Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of November 2

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

4 November 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 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.”
  • The retrial of journalists Ahmet Memiş, Ali Akkuş, Atilla Taş, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Ünal Tanık, Yakup Çetin and Yetkin Yıldız for what is known by the public as the “FETÖ media trial” will begin at İstanbul 25th High Criminal Court this week. 16th Criminal Chamber of the Court of Cassation had upheld the sentences of 17 out of 26 defendants and overturned sentences of 8 defendants. The court justified its decision to overturn convictions based on the fact that there is insufficient evidence to prove that seven defendants (excluding Atilla Taş) are “members in a terrorist organization.” The court also overturned Atilla Taş’s conviction for “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member” charges, arguing that Taş’s actions constitute the elements of “insulting the President” and “denigrating the Turkish nation” charges.

5 November Thursday

  • Second hearing of the trial where former Fox TV anchor Fatih Portakal is accused of defying the Banking Law per Turkey’s banking regulator agency BDDK’s complaint that Portakal tarnished their reputation in a tweet will be held at İstanbul 46th Criminal Court of First Instance this week.
  • Fourth hearing of the trial where İleri Haber’s former Editor-in-Chief Onur Emre Yağan faces “insulting the president” charges for 4 tweets posted from İleri Haber’s official account will be held at Anadolu 53rd Criminal Court of First Instance this week. 
  • Trial where Etkin News Agency (ETHA) reporter Ali Sönmez Kayar faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will resume at İstanbul 32nd High Criminal Court this week.