Expression Interrupted

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.

Cumhuriyet columnist Işıl Özgentürk acquitted

Cumhuriyet columnist Işıl Özgentürk acquitted

Özgentürk was accused of “systematically making propaganda for a terrorist organization” through her social media posts


The second and final hearing in the trial of Işıl Özgentürk, a columnist for Cumhuriyet daily, on the charge of “systematically making terrorist group propaganda” over posts she had shared on social media, took place on 5 March 2020 at the 28th High Criminal Court of Istanbul.

P24 monitored the hearing, where Özgentürk and her lawyers were in attendance. At the previous hearing held on 5 December 2019, the prosecution had presented their final opinion, requesting the court to convict Özgentürk as charged.

Delivering her final defense statement, Özgentürk’s lawyer Özge Demir said that her client had criticized rather than praised violence. “Hate speech or encouraging violent behavior are not substantially established in the case; the social media posts held as evidence against Özgentürk in the case file are within the bounds of journalistic activity and the moral and factual elements of the crime are non-existent,” Demir said, requesting the court to acquit her client.

Özgür Murat Büyük, another lawyer representing Özgentürk, reminded the court to take into account both the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), of which Turkey is a signatory, and to render a verdict that protects freedom of expression.

Asked for her last words before the verdict, Özgentürk said she rejected the allegation of supporting a terrorist organization: “If I am to go to prison at age 73, I ask the court to punish me on a different crime.”

Issuing its verdict at the end of the hearing, the court ruled, by a majority, to acquit Özgentürk in light of the amendment introduced in Article 7/2 of the Law on the Fight Against Terrorism (TMK) as part of the judicial reform package. One of the judges on the panel wrote a dissenting opinion, saying Özgentürk should not have been acquitted.