Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of March 1

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

3 March Wednesday

  • Trial where lawyer and human rights defender Nurcan Kaya faces “consecutively making terror propaganda” charges for her Twitter posts will begin at Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court this week.  
  • Second hearing of the trial where journalist Nurcan Yalçın faces “membership in a terrorist organization” and “making terror propaganda” charges will be held at Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court this week. Yalçın was indicted as part of the investigation launched against Rosa Women’s Association, a Diyarbakır-based civil society organization founded in December 2018. Evidence presented against Yalçın include a secret witness statement claiming that she is a “senior authority” of the Rosa association and documents confiscated while the association’s headquarters were raided. 
  • Eighth hearing of the trial where Gaziantep’s Şahinbey Municipality demands 20 thousand Turkish liras in reparations from Cumhuriyet newspaper reporter Hazal Ocak will be held at Gaziantep 6th Civil Court of First Instance this week. The municipality demands this reparation for Ocak’s news report titled “Şahinbey’s Tender Trick.” The news report claimed that a car park tender bidding organised by Gaziantep’s Şahinbey Municipality was rigged, that the winner of the tender bid was pre-determined. The article was based on the statements of a CHP council member of the Şahinbey Municipality. The complaint claims that “these far-from-reality claims have hurt the Municipality’s reputation as a legal entity” and demands 20 thousand Liras from the CHP council member as well.
  • Ninth 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.

4 March Thursday

  • Trial where journalist Hayko Bağdat faces “terror propaganda” charges based on nine social media posts from 2017 and 2018 will resume at İstanbul 28th High Criminal Court this week. Social media posts that are used as evidence against Bağdat, whom MLSA represents in court, include retweeting a photo of Osman Kavala and retweeting an interview with PKK leader Cemil Bayık.
  • Third hearing of the trial where journalist Oktay Candemir faces “insulting the President” charges for a tweet he had posted on September 5, 2019 will be held at Van 3rd Criminal Court of First Instance. Candemir’s concerned tweet criticized Erdoğan’s policy on appointing trustees to local Kurdish municipalities instead of elected mayors.
  • Thirteenth hearing of the trial where since shuttered Dicle News Agency reporter Abdullah Kaya faces “membership in a terror organization” and “consecutively making terror propaganda” charges will be held at Ağrı 2nd High Criminal Court. Kaya was briefly detained during the investigation period and was released on May 8, 2017. The trial has been dragging for the past 3 years. Evidence presented against Kaya include footage found in the digital materials that were seized, which Kaya recorded while reporting, two social media posts and witness testimonies. 
  • 21st hearing of the KCK Press trial where 46 journalists face terror-related charges, which has been dragging for the past 7 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.
  • 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.
  • Tenth 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. 
  • The trial of since shut Taraf newspaper’s former administrators Ahmet Altan, Yasemin Çongar and Yıldıray Oğur, reporter Mehmet Baransu, and Aktüel reporter Tuncay Opçin will resume at İstanbul 13rd High Criminal Court this week. The defendants face “disclosing information or documents that, due to their nature, must be kept confidential for reasons relating to the security, or domestic or foreign political interests of the State” charges for Taraf’s reporting on “operation Balyoz,” an alleged Turkish secularist coup plan.
  • Eleventh hearing of the trial where journalist Arif Aslan faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will resume at Van 5th High Criminal Court. Aslan and since shuttered Dicle News Agency reporter Selman Keleş were arrested on 30 March 2017 while taking photos near Van Municipality building as terror suspects and were released during the first hearing of their trial, which was held on 21 November 2017. Although Aslan and Keleş were tried in the same court case Keleş’s file was separated during the eighth hearing which was held on Sept 3, 2020 due to him being abroad.
  • Trial where Artı TV Ankara correspondent Sibel Hürtaş and journalist Hayri Demir face “terrorist propaganda” and “inciting the public to hatred and animosity” charges for their social media posts will resume at Ankara 15th High Criminal Court. Hürtaş and Demir are among 11 defendants who stand trial for their social media posts about Turkish military’s operation in Afrin, Syria.
  • Trial where 38 people including Özgür Gelecek reporter Taylan Özgür Öztaş and Etkin News Agency (ETHA) reporter Tunahan Turhan face defying the Law no. 2911 on Assemblies and Demonstrations will be held at Anadolu 13th Criminal Court of First Instance. They are accused of attending the protests against appointment of trustees in Kurdish provinces instead of elected mayors, which were held at Kadıköy in August 2019. Öztaş was taken in police custody while following the protest as a reporter on Aug 22 and Turhan was taken in custody later in the evening that day with a police raid to his home. Both journalists were released with judicial control measures upon providing their statements at the prosecutor’s office.