Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of December 23

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

24 December Tuesday

  • Fourth hearing of the Gezi Park trial will be held at the courtroom inside the Silivri Penitentiaries Campus. The case has 16 defendants and is held by the İstanbul 30th High Criminal Court. Business person Osman Kavala is tried whilst in detention whereas Yiğit Aksakoğlu, Memet Ali Alabora, Can Dündar, Ali Hakan Altınay, Mücella Yapıcı, Pınar Öğün Alabora, Çiğdem Mater, Gökçe Yılmaz, Meltem Arıkan, Hanzade Hikmet Germiyanoğlu, İnanç Ekmekci, Mine Özerden, Can Atalay, Tayfun Kahraman and Yiğit Ali Ekmekçi are tried without detention. The prosecutor demands aggravated life sentences for all 16 defendants on charges of “attempting to overthrow the Turkish government.” 
  • Trial where Vice News reporters Philip John Pendlebury and Philip Gingell Hanrahan face “membership in a terrorist organization by willingly and knowingly aiding and abetting, “terrorist propaganda, and “opposing the Law on the Prevention of Financing of Terrorism” will resume at Diyarbakır 8th High Criminal Court this week. Pendlebury and Hanrahan were arrested in Diyarbakır in September 2015 and were deported shortly. 
  • Sixth hearing of the trial where journalist and author Ahmet Altan faces “breach of confidentiality” and “attempt to influence a fair trial” charges based on his column published in Taraf daily on 11 July 2009 will be held at Anadolu 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance this week. Although the prosecution was suspended on 2009, this case was reopened following the appeal court’s upholding of Altan’s conviction in an “insulting the President” case, which was handed down by the İstanbul 32nd Criminal Court of First Instance.   

25 December Wednesday

  • Fourth hearing of the trial where since shut-down İMC TV’s Program Coordinator Ayşegül Doğan faces “founding and managing an armed organization” charges for her journalistic activities including meetings and interviews with Democratic Society Congress (DTK) executives and events that she attended as a journalist will take place at Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court. The prosecutor demands up to 22.5 years in prison for Doğan. 
  • Seventh hearing of the trial where Evrensel daily writer Yusuf Karataş faces “founding and managing an armed organization” charges for panels and workshops that he had attended will be held at Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court. The prosecutor demands up to 22.5 years in prison for Karataş. 
  • The trial where Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) staff faces Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) charges will resume at Ankara 15th High Criminal Court.
  • Second hearing of the trial where Journalists’ Union of Turkey (TGS) Disciplinary Board Chair and journalist Rahmi Yıldırım is accused of insulting Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar in an article he wrote for his blog titled “I feel very bad for the Chief of Defense“ will be held at Gölbaşı 3rd Criminal Court of First Instance this week.   

26 December Thursday

  • Tenth hearing of the trial where Demokratik Modernite journal’s editor Haydar Ergül faces “membership in a terrorist organization charges” will be held at İstanbul 22nd High Criminal Court. 14 members of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) stand trial alongside Ergül. Ergül was released during the previous hearing which was held on April 5th after a 15-month detention period. 
  • Second hearing of the trial where journalist Zafer Arapkirli faces “insult” charges for criticizing Nurettin Yıldız on Twitter, a preacher who claimed that a six-year-old kid can be married, will be held at İstanbul 32nd Criminal Court of First Instance.  
  • Constitutional Court’s General Secretariat will review the individual application of Wikipedia this week,  more than 3 months since the file was referred to them. The Secretariat will discuss whether the access ban (issued on Apr 29, 2017) violates freedom of expression.

27 December Friday

  • Eleventh hearing of the trial where Sözcü newspaper reporter Gökmen Ulu, Sözcü’s website’s former News Editor Mediha Olgun, Chief Financial Officer Yonca Yücekaleli are tried with “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization without being a member” charges and the newspaper’s owner Burak Akbay is tried with “leading an armed terrorist organization” and “making propaganda for an armed terrorist organization” charges will take place at İstanbul 37th High Criminal Court. Two separate Sözcü cases have recently been merged; hence, journalists Metin Yılmaz, Mustafa Çetin, Necati Doğru, Yücel Arı and Emin Çölaşan face the same allegations as part of this trial. The verdict is expected to be announced during this hearing.