Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of December 14

This week several journalism and freedom of expression trials will resume at courts. Below is a list of this week’s hearings:

15 December Tuesday 

  • First hearing of the trial where photographer and poet Mehmet Özer faces “making terror propaganda” charges for six Facebook posts he made between 2012 and 2015 will be held at Ankara 2nd High Criminal Court this week. 
  • Trial where journalist Can Dündar and since shuttered Özgür Gündem newspaper’s former Managing Editor İnan Kızılkaya face “insulting a public official” charges will resume at İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance this week. Dündar had participated in the “Editors-in-Chief on Watch” campaign launched in solidarity with Özgür Gündem in 2016. This case was filed per judge Bekir Altun’s complaint, who claimed that the news report titled “The regime’s most useful judge,” which was published on 22 June 2016 – the day when Dündar appeared as the Editor-in-Chief of Özgür Gündem for solidarity – violates his personal rights. 
  • Eleventh hearing of the trial where six journalists stand trial for reporting on the emails of Berat Albayrak, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources at the time, which were leaked by RedHack will resume at İstanbul 29th High Criminal Court. Journalists Metin Yoksu, Tunca Öğreten, Eray Saygın, Derya Okatan, Mahir Kanaat and Ömer Çelik face the following charges: terrorist propaganda, hindrance or destruction of an information system, deletion or alteration of data, acting on behalf of a terrorist organization without being a member, and membership to a terrorist organization.
  • Trial where former Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter Engin Eren faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will resume at Batman 2nd High Criminal Court this week.
  • Trial where former Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter Şerife Oruç faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will resume at Batman 2nd High Criminal Court this week.

16 December Wednesday

  • First hearing of the trial where Cumhuriyet newspaper reporter Hazal Ocak, Managing Editor Olcay Büyüktaş, editor İpek Özbey and photojournalist Vedat Arık face “publishing the identities of state officials on anti-terror duty and/or identifying them as targets” and “violation of the privacy of personal life” charges will be held at İstanbul 26th High Criminal Court. Journalists stand trial for Ocak’s reporting on an illegal construction site in the land next to Turkish Presidency’s Communications Director Fatih Altun’s home in Kuzguncuk, which was published on April 14, 2020. The indictment claimed that “freedom of expression and dissemination of thought must at times be limited in order to protect the public and the state,” and further argued that Communications Director Altun must be considered as “having anti-terror duty and serving for this purpose when considered his statements and activities in relation to terrorist organizations.”

17 December Thursday

  • Street artist with the pseudonym İzinsiz will appear before İstanbul 20th Criminal Court of First Instance for their mural interventions made to the panels of Devrim Erbil paintings that were used to enclose the Kabataş port construction site. 
  • Trial where Bitlis Journalists’ Association Chair and former Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter Sinan Aygül faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will resume at Bitlis 2nd High Criminal Court this week. Aygül will appear before court as part of the ongoing KCK trial in Bitlis. 

18 December Friday

  • Trial where journalist and novelist Burhan Ekinci faces “making terror propaganda” charges for seven tweets he had shared on his personal account will be held at İstanbul 30th High Criminal Court this week.
  • First hearing of the trial where business person and civil society figure Osman Kavala and scholar Henri Barkey face “attempting to abolish the constitutional order” and “political espionage” charges will be held at İstanbul 36th High Criminal Court this week. Kavala and Barkey are accused of organizing a meeting in Büyükada on July 15-17, 2016 and ‘having taken a role in the coup attempt.’ The prosecutor seeks aggravated life sentences for both defendants. Although Kavala was acquitted of all charges in the Gezi trial on Feb 18, he was detained on the same day and was later arrested per “political espionage” charges.