Upcoming Trials

Journalism and freedom of expression trials: Week of May 16

This week, the hearings of several journalism and freedom of expression trials will be held. Below is the list of these hearings:

May 16th, Monday

  • The first hearing of the suit for damages brought against journalist Sedat Yılmaz and Yeni Yaşam daily by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law and the Board Chairman of Baykar Defense Selçuk Bayraktar will be held in the Bakırköy 14th Civil Court of First Instance, at 10.15. The article titled “Erdoğan ailesi ve devlet Bayraktar’ın satış mümessili gibi: Aile boyu savaş ticareti [The Erdoğan family and the state are like the salespeople for Bayraktar: War commerce for the whole family] published in the daily on November 23, 2021 and the article titled “Bayraktar SİHA’lar hangi ülkeye nasıl satılıyor? [How and to which countries Bayraktars are sold?]” published on the website of the daily on November 22, 2021 are cited as reason for the 150.000 TL compensation demanded. In the lawsuit petition which includes a lengthy explanations of the advantages of the armed drones and the praises of foreign representatives for the Bayraktar drones, it is claimed that through the news articles Bayraktar’s personal rights were violated because the articles “create the impression that public sources from the treasury are transferred to [Bayraktar]” through donations made to countries who purchase the Bayraktar drones.

May 17th, Tuesday

  • The first hearing of the trial in which journalist Nurcan Yalçın faces “aiding an organization knowingly and willingly” charge will be held in the Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court, at 09.30. The indictment presents the interviews Yalçın conducted between 2015 and 2016 in Diyarbakır’s Sur district and the statements of the people interviewed as evidence against Yalçın and requests up to 15 years imprisonment. Claiming that Yalçın “aided the terrorist organization without belonging to its hierarchical structure”, the prosecutor argues that Yalçın’s journalistic activities cannot be considered within the boundaries of freedom of expression as they constitute “threat to the territorial integrity of the nation.”
  • The 14th hearing of the trial in which nine people including Etkin News Agency (ETHA) reporter Ali Sönmez Kayar face “membership in an armed terrorist organization” charge will be held in the İstanbul 32nd High Criminal Court, at 10:40. The indictment presents Kayar’s attendance to events which he was following as a reporter and the news reports about his arrest on ETHA as evidence against him.

May 18th, Wednesday

  • The first hearing of the trial in which 16 people who were taken into custody before the February 3, 2022 “Freedom for the ill prisoners watch” in front of the Yenibosna Forensic Medicine Institute, called by the Solidarity with the Imprisoned Initiative face “defying the Law no. 2911 on Demonstrations and Assemblies” charge will be held in the Bakırköy 51st Criminal Court of First Instance, at 09.30. Among the evidence cited against people which the prosecutor describes as “those gathered in front of the institute to create pressure on the public” is the social media call shared on the Initiative’s accounts.

May 20th, Friday

  • The 29th hearing of the trial in which 67 people including since-shuttered Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter Engin Eren face “membership in a terrorist organization”, “defying the Law on Assemblies and Demonstrations no. 2911” and “defying the Military Restricted Zones and Security Zones Law no. 2565” charges will be held in the Batman 2nd High Criminal Court, at 10:30. Engin was detained in 2015 while he was following “the human shield protest” organized by civil society organizations and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Batman to stop the fight between PKK and the Turkish Armed Forces.