawyers. He submitted the document showing that he graduated from high school in 2000, a special talent exam he took at Erzurum Atatürk University in the same year, the exam numbers, scores and other ÖSYM documents indicating that he took the university entrance exam (ÖSS) in 2000-2001-2002 and 2003.
He stated that there were errors in the Turkish translations of the wiretapping records of his conversations in Kurdish with Roj TV. He said that news stories written by ANF employees were presented as his stories under different names in the indictment. He explained that the wiretapping records were cut up before being added to the indictment, and that the content of wiretapping records were also manipulated.
He said that in the indictment, it was claimed that after a bomb explosion in November 2011, he allegedly “came to the scene to report the action, so he was informed of the organization’s actions before they took place”. He stated that in fact the explosion took place just 150 meters from his house.
He said that in the overseas travel dates given in the indictment he was actually in Germany.
Yıldız explained the wiretapping records in the indictment one by one, and stated that these were conversations with news sources and colleagues. He said that he worked with ANF editor Kayhan for 3-4 years, and so it was natural for them to exchange 128 e-mail messages.
Referring to the Facebook posts added to the indictment, Yıldız explained in detail the contents of these posts and what incidents they concerned. Likewise, he explained the news stories which were claimed to “spread propaganda for a terrorist organization”.
Yıldız said that he was working on a documentary planned to be shot in Germany and in Guatemala, and so demanded the annulment of the ban on his going overseas.
The president of the court started to read out Yıldız’s statement at the prosecutor’s office and the evidence. About the photo showing an HPG flag, Yıldız said, “If there is an HPG flag in that photo, of course I did not hang it up there. I just took its picture.”
About the books found in his home, he said, “There are tons of books at my home, including Alpaslan Türkeş’s book ‘9 Beams of Light’. I asked the police to take it as well, but they did not. I have read all of those books, which should not constitute a crime”.
In response to the questions of the president of the court, Yıldız said, “It is all too natural for a journalist to receive news suggestions from his manager, and ideas about what issues to emphasize. This is not the case only in ANF or DİHA, but in all media outlets.”
The president of the court asked him to submit a list of incorrect translations in the wiretapping records to the court after the hearing.
The judge asked Yıldız, “Are you getting paid by ANF per news story?”
Attorney Özcan Kılıç took the floor and said that the word “protest” was mentioned many times in the indictment and asked Yıldız to explain what “protests” he was covering.
Yıldız listed protests such as the rallies organized after BDP candidates were eliminated from elections, protests by the so-called Saturday Mothers, and actions organized by the relatives of those killed in a building that collapsed in Güngören. He said that he took photos or videos during these protests. The president of the court said, “Were there no clashes in these protests, no petrol bombs thrown? Do you mean that?” Yıldız responded, “No, I just answered the question I was asked. But even if petrol bombs were thrown, it has nothing to do with me. The entire press covers the event; likewise, I just take footage. ”
The 30th hearing of the trial took place on January 13th, 2014. At the time, there was a heated public debate about whether the Courts with Special Authority were going to be abolished. Lawyers argued that this debate made controversial the court which conducted the “KCK Press” trial. Due to this reason, lawyers demanded that the proceedings at Istanbul 15th High Criminal Court be suspended and that the detainees be released. The court rejected this demand.
Courts with Special Authority were indeed abolished with a law that came into force on February 21st, 2014.
The last hearing of the “KCK Press Trial” at İstanbul 15th High Criminal Court with Special Authority was held on March 3rd, 2014. The file was then transferred to the Istanbul 3rd High Criminal Court.
The six detained defendants were released on May 12th, 2014 as a result of the routine detention check, upon the orders of the 3. High Criminal Court. As such, there were no longer any detained defendants.
The trial resumed on July 10th, 2014, at Istanbul 3rd High Criminal Court in Çağlayan Courthouse.
The ban on the traveling abroad of 37 defendants was lifted in the first hearing at Istanbul 3rd High Criminal Court.
At the 10th hearing, the judge ordered that the journalists’ passports be annulled as per a State of Emergency Decree Law.
The lawyers said that upon the abolition of Courts with Special Authority, the trial had lost its legal grounding. They argued that the continuation of these proceedings at high criminal courts was against the Constitution. The Istanbul 3rd High Criminal Court indeed referred the file to the Constitutional Court on allegations of unconstitutionality. The court waited for a response from the Constitutional Court for two hearings. The Constitutional Court sent no answer to the court for 16 months. The court then decided to continue the trial.
In the subsequent hearings, the lawyers reiterated their demand for waiting for the Constitutional Court’s ruling and the acquittal of all defendants. Lawyers said that most of the law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges involved in the investigation and prosecution of the trial before the trial was transferred to Istanbul 3rd High Criminal Court were now under arrest or on the run after the July 15th military coup attempt. Lawyers demanded that the legal measures taken against these individuals be included in the file. The court accepted this request. However, the court also ruled that all the other investigations and prosecutions concerning the journalists would also be included in the file.
Of the 46 defendants, only İsmet Kayhan, who is on the run, has not presented his defense in court. Even the “evidence assessment” phase has not been completed yet.
Judicial information about the officials involved in the investigation and prosecution phase has yet to be included in the file. İsmet Kayhan has not been arrested.
The 16th hearing of the trial took place on May 9th, 2019, and the 17th on October 22nd, 2019.
The 18th hearing was held on February 25th, 2020. Yıldız did not attend this hearing.
The 19th hearing of the trial took place on July 2nd. The president of the court stated that the writ sent to the General Secretariat of Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) about the progress in the trial was added to the case file. Accordingly, HSK demanded information from the court for the disciplinary investigation against Bilal Bayraktar, a prosecutor dismissed for alleged “membership of the Fethullahist Terror Organization.” Bayraktar was the prosecutor in charge of indictment and hearings at KCK Press Trial. Journalist Çağdaş Ulus’ lawyer Mehtap Acar Ulus stated that her client was included in the trial via manipulation. She demanded that his file be separated from the collective file and Ulus be acquitted. The court ruled to await the execution of the arrest warrant against İsmet Kayhan, who lives abroad.
The trial was adjourned until December 1st, 2020.
The prosecution has still not submitted its opinion as to the accusations although trial began in September 2012.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rejected the journalists’ application concerning this file in November 2019, pointing to non-exhaustion of domestic remedies -namely, the filing of an individual application with the Constitutional Court. However, at the time the journalists were arrested and had filed an application with ECHR, it was not yet possible to file an individual application with the Constitutional Court in Turkey. Therefore, the requirement of exhausting the individual application to the Constitutional Court before applying to ECHR did not exist yet.
Duruşma, gelen evrakların tutanağa geçirilmesiyle başladı.
Mahkeme heyeti başkanı; Hakimler ve Savcılar Kurulu (HSK) Genel Sekreterliği’nden bu yargılamanın geldiği aşama ile ilgili bilginin istendiği yazının dosyaya eklendiğini açıkladı. Buna göre, HSK; “Fethullahçı Terör Örgütü üyesi olduğu” iddiasıyla meslekten çıkarılan savcı Bilal Bayraktar ile ilgili disiplin soruşturması için mahkemeden bilgi istiyordu. Savcı Bayraktar, “KCK Basın” yargılamasının soruşturma ve iddianame savcısıydı.
Gazeteci Çağdaş Ulus’un avukatı Mehtap Acar Ulus, Çağdaş Ulus’un bir manipülasyon yoluyla bu davaya dahil edildiğini söyledi. Çağdaş Ulus hakkındaki dosyanın, bu dosyadan ayrılmasını ve Ulus’un beraatini talep etti.
Hakimler ve Savcılar Kurulu‘nun (HSK) savcı Bilal Bayraktar hakkındaki disiplin soruşturması kapsamında, “KCK Basın” yargılamasıyla ilgili gelişmelerin ve kararın HSK Genel Sekreterliği’ne bildirilmesine yönelik yazı, dosyaya eklendi.
“FETÖ üyesi olduğu” iddiasıyla meslekten çıkartılan savcı Bayraktar, “KCK Basın” dosyasının da soruşturma ve iddianame savcısıydı.
Çağdaş Ulus müdafii avukat Mehtap Acar Ulus, müvekkili hakkında beraat talebiyle yazılı beyan sundu. Ulus’un dosyasının KCK Basın dosyasından ayrılmasını talep etti.
Diğer sanık müdafiileri, bu aşamada bir talepleri olmadığını söyledi.
Mahkeme, Çağdaş Ulus’un dosyasının ayrılması yönündeki talebini reddetti.
HSK’nın iddianame savcısı Bilal Bayraktar hakkında yürüttüğü disiplin soruşturması için, yargılamanın her aşamasının HSK Genel Sekreterliği’ne bildirilmesine karar verildi.
Ayrıca, sanıklardan yurtdışında ikamet eden İsmet Kayhan hakkındaki yakalama kararının yerine getirilmesinin beklenmesine karar verildi.
Yargılamanın, 1 Aralık 2020 tarihinde görülecek 20. duruşma ile devam etmesine karar verildi.
Güvenlik görevlisi, bariyerlerin geçilmesine izin verdi. Duruşma öncesi salonun önü boştu. Avukatlar tam duruşma saatinde, salonun önüne geldi.
Avukatlardan birinin beklenmesine karar verildi. Avukatın, o sırada başka bir mahkemede karar beklediği için geciktiği belirtildi.
Duruşma 10 dakika gecikmeli başladı.
Mahkeme Salonu Koşulları
Mahkeme salonunda yaklaşık 25 kişilik oturma alanı vardı. “Koronavirüs” pandemisi karşısında alınan tedbirleri kapsamında, sosyal mesafenin sağlanması için sandalyelere birer aralıkla bantlar çekilmişti.
Duruşmaya, Medya ve Hukuk Çalışmaları Derneği (MLSA) ve Türkiye Gazeteciler Sendikası’ndan gözlemciler katıldı.
Duruşma 18 dakika sürdü.
Pandemi nedeniyle izleme alanında fiziksel mesafe önlemleri alınmıştı ancak salonda bulunan mahkeme başkanı, iki heyet üyesi, savcı ve katip arasında sadece bir mahkeme heyeti üyesi maskesini takıyordu.
Mahkeme başkanı duruşma boyunca mikrofonunu kullanmadı ve kısık sesle konuştu. Söyledikleri izleyiciler tarafından duyulmadı.
Duruşma öngörülen saatten 10 dakika sonra başladı, karar için verilen 5 dakikalık ara dahil, toplam 35 dakika sürdü.
Duruşmaya, Ses ve Görüntülü Bilişim Sistemi (SEGBİS) ile katılması beklenen Yüksel Genç, mahkeme salonunda hazır bulundu. Genç, yaptığı savunmayı ayrıca yazılı olarak da sundu.
Genç savunmasında, hakkında İstanbul 14. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi’nde görülen ve daha sonra “KCK Basın” ile birleştirilen dosyanın iddianamesine tepki gösterdi. Demokratik Toplum Kongresi (DTK) kuruculuğuyla suçlandığı bu dosyadaki deliller arasında hakkındaki teknik takip delillerinin de gösterildiğini, ancak kendisinin o tarihlerde “KCK Basın” davasından tutuklu olduğunu açıkladı.
DTK’da 2009-2011 arası görev yaptığını ve DTK’nın yasadışı bir yapı olmadığını söyledi, suçlamaları reddetti. TBMM Anayasa Komisyonu’nun DTK’dan resmi olarak görüş istediğine dair belgeyi mahkemeye sundu.
Sanıklardan Hüseyin Deniz de salonda hazır bulundu. Deniz bu aşamada söyleyecek bir şeyi olmadığını ifade etti.
Ardından Çağdaş Ulus’un avukatlığını üstlenen eşi sözü aldı. Ulus’la 5 senedir tanıştıklarını, çocuklarının 1 yaşında olduğunu ancak bu davanın halen devam ettiğini söyledi. Ayrıca eşi Ulus’un 2011’de gözaltına alınmadan birkaç ay önce zorunlu askerlik hizmetini yerine getirdiğini anlattı; teröristlikle suçlanmasına tepki gösterdi. Dosyasının ayrılmasını talep etti.
Ardından söz alan diğer tüm sanıklar müdafii Özcan Kılıç, öncelikle Yüksel Genç’in duruşmalardan vareste tutulmasını talep etti. Sanıklardan Ziya Çiçekçi hakkında açılan başka bir dosyanın birleştirilmesini de istedi.
Kılıç, müvekkillerinin DTK üyesi olmakla suçlandığını, ancak DTK’nın yasadığı bir yapı olmadığını anlattı. DTK’nın yasadışı bir örgüt olup olmadığının tespit edilmesini talep etti.
Avukat Kılıç, “KCK Basın’ dosyasının soruşturma aşamasında gözaltına alınan, o dönem AFP (Agence France Presse, Fransız Haber Ajansı) muhabiri Mustafa Özer’in MİT ajanı olduğunun ortaya çıktığını” iddia etti. İlk başta şüpheli listesinde yer alan ancak şu an dosyada bulunmayan Özer’in mahkeme huzurunda dinlenmesini talep etti.
Mahkeme karar için 5 dakika ara verdi.
Mahkeme sanıkların ve müdafilerinin tüm taleplerini reddetti.
İsmet Kayhan hakkındaki yakalama emrinin infazının beklenmesine karar verdi.
Bir sonraki duruşma 2 Temmuz 2020 saat 10.00’da görülecek.
Duruşmadan birkaç dakika önce polis barikatı açılarak gazetecilerin salon önüne geçişine izin verildi.
Mahkeme Salonu Koşulları
Mahkeme salonu yaklaşık 30 kişilikti. Mahkeme başkanı mikrofon kullanmadı ve duruşmada konuşulan hiçbir şey izleyici bölümünden duyulmadı.
Duruşmaya sanık müdafii olarak sekiz avukat katıldı. Duruşmayı; Gazetecileri Koruma Komitesi (CPJ), P24 ve Medya ve Hukuk Çalışmaları Derneği (MLSA) temsilcileri takip etti.
Duruşma öngörülen saatten 10 dakika sonra başladı, karar için verilen 5 dakikalık ara dahil, toplam 35 dakika sürdü.
Duruşma devam ederken, bir sonraki duruşmanın SEGBİS bağlantısı kuruldu ve SEGBİS’le bağlanan kişi kendi duruşmasını bekledi.
Duruşma esnasında mahkeme başkanının sanıklardan Yüksel Genç’e “sen” diyerek hitap etmesine bir avukat itiraz etti. Mahkeme başkanı “Bu sen-siz tartışması yıllardır sürüyor” dedi ve “sen” ifadesinin sıkıntılı bir ifade olmadığını söyleyerek duruşmaya devam etti.
Mahkeme karar için ara verdiğinde salon boşaltıldı. Ancak savcının salonda oturuyordu. 5 dakika sonra salonun kapısı açıldı. Mahkeme başkanının bir sonraki duruşma tarihini söylemesiyle duruşma sona erdi. Mahkeme başkanı erkek, heyetin iki üyesi kadın hakimdi.
Bir önceki duruşmada, sanıklardan Yüksel Genç hakkında İstanbul 14. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi’nde görülen dosyanın KCK Basın dosyasıyla birleştirilmesi talebi, İstanbul 3. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi tarafından reddedilmişti.
İki duruşma arasında, İstinaf Mahkemesi; Genç hakkındaki iki dosyanın İstanbul 3. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi’nde birleştirilmesine resen karar verdi.
Yargılamanın 17. duruşması, bu kararın dosyaya eklenmesiyle başladı. Yeni dosya eklendiği için Genç’in tekrar savunma sunması istendi. Avukat Özcan Kılıç, Genç’in savunması için Diyarbakır’da hazır edileceğini ifade etti.
Sanıklardan Ziya Çiçekçi hakkında, “terör örgütü yayınlarını basmak ve yayınlamak” suçlamasıyla İstanbul 15. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi’nde görülen dosyanın İstanbul 3. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi’nde birleştirilmesi için muvafakat (kabul etme) yazısı geldi. Avukat Özcan Kılıç da dosyaların birleştirilmesi talebinde bulundu.
Avukat Mehtap Acar Ulus, FETÖ suçlamasıyla yargılanan ve etkin pişmanlıktan yararlanan bir emniyet müdürünün, müvekkili Çağdaş Ulus’un sahte delillerle tutuklandığına dair ifadelerinin olduğunu belirtti ve bu konudaki delilleri mahkemeye sundu. Müvekkili Ulus’un dosyasının ayrılmasını talep etti.
Mahkeme, sanıklardan Yüksel Genç’in bir sonraki duruşmada savunmasını Ses ve Görüntü Bilişim Sistemi üzerinden (SEGBİS) sunmak üzere Diyarbakır’da bir mahkemede hazır edilmesi için talimat yazılmasına karar verdi.
Çağdaş Ulus’un dosyasının ayrılması yönündeki talebi reddetti. Ziya Çiçekçi’nin dosyasının birleştirilmesi talebini de reddetti.
İsmet Kayhan hakkındaki yakalama kararının infazının beklenmesine de karar veren mahkeme bir sonraki duruşmanın 25 Şubat 2020 saat 10.30’da görüleceğini açıkladı.
Duruşma öncesi gazetecilerin bir kısmının barikattan geçip mahkeme salonu önünde beklemesine izin verildi.
Mahkeme salonu önü kalabalıklaştıktan sonra ise barikattan geçişler kapatıldı. İki gazetecinin salon önüne yaklaşkasına duruşma başladığı ana kadar izin verilmedi.
Gazeteciler ve güvenlik görevlileri arasında tartışma yaşandı. Gazetecilerden biri, güvenlik görevlisine “keyfi davrandığını” söyledi. Bunun üzerine güvenlik görevlisi barikatı kapatarak “Sadece senin geçişine izin vermiyorum, keyfi değil mi” dedi.
Duruşmanın başlamasıyla, güvenlik şefi gelerek, gazetecilerin içeri girişini sağladı.
Mahkeme Salonu koşulları
Mahkeme salonu katılımcı sayısına göre genişti. Mahkeme başkanı mikrofon kullanmadı ve duruşmada konuşulan hiçbir şey izleyici bölümünden duyulmadı.
Duruşmaya sanık müdafii olarak altı avukat katıldı. Duruşmayı, P24 ve Medya ve Hukuk Çalışmaları Derneği (MLSA) temsilcileri ve gazeteciler takip etti.
Duruşma öngörülen saatten 40 dakika sonra başladı, 25 dakika sürdü.
Salona girdikten sonra yaklaşık 10 dakika boyunca mahkeme katibi dosyayla ilgili telefonda konuştu. İzleyici bölümünden sadece “Burası terör mahkemesi değil” cümlesi duyuldu.
Avukatlar, konuşmanın; sanıklardan Yüksel Genç’in İstanbul 14. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi’nde açılan dava dosyasının KCK Basın dosyasıyla birleştirilmesiyle ilgili olduğunu açıkladı.
Duruşma başladığında, avukatlardan biri başka bir adliyede de duruşması olduğu için ayrılacağını ifade etti. Bunun üzerine mahkeme başkanı öfkelendi, birkaç dakikalık bir tartışma yaşandı.
Mahkeme karar için ara verdiğinde salon boşaltıldı. Beş dakika sonra salonun kapısı açıldı. Mahkeme başkanının bir sonraki duruşma tarihini söylemesiyle duruşma sona erdi.
Mahkeme heyeti üyelerinden biri değişmişti. Mahkeme başkanı erkek, heyetin iki üyesi kadın hakimdi.
Mahkeme Başkanı, mikrofon kullanmadığı için 10 dakika süren duruşma boyunca katılımcılar çok az şey duyabildi.
Daha sonra duruşma tutanağından edinilen bilgiye göre, İstanbul İl Emniyet Müdürlüğü’nün sanık Dilek Demiral’ın pasaportu üzerindeki şerhin kaldırılması şeklindeki işlemlerin devam ettiği yönünde cevabı dosyaya eklendi.
Ayrıca “KCK Basın” soruşturmasını yürüten emniyet görevlileri hakkında görevi kötüye kullanma suçlamasıyla İstanbul 26. Asliye Ceza Mahkemesinde görülen yargılamanın devam ettiğine dair cevap ve duruşma zaptı örneği de mahkemeye ulaştı. Avukat Özcan Kılıç, Ocak 2019’da görülen bir önceki duruşmada bu davanın akıbetinin öğrenilmesini talep etmişti.
Mahkeme Başkanı, sanıklardan Yüksel Genç hakkında İstanbul 14. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi’nde bir dava açıldığını ve İstanbul 14. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi’nin kendilerine birleştirme kararı gönderdiğini söyledi. Mahkeme Başkanı, İstanbul 3. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi heyeti olarak birleştirmeye onay vermediklerini söyledi.
Duruşma savcısı, bu duruşmada da esas hakkındaki mütalaasını açıklamadı; eksiklerin giderilmesini mütalaa etti.
Mahkeme ara vermeden, kararını açıkladı.
Sanıklardan Yüksel Genç hakkında İstanbul 14. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi’nde açılan davanın İstanbul 3. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi’ndeki dosyayla birleştirilmesini kabul etmeyen mahkeme, dosyayı İstanbul Bölge Adliye Mahkemesi’ne gönderdi.
Bir sonraki duruşmanın 22 Ekim 2019 saat 10.00’a bırakılmasına karar verildi.
Avukatlar ve iki muhabirin salona girmesinin ardından salonun kapısı kapandı. Kapı kapandıktan sonra gelen izleyicilerin içeri alınmasına zorluk çıkarıldı.
Duruşmaya altı avukat katıldı. Duruşmayı; P24, Medya ve Hukuk Çalışmaları Derneği (MLSA) ve Türkiye Gazeteciler Sendikası’ndan temsilciler ve muhabirler takip etti.
Mahkeme başkanı mikrofon kullanmadığı için, izleyici alanından sadece, sanıklardan Yüksel Genç’in dosyası ile ilgili konuşmalar ve bir sonraki duruşma tarihi duyulabildi.
Duruşma 10 dakika sürdü.
Duruşma saatinde başladı ve 10 dakika sürdü.
Avukat Özcan Kılıç “KCK Basın” soruşturmasını yürüten emniyet görevlileri hakkında “görevi kötüye kullanma” suçlamasıyla İstanbul 26. Asliye Ceza Mahkemesi’nde açılan davanın akıbetinin öğrenilmesini talep etti.
“KCK Basın” soruşturmasını yürüten emniyet görevlileri hakkında “görevi kötüye kullanma” suçlamasıyla İstanbul 26. Asliye Ceza Mahkemesi’nde açılan davanın akıbetinin sorulmasına karar verildi.
Dava, 9 Mayıs 2019 gününe bırakıldı.
Duruşma öngörülen saatte başladı. Öncesinde sanık gazeteciler ile duruşmayı takibe gelen gazeteciler sohbet etti. Duruşma öncesi herhangi bir destek açıklaması yapılmadı.
Mahkeme Salonu Koşulları
Mahkeme salonu katılımcı sayısına göre genişti. Mahkeme başkanı mikrofon kullanmadı ve sözleri katılımcılar tarafından duyulmadı.
Duruşmaya iki sanık ve dokuz avukat katıldı. Dört muhabir duruşmayı haber/rapor amacıyla takip etti.
Duruşma yıllardır sürdüğü, halen esas hakkında mütalaa verilmediği ve davada ilerleme olmadığı için duruşmaya katılım çok düşüktü.
“KCK Press” Trial (Indictment)
“KCK Press” Trial 15. Standing (Minutes of the Hearing)
“KCK Press” Trial 16. Standing (Minutes of the Hearing)
“KCK Press” Trial 17. Standing (Minutes of the Hearing)
“KCK Press” Trial 18. Standing (Minutes of the Hearing)
“KCK Press” Trial 19. Standing (Minutes of the Hearing)
Rudaw TV reporter İsmail Yıldız (Rawin Sterk) was taken into custody on February 28, 2020, while following the news about the refugees, on Greek border in Edirne, along with cameramen Şirin Akgün. Many journalists working at the border were taken into custody around same days.
Before Yıldız was taken into custody, Turkey had declared that it would not supervise the border crossings of the refugees and thousands of refugees had gathered around the border to illegally cross to Greece.
Yıldız, who was taken into custody by the Gendarmerie, was accused of “military frontier infringement”. Akgün and other journalists were released after the paperwork at the gendarmerie. However Yıldız’s custody was extended.
Yıldız, after being detained in Edirne for three days, was brought to Ankara on March 3. It was stated that Yıldız was brought to Ankara because of an investigation dated 2018 and was being kept under custody at Anti-Terror Bureau of Ankara Police Headquarters.
Custody processes in Edirne and Ankara took six days. A confidentiality order regarding the investigation was issued. He was taken to the court on March 6, 2020. He was interrogated for his social media posts.
Among the subject matter posts were some, regarding attack towards Turkish Military in Idlib, Syria. Following the attack, that killed 33 soldiers, access to some webpages and social media platforms was slowed down; Ministry of Interior Affairs had made a statement and said “investigations were launched against those who were making provocative publications regarding the attack”.
He was sent to the court with the accusations of “membership of an armed terrorist organisation” and “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation”, with a request for his arrest. Yıldız, in his defence statement at the court underlined that, news regarding the events that took place in Idlib were first published by Reuters News Agency. He stated that he had shared his social media posts, after the Reuters’ article and his post was within the scope of journalism.
Yıldız, who was accused and requested to be arrested for “membership of an armed terrorist organisation” and “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation”, was ruled to be arrested by Ankara 7th Criminal Court of Peace for “membership of an armed terrorist organisation”. Yıldız, after being arrested on March 6, 2020, was taken to Sincan Prison.
Objections of Yıldız’s attorneys on his detainment were overruled. Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, later reached a decision of lack of jurisdiction and sent the case files to Istanbul.
The indictment against him was completed on July 24, 2020. Yıldız, waited for the indictment to be completed for over four months in prison.
The indictment against Rudaw TV reporter İsmail Yıldız (Rawin Sterk) who was taken into custody in Edirne and arrested in Ankara, was completed by the Terror Related Crimes Investigation Bureau of Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on July 24, 2020.
Two pages of the four-page-long indictment were about the accusations “regarding PKK and KCK”. Accusations regarding Yıldız were in the final page.
The indictment claimed that “numerous photos showing that at an event made on behalf of PKK/KCK terrorist organisation, photos of the leaders and members of the organisation and the so-called flag of the organisation were opened publicly for everyone to see”.
It was claimed that the inspection made on his cellphone “had showed photos; taken during the trainings/demonstrations of PKK/KCK terrorist organisation members and of members of the organisation”.
Yıldız had previously worked at Dicle News Agency, which was later shut down, and joined various broadcasts of Roj TV, which was airing from the Netherlands and was shut down due to the efforts of Turkey, over the phone as a guest. These were subjects to the accusations.
Among the evidence against Yıldız were also the investigation launched for “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation” in 2007 and his participation in the trial, publicly known as “KCK Press Case”.
It was claimed that “an open source research was made on Yıldız’s social media accounts and he, on his social media accounts, had made many publications, in a manner to promote the terrorist organisation”. However the indictment did not include the content of aforementioned posts.
“Findings from his digital materials” and “his actions in press mediums which were acting on behalf of the terrorist organisation” were shown as the base of the accusations in the indictment.
In the indictment Yıldız, who was taken into custody and requested to be arrested, by Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on the grounds of “membership of an armed terrorist organisation” and “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation” then arrested for “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation”, was once again accused of “membership of an armed terrorist organisation” and “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation”.
The indictment accused Yıldız of “membership of an armed terrorist organisation” according to the article 314/2 of the Turkish Penal Code and article 5 of the Anti-Terror Law. She was requested to be sentenced to, from seven years six months to 15 years of imprisonment.
Yıldız was also accused of “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation” according to the article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law. Within this scope she was requested to be sentenced to, from one year to five years of imprisonment. However the indictment claimed that “the crime was committed in a successive manner”. Therefore the requested sentence was requested to be increased by, from a quarter to three quarters according to the article 43 of the Turkish Penal Code. Thus he was requested to be sentenced to, from one year three months to eight years nine months of imprisonment.
Yıldız, in total, is facing from, right years nine months to 23 years nine months of imprisonment.
The indictment against him is accepted by Istanbul 34th Assize Court.
Trial started with the first hearing on September 2, 2020 at Istanbul 34th Assize Court. İsmail Yıldız, who was detained at Ankara Sincan Prison for the past six months, participated in the hearing through Audio and Video Information System (SEGBİS).
Yıldız, stating that there were tangible errors in the indictment, said “it is claimed that through my social media posts, I was making propaganda for a terrorist organisation. Yet none of the subject matter posts include any elements regarding the organisation. Files of the Istanbul-case is no different than the files of the Adana-case, where I was tried and acquitted. There’s no question as to the spoliation of the evidence. I have two kids and an ill father that I am responsible of” and requested his release.
Prosecutor of the case, in the opinion as to the accusations, requested the case files of Yıldız to be consolidated with the ongoing case at Istanbul 3rd Assize Court, commonly known as “KCK Press Case”. Prosecutor requested the continuation of Yıldız’s detention for having “suspicion to flee”.
Court ruled to release Yıldız. However Yıldız was banned to leave the country. Yıldız, after being detained for almost six months, was released.
Court granted prosecutor’s request to consolidate the case files of Yıldız with the files of the case commonly known as “KCK Press Case” at Istanbul 3rd Assize Court, where Yıldız, too, was being tried.
KCK Press Case was ruled to continue with the hearing at December 1, 2020.
Saat 11.15’te başlaması gereken duruşma, yaklaşık 20 dakika gecikmeli olarak, saat 11.35’te başladı.
Ankara Sincan Cezaevi’nde, yaklaşık altı aydır tutuklu bulunan İsmail Yıldız, duruşmaya, Ses ve Görüntülü Bilişim Sistemi (SEGBİS) aracılığı ile katıldı. Yıldız’ı, İstanbul’daki duruşma salonunda, avukatları Özcan Kılıç ve Gürsel Demir temsil etti.
Yıldız, savunmasında; iddianame için “yanıltma, yönlendirme ve kanaat oluşturma” ifadelerini kullandı.
İddianamede, gözaltına alınmadan önce hakkında arama kararı ve soruşturma varmış gibi ifadelerin kullanıldığını belirten Yıldız, hakkında verilmiş böyle bir kararın olmadığını söyledi. Yıldız, şunları söyledi:
“Dört ayrı GBT noktasından geçerek Edirne Pazarkule Sınır Kapısı’na gittim. Kaçmak gibi bir durumum söz konusu değil, çünkü yurtdışına giriş çıkışımda herhangi bir engel yok. Çalıştığım kurum beni görevlendirdi ve ben bölgeye gittim. Söz konusu dönemde sığınmacıların Avrupa’ya geçmesine dair bir gündem söz konusuydu. Bu iddianame hukuki olarak değerlendirilecek bir metin değil” dedi.
Yıldız, iddianamede; Olağanüstü Hal Kanun Hükmünde Kararnamesi ile kapatılan Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA) ve Danimarka’da yayın lisansı iptal edilerek kapatılan Roj TV’ye haber yaptığının iddia edildiğini anımsattı. Yıldız, bu iddia ile ilgili olarak da şunları söyledi:
“Ben 2009 yılına kadar DİHA’da çalıştım. DİHA adına resmi akreditasyonlarım bile vardı. ROJ, zaten dokuz yıl önce kapatıldı. Benim şu anda orada çalışıyor olmam mümkün değil zaten.”
Yıldız, çalıştığı televizyon kanalındaki iletişi için kurulan WhatsApp grubuna gönderdiği fotoğrafların da suçlama konusu yapıldığını belirtti.
İddianamede maddi hatalar olduğunu söyleyen Yıldız, “Sosyal medya paylaşımlarımda örgüt propagandası yaptığım iddia ediliyor. Ancak söz konusu paylaşımlarımda örgüt adına herhangi bir unsur bulunmuyor. İstanbul’da yargılandığım dosyanın, Adana’da yargılanıp beraat ettiğim dosyadan hiçbir farkı yok. Herhangi bir delili karartmam söz konusu değil. Bakmakla yükümlü olduğum iki çocuğum ve hasta bir babam var” diyerek tahliyesini talep etti.
Duruşma savcısı, mütalaasında; Yıldız hakkındaki yargılama dosyasının İstanbul 3. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi’nde görülen ve kamuoyunda “KCK Basın Davası” olarak bilinen yargılama dosyası ile birleştirilmesini talep etti.
Savcı; Yıldız’ın “kaçma şüphesi olduğu” iddiasıyla, tutukluluğunun devam ettirilmesini istedi.
Yıldız’ın avukatı Özcan Kılıç, iddianamenin hukuki açıdan ciddiyetsiz olduğunu söyledi. Kılıç, “Altı aydır tutuklu yargılandığı dava için iki sayfalık iddianame hazırlanmış. İddianamede örgüt ismi vurgulanmış ve üyelikten yargılansın denilmiş, fakat gerekçe sunulmamış” dedi. Kılıç, Yıldız’ın tahliye edilmesini talep etti.
Yıldız’ın diğer avukatı Gürsel Demir ise “Müvekkilim bir gazetecidir. Edirne’de bulunma sebebi de Suriyelilerin Avrupa’ya geçişini haberleştirmekti. Üzerine atılı suçların vasıf ve mahiyeti oluşmamıştır” diyerek tahliye kararı verilmesini istedi.
Mahkeme heyeti, duruşmaya 10 dakika ara verdi.
Mahkeme, Yıldız’ın tahliye edilmesine karar verdi. Ancak Yıldız’ın yurtdışına çıkışına yasak kondu.
Mahkeme, duruşma savcısının talebine uyarak; Yıldız hakkındaki yargılama dosyasının, Yıldız’ın da yargılandığı, kamuoyunda “KCK Basın Davası” olarak bilinen ve İstanbul 3. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi tarafından görülen yargılama dosyası ile birleştirilmesine karar verdi.
“KCK Basın Davası” yargılamanın 1 Aralık 2020 tarihinde görülecek duruşma ile devam etmesine karar verilmişti.
Avukatlar ve yurttaşların, İstanbul Çağlayan Adliyesi’ne giriş ve çıkışları; koronavirüs pandemisi karşısında alınan tedbirler kapsamında ayrılmıştı. Yine tedbirler kapsamında, adliyeye; ateş ölçümü yapıldıktan sonra girilebildi. Girişlerde x-ray cihazı da kullanıldı.
Adliye içinde, duruşma salonunun bulunduğu kat, bariyerlerle ayrılmıştı. Gazeteciler ve izleyicilerin bir kısmı duruşma salonuna alındı.
Mahkeme Salonu Koşulları
Duruşma, küçük bir salonda görüldü.
İzleyiciler için 20 kişilik yer ayrılmıştı. Her iki saldalyeden birine, koronavirüs pandemisi karşısında alınan sosyal mesafe tedbiri kapsamında oturulmaması şartı getirildi. Avukatlar için de ayrı bir yer ayrılmıştı.
Salonda, Ses ve Görüntülü Bilişim Sistemi (SEGBİS) için iki ayrı ekran kuruluydu.
Duruşmayı; Medya ve Hukuk Çalışmaları Derneği (MLSA), Bağımsız Gazetecilik Platformu (P24) ve Sınır Tanımayan Gazeteciler Örgütü Türkiye temsilciliği gözlemcileri ile birilkte Rudaw TV ve Mezopotamya Ajansı çalışanları takip etti.
Mahkeme heyetinin, savunmaları dinlediği ve dosyanın ayrıntılarına hakim oldukları gözlendi.
İsmail Yıldız, duruşmaya; yaklaşık altı aydır tutuklu bulunduğu Ankara Sincan Cezaevi’nden, Ses ve Görüntülü Bilişim Sistemi (SEGBİS) aracılığı ile katıldı. Sincan Cezaevi’nde, Yıldız’ın İstanbul’daki duruşmaya sesli ve görüntülü olarak bağlanması için ayrılan odaya Türk Bayrağı asıldığı görüldü. Yıldız’ın arkasındaki Türk Bayrağı, duruşma salonundaki gözlemcilerin de dikkatini çekti. Böylece, ilk defa bir SEGBİS odasında, yargılanan sanık arkasında Türk Bayrağı görülmüş oldu.
İsmail Yıldız (Rawin Sterk) – “Membership of an Armed Terrorist Organization” “Propaganda of Terrorist Organization in Successive Intervals” Trial (Indictment)
İsmail Yıldız (Rawin Sterk) – “Membership of an Armed Terrorist Organization” “Propaganda of Terrorist Organization in Successive Intervals” Trial 1. Standing (Minutes of the Hearing)
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