Kenan Baş

Kenan Baş started out as a journalist at the İhlas News Agency in 1998. He worked at Milliyet newspaper for a while.

Baş graduated from the Department of Communication at Selçuk University in Konya in 2001.

He worked at Reuters News Agency between 2000 and 2005. He worked at the now-closed Zaman Newspaper and Cihan News Agency between 2005 and 2016.

The Cihan News Agency and Zaman newspaper were closed down by a Statutory Decree (KHK) that was put into effect as part of the State of Emergency (OHAL) declared following the military coup attempt on 15 July 2016. During the state of emergency period, the government shut down many media outlets by statutory decrees that were put into effect without the parliament’s approval.

The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of Antalya launched an investigation concerning Kenan Baş on the allegation of “FETO membership”. He was detained on 23 July 2016. The custody procedures lasted for three days. Baş was placed in custody on 26 July 2016 on allegations of “membership of an armed terrorist organisation”. Baş was sent to Antalya Type L Prison.

Baş spent approximately eight months in prison awaiting the indictment concerning him to be completed. The indictment dated 22 March 2017 charged him with “membership of an armed terrorist organisation”. The prosecution demanded that Baş be sentenced to imprisonment of between seven years and six months and 15 years.

Baş was released pending trial on 29 March 2017 after the indictment was accepted. He was prohibited from travelling abroad. Baş had been in prison for approximately eight months when he was released.

The trial concerning Baş is underway. Baş is standing trial without remand.

“Antalya Media Structure” Trial

The Republic of Turkey held the structure known as the Fethullah Gülen Congregation responsible for the military coup attempt of 15 July 2016. The National Security Council determined on 20 July 2016 that the military coup attempt “was initiated by FETÖ via its members within the Turkish Armed Forces.”

The structure, which was stated to have secretly organised within government agencies for years, was first described as a “terrorist organisation” by a court in 2014, and later in the recommendations of the National Security Council of 27 May 2016. The National Security Council, which formerly described the structure as an “illegal parallel structure”, named it the “Fethullah Terrorist Organisation and Parallel State Structure – FETÖ-PDY” in its July memorandum.

Following the attempted coup, investigations and trials were launched, and orders for arrest and detention were issued for many individuals who were claimed to be “affiliated” with this structure. As part of these investigations, a large number of journalists and writers were placed in custody and/or detained in many provinces of Turkey due to allegations of “membership of Fethullah Terrorist Organisation (FETÖ)” and “knowingly or willingly aiding the organisation despite not being a member of FETÖ”. Investigations and prosecutions were carried out during the State of Emergency (OHAL) declared soon after the attempted coup.

Zaman newspaper, Samanyolu TV, Cihan News Agency and many other newspapers, television and radio channels and internet news portals were shut down on the similar allegations by Statutory Decrees (KHK) that were put into effect without the parliament’s approval.

In this context, Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Bureau of the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of Istanbul launched an investigation against 89 journalists and media workers on allegations of “membership of FETÖ/PDY”. The names of people who were placed in custody and the details of the investigation were communicated through the public broadcaster Anadolu Agency, and published on the website of Sabah newspaper.

Although many journalists were detained under the same investigation in July 2016, they stood trial based on different indictments. For example, Mümtazer Türköne, Şahin Alpay, Ali Bulaç and many other journalists stood trial as part of the “Zaman Newspaper Court Case”, whereas Nazlı Ilıcak, Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan, Bülent Keneş, Mehmet Kamış and many other journalists were tried within the case publicly known as the “Subliminal Coup Messages Court Case”.

Another investigation based on similar allegations commenced a week after the attempted military coup of 15 July 2016 in Antalya. The Office for the Investigation of Crimes Against the Constitutional Order of the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of Antalya started an investigation on journalists and some people from various occupations over allegations of being connected with the journalists on 23 July 2016.

The same day, the Governor’s Office of Antalya released a statement to Anadolu Agency, the public news agency, stating that “the Antalya Police Department organised an operation against “‘FETO’s media branch.’”

Kenan Baş, a correspondent for the now-closed Zaman newspaper and Cihan News Agency, was detained on 23 July 2016. Baş was detained on suspicion of being “a FETO member”.

Baş’s house was searched. His notebook computer, mobile phone and the attached SIM card were confiscated. Some CDs, one with the title “A Documentary About Fetullah Gülen, A Man of the Heart” and six copies of the book titled Kırık Testi [The Broken Pitcher] were confiscated.

Baş’s initial statement was received by the police at the Antalya Security Directorate on 26 July 2016. Baş stated that “he only knew about the FETO/PDY through popular opinion and had no other information”. He defended himself by saying that “he wasn’t a member of the organisation”.

Baş stated that “his messages contained no criminal elements” against the allegation that the outputs from his social media accounts “were of a character supporting and praising the FETO/PDY”. He stated that “None of his outputs showed that he was a member of the FETO/PDY terrorist organisation”.

The custody procedures lasted for three days. Baş was then referred to the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of Antalya. He was brought before the court of peace with the demand for imprisonment on the charge of “membership of an armed terrorist organisation” on 26 July 2016.

The 3rd Court of Peace of Antalya ruled that Baş be remanded on the charge of “membership of an armed terrorist organisation” on 26 July 2016. He was sent to Antalya Type L Prison.

Journalists Tuncer Çetinkaya, Özkan Mayda, Olgun Matur, Cihan Ünal, Ömer Özdemir and Osman Yakut, who were detained on the same date with Baş, were also remanded on the same date by the ruling of the same court of peace. Serhat Şeftali, who was detained on 27 August 2016 over the same investigation, was remanded on 5 September 2016 by the ruling of the 2nd Court of Peace of Antalya.

Kenan Baş and other journalists spent approximately eight months in prison awaiting the indictment concerning them to be completed. The indictment concerning the journalists was completed on 22 March 2017.

The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of Antalya launched another investigation concerning the journalists. Kenan Baş, as well as other journalists Cihat Ünal, Serhat Şeftali, Ömer Özdemir, Cihat Ünal, Osman Yakut, Olgun Matur and Özkan Mayda were charged with “attempting to destroy the constitutional order” under the second investigation. However, the prosecutor’s office dropped this investigation over the lack of grounds for legal action due to “the lack of evidence.”

The indictment concerning Kenan Baş, a correspondent for the now-closed Zaman newspaper and Cihan News Agency, along with the other journalists working in Antalya, was completed by the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of Antalya, Office of Investigation for Crimes Against the Constitution on 22 March 2017.

The first sections of the 66-page indictment listed “Fetullah Terrorist Organisation’s (FETO/PDY) foundation, aim, socio-cultural and intellectual structure, its attempts to establish a state, administrative and hierarchical structure, intelligence network, illegal structure, communication methods, and financial structure”.

The indictment asserted that Kenan Baş “had carried out journalistic activities on behalf of the FETO/PDY terrorist organisation”.

It was asserted that Baş was affiliated with journalists Serhat Şeftali and Tuncer Çetinkaya, who were detained along with Baş and were listed as suspects in the same indictment. It was asserted that Baş was “friends with Tuncer Çetinkaya” on his social media account.

It was asserted that Baş had used a photograph of the now-closed Zaman newspaper on his Facebook account, and had liked the Facebook pages of “Zaman Fransa [Zaman France]”, “Toros Akdeniz” and “Sosyal Pencere”. It was asserted that the Facebook page “Toros Akdeniz” was “one of the educational institutions of the organisation”. Meanwhile, it was asserted that the Facebook page “Sosyal Pencere” “contained social media outputs that were frequently shared by the supporters of the organisation”.

The indictment listed the following outputs Baş had shared on his Twitter account:

. “As expected: Administrator appointed to Turkey’s best-selling newspaper Zaman.”
. “The hidden truths covered under the parallel state nonsense.”
. “Did someone say parallel [state structure]?”
. “Parallel [state structure], it is not what you think.

The indictment asserted that these social media outputs indicated that Kenan Baş “was a member of FETO/PDY terrorist organisation”.

It was asserted that CDs with “A Documentary About Fetullah Gülen, A Man of the Heart” written on them and the book titled “Kırık Testi” [Broken Pitcher] which were confiscated following Baş’s detention “were items that were authored by the leader of the armed terrorist organisation and aimed to disseminate the organisation’s ideology, to recruit members to the organisation, and to increase commitment to the leader of the organisation”.

The indictment charged Kenan Baş with “membership of an armed terrorist organisation” in accordance with Article 314/2 of the Turkish Penal Code and Article 5 of the Law on Anti-Terrorism. The prosecution demanded that Baş be sentenced to imprisonment of between seven years and six months and 15 years.

The prosecution demanded the same sentence on the same charge for journalists Tuncer Çetinkaya, Özkan Mayda, Olgun Matur, Cihat Ünal, Ömer Özdemir, Osman Yakut and Serhat Şeftali.

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

The indictment concerning Kenan Baş and other journalists was accepted by the 2nd High Criminal Court of Antalya on 29 March 2017.
The journalists had been in prison for approximately eight months when the indictment was accepted.

Kenan Baş was released pending trial after the indictment was accepted. However, the court prohibited Baş from travelling abroad.

The trial concerning the journalists including Kenan Baş, a correspondent for the now-closed Zaman newspaper and Cihan News Agency, commenced with the first hearing at the 2nd High Criminal Court of Antalya on 11 April 2017.

The panel of judges at the first hearing was different from the one that accepted the indictment.

Kenan Baş, who was being tried without remand, attended the hearing with his attorney Gözde Baş.

Baş gave his defensive statement at this hearing.

He stated that he had shared some news items that were published in Zaman newspaper on his social media account, and that this was normal. Baş said, “There are no allegations concerning the news items I prepared”.

Baş stated that the CDs found in his home did not belong to him. He stated that he did not understand how those items were found in his home. Baş stated that the books constituted a small number of the hundreds of books in his library. He said: “The books carried the Ministry’s label. They are not illegal or forbidden. There was no decision of prohibition or recall on these books on the date my house was searched.”

He added: “I have not received orders from an illegal institution or organisation. I have only worked at legal establishments. Our actions fall under the scope of freedom of the press. I am not guilty.” He then demanded his acquittal.

Kenan Baş’s attorney Gözde Baş also stated that Baş had not participated in any illegal activity, and demanded his acquittal.

The second hearing of the trial took place on 24 May 2017. The panel of judges had changed at this hearing.

It was observed that the Security Directorate of Antalya had replied to the court’s written inquiry regarding whether or not there were records indicating that Baş had used “the ByLock application that had been found in many court rulings to be a communication tool used by FETO”. The Security Directorate stated that they had not found records of the ByLock application installed on Kenan Baş’s mobile phone.

Kenan Baş stated that he would repeat the defensive statement he made at the first hearing. Kenan Baş’s attorney Gözde Baş demanded that Baş’s mandatory attendance to the hearings be lifted. Her demand was accepted.

The third hearing of the trial took place on 6 October 2017. The court announced that the investigation report by the Antalya Security Directorate regarding the digital materials belonging to Baş had been added to the case file. Baş’s attorney Gözde Baş stated that “the photographs of Fetullah Gülen and Bank Asya mentioned in the report were not downloaded, but were stored as cookies during internet browsing”. She added that the correspondence mentioned in the report was not written by Baş, and that Baş could not be held accountable for the messages he received.

The fourth hearing of the trial took place on 8 December 2017. The prosecutor for the hearing presented the opinion of the prosecution as to the accusations at this hearing.

The opinion of the prosecution charged Kenan Baş, in keeping with the indictment, with “membership of an armed terrorist organisation” in accordance with Article 314/2 of the Turkish Penal Code and Article 5 of the Law on Anti-Terrorism. The prosecution demanded that Baş be sentenced to imprisonment of between seven years and six months and 15 years.

Kenan Baş and his attorney Gözde Baş demanded additional time in order to prepare defensive statements against the opinion of the prosecution as to the accusations. The demand was accepted. The hearing was adjourned.

The fifth hearing of the trial took place on 1 February 2018. The panel of judges had changed once again at this hearing. The prosecutor for the hearing repeated the opinion of the prosecution as to the accusations presented at the last hearing. Kenan Baş stated that he was repeating his previous defensive statements. His attorney Gözde Baş stated that they disagreed with the opinion of the prosecution; however, they would give their defensive statement as to the accusations at the next hearing.

The sixth hearing of the trial took place on 24 April 2018. The panel of judges had not changed at this hearing. The prosecutor for the hearing repeated the opinion of the prosecution as to the accusations presented at the last hearing.

Kenan Baş and his attorney Gözde Baş presented their five-page defensive statement against the opinion of the prosecution as to the accusations.

The court announced its ruling at this hearing. The court sentenced Tuncer Çetinkaya, who was being tried with the other journalists including Kenan Baş, to imprisonment of seven years and six months on the charge of “membership of an armed terrorist organisation”. Çetinkaya was released pending trial on grounds of poor health following the ruling.

The court ruled that the case file concerning Kenan Baş and the other journalists be separated. It was ruled that the trial be continued under the same court with a different case number.

The seventh hearing of the trial, first since the case file was separated, took place on 12 October 2018. The entirety of panel of judges had changed at this hearing.

The eighth hearing of the trial, second since the case file was separated, took place on 12 March 2019. The panel of judges had changed at this hearing.

The ninth hearing of the trial, third since the case file was separated, took place on 11 October 2019. The panel of judges had changed at this hearing. The hearing was adjourned in order to complete the correspondence regarding other defendants.

The court ruled that the indictment concerning Hasan Yavaşlar, the managing editor-in-chief of the now-closed Antalya Gazetesi and Ali Orhan, the owner of the newspaper be merged with this case file. The merged indictment charged Yavaşlar with “knowingly and willingly aiding the armed terrorist organisation despite not being a part of its hierarchical structure”, and the prosecution demanded him to be sentenced to imprisonment of between seven years and six months and 15 years. The court ruled that the case files be merged following the second hearing of the trial concerning Orhan and Yavaşlar.

The tenth hearing of the trial, fourth since the case file was separated, took place on 7 February 2020.

The court ruled that the prohibition on travelling abroad be lifted on the condition that the defendants with travel prohibitions present documents proving that there are educational, medical or work-related reasons requiring them to travel abroad.

The court ruled all defendants including the journalists to be exempted from the hearings. The court ruled to lift mandatory attendance to the hearings .

The eleventh hearing of the trial, fifth since the case file was separated, was scheduled for 21 May 2020. However, due to precautionary measures against the coronavirus pandemic, the hearing was postponed.

The twelfth hearing of the trial, sixth since the case file was separated, took place on 25 September 2020. The panel of judges had changed at this hearing. Kenan Baş attended the hearing with his attorney Gözde Baş.

The court ruled 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 thirteenth hearing of the trial, seventh since the case file was separated, is scheduled for 12 January 2021.

The Constitutional Court Process

The two journalists, who stood trial in the court case which was initially opened concerning eight journalists and to which the trial case concerning the two journalists was added, filed a complaint with the Constitutional Court over the violation of rights.

Kenan Baş, a correspondent for the now-closed Zaman newspaper and Cihan News Agency, applied to the Constitutional Court on 17 March 2017, a short while before the indictment concerning him was completed. In his complaint, Baş asserted that “the arrest warrant was not lawful” and “the detention period exceeded reasonable time”. Won these grounds Baş demanded the court to find that “his rights to personal freedom and security had been violated”. In addition, he demanded the court to find that “the freedom of expression and media had been violated”. When the Constitutional Court started examining his application, the trial concerning Kenan Baş was underway and Baş was not in remand. The court ruled on his case on 29 November 2018 as the trial concerning Baş was underway. The Constitutional Court rejected all of Baş’s demands. The decision was unanimous.

13. Standing - Jan. 12, 2021


Mahkeme heyetinin yerini alması ile birlikte, duruşma önceki celsede belirlenen saatinde başladı. Duruşmada, yargılanan gazeteciler Cihat Ünal, Kenan Baş, Olgun Matur, Ömer Özdemir, Osman Yakut, Özkan Mayda, Ali Orhan, Hasan Yavaşlar ve Serhat Şeftali ile avukatları hazır bulundu.

Duruşmada ilk olarak duruşma savcısı esas hakkındaki mütalaasını mahkeme heyetine sundu.

Mütalaada yargılanan gazeteciler Olgun Matur, Özkan Mayda, Osman Yakut, Cihat Ünal, Kenan Baş, Ömer Özdemir ve Serhat Şeftali’nin “Terör Örgütüne Üye Olmak” suçundan cezalandırılması istendi. 7 Gazeteci için TMK 5 maddesinin uygulanarak cezanın yarı oranında arttırılması istendi.

Mütalaada, gazeteciler Ali Orhan ve Hasan Yavaşlar hakkında da beraat talep edildi.

Mütalaaya karşı söz alan gazetecilerin avukatları, savunma yapmak için süre talep etti.


Mahkeme heyeti, tarafların savunma için süre taleplerini kabul ederek, duruşmayı 4 Mayıs 2021 tarihine, saat 09:30’a bırakılmasına karar verdi.


Duruşma Öncesi

Koronavirüs pandemisi karşısında alınan önlemler kapsamında, Antalya Adliyesine girişler sınırlandırıldı. Adliye girişinde bulunan görevliler adliye içerisinde resmi işi olmayan hiç kimseyi bina içerisine almadı. Binaya giren vatandaşların HES kodu incelendi.

Gözlemler

Mahkeme Başkanı, kararı açıkladığı sırada yargılanan gazetecilere ve diğer sanıklara “Kendinizi savunacağınız bol bol süreniz olacak” demesi dikkat çekti.

12. Standing - Sept. 25, 2020


Yargılamanın 12. duruşması, saatinde başladı. Mahkeme heyetinin değiştiği gözlendi.

Yargılanan gazeteciler Ömer Özdemir, Cihat Ünal, Özkan Mayda ve Hasan Yavaşlar, duruşmaya; avukatları ile birlikte katıldı. Diğer gazeteciler ise avukatları temsil etti.

Mahkeme Başkanı, Antalya Cumhuriyet Başsavcılığı’nın, bir telefon hattı üzerindeki Bylock programının Mayda tarafından kullanılmış olabileceğine ilişkin yazısının dosyaya eklendiğini açıkladı.

Mayda, dosyaya eklenen yeni belge karşısında; “Ben Bylock kullanmadım. Bylock tespit edildiği yazılı olan hattı benim kullanmadığımı, bu hattı arkadaşımın kullandığını ikinci celsede söylediğim için zaten, tahliye olmuştum” dedi. Arkadaşının tanık olarak dinlendiğini, hattı kendisinin kullandığını kabul ettiğini; kendisinin de yargılandığını ve ceza aldığını belirtti. Yeni belgeyi kabul etmedi.

Mayda’nın avukatı Münip Ermiş ise, Mayda’nın Temmuz ayında tutuklandığını, ByLock uygulamasına kullandığı yönündeki iddianın ise Eylül ayında kayda geçtiğini anımsattı. Buna rağmen, savcılığın; Bylock iddiası karşısında Mayda’nın savunmasını almadığını dile getirdi. Avukat Ermiş, Bylock uygulamasının yüklü olduğu iddiasıyla tutuklanan kişi yönünden delil mahiyetinde olan savcılık belgesinin Mayda yönünden delilmiş gibi gönderilmesinin de yanlış olduğunu dile getirdi.

Gazeteci Serhat Şeftali’nin avukatı Halil Istıl ise Şeftali’nin mal varlığı üzerindeki tedbirin kaldırılmasını talep etti.

Duruşma savcısı, yargılama dosyasının, esas hakkındaki mütalaanın hazırlanması için savcılığa iletilmesini talep etti.


Mahkeme, savcılıktan gelen ve bir telefon hattı üzerindeki Bylock programının Mayda tarafından kullanılmış olabileceğine ilişkin yazının, Mayda’nın işaret ettiği arkadaşının davasındaki yargılama dosyasına eklenmesine karar verdi.

Mahkeme, ayrıca; Serhat Şeftali’in mal varlığı üzerindeki tedbirin kaldırılmasına karar verdi.

Yargılama dosyasının, esas hakkındaki mütalaanın hazırlanması için savcılığa iletilmesine karar verildi.

Yargılamanın, 12 Ocak 2021 tarihinde görülecek 12. duruşma ile devam etmesine karar verildi.


Duruşma Öncesi

Koronavirüs pandemisi karşısında alınan önlemler kapsamında, Antalya Adliyesi’ne girişler sınırlandırılmıştı. Adliye girişinde bulunan görevliler adliye içerisinde resmi işi olmayan hiçkimseyi bina içerisine almıyordu.

“Antalya Media Structure” Trial (Minutes of the Hearing)

“Antalya Media Structure” Trial (The Constitutional Court's Judgement)

“Antalya Media Structure” Trial (Indictment)

“Antalya Media Structure” Trial 12. Standing (Minutes of the Hearing)

“Antalya Media Structure” Trial 13. Standing (Minutes of the Hearing)

Contact: pressinarrest@gmail.com

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