Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of February 11

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

11 February Tuesday

  • Trial where Van TV staffers Gülsün Altan, Gürcan Bayrakçı, Kadir Cesur, Koçali Özipek, Nahide Aslan, Nedim Dalga, Serdar Altan and Sibel Eres face “terrorist propaganda” charges for various news bulletins broadcast by the TV channel between February – May 2016 will resume at Van 4th High Criminal Court this week. 
  • First hearing of the trial where soL News Portal’s Managing Editor Uğur Güç is accused of insulting President Erdoğan’s lawyer Mustafa Doğan İnal in a news report titled “The court does as the foul-mouthed lawyer requests: Sentence for Işıl Özgentürk” will be held at İstanbul Anadolu 29th Criminal Court of First Instance this week.

12 February Wednesday

  • First hearing of the trial where Cumhuriyet reporter Zehra Özdilek face “disclosing or publishing the identity of a public official on anti-terrorist duty and identifying such persons as a target” charges based on the fact that she included the name of a secret witness in a news report from May 9, 2019 titled “Onay, who is behind bars for asking for her job back, calls on KESK” will be held at İstanbul 27th High Criminal Court this week. Initially the Prosecutor’s office found no ground for prosecution, but this decision was never sent to Özdilek and an indictment was drafted 20 days later although there was no objection to the non-prosecution decision. 
  • Eighth hearing of the trial where artist Ferhat Tunç faces “insulting the president” charges for ten tweets he had posted in 2016 will be held at Büyükçekmece 14th Criminal Court of the First Instance this week.

13 February Thursday

  • Fifth hearing of the trial where 22 defendants, including German-Turkish dual citizen Etkin News Agency (ETHA) reporter and social worker Adil Demirci, are tried on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization” and “making propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization” will be held at İstanbul 25th High Criminal Court. Adil Demirci was released on February 14, 2019 after a 10-month detainment.
  • First hearing of the trial where journalist Emre Orman faces “terrorist propaganda” charges for his social media posts criticizing the Turkish military’s Barış Pınarı (Fountain of Peace) operation in Syria will be held at İstanbul 34th High Criminal Court. Orman, whom MLSA will represent in court, was arrested on October 24, 2019 and released on October 31. 
  • First hearing of the trial where former Evrensel reporter Ali İhsan Terzi, whom MLSA will represent in court, faces “terrorist propaganda” charges based on 3 Facebook posts will be held at İstanbul 34th High Criminal Court this week.  
  • Sixth hearing of the trial where Die Welt correspondent Deniz Yücel faces “terrorist propaganda” and “provoking the people to hatred and animosity” charges will resume at İstanbul 32nd High Criminal Court. Yücel, who is represented by MLSA, was imprisoned for a year in Turkey and is now tried in absentia. The prosecutor demands up to 18 years in prison for him. Yücel presented his defense statement in the case on May 10, 2019 in a Berlin court. 
  • Sixth hearing of the trial where Etkin News Agency (ETHA) reporter Ali Sönmez Kayar faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will be held at İstanbul 32nd High Criminal Court

14 February Friday

  • Sixteenth hearing of the “Özgür Gündem main trial” where 9 people including since shut-down Özgür Gündem daily’s writers and executive staff face “disrupting the unity and integrity of the state,” “establishing an organization for the purpose of committing crimes,” and “terrorist propaganda” charges will be held at İstanbul 23rd High Criminal Court. Those who stand trial are: Filiz Koçali, Aslı Erdoğan, Necmiye Alpay, Ragıp Zarakolu, Zana Kaya, İnan Kızılkaya, Eren Keskin, Kemal Sancılı and Bilge Aykut.
  • Sixth hearing of the trial where artist Ferhat Tunç faces “inciting the public to hatred and animosity” charges for his social media posts will be held at Büyükçekmece 4th Criminal Court of First Instance this week.