Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of January 11

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

11 January Monday

  • Seventh hearing of the trial where four Middle East Technical University (METU) students face “insulting the president” charges for the banner they carried during the commencement ceremony will resume at Ankara 11th Criminal Court of First Instance. The person who allegedly printed the banner also stands trial. The concerned banner refers to a cartoon of Turkish magazine Penguen from 2006, which shows Erdoğan as different kinds of animals with the caption “Kingdom of Tayyips.” 

12 January Tuesday

  • Trial where Demokratik Ulus newspaper’s former Managing Editor Arafat Dayan faces “terror propaganda” charges will resume at İstanbul 2nd High Criminal Court this week. Journalist Dayan was sentenced to 5 years and 10 months in prison for this charge and entered prison in 2016 after the Court of Cassation upheld this sentence in May 2015. Following the enactment of the Judiciary Reform Package, which revised the article on “terror propaganda,” it was ruled that Dayan shall be retried and he was released from prison.
  • Second hearing of the trial where Cumhuriyet daily’s former reporter Alican Uludağ and Managing Editor Olcay Büyüktaş Akça face “disclosing or publishing the identity of a public official on anti-terrorist duty and identifying them as a target via press” charges will be held at İstanbul 32nd High Criminal Court this week. Journalists stand trial for Uludağ’s news report published on 22 November 2019, which revealed that law enforcement were tipped off about the Ankara railway station bombing 8 days prior to the attack but sat on this information. Indictment claims that sharing the name and address of the whistleblower’s workplace goes beyond “the right to inform the public.” 
  • Third hearing of the trial where Adıyaman-based local newspaper Gerger Fırat’s News Manager Özgür Boğatekin faces “terror propaganda” and “disclosing or publishing the identities of state officials on anti-terror duty and/or identifying them as targets” charges for a Facebook post from 2017 will be held at Adıyaman 2nd High Criminal Court. Boğatekin stands trial for sharing the video of gendarmerie sergeant S.Ç.’s argument with HDP Tunceli MP Alican Önlü on Facebook. 
  • Trial where former Cumhuriyet reporter Hakan Dirik and former BirGün reporter Erk Acarer are accused of “slander” against former Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ will resume at İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. Bekir Bozdağ filed a complaint against journalist Dirik because of a news report published in Cumhuriyet on 22 October 2015 titled “AKP protects Islamic terror: Bozdağ closed the Sarin Case” and a similar story Acarer penned for BirGün
  • Eighth hearing of the trial where 9 staffers of since shuttered Zaman daily, Cihan News Agency, Antalya and Bizim Antalya local newspapers face “membership in a terrorist organization” and “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization” charges will be held at Antalya 2nd High Criminal Court this week. Zaman and Cihan News Agency reporters Cihat Ünal, Kenan Baş; Zaman reporters Serhat Şeftali, Osman Yakut, Özkan Mayda ve Ömer Özdemir, Bizim Antalya news web site owner Olgun Matur, Antalya daily owner Ali Orhan and Managing Editor Müdürü Hasan Yavaşlar stand trial as part of the case that is commonly known as the Antalya FETÖ media trial.

13 January Wednesday

  • Second hearing of the trial where journalist Can Ataklı faces “publicly degrading a section of the public  on grounds of social class, race, religion, sect, gender or regional differences” charges will be held at İstanbul 22nd Criminal Court of First Instance this week. Ataklı faces this charge due to his statements made on March 23, 2020 during his morning news show broadcast on Tele1 TV where he criticized teachers wearing headscarves, claiming that they cannot be a role model to youth.

14 January Thursday

  • Trial of seven defendants whose files were separated at the end of the Gezi trial will resume at İstanbul 30th High Criminal Court this week. Defendants Ayşe Pınar Alabora, Can Dündar, Gökçe Tüylüoğlu, Handan Meltem Arıkan, Hanzade Hikmet Germiyanoğlu, İnanç Ekmekçi and Mehmet Ali Alabora all live abroad, are tried in absentia and face various charges including “attempting to overthrow the government.” 
  • Fourth hearing of the trial where Mesopotamia Agency (MA) reporter Ruken Demir faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges based on phone conversations with her news sources will be held at İzmir 19th High Criminal Court this week. Ruken Demir was arrested on November 26, 2019 and was released pending trial during the first hearing.
  • Ninth hearing of the trial where former Gelî Kurdistan TV cameraman Rojhat Doğru faces “disrupting the unity and integrity of the state,” “membership in a terrorist organization,” and “terror propaganda” charges will be held at Diyarbakır 8th High Criminal Court. While Doğru is tried without detention in this case, he was arrested on May 23 for sending money to a friend in prison. Doğru faces these charges for his social media posts, reporting on the Kobanî protests of October 6 – 8, 2014, several interviews he conducted, and secret witness statements against him. 

15 January Friday

  • Fourth hearing of the trial where Progressive Journalists’ Association’s (ÇGD) Mediterranean Region head and Körfez newspaper’s Managing Editor Engin Korkmaz faces “insulting the President” charges will be held at Antalya 19th Criminal Court of First Instance this week.