Journalists and academics bear the brunt of the massive crackdown on freedom of expression in Turkey. Scores of them are currently subject to criminal investigations or behind bars. This website is dedicated to tracking the legal process against them.
Since 2014, seven different indictments were issued against Canan Coşkun, a former courthouse reporter for Cumhuriyet newspaper.
Following her report titled "Mansion as a gift to TÜRGEV" (“TÜRGEV’e hediye konak”) published in Cumhuriyet on 13 September 2014, the lawyer of Bilal Erdogan, son of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, filed a complaint against Coşkun with allegations of "slander, insult, and violation of privacy.” The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, which initiated an investigation upon the complaint, asked Coşkun to be punished for "insult" in its indictment issued on 9 October 2014. At the end of the trial held by the Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance, the court ruled that the elements of the crime did not occur and acquitted Coşkun.
Judicial fine for "insulting a public official"
Another indictment was issued against Coşkun on 19 June 2015 due to her article titled "A judge cannot pay this amount of money - the controversial sale of housing within the judiciary" ( "Hakim bu parayı ödeyemez-Yargıda tartışılan konut satışı”), an article about the sale of discounted real estate to members of the judiciary which was published in the Cumhuriyet newspaper on 20 February 2015. In the indictment issued with the charge of "insulting a public official because of his duty,” Orhan Kapıcı, then the Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor of Istanbul, and Orhan Yiğit, a prosecutor from the Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office, listed as complainants. According to the indictment, the victims of the alleged crimes were listed as follows: Then İstanbul 3rd Criminal Judge of Peace İslam Çiçek, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor Hadi Salihoğlu, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Deputies Fuzuli Aydoğdu, İrfan Fidan, and İsmail Uçar, the Istanbul Public Prosecutor Mehmet Demir, the Küçükçekmece Chief Public Prosecutor Ali Doğan, and the Istanbul Anatolian Chief Public Prosecutor Fehmi Tosun. The Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance accepted the indictment. At the final hearing dated 26 January 2017, the court sentenced Coşkun to a judicial fine of 12,600 TL for "insulting a public official due to his duty.” The newspaper paid the fine.
Prison sentence for "insulting the state's military and police force"
An investigation was launched against Coşkun following her news report titled “The onion coverage of MİT” (“Soğan’dan da MİT çıktı"). The piece was about the Şanlıurfa Chief Public Prosecutor's indictment regarding the transportation of explosives to ISIS with onion camouflage and published in the Cumhuriyet newspaper on 26 May 2016. Only after an hour-long investigation, Prosecutor Murat İnam, who is tried for "membership in a terrorist organization" within the scope of the "FETÖ investigation,” issued an indictment against Coşkun with the charge of "publicly insulting the state's military and police organization.” At the end of the trial held by the Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance, Coşkun was sentenced to 10 months in prison on the charge of "publicly denigrating the state's military and police organization.” At the final hearing on 9 May 2017, the court postponed the announcement of the verdict.
Prison sentence on the charge of “marking an official as target”
Another lawsuit was filed against Coşkun for her article titled "They sang and got arrested” (“Türkü Söylediler Tutuklandılar”) published in the Cumhuriyet newspaper on 21 August 2016, this time, on charges of "disclosing the identities of people who took part in the fight against terrorism.” In the indictment, which was issued on 14 December 2016, it was stated that “Although the article in question has a newsworthy value, it does not have any intellectual obligation to write the name of the public officer fighting against terrorism.” In the final hearing on 2 May 2017, the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court sentenced Coşkun to 10 months in prison and postponed the verdict’s announcement.
"Insulting the president" case
The fifth indictment against Coşkun was issued for the article titled "Erdoğan ordered, journalism arrested" (“Erdoğan buyurdu, gazetecilik tutuklandı”) published in the Cumhuriyet newspaper on 27 November 2015. In the indictment dated 13 November 2017, Coşkun was asked to be sentenced for "insulting the President" for her article about the imprisonment of Cumhuriyet newspaper's former Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar and Ankara representative Erdem Gül. At the final hearing held at the Istanbul 40th Criminal Court of First Instance on 20 June 2019, the judge ruled to acquit Coşkun on the grounds that the act did not comply with the article specified in the law.
Prison sentence for “targeting”
Another indictment was issued against Canan Coşkun on 5 April 2018 for "targeting people who took part in the fight against terrorism" for reporting the prosecution inquiries of lawyers detained within the scope of an investigation against the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C). Coşkun was sentenced to 2 years and 3 months in prison in the final hearing at the Istanbul 26th High Criminal Court on 19 July 2018. Coşkun's lawyers appealed the verdict.
The Istanbul Regional Court of Justice 2nd Criminal Chamber, which examined the appeal request on 14 January 2020, said that the news subject to the case cannot be accepted as marking as a target; considering one of the necessary elements of democratic society is informing the public, criticism and interpretation mission of the press, and the news report should be evaluated within the scope of freedom of expression regulated in the 26th Article of the Constitution and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Therefore the appeal court overturned the verdict and acquited Coşkun.
Case filed for report on Berkin Elvan investigation
A new indictment was filed against Coşkun for "targeting officials involved in the fight against terrorism" for her article titled "Police who allegedly shot Berkin Elvan did not remember his place of duty" (“Berkin Elvan’ı vurduğu iddia edilen polis görev yerini hatırlamadı”) published in Cumhuriyet on 11 March 2016. In the indictment dated 21 November 2019, Coşkun is accused of revealing the identity of one of the suspected police officers in the investigation of the death of 15-year-old Berkin Elvan due to a gas canister fired by police during Gezi Park protests. In the case heard by the Istanbul 34th High Criminal Court, Coşkun is being prosecuted along with two other journalists, Can Uğur and Ali Açar.
In addition to the cases against her, Coşkun was arrested twice. Once on 10 May 2019, at a check stop in Istanbul. Coşkun, was arrested on the grounds of the arrest warrant issued due to an unpaid judiciary fine which was ruled by the Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance for her article titled "A judge cannot pay this amount of money - the controversial sale of housing within the judiciary" published at the Cumhuriyet newspaper on 2015. Following the payment, Coşkun was released on 11 May 2019.
The latter was on 13 November 2019, along with documentary maker Kazım Kızıl in Giresun province while covering the work of the Parliamentary Investigation Commission on the death of 11-year-old Rabia Naz Vatan. Four people, including Coşkun were referred to the Görele Criminal Judgeship of Peace on the night of 14 November 2019, then released under judicial control measures in the form of a travel ban and a court ordering her not to approach the witness' home.