MLSA asked the prosecutor: ‘Where are the DroneCell ads?’

MLSA asked the prosecutor: ‘Where are the DroneCell ads?’
On February 10, Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) Co-Director Veysel Ok filed a criminal complaint against mobile network (GSM) operators and the executives of the Information and Communication Technologies authority (BTK) for “misuse of public duty”, “prevention of communication”, “reckless killing” and “reckless injury.”  On February 15, MLSA’s Legal Unit submitted a supplementary statement to its criminal complaint against the GSM operators and the BTK executives to the prosecutor’s office. In their statement, the lawyers request an investigation into the reasons why the DroneCell [aerial base station] advertisement, in which Turkcell promoted DroneCell as being available for use in disaster situations, has been removed everywhere. The lawyers further demanded that the witnesses brought forward in the statement be heard and, taking into account the possibility of their escape, that judicial control measures be imposed on the suspects that are to be identified. 

‘Indeed, DroneCells have never been used’

MLSA’s Legal Unit submitted a supplementary statement including information from further research and a list of witnesses to the investigation file that is being processed at the Bureau for Public Officials’ Crimes at the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.  The lawyers draw attention to the fact that although the GSM operators that have monopolized the sector are making high profits, they did not take into account disaster situations and failed to install sufficient base stations due to high costs. In the statement, it is underlined that the operators made advertisements despite this insufficiency. While Turkcell announced “DroneCell” to the public as the “First Flying Base Station,” the lawyers note that during the earthquake catastrophe, such a service has not been provided. Referring to the DroneCell advertisement, the statement declares that “Indeed, DroneCells have never been used.”  The statement points out that although the DroneCell webpage stills turns up as a result in Google search, the page has been removed from Turkcell’s website. Following archive search results, the prosecutor’s office has been informed that the related webpage was accessible last on February 9, 2023. Subsequently, the lawyers requested an investigation into the reasons why the DroneCell service, which according to its advertisement could be used in disaster situations, was despite this claim not offered within 72 hours - which is the critical threshold for search and rescue operations. Likewise, an investigation into the reasons why the webpage has been taken down was demanded. 

Kılıçdaroğlu, Babacan, Members of Parliament and journalists should be heard as witnesses  

MLSA lawyers presented social media posts that touched on the communication problems in the region to the prosecutor’s office and demanded that politicians, journalists, earthquake victims and people who tried to save their relatives by their own means be heard as witnesses in order to better understand the experienced disruptions.  Among those who are requested to be heard as witnesses in the supplementary statement and who were present in the region are the Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, whose announcement on Twitter was delayed due to interruptions, Deva Party Chair Ali Babacan, the Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP) Members of Parliament Barış Atay and Erkan Baş, Hatay’s Mayor Lütfü Savaş, the Peoples’ Democratic Party Member of Parliament Meral Danış Beştaş, the journalists Alican Uludağ, Rabia Çetin, Zübeyde Sarı, İrem Afşin, Ceren Kaynak İski and the Turkey Representative of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Erol Önderoğlu, who coordinated the necessary support to journalists in the region.  Taking into account the possibility and opportunity of escape of the suspects who are to be identified following the investigation, the MLSA lawyers further requested that judicial control measures be imposed on the suspects. 

Lawyer Veysel Ok: We invite everyone to be a witness in this case 

MLSA Co-Director and lawyer Veysel Ok pointed out that an effective investigation bringing those responsible before the court is crucial to serve justice on behalf of those who lost their lives and to bring about a better preparedness for the inevitable Istanbul earthquake. The lawyer announced: “We will continue to submit all the information that we obtain as result of our research as well as the expert reports that we expect from international institutions to the prosecutor’s office. The prosecutor’s office has the important duty and the historical opportunity to re-establish the belief in justice in our society, which has further decreased following this disaster.”  Underlining that the consequences of the earthquake catastrophe can only be dealt with through social solidarity and pointing out that the lawsuit concerns the whole society, lawyer Ok invited all politicians, journalists, earthquake victims and relatives of those who lost their lives to join the investigation and the lawsuit to be opened and become witnesses.  NOTE: Anyone who suffered from the insufficiencies of the GSM operators’ services in the earthquake region and is able to testify in the case is kindly requested to reach out to MLSA’s Legal Unit at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Medya ve Hukuk Çalışmaları Derneği (MLSA) haber alma hakkı, ifade özgürlüğü ve basın özgürlüğü alanlarında faaliyet yürüten bir sivil toplum kuruluşudur. Derneğimiz başta gazeteciler olmak üzere mesleki faaliyetleri sebebiyle yargılanan kişilere hukuki destek vermektedir.