Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of June 21

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

21 June Monday

  • Fourth hearing of the trial where media critic and writer Deniz Gedizlioğlu is accused of insulting actor Talat Bulut will be held at Anadolu 1st Criminal Court of First Instance. Complainant Talat Bulut claims that Gedizlioğlu “insulted him in order to gain fame” in a critical article published on the Turkish TV show “Yasak Elma,” where Bulut was the lead actor.

22 June Tuesday

  • 22nd hearing of the KCK Press trial where 46 journalists, including Dilek Demiral whom Media and Law Studies Association defends, face terror-related charges, which has been going on for the past 10 years, will take place at İstanbul 3rd High Criminal Court this week. 32 journalists out of the 46 who were taken into custody on December 20, 2011 were arrested on December 24 as part of an operation towards Kurdish media including Dicle News Agency, Özgür Gündem, Azadiya Welat, Demokratik Modernite and Fırat Distribution Inc. Interviews, photos, press briefs that they attended, correspondence with news resources and many other journalistic activities were used as evidence against them in the indictment.
  • 20th hearing of the trial where since shut Özgür Gündem daily’s former Co-Editor-in-Chief Hüseyin Aykol, former Managing Editor Reyhan Çapan and contributors İslam Tüner, Lütfi Yavuzaslan, Methi Kaya, Hasan Başak and Kemal Yakut face “terrorist propaganda,” “provoking to commit a crime” and “praising an offense or an offender” charges because of Özgür Gündem’s reporting on “self-governance” in Kurdish provinces in March 2016 will resume at İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court.

23 June Wednesday

  • Fourth hearing of the trial where journalist and economist Mustafa Sönmez faces “insulting the President” charges due to three tweets he posted in 2015-2016 will be held at Anadolu 26th Criminal Court of First Instance.
  • Third hearing of the trial where journalist Hakan Gülseven and activist Taylan Kulaçoğlu face “terror propaganda” charges will be held at Balıkesir 3rd High Criminal Court this week. Gülseven’s four Facebook posts on İbrahim Gökçek, Mustafa Koçak as well as posts in support of Grup Yorum are presented as evidence against the journalist. Kulaçoğlu faces additional charges of “membership in a terrorist organization” and is accused of membership to DHKP-C. In addition to many Twitter posts, Kulaçoğlu attending demonstrations supporting hunger strikes of Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça as well as carrying placards, chanting, having articles written in support of these individuals published in allegedly DHKP-C related publications are presented as evidence against the activist.

24 June Thursday

  • Trial where former Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter Şerife Oruç faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will resume at Batman 2nd High Criminal Court.
  • Thirteenth hearing of the trial where journalist Kibriye Evren faces “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terrorist propaganda” charges for her journalistic activities and social media posts will resume at Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court. Evren was arrested on Oct 11, 2018 and was tried whilst in detention until the previous hearing. She was released during the eighth hearing of the trial on Nov 11, 2019 following a 13-month detainment.
  • Trial where journalist Can Dündar and since shuttered Özgür Gündem newspaper’s former Managing Editor İnan Kızılkaya face “publishing and disseminating the declarations of a terrorist organization” charges will resume at İstanbul 22nd High Criminal Court this week. Dündar stands trial for having participated in the “Editors-in-Chief on Watch” campaign launched in solidarity with Özgür Gündem in 2016.
  • Third hearing of the trial where photographer and poet Mehmet Özer faces “making terror propaganda” charges for six Facebook posts he shared between 2012 and 2015 will be held at Ankara 2nd High Criminal Court this week.
  • Third hearing of the trial where Cumhuriyet newspaper reporter Hazal Ocak, Managing Editor Olcay Büyüktaş, editor İpek Özbey and photojournalist Vedat Arık face “publishing the identities of state officials on anti-terror duty and/or identifying them as targets” and “violation of the privacy of personal life” charges will be held at İstanbul 26th High Criminal Court. Journalists stand trial for Ocak’s reporting on an illegal construction site in the land next to Turkish Presidency’s Communications Director Fatih Altun’s home in Kuzguncuk, which was published on April 14, 2020. The indictment claimed that “freedom of expression and dissemination of thought must at times be limited in order to protect the public and the state,” and further argued that Communications Director Altun must be considered as “having anti-terror duty and serving for this purpose when considered his statements and activities in relation to terrorist organizations.

25 June Friday

  • Fourth hearing of the trial where former President of the Diyarbakır Bar Association Ahmet Özmen and 10 Executive Board members face “degrading the Turkish nation, state of the Turkish republic, the organs and institutions of the state” and “provoking the public to hatred and hostility” charges for the Bar’s official 24 April Armenian Genocide Remembrance day statements from 2017 and 2018 will be held at Diyarbakır 13th High Criminal Court. Former Bar President Ahmet Özmen and former Executive Board members Sertaç Buluttekin, Serhat Eren, Nahit Eren, Mahsum Batı, Nuşin Uysal Ekinci, Cihan Ülsen, Muhammet Neşet Girasun, İmran Gökdere, Velat Alan and Ahmet Dağ face these charges for 24 April statements as well as a report documenting the use of military drones in Hakkari, which was prepared by the Diyarbakır Bar.