Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of November 4 – 8

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

November 4, Monday
  • Second hearing of the retrial of the case against Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan, Nazlı Ilıcak, Fevzi Yazıcı, Yakup Şimşek, and Şükrü Tuğrul Özşengül will be heard at the Istanbul 26th High Criminal Court after the Supreme Court of Appeals overturned all aggravated life sentences against five defendants and demanded Mehmet Altan’s acquittal. The Supreme Court ruled that Ahmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak should face lesser charges of “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member,” while their co-defendants Fevzi Yazıcı, Yakup Şimşek and Şükrü Tuğrul Özşengül should be charged with “membership in a terrorist organization” in the retrial.
November 5, Tuesday
  • Sixteenth hearing of the trial where journalist Uğur Yılmaz, whom MLSA defends in court, faces “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terrorist propaganda” charges for his journalistic activities was held at Bitlis 2nd High Criminal Court. Yılmaz is tried whilst in detention and has been detained since July 17, 2017. Yılmaz used to work at the Bitlis Municipality’s Press Bureau. His reporting and social media posts from that period is presented as evidence against him in this trial.
  • Fifth hearing of the trial where 22 Özgür Gündem journalists–who were taken into custody while the police was raiding Özgür Gündem daily’s office on 16 June 2016–are tried on charges of “resisting a public official to prevent them from performing their duty” and “libel” will be held at İstanbul 5th Criminal Court of the First Instance
  • The trial where journalist Selman Keleş faces “disrupting the unity and integrity of the state” charges will resume at İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. Keleş faces this charge due to a news story published on since shuttered Dicle News Agency’s (DİHA) website titled, “The ranger who quit: They are sending us to death.”
  • Eighteenth hearing of the trial where Berzan Güneş faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges due to his journalistic activities will be held at Anadolu 2nd High Criminal Court. The case was merged with another one heard in Iğdır.
  • Sixth hearing of the trial where twelve defendants including journalist Ceren Karlıdağ face defying the Law on Assemblies and Demonstrations no. 2911 and prevention of public duty charges will be held at Izmir 32nd Criminal Court of First Instance.
November 6, Wednesday
  • Second hearing of the trial where journalist Ferhat Parlak faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will be held at Diyarbakır 10th High Criminal Court. Parlak was taken into custody on April 10th, 2018 and a judgeship had ruled for his arrest on April 13th, 2018. The indictment against journalist Parlak was submitted almost a year after his arrest, on March 25th, 2019. Parlak was released on July 8 during the first hearing of his trial, where he appeared before a court for the first time since he was detained.
November 7, Thursday
  • Fifth hearing of the trial where Cumhuriyet’s former web editor Atakan Sönmez faces “terrorist propaganda” charges will be held at İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court. Articles published during Turkey’s military operation in Afrin, Syria were presented as evidence against Sönmez. The indictment claimed that Cumhuriyet newspaper’s website had allegedly published articles that support  the operations of YPG/YPJ in Syria. The indictment specifically listed two articles as evidence for the alleged crime: “YPG’s statement on the loss endured during the Olive Branch Operation” and “13 academics call for peace in Afrin, including David Harvey and Noam Chomsky.”
  • Trial where Oda TV Ankara News Director Müyesser Yıldız is sued by Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar for 250 thousand Turkish Liras in reparations will resume at Ankara 7th Civil Court of First Instance. Akar has alleged that Oda TV aimed at “directing the public’s hatred and animosity towards him by imaginary, surreal and ideologic reporting” and that these news reports against him were “aiding FETO.” 
November 8, Friday
  • The trial where journalist Adnan Bilen faces “insulting the president” charges for his Facebook posts will resume at Van 4th Criminal Court of First Instance this week.