Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of May 31

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

31 May Monday

  • The Kurdish adaptation of Dario Fo’s play, Bêrû: Klakson Borîzan û Birt by Teatra Jiyana Nû was banned by the district governorship hours before its staging at the City Theatres of İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s Gaziosmanpaşa Stage on Oct 13, 2020. MLSA lawyers had carried the ban to the administrative court, emphasizing the fact that this decision was in violation of the rights of those who demand to see plays in Kurdish. Moreover, it was claimed that the district governorship’s decision was in violation of the Turkish Constitution, as it constituted the violation of the freedom of expression of both the theatre company, and the members of the audience. First hearing of the trial filed by MLSA will be held at İstanbul 10th Administrative Court this week.

2 June Wednesday

  • 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.

3 June Thursday

  • Second hearing of the trial where journalist Abdurrahman Gök faces “membership in a terrorist organization” and “making terror propaganda” charges will be held at Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court this week. Gök faces up to 20 years in prison for his phone conversations with news sources, social media posts, and the content of his reporting. 
  • Trial where journalist Rojda Oğuz faces “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terror propaganda” charges will be held at Van 5th High Criminal Court this week. Oğuz stands trial  among 55 defendants and evidence presented against the journalist include press statements and demonstrations she had attended as well as her social media posts. Attending a demonstration against the Roboski massacre is among the evidence. The indictment also lists a letter dated Feb 10, 2016 from the General Directorate of Press, Broadcasting and Information, which used to be affiliated to the Prime Minister’s office, stating that the institution’s records do not show that Oğuz has a press card.

4 June Friday

  • Fifth hearing of the trial where 38 people including journalists Mustafa Sönmez, Sedef Kabaş, Merdan Yanardağ a Bloomberg Business reporters Kerim Karakaya and Fercan Yalınkılıç are accused of sharing “false, wrong, or deceptive information” to affect the markets for their reporting will resume at İstanbul 3rd Criminal Court of First Instance. The criminal investigation was launched following Turkey’s banking regulator agency BDDK’s complaint and finance reporting & social media posts criticizing the government’s financial policies are considered evidence for “defying the capital markets law.”