Şahin Alpay

Academic, writer. Worked as a columnist at Zaman Daily for 14 years along with Cumhuriyet, Sabah and Milliyet.

He was requested to be sentenced for 3 times aggravated life sentence and from 7,5 years to 15 years of imprisonment within the scope of the trial agains writers and executives of Zaman Daily.

A board of “trustees” was appointed to the Zaman Daily before the attempted military coup on July 15, 2016. The paper was shut down by the Decree-Law(KHK) passed within the State of Emergency(OHAL), declared after July 15, 2016. Many press outlets were seized by court decisions before July 15, 2016. After the attempted military coup, the government had shut down many press outlets by Decree-Laws, without the approval of the Parliament.

He started writing at Yarına Bakış, after the appointment of the trustees to Zaman Daily.

He was taken into custody on July 27, 2016. He was arrested on July 30, 2016.

He was accused of “attempting to abolish the order foreseen by the constitution, the parliament and the government of the Republic of Turkey by use of force and violence” and “armed terrorist organisation membership” for his 7 articles. When he appeared before a judge for the first time, Alpay had already been detained for 14 months.

Alpay, during his detainment, made an appeal to the Constitutional Court. Local court, despite the Higher Court’s decision for release due to violation of rights, did not release Alpay. He was able to be released after Constitutional Court’s second decision.

Alpay, during his detainment, made an appeal to the Constitutional Court. Local court, despite the Higher Court’s decision for release due to violation of rights, did not release Alpay. He was able to be released after Constitutional Court’s second decision. Alpay was detained for 20 months and 74-years-old then he was released. It was noteworthy that the court that resisted the first decision of the Constitutional Court and obeyed the second decision, had reached that decision a few days before the European Court of Human Rights’ decision which stated that Alpay’s rights were violated.

He was sentenced to 8 years 9 months of imprisonment for the accusation of “membership of an armed terrorist organisation”.

Appeal Court, approved the imprisonment sentence against Alpay, much after Constitutional Court’s decision of violation of right.

“Zaman Newspaper “Trial

Writer Şahin Alpay was taken into custody within the scope of the operation launched against the writers and executives of Zaman Daily on July 27th, 2016. His first statement was taken on July 30, 2016. Prosecutor took Alpay’s statement at the Istanbul Directorate of Security.

He stated that he knew Gülen but did not take orders. He pointed out that Gülen was not in a managerial position at Zaman Daily or Samanyolu TV. He condemned the July 15 coup attempt.

Prosecutor’s Office requested Istanbul 4th Criminal Court of Peace to arrest Alpay. Prosecutor’s Office, claimed that Alpay acted in ideal and actional consensus with the leaders of FETÖ.

Alpay, in the statement he gave before the judge too, said he was against military coups. He stated that he accepted the writing job offer from Zaman Daily because of the sympathy of the politicians for Gülen movement. Alpay was arrested and sent to Silivri Prison on July 30, 2016. Reasoning of the arrest decision stated that investigations against FETÖ’s media branch caused many suspects to flee the country.

Alpay, on August 5, 2016 made an appeal to the arrest decision. In the appeal petition he stated that the crime accusations were acts of journalism and did not form crime. He reminded that according to the Press Law, indictments regarding written press, must be prepared before 4 months after the publishing date and said this case was opened after the 4 months period. Alpay’s appeal was denied.

Alpay, on September 8, 2016 appealed to the Constitutional Court, for violation of rights.

The indictment against Alpay was finalised on April 10, 2017.

Indictment against writer Şahin Alpay, along with shut-down Zaman Daily’s writers and executives was by Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Terror and Organised Crime Bureau on April 10, 2017.

Indictment against Alpay, as many other FETÖ trials, started with the description of the purpose of the organisation, its structure, its sources of income, its force in weaponry. This part kept on for 20 pages. It was stated that the media outlets that employed the journalists were connected to FETÖ. Names of other journalists who were not suspects in this indictment were mentioned as well.

It was claimed that Alpay formed the media power of FETÖ. It was suggested that he was playing her role in order to remove the constitutional order of the state, the parliament and the government.

In the indictment Alpay was accused for 7 column he wrote, 6 at Zaman Daily and 1 at Yarına Bakış.

All the articles he was being accused of were written after the December 17/25 Corruption and Bribery operation. In 2013 there had been a big corruption and bribery operation including ministers of AKP and their children.

Alpay in his articles said that this investigation of corruption and bribery was tried to be covered up. He said the country was facing a very serious political crisis. He sad that Erdoğan had started a witch hunt. Allay, in one the articles that was mentioned in the indictment had said the following:

“No matter what he does, Erdoğan and his junto’s governing days seem to be coming to an end.”

It is stated that Alpay was not just opposing in her articles. The indictment, regarding the articles, says “did not include crime factors on surface”. However the articles were crossing the limits of the freedom of press and expression. It is suggested that he was, with his articles, violating the rights of the public officials and state institutions. The articles were “in a nature to disrupt the peace and comfort of the public, social peace and public order”. And it was claimed that Alpay did not hesitate to call for a military coup.

Alpay was requested to be sentenced for 3 times aggravated life sentence and from 7,5 years to 15 years of imprisonment. She was accused of “attempting to abolish the constitutional order, the Parliament and the government of the Republic of Turkey, or to prevent them, in part or in full, from fulfilling their duties.” and “membership of an armed organisation”.

Alpay was accused of “by use of force or violence, attempting to abolish the constitutional order”, ”attempting to abolish the Parliament of the Republic of Turkey, or to prevent them, in part or in full, from fulfilling their duties.” and ”attempting to abolish the Parliament of the Republic of Turkey, or to prevent them, in part or in full, from fulfilling their duties.” according to the articles 309/1, 311/1 and 312/1 of the Turkish Penal Code.*

He was also accused of “membership of an armed organisation”, according to the article 314/2 of Turkish Penal Code and article 5 of the Anti-Terror Law.

*In total, he was requested to be sentenced to 3 times aggravated life sentence and from 7,5 years to 15 years of imprisonment. *

He was also requested to be bereaved of specific rights according to the article 53 Turkish Penal Code.

The indictment was sent to Istanbul 13th Assize Court on April 11, 2017. It was approved by Istanbul 13th Assize Court on April 24, 2017.

Trial of Şahin Alpay, along with shut-down Zaman Daily’s writers and executives started with the first hearing on September 18-19, 2017 at Istanbul 13th Assize Court. The courtroom was inside Silivri Prison.

Alpay had been detained for 14 month when he, for the first time, went before a judge.

Alpay, in the first hearing described himself as liberal/democrat. He stated that “He was wrong for not seeing the real face of Gülen movement”. He said if there was a judicial decision that said Gülen movement was a criminal organisation, he would not have continued to write at Zaman Daily. He declared that the articles in the indictment were proofs of him not committing the accused crimes.

Second hearing took place on December 8, 2017. Akay had been detained for 500 days when he went before a judge for the second time.

Constitutional Court Process

Constitutional Court, 1 year 4 months after the appeal, on January 11, 2018 made a decision. Ruled that arrest of Alpay was violating “personal rights and security”, “freedom of expression and press”.

The decision stated that Alpay was to be released. However Istanbul 13th Assize Court,in charge of the trial of the executives and writers of shut-down Zaman Daily, for the first time in Turkey, resisted against the decision of Constitutional Court. Alpay, despite the Constitutional Court’s decision, was not released.

After that Alpay, made a second appeal to the Constitutional Court. He stated that by not obeying the decision of Constitutional Court, his rights were once again violated.

On March 15, 2018, Constitutional Court once again ruled in his favour. High Court in the decision stated that “following Constitutional Court’s decision of violation he should be released”.

The court that resisted against the first decision of the Constitutional Court, ruled for Alpay’s release after second violation and release decision. However Alpay was banned to leave the country and his residence. Therefore Alpay was in “house arrest”.

Alpay, after 20 months of detainment, on March 17, 2018, at the age of 74 was free. It was noteworthy that the release decision was given a few days before European Court of Human Rights’ decision on his favour.

ECHR Process

Şahin Alpay, on February 28, 2017 had made an appeal to the ECHR. ECHR reached a verdict regarding the appeals on February 20, 2018. The decision was announced on March 20, 2018.

ECHR too, ruled that Alpay’s rights of “freedom”, “security” and “freedom of expression” were violated. ECHR also ruled that Alpay was to be paid 21.500€ in damages for mental anguish.

ECHR stated that even though local court had resisted the decisions of violation of rights and release, Constitutional Court, was “still an effective internal judicial route”.

3rd hearing took place on April 5, 2018. Prosecutor presented his opinion as to the accusations. Requested Alpay to be sentenced to aggravated life sentence for committing the crime of “attempting to remove the constitutional order” and up to 15 years of imprisonment for the accusation of “membership of an armed terrorist organisation”.

4th hearing took place on May 10-11, 2018. Alpay’s house arrest was lifted.

6th hearing took place at July 5-6, 2018. Alpay presented his final defence argument. He defended himself by making quotations from Constitutional Court’s decision. After his defence, his final words were asked. Alpay said the following:

“The entire public has witnessed my 35-year-long journalism career. It is not possible that I was a member of a terrorist organisation.”

At the end of the trial, court board ruled to acquit Bulaç of the accusations of, by use of force and violence “attempting to abolish”, “constitutional order”, “the parliament” and “the government” included in the indictment and the opinion.

However, Alpay was sentenced to 8 years 9 months of imprisonment for membership of an armed terrorist organisation.

Appeal Process

2nd Criminal Chamber of Istanbul Regional Court of Justice approved Şahin Alpay’s 10 years 6 months of imprisonment sentence on June 25, 2019. Thus the appeal court did not find the accusation of “armed terrorist organisation membership” unlawful. Appeal court ruled for continuation of Alpay’s detainment.

Court of Cassation Process

An appeal was made to the Court of Cassation, against the decision taken in the trial of Şahin Alpay, along with writers and executives of shut-down Zaman, which was then approved by appeal court

Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office presented the notification regarding the appeal request on December 23, 2019. The notification that was completed by the Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation, and was presented to the 16th Criminal Chambers which was in charge of the appeal trial* requested that the sentence given for the accusation of “membership of an armed terrorist organisation” against Alpay to be overruled. However, it was stated that he was to be tried with the accusation of “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed terrorist organisation without partaking in the hierarchical structure”. The notification also requested that the decision against Ali Bulaç was to be overruled on the same grounds.

The notification also requested that the imprisonment sentences given against Mümtazer Türköne, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Mustafa Ünal and İbrahim Karayeğen were to be upheld.

Acquittal decisions of columnists Lale Sarıibrahimoğlu, Nuriye Ural, İhsan Duran Dağı and Orhan Kemal Cengiz were requested to be upheld, whereas editor Mehmet Özdemir’s acquittal decision was requested to be overruled.

“Zaman Newspaper “Trial (Verdict)

“Zaman Newspaper “Trial (Defense)

“Zaman Newspaper “Trial (The Constitutional Court's Judgement)

“Zaman Newspaper “Trial (ECHR's Judgement)

“Zaman Newspaper “Trial (Release Verdict)

“Zaman Newspaper “Trial (Defense on the Merits of the Case)

“Zaman Newspaper “Trial (Notification of the Prosecutor's Office (CoC))

“Zaman Newspaper “Trial (The Court of Cassation's Judgement)

“Zaman Newspaper “Trial (Indictment)

“Zaman Newspaper “Trial (Anayasa Mahkemesi İkinci Karar)

“Zaman Newspaper “Trial (Anayasa Mahkemesi Üçüncü Karar)

“Zaman Newspaper “Trial (The Court of Appeal's Judgement)

“Zaman Newspaper “Trial (Retrial)

Şahin Alpay, “Zaman Gazetesi” davasında “silahlı terör örgütüne üye olmak” suçlamasıyla 8 yıl 9 ay hapis cezasına çarptırıldı. Yerel mahkemece verilen karar İstinaf mahkemesi tarafından da onandı. Yargıtay 16. Ceza Dairesi, 24 Eylül 2020 tarihli kararında yerel mahkemenin kararını bozdu. Yargıtay’ın Şahin’in “hiyerarşik yapısına dahil olmamakla birlikte, silahlı terör örgütüne bilerek ve isteyerek yardım etmek” suçlamasıyla yargılanması gerektiğine hükmetti.

Kararının Yargıtay tarafından bozulmasının ardından Alpay, yargılanmaya yeniden başlandı. Ali Bulaç, Mümtazer Türköne ve Mehmet Özdemir ile birlikte dört gazeteci hakkında yeniden yargılama İstanbul 13. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesinde başladı.
Yeniden yargılamanın 13 Nisan 2021 tarihli ilk duruşmasında Alpay ve avukatı hazır bulundu. Duruşma savcısı, Yargıtay’ın bozma kararına uyulmasını talep etti. Mahkeme, talebi kabul etti.

Alpay, “İfade özgürlüğümü kullanarak yazdığım yazılardan suçlanıyorum. Karara uyulmasını ve aynı zamanda herhangi bir suç işlemediğimden beraatimi talep ediyorum” dedi.

Mahkeme heyeti, dosyadaki eksiklerin tamamlanmasına karar verdi.

Yargılamanın ikinci duruşması 9 Eylül 2021 tarihinde görülecek.

1. Standing - April 13, 2021


Mahkeme heyetinin yerini almasıyla birlikte duruşma, 20 dakika gecikmeyle, 10:20’de başladı. Duruşmada yargılanan gazeteciler Ali Bulaç, Mümtazer Türköne ve Şahin Alpay ile avukatları hazır bulundu. Mehmet Özdemir ise duruşmaya katılmadı.

Duruşma, kimlik tespiti ile başladı. Kimlik tespitinin ardından duruşma salonunda hazır bulunan yargılanan üç gazeteci ve avukatlara, Yargıtay 16. Ceza Dairesi’nin bozma ilamına katılıp, katılmadıkları soruldu.

İlk olarak söz alan Mümtazer Türköne, “Örgüt üyesi de değilim örgüte yardım da etmedim. Bozma ilamına uyulmasını ve ‘örgüte yardım’ suçundan beraatimi talep ediyorum. Ayrıca adli kontrolümün kaldırılmasını talep ediyorum” dedi.

Ardından söz alan Şahin Alpay da “İfade özgürlüğümü kullanarak yazdığım yazılardan suçlanıyorum. Karara uyulmasını ve aynı zamanda herhangi bir suç işlemediğimden beraatımı talep ediyorum” dedi.

Ali Bulaç’ta “Bilerek ve isteyerek örgüte yardım ettiğim yönündeki suçlamayı reddediyorum ve beraatimi talep ediyorum. Bu kara lekeyi alnımda taşımak ve böyle ölmek istemiyorum” dedi.

Gazeteciler ardından söz alan gazetecilerin avukatları ve duruşma savcısı da Yargıtay’ın bozma ilamına uyulmasını istedi.


Mahkeme heyeti verdiği kararında, Yargıtay 16. Ceza Dairesi’nin bozma ilamına uydu. Mahkeme, duruşmaya katılmayan Mehmet Özdemir’in ifadesinin alınmasına dönük yakalama emri çıkarılması kararı verdi.

Mahkeme, Şahin Alpay hakkında da, “FETÖ/PDY terör örgütü üyesi olduğu”na dair bugüne kadar yapılan operasyonlar sırasında alınan tanık veya etkin pişmanlıktan yararlananların beyanlarında adının geçip geçmediğinin araştırılmasını istedi.

Mahkeme, aynı şekilde Özdemir ve Alpay yönünde açık kaynak araştırması yapılmasına karar verdi.

Mahkeme, Hüseyin Gülerce, Binnaz Toprak, Ümit Erol ve Zekeriya Tüzen’in tanık olarak dinlenilmesine karar verdi.

Mümtazer Türköne yönünden devam eden yurt dışına çıkış yasağı şeklindeki adli kontrol kararının bu aşamada devamına karar verdi.

Mahkeme, duruşmayı 9 Eylül 2021 tarihine, saat 13:30’a erteledi.


Duruşma Öncesi

Çağlayan’da bulunan İstanbul Adliyesine girişte uzun kuyruk oluşmuştu. Adliyeye girmek isteyen avukat, gazeteci ve yurttaşların ilk olarak, Covid-19 önlemleri kapsamında HES kodu sorgulaması yapıldı. Ardından X-RAY cihazından geçilerek adliyeye giriş yapıldı. Duruşmanın yapıldığı koridor güvenlik bariyerleri ile kapatıldığı görüldü. Duruşmanın başlama saatinde yargılanan gazeteciler, avukatlar ve gazeteciler duruşma salonuna alındı.

Mahkeme Salonu Koşulları

Duruşma salonu, orta büyüklükte bir salondu. İzleyiciler, sanıklar ve avukatlar için ayrı ayrı yerler ayrıldığı görüldü. İzleyici sıralarına Covid-19 önlemleri kapsamında uyarı yazıları bırakıldı.

Duruşmaya Katılım

Duruşmayı, P24 ve MLSA ile DİSK Basın İş takip etti.

“Zaman Newspaper “Trial (Retrial) 1. Standing (Minutes of the Hearing)

Contact: pressinarrest@gmail.com

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