Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of September 7

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

8 September Tuesday
  • Trial where BirGün daily Managing Editor Uğur Koç, proprietor İbrahim Aydın and editor Mustafa Kömüş are accused of insulting Berat Albayrak in a news report on  access bans issued for links suggesting his alleged affair will resume at Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance.
  • Trial where artist Ferhat Tunç faces “making terrorist propaganda” charges based on eight tweets where he criticized the Turkish army’s “Olive Branch operation” conducted in Afrin, Syria will resume at İstanbul 37th High Criminal Court this week.
9 September Wednesday
  • Journalists who were arrested in March 2020 for their reporting on the death of a Turkish intelligence agent in Libya will appear before the İstanbul 34th High Criminal Court for the second hearing of their trial. While Oda TV Editor-in-Chief Barış Pehlivan, Hülya Kılınç who is a reporter from Manisa, Turkey, and Yeniçağ newspaper columnist Murat Ağırel are still behind bars; Oda TV News Director Barış Terkoğlu, Yeni Yaşam newspaper Editor-in-Chief Ferhat Çelik and Managing Editor Aydın Keser were released during the first hearing held on June 25, 2020.  Journalists are  accused of “Disclosing of information relating to the security and political interests of the state” (Turkish Penal Code Art. 329/1) and “Obtaining documents and information relating to National Intelligence Organization’s duties and operations” (Law on State Intelligence Services and the National Intelligence Organization Art. 27/3) charges. Journalist Erk Acarer is tried without detention. 
  • The “Özgür Gündem main trial” where 4 people including since shut-down Özgür Gündem daily’s writers and executive staff face “disrupting the unity and integrity of the state,” “establishing an organization for the purpose of committing crimes,” and “terrorist propaganda” charges will resume at İstanbul 23rd High Criminal Court this week. This will be the first hearing of Zana Bilir Kaya, İnan Kızılkaya, Kemal Sancılı and Eren Keskin under a separate case-file, which was separated during the previous hearing on February 14, 2020. Necmiye Alpay, Aslı Erdoğan and Bilge Aykut were acquitted during that hearing.
  • Trial where Etkin News Agency (ETHA) editor Semiha Şahin and reporter Pınar Gayıp face “membership in a terrorist organization” and “making terrorist propaganda” charges will resume at İstanbul 23rd High Criminal Court. Şahin and Gayıp were released with judicial control measures and house arrest following a 14-month detainment during the previous hearing, which was held on June 13, 2019. Their house arrest was lifted during the hearing held on December 11, 2019. 
  • Second hearing of the trial where Progressive Journalists’ Association’s (ÇGD) Mediterranean Region head and Körfez newspaper’s Managing Editor Engin Korkmaz faces “insulting the President” charges will be held at Antalya 19th Criminal Court of First Instance this week.
10 September Thursday
  • Journalist Pelin Ünker and Orhan Erinç, Chairman of the Cumhuriyet Foundation’s Executive Board at the time will appear before the İstanbul 21st Civil Court of First Instance for the fifth hearing of the trial where they’re sued for Ünker’s reporting on Paradise Papers. Ünker and Erinç were sued by Çalık Holding for Cumhuriyet’s Paradise Papers reporting where Ünker mentioned the Albayraks’ off-shore accounts from the time when they were executives of the company. 
  • Trial where artist Ferhat Tunç faces “making terrorist propaganda” charges based on eight tweets where he criticized the Turkish army’s “Olive Branch operation” in Afrin, Syria will resume at İstanbul 37th High Criminal Court
  • 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 begin at Anadolu 53rd Criminal Court of First Instance this week. 
  • 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 FETÖ.”