Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of March 2

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

2 March Monday

  • Tenth hearing of the trial where journalist Aziz Oruç faces “terrorist propaganda” charges for 12 tweets he had posted between March 17 – May 23, 2016 will be held at Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court this week. Oruç was taken into custody in Doğubayazıt, Ağrı on December 11, 2019 after he was illegally returned to Turkey by Iranian officials. Oruç was arrested per “membership in a terrorist organization” charges and is still in detained in Patnos Prison pending trial.  

3 March Tuesday

  • Fifth hearing of the trial where journalist Mehmet Dursun face “terrorist propaganda” charges based on several phone recordings will be held at Van 4th High Criminal Court this week. Former Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter Mehmet Dursun was arrested in Van in 2017 and remained in detention for eight months pending trial. 
  • Yeni Yaşam gazetesi muhabiri Ferdi Sertkal hakkında Twitter ve Facebook hesapları üzerinden 2014 ve 2019 yıllarından yaptığı 5 paylaşım gerekçe gösterilerek “terör örgütü propagandası” iddiasıyla açılan davanın üçüncü duruşması Van 4. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesinde görülecek.

4 March Wednesday

  • Cumhuriyet reporter Hazal Ocak and the newspaper’s publisher Alev Coşkun will appear before the İstanbul Anadolu 14th Civil Court of First Instance for the second hearing of the trial where they’re sued for a news story published on 6 October 2019 titled “Luxury fixture with a view of the Bosphorus” with Ocak’s signature. Ocak and Coşkun were sued by Cengiz Conglomerate’s Mehmet Cengiz with a request of 1 million Turkish Liras, claiming that “his reputation was tarnished.”
  • Evrensel daily columnist and Galatasaray University faculty member Ceren Sözeri will appear before the İstanbul 2nd Comercial Court of First Instance for the first hearing of 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.

5 March Thursday

  • Second hearing of the trial where Cumhuriyet daily columnist Işıl Özgentürk face “terrorist propaganda” charges because of two tweets from four years ago will be held at İstanbul 28th High Criminal Court.
  • Second hearing of the trial where BirGün daily’s Managing Editors Barış İnce and Cansever Uğur, as well as Executive Board President İbrahim Aydın and member Bülent Yılmaz face “willingly and knowingly aiding and abetting a terrorist organization without being a member” charges for news stories that were published in the newspaper about the anonymous Twitter account titled ‘fuatavni’ between 2014 and 2016 will be held at İstanbul 32nd High Criminal Court
  • Third hearing of the trial where journalist Kenan Kırkaya faces “making terrorist propaganda” charges based on news stories he shared from his social media accounts between 2014 – 2015 will be held at Ankara 32nd High Criminal Court. News stories titled “YPG: We’ll liberate Jerablus as well,” “Criticism from KCK to both the state and their local units” and “PKK commander talked about the war against ISIS” were included in the indictment as evidence, which was drafted on July 31, 2019. On July 21, 2019 pro-government Yeni Akit newspaper had targeted Kırkaya for his column published in Yeni Yaşam titled “Attach towards Kurdistan is not only censorship.” 
  • Fourth hearing of the trial where Oda TV Ankara News Director Müyesser Yıldız is accused of “insulting” the Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar will be held at Ankara 35th Criminal Court of First Instance this week.  Yıldız faces this accusation due to her reporting on the statements of a secret witness nicknamed “Abdullah” that testified as part of a major July 15 coup attempt trial where military staffers stood trial.