Özkan Mayda

Özkan Mayda graduated from the Computer Programming Department at Çukurova University in Adana.

Mayda worked as a sports correspondent for the now-closed Cihan News Agency starting from 2006. He was laid off after a state administrator was appointed to the Agency’s management by the ruling of the peace court.

The Cihan News Agency 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 Şeftali on allegations of “FETO membership”. Mayda was detained on 23 July 2016. The custody procedures lasted for three days. Mayda was placed in custody on 26 July 2016 on allegations of “membership of an armed terrorist organisation”. He was sent to Antalya Type L Prison.

Mayda 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 Mayda be sentenced to imprisonment of between seven years and six months and 15 years.

Mayda was released pending trial at the second hearing of the trial held on 24 May 2017. He was prohibited from travelling abroad.

The trial concerning Mayda is currently underway. Mayda 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.’”

Özkan Mayda, Antalya correspondent for the now-closed Cihan News Agency, was detained on 23 July 2016.

His memory cards, flash drives, a hard drive stripped from his computer case, mobile phone and the SIM card attached to his phone were confiscated during the search of Mayda’s house.

Mayda was charged with “membership of an armed terrorist organisation”.

According to the indictment, Mayda stated in the statement he gave to the Directorate of Counter-Terrorism Branch that “he was not involved with the Fetullah Gülen congregation, did not engage in any press-related activities on behalf of the Fetullah terrorist organisation and he just prepared sports news”.

Mayda was also asked about him sharing the news item concerning the Körfez Exams Preparation Course [dershane] in Antalya, concerning which an investigation was launched due to allegations of “being affiliated with FETO”, with the headline “Breaking News! Police Raid During Class Hours”.

In his statement during the investigation, Mayda said that they went to the premises of the exams preparation course [dershane] with other correspondents of the agency who were listed as suspects in the investigation to prepare a news report. Mayda stated that he only took photographs as a photojournalist and carried out his duties as an employee of the agency, that he did not have any relation to the contents of the news item and did not know who wrote it.

The custody procedures lasted for three days. He was remanded by the ruling of the 3rd Court of Peace of Antalya on 26 July 2016. He was sent to Antalya Type L Prison.

Journalists Tuncer Çetinkaya, Kenan Baş, Olgun Matur, Cihan Ünal, Ömer Özdemir and Osman Yakut, who were detained on the same date with Mayda, 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.

Özkan Mayda 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. Mayda as well as journalists Tuncer Çetinkaya, Serhat Şeftali, Ömer Özdemir, Cihat Ünal, Osman Yakut, Olgun Matur and Kenan Baş 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 Özkan Mayda, a correspondent for the now-closed Cihan News Agency, along with other journalists working in Antalya, was completed by the Office for the Investigation of Crimes Against the Constitutional Order of the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of Antalya 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 Mayda “had a subscription to Feza Publications, which was the media organ of FETO terrorist organisation”. Feza Publications was the publisher of the now-closed Zaman newspaper and Cihan News Agency.

The indictment included a written document by Antalya Security Directorate Counterterrorism Branch dated 20 September 2016. The document asserted that “the ByLock application which was asserted to be used by alleged FETO members to communicate with each other” was detected on Mayda’s phone.

The indictment charged Mayda 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 Mayda 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, Olgun Matur, Cihat Ünal, Kenan Baş, 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 Mayda 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. The court accepted the indictment and ruled that Mayda should continue to be held in remand.

The trial of the journalists including Özkan Mayda, a correspondent for the now-closed 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.

Mayda was brought in from prison to attend the first hearing. Mayda gave his defensive statement against the allegation that the ByLock application was installed on his phone.

Mayda stated that the phone line was registered in his name, but was being used by a colleague. He added that his colleague, who had used the telephone line, presented a petition to the court stating that he had used the telephone line.

The colleague mentioned by Mayda was heard as a witness at the hearing. He stated that although the line was registered in Mayda’s name, he had been using it for three or four years, the line was never used by anyone else, and he had not installed the ByLock application on the phone.

The prosecutor for the hearing asserted against the testimony of the witness that “there might be the possibility of taking the blame and that the matter requires further examination.”

It was later learned that another indictment was prepared which listed Mayda’s colleague as a defendant.

Mayda then stated the following: “According to the witnesses’ testimonies, I did not use the said phone line. I am a sports correspondent. I was placed in custody because of my colleague. My being here is absurd.”

Mayda also stated that the news items he had prepared should be evaluated within the scope of freedom of the press. Mayda stated the following:

“As a sports correspondent, I used to follow Eto’o, who played for Antalyaspor. But now I am under arrest for FETO.”

Mayda’s attorney Münip Ermiş stated that the ByLock application was detected on Mayda’s phone on 21 September 2016, however the prosecutor’s office had not received Mayda’s defensive statements concerning the ByLock allegation.

The court ruled that Özkan Mayda should continue to be held in remand.

The court also ruled that “a copy of the subscription agreement of the phone line which was detected to contain the ByLock application be requested from the GSM company”. The court also ruled that the records of the calls made and received and records of messages belonging to the phone line be requested from the Information and Communication Technologies Authority.

The second hearing of the trial took place on 24 May 2017. The panel of judges had changed at this hearing. Mayda was brought in from prison to attend the hearing. Mayda repeated his defensive statement from the first hearing.

The prosecutor for the hearing demanded that Mayda, who stated that he had not used the phone line with the ByLock application, and whose statement was supported by the witness testimony, be released. The court ruled that Mayda be released. The court prohibited Mayda from travelling abroad.

The court also ruled that an inquiry be made of the stage of the detailed evaluation previously demanded regarding Mayda’s phone line, which was allegedly detected to contain the ByLock application.

The third hearing of the trial took place on 6 October 2017. Mayda’s attorney Münip Ermiş demanded that the judicial supervisions concerning Mayda be lifted. The demand was rejected. The hearing was adjourned.

The fourth hearing of the trial took place on 7 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 Mayda, 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 Mayda be sentenced to imprisonment of between seven years and six months and 15 years.

Mayda and his attorneys demanded additional time to prepare defensive statements against the opinion of the prosecution as to the accusations.

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.

The court announced that the Antalya Security Directorate had sent the contents report regarding the phone line used by Mayda, which was allegedly detected to contain the ByLock application. Mayda stated the following concerning the report: “Although the line was registered in my name, it was being used by my colleague as I mentioned in my previous defensive statements. Therefore, the phone calls listed in the report were not made by me.”

Mayda’s attorney Münip Ermiş demanded that the prohibition on travelling abroad be lifted. The demand was rejected.

The court decided that the content of a call in the digital examination report might indicate that the phone line was used by Mayda. For this reason, the court ruled that the subscription agreement for the phone line be requested from the GSM company.

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.

The court announced that the copy of the subscription agreement of the phone line, which was demanded at the previous hearing and was allegedly owned by Mayda, was received from the GSM company. It was stated that the subscription agreement was signed by a different person.

Mayda stated the following concerning the subscription agreement: “I remember using it as a company line. It was stated that a photocopy of the birth certificate belonging to a person with initials S.D. was attached to the agreement. This person might be someone at our Istanbul headquarters.”

Mayda stated that the reports concerning him did not detect the ByLock application on the phone line which belonged to him.

The court announced its ruling at this hearing. The court sentenced Tuncer Çetinkaya, who was being tried with other journalists including Mayda, 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 files of Özkan Mayda and 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. Mayda attended the hearing with his attorney Münip Ermiş.

At this hearing, Mayda stated that the actual person who had used the phone line that was owned by him and was allegedly detected to contain the ByLock application, had been sentenced under another trial.

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. Mayda repeated his previous defensive statements at this hearing. The hearing was adjourned in order to complete the correspondence regarding other defendants.

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. Mayda demanded that the prohibition concerning him from travelling abroad be lifted.

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 that all defendants including the journalists 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 the 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. Mayda attended the hearing with his attorney Münip Ermiş. The court announced that the document prepared by the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of Antalya regarding the possibility that the ByLock application on the phone line was used by Mayda was added to the case file.

Mayda repeated his defensive statement stating that he had not used the ByLock application. He stated that the person who had used the phone line confirmed this during the trial process, and was sentenced accordingly. Mayda stated that he rejected the prosecutor’s office’s document. Upon Mayda’s statements, the court identified the hearing minutes in which the person who had used the line was heard as a witness.

Mayda’s attorney Münip Ermiş stated that Mayda was placed in custody in July, whereas the allegations that he had used the ByLock application were put on record in September. He added that despite this, the prosecutor’s office had not received Mayda’s defensive statement against the ByLock allegations. Attorney Ermiş stated that it was incorrect for the evidentiary prosecutor’s document concerning the person who was placed in custody due to allegations of the ByLock application to be sent as if it were evidence against Mayda.

The court ruled that the document received from the prosecutor’s office be sent to be added to the case file of the person who was sentenced over allegations of using the ByLock application.

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 court set the date for the thirteenth hearing of the trial, seventh since the case was separated, as 12 January 2021.

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 (Indictment)

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

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

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