Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of October 12

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

12 October Monday

  • Third hearing of the trial where journalist Uğur Güç is accused of insulting President Erdoğan’s lawyer Mustafa Doğan İnal will be held at Anadolu 29th Criminal Court of First Instance this week. Güç faces this charge for a news report published in haber.sol.org news portal titled “Court obeyed the foul-mouthed lawyer: Prison sentence for Işıl Özgentürk.”
  • 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.

13 October Tuesday

  • Fifth 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 Fuat Avni between 2014 and 2016 will be held at İstanbul 32nd High Criminal Court
  • Third hearing of the trial where Die Welt journalist Deniz Yücel faces  “insulting a public official” charges due to a tweet he posted will be held at İstanbul 24th Criminal Court of First Instance. The concerned tweet was posted on Feb 20, 2019 and is about the prosecutor who was leading the investigation on Osman Kavala.
  • Eighth hearing of the trial where former Gelî Kurdistan TV eski 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. 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.
  • Fourth hearing of the trial where Demokratik Ulus newspaper former Managing Editor Arafat Dayan faces “terror propaganda” and “printing or publishing the declarations or announcements of terrorist organizations” charges for various news reports published in Demokratik Ulus daily newspaper between 26 Jun – 3 Jul 2012 will be held at İstanbul 23rd Criminal Court this week. Dayan had previously been sentenced to 4 years and 2 months in prison in this case. He entered prison once the sentence was upheld. However, Dayan was released from prison on November 7, 2019 once the judicial reform strategy took effect and the article on terror propaganda was amended. The Court of Cassation ruled that Dayan be re-tried as part of this case and the file returned to the local court.
  • Trial where since shuttered TV10’s former cameraman Kemal Demir and staffer Kemal Karagöz face “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization without being a member” charges will be held at Istanbul 28th High Criminal Court. Demir was released from prison in the previous hearing after a detention period of over a year.
  • Trial where artist Ferhat Tunç faces “insulting a public official” charges will resume at Büyükçekmece 16th Criminal Court of First Instance this week. Tunç is accused of insulting former Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım in his social media posts from 2016. 

14 October Wednesday

  • Trial where journalist Hayko Bağdat, whom MLSA represents in court, is accused of “insulting the President” will resume at İstanbul 50th Criminal Court of First Instance this week. Bağdat faces this charge for his article published in ozguruz.org on April 14, 2017 titled “This is my final article on Erdoğan” and four tweets he had posted in 2014, 2015, and 2017. 
  • First hearing of the trial where journalist Buse Söğütlü is accused of “disclosing or publishing the identity of a public official on anti-terrorist duty and identifying them as a target” will be held at İstanbul 23rd High Criminal Court this week. Söğütlü is accused of identifying former Presiding Judge of  İstanbul 37th High Criminal Court  Akın Gürlek for sharing the URL of a news report on Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD) trial with the note: “If Hitler gets up from his grave and sits on Akın Gürlek’s chair, he would’ve probably formed the same sentences. Putting occupational ethics aside, one should carry the weight of the position they hold.” 

15 October Thursday

  • Third hearing of the trial where journalist Sabiha Temizkan, whom MLSA represents in court, faces “making terror propaganda” charges will be held at İstanbul 35th High Criminal Court. The indictment lists only one tweet Temizkan had posted in 2014, in which she shares a news story on ISIS capturing Makhmur refugee camp in Northern Iraq. 
  • Türkiye Teknoloji Takımı (T3) Vakfı, Sözcü gazetesi yazarı Çiğdem Toker aleyhinde 28 Ocak 2019 tarihinde Sözcü gazetesinde yayımlanan “İBB’den Vakıflara Hizmet Raporu” başlıklı yazısı gerekçesiyle açtığı 80 bin TL’lik manevi tazminat davasının görülmesine bu hafta Küçükçekmece 3. Asliye Hukuk Mahkemesinde devam edilecek. Şikayet dilekçesinde “Bu haberi yayınlayan gazete yöneticileri ve yazıyı yazanın vatan sevgisini sorgulamak gerekmektedir” ifadeleri yer alıyor ve vakfın “kişilik haklarının zedelendiği” iddia ediliyor. 
  • Second hearing of the trial where Sözcü columnist journalist Çiğdem Toker is sued by T3 Foundation with a request of 80k TRY will be held at Küçükçekmece 3rd Civil Court of First Instance this week. Toker is sued for a column she penned on İstanbul Municipality funding pro-government foundations, which was published in Sözcü daily on 28 January 2019. 
  • Second hearing of the trial where Mesopotamia News Agency (MA) reporters Sadiye Eser and Sadık Topaloğlu face “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will be held at İstanbul 22nd High Criminal Court this week. Eser and Topaloğlu were detained on Nov 29, 2019 shortly after they left the news agency’s building and were arrested on Dec 3, 2019. Journalists were released during the first hearing held on Mar 26, 2020.