Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of July 12

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

12 July Monday

  • Second hearing of the trial where 46 defendants who were detained while the police attacked Saturday Mothers/People’s 700th Week meeting at Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square are accused of “resisting the police” per the Law on Assemblies and Demonstrations will be held at İstanbul 21st Criminal Court of First Instance this week. 46 people who were detained on August 25, 2018 include members of the Saturday Mothers/People, human rights defenders and journalists who were reporting on the meeting.

13 July Tuesday

  • 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.
  • Trial where journalists Aziz Oruç and Ersin Çaksu face “denigrating the Turkish nation” charges per Turkish Penal Code’s notorious Article 301 for various news stories published in Özgürlükçü Demokrasi newspaper between October 21 – November 1, 2016 will resume at İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. Journalists Oruç and Çaksu were tried alongside Selman Keleş, Özgür Paksoy, Kenan Kırkaya, İshak Yasul and Ersin Çaksu in this trial. Five other defendants were each sentenced to 5 months in prison per “denigrating the Turkish nation” charges, their sentences were suspended. Oruç and Çaksu’s files were separated since their testimonies were not taken at the time.  
  • Trial where exiled artist Ferhat Tunç faces up to 20 years in prison for “membership in a terrorist organization” and “making terrorist propaganda” charges will resume at Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court this week.
  • First hearing of the trial where journalist Cihan Ölmez is accused of “making terror propaganda” for sharing news reports where he provided statements on curfews announced at Cizre in 2015 and 2016 will be held at Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court this week. Journalist Ölmez was at Cizre at the time and gave interviews on the grave human rights violations in the region. News reports he had shared on his social media accounts back in 2016 are presented as evidence against the journalist and media outlets such as Evrensel daily and bianet are defined as “so-called outlets that support PKK/KCK.” 

14 July Wednesday

  • Trial where Etkin News Agency (ETHA) editor Semiha Şahin and reporter Pınar Gayıp face “membership in a terrorist organization” and “making terrorist propaganda” charges will resume at İstanbul 23rd High Criminal Court. Şahin and Gayıp were released with judicial control measures and house arrest following a 14-month detainment during the previous hearing, which was held on June 13, 2019. Their house arrest was lifted during the hearing held on December 11, 2019.
  • 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.