Press Freedom

Journalist Onur Öncü to defend himself in “insult” case

Özgürüz programmer journalist Onur Öncü, who is accused of insulting Turkey’s Minister of Interior Süleyman Soylu, is expected to submit his defense statement.

Küçükçekmece 22nd Criminal Court of First Instance will be trying the case via “simple procedure, ”where Öncü will be represented by the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA). 

Requesting the journalist be punished as per Article 125 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), the indictment claims that Öncü committed the crime “publicly” “against a public official due to their public duty,” and cites the May 3, 2021-dated broadcast on Özgürüz’s Youtube channel titled “Minister of Interior wishing to be the Hortum Süleyman* of the country” as evidence for crime. The expression in the title of the video does not belong to Öncü, but his guest.

Öncü and his lawyers will be submitting their defense statements to the Küçükçekmece 22nd Criminal Court of First Instance in the next 15 days. 

About “simple procedure”

“Simple procedure,” is a criminal procedure that is conducted on paper following the acceptance of the indictment by a court, and is dependent on its discretion. This procedure became a law via the first judicial reform package and took effect on October 24, 2019, in order to speed up the proceedings with regards to some charges.

The first journalist to be tried and sentenced via this procedure was JinNews reporter Hikmet Tunç. Tunç’s lawyer had noted that this procedure violated the principle of being face-to-face. 

*Hortum Süleyman: Appellation for Süleyman Ulusoy, former Beyoğlu Chief of Police who is infamously known to beat and torture trans people in the Beyoğlu Police Station.