Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of February 1

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

1 February Monday

  • The trial where former Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter İdris Sayılğan faces “terrorist propaganda” charges will resume at Muş 2nd High Criminal Court this week. Journalist Sayılğan, whom MLSA represents in court, faces the charge for seven photos he had posted on Facebook between Aug 2015 – March 2016. Sayılğan was handed down an 8 year and 3 month prison sentence by the same court on 25 January 2019 and was released from prison after more than three years behind bars on 27 November 2019 following an appeal court judgement. 

2 February Tuesday

  • Trial where Medya Koridoru Editor-in-Chief Canan Kaya is sued by Demirören Media Conglomerate with a request for reparations will resume at Bakırköy 6th Civil Court of First Instance this week. Kaya, whom MLSA represents in court, is sued for a news report published in medyakoridoru.com titled “Scandal at Demirören Medya! Female staffer is forced to resign for walking with her shoes on on the executive floor!” Demirören Medya claims that this news report “humiliates the company and its executives in an unjust and ill-intended manner,” further arguing that it “tarnishes the commercial reputation of the company and constitutes an attack on personal rights by exceeding the scope of freedom of expression and press.” 
  • Trial where exiled journalist Hayko Bağdat faces “insulting the President” charges for statements he made during a Bugün TV broadcast in September 2015 resumes at İstanbul 51st Criminal Court of First Instance this week. 
  • First hearing of the trial where Mezopotamya News Agency Managing Editor Ferhat Çelik will stand trial before the Bayburt 1st Criminal Court of First Instance will be held this week. Çelik was indicted following Bayburt M Type Closed Penitentiary Institute’s complaint regarding a news report claiming that food served to imprisoners has bugs in them.

3 February Wednesday

  • Re-trial of Turkish Medical Association Chair Şebnem Korur Fincancı, RSF Turkey representative Erol Önderoğlu and academic Ahmet Nesin for participating in the “Editors-in-Chief On Watch” campaign launched in solidarity with Özgür Gündem daily will begin at İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court this week. Korur Fincancı, Önderoğlu and Nesin were acquitted on July 17, 2019. An appellate court has recently overturned this decision on the grounds that the local court’s ruling that “Editors-in-Chief On Watch” participants have no criminal liability was nonprocedural.
  • Second hearing of the trial where journalist Alican Uludağ faces “disclosing or publishing the identities of state officials on anti-terror duty and/or identifying them as targets” charges for a tweet where he criticized Ankara Chief Prosecutor Yüksel Kocaman will be held at Ankara 18th High Criminal Court.
  • Trial where journalist Hayko Bağdat, whom MLSA represents in court, is accused of “insulting the President” will resume at İstanbul 50th Criminal Court of First Instance this week. Bağdat faces this charge for his article published in ozguruz.org on April 14, 2017 titled “This is my final article on Erdoğan” and four tweets he had posted in 2014, 2015, and 2017. 
  • Trial where former German Green Party MP Memet Kılıç faces “insulting the President” charges will resume at Ankara 36th Criminal Court of First Instance this week. Kılıç, whom Media and Law Studies Association represents in court, faces this charge based on an interview he gave to online news portal ABC on July 12, 2017, which was published with the title “Charge of Genocide against Erdoğan: The Banana Republic treatment.”
  • Evrensel daily columnist and Galatasaray University faculty member Ceren Sözeri will appear before the İstanbul 2nd Comercial Court of First Instance for the trial where she is sued for a column from April 7, 2019 titled “Who made AKP lose votes” this week. Turkuvaz Media Conglomerate’s Vice President of the Executive Board Serhat Albayrak is suing Sözeri for 200 thousand Turkish liras in compensation, arguing that he’s faced business loss due to the column.

5 February Friday

  • Third hearing of the trial where Oda TV Ankara News Director Müyesser Yıldız and Tele1 Ankara representative İsmail Dükel face “disclosing of information relating to the security and political interests of the state” charges will be held at Ankara 26th High Criminal Court this week. Dükel and Yıldız were detained in Ankara on June 8, the court ruled for Dükel’s release with judicial control measures and decided to arrest Yıldız due to “reasonable doubt of guilt, possibility to spoil evidence or flee” on June 12,  2020. Yıldız was released during the first hearing held on November 9, 2020.
  • Second 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.