Appeals court overturns decision protecting police officers accused of torturing journalist

Appeals court overturns decision protecting police officers accused of torturing journalist


Istanbul's Regional Administrative Court has overturned the Istanbul Governorship’s decision to block an investigation into police officers who allegedly injured journalists with shields and plastic bullets during the commemoration of the Suruç Massacre in Kadıköy. The ruling came after an appeal by the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA).

Journalists Erhan Ozan Acıdere, Emre Orman, Yasin Akgül, and Fatoş Erdoğan, represented by MLSA, were subjected to violence by police officers from the Istanbul Directorate of Security during the event. The MLSA filed an appeal to the Istanbul Regional Administrative Court, requesting permission to investigate the officers, challenging the governor's decision which denied investigation and disciplinary actions and archived the case.

The First Administrative Litigation Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Administrative Court reviewed the appeal, referencing the relevant articles of Law No. 4483 on the Trial of Civil Servants and Other Public Officials. The chamber ruled that criminal investigations into acts of assault, violence, torture, and ill-treatment do not require administrative permission.

Additionally, the court referenced Articles 94 and 95 of the Turkish Penal Code, which pertain to torture, and Article 98, which addresses the failure to fulfill the obligation of assistance or notification. Consequently, the court annulled the governorship’s decision and ordered the case to be sent to the Istanbul Anadolu Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. The decision became final on April 30, 2024, and was communicated to the parties and the Istanbul Governorship.

Background of the incident

On July 20, 2021, journalists covering the commemoration of the Suruç Massacre on Halitağa Street in Kadıköy, including Erdem Şahin, Fatoş Erdoğan, Bülent Kılıç, Kübra Köklü, Yasin Akgül, Emre Orman, Ozan Acıdere, and Zeynep Kuray, were targeted by police using shields and plastic bullets. Many journalists were injured by plastic bullets, and one was punched by a riot police officer.

The MLSA Legal Unit filed a criminal complaint with the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on July 30, 2021, against the police officers involved. The complaint detailed how a journalist's camera was damaged by water from a TOMA (riot control vehicle), and journalists were dragged toward the area with the TOMA and police barricades.

The MLSA requested an investigation into the police officers for "intentional injury," "torture," "violation of work and labor freedom," "damage to property," and "misuse of authority." The complaint emphasized that the premeditated actions causing physical injury should be classified as "inhumane treatment" rather than legitimate intervention.

Video footage of the incident captured by various cameras was submitted to the prosecutor's office, with a request for a thorough investigation of the involved officers.

However, on January 15, 2024, the Istanbul Governorship decided not to grant investigation permission for the accused officers, declared that no disciplinary action was necessary, and archived the case. This decision was subsequently challenged by the MLSA Legal Unit at the Istanbul Regional Administrative Court.


Medya ve Hukuk Çalışmaları Derneği (MLSA) haber alma hakkı, ifade özgürlüğü ve basın özgürlüğü alanlarında faaliyet yürüten bir sivil toplum kuruluşudur. Derneğimiz başta gazeteciler olmak üzere mesleki faaliyetleri sebebiyle yargılanan kişilere hukuki destek vermektedir.