District governor gets restraining order against local journalist; Özgür Gündem, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi, ETHA trials postponed until November; court issues reasoned judgment in Hrant Dink murder trial
District governor gets restraining order against journalist Nuri Çağlar
A civil court in Tekirdağ’s Şarköy district issued a month-long restraining order against local journalist Nuri Çağlar upon the request of District Governor Şenol Kaya.
Çağlar, the owner of the local newspaper Şarköy Haber and a reporter for Demirören News Agency (DHA), recently reported on allegations of illegal construction work carried out in the district governor’s residence. Separately, Çağlar reported last week that a night watchman from the district police department who normally works as a security guard at the district governor’s residence had been seen washing the district governor’s car.
According to the restraining order, pursuant to Law No. 6284 on Protecting Family and Preventing Violence Against Women, Çağlar will be barred from places where the district governor lives and works and prohibited from approaching the district governor and his family and friends for one month. He will also be prohibited from sharing any articles or comments that could be disturbing for the district governor in his newspaper, on social media or via other communication tools. Çağlar will be arrested if he breaches the restraining order.
Compensation case against Evrensel columnist Sözeri postponed
The third hearing of a lawsuit filed by the pro-government Turkuvaz Media Group against academic and Evrensel columnist Ceren Sözeri, seeking TL 200,000 in compensation for an article published on 7 April 2019, was scheduled for 14 July 2021 at the Istanbul 2nd Commercial Court. The hearing was postponed until a later date because the judge overseeing the case was on leave.
Kurdish singer Hozan Cane’s travel ban lifted
The latest hearing in Kurdish-German singer Hozan Cane’s (Saide İnaç) retrial on the charge of “aiding a terrorist organization” took place on 14 July 2021 at the Edirne 3rd High Criminal Court.
Cane’s lawyer told P24 following the hearing that the court lifted the international travel ban imposed on the singer and adjourned the trial until 20 September 2021, granting the prosecutor time to prepare their final opinion.
Cane was sentenced in 2018 for “membership in a terrorist organization.” Her sentence was overturned by the Supreme Court of Appeals, which also ordered a retrial.
ETHA journalists Şahin and Gayıp’s trial to continue in November
The 14th hearing of the trial against Etkin news agency (ETHA) editor Semiha Şahin and reporter Pınar Gayıp on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terrorism propaganda” was held on 14 July 2021 at the Istanbul 23rd High Criminal Court.
P24 was at the courthouse to monitor the hearing, where Şahin and Gayıp did not attend. They were represented by their lawyers. Due to Covid-19 measures, the court did not allow spectators in the courtroom. In an interim ruling, the court decided to wait for the submission of requested documents and adjourned the trial until 9 November 2021.
ECtHR asks Turkey to submit defense concerning Academics for Peace
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) asked Turkey to submit its defense concerning the applications on behalf of 81 academics who have been dismissed from their posts through statutory decrees for signing a peace declaration titled “Bu suça ortak olmayacağız” (We will not be a party to this crime) in 2016.
The names of 81 signatory academics are included in a total of 43 applications lodged with the ECtHR.
The Strasbourg Court asked Turkey six questions, inquiring about the reasons for the dismissal of the applicants; claims of violations of their rights to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, right to a fair trial and the right to respect for private and family life; about whether the state of emergency (OHAL) procedures investigation commission is an effective remedy; and claims of an ulterior purpose pursued within the scope of Article 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
Court issues reasoned judgment in Hrant Dink murder trial
The Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court issued its reasoned judgment in writing in the Hrant Dink murder trial on 14 July 2021. Dink, the editor-in-chief of Agos newspaper, was assassinated on 19 January 2007 in front of the newspaper’s Istanbul office.
At the final hearing of the trial, held on 26 March 2021, the court had convicted 26 out of the 78 defendants in the case, a majority of whom are former public officials. The file against 13 of the defendants, including Fethullah Gülen, was separated because they are at large.
The court concluded in its 4,532-page reasoned judgment that the murder was planned and carried out by the members of the “Fethullahist terrorist organization” (FETÖ) through “so-called investigations that had been planned before the murder in 2007 and carried into effect one by one in organizational cooperation from the beginning.”
According to the judgment, “the perpetrators of the murder had been encouraged and incited in order to achieve the organizational goal; evidence, information mechanisms and reports that could have prevented the murder were concealed; the perpetrators were followed and committed until the moment of the murder; following the murder, evidence was tampered with and traces of the organization were cleared; by way of distorted information disseminated by the organization’s media outlets state institutions were falsely associated with the murder.”
Court to wait for Çaksu’s arrest in Özgürlükçü Demokrasi trial
The sixth hearing of a trial in which journalists Aziz Oruç and Ersin Çaksu are charged with “publicly denigrating the state of the Turkish Republic and its military and security forces” under Articles 301/1 and 301/2 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) was held on 13 July 2021 at the Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance.
The journalists are accused over news articles published between 22 October and 2 November 2016 in Özgürlükçü Demokrasi, which was closed in 2018 through a statutory decree. The file against Oruç and Çaksu was separated at the final hearing of the original trial, held on 28 November 2019, because they did not attend the hearings.
The judge overseeing the trial was recently appointed to another court, therefore the court did not hold a regular hearing. Ruling to keep the arrest warrant for Çaksu in place, the court set 30 November 2021 as the date for the next hearing.
Former Özgür Gündem editors’ trial to continue in November
The 19th hearing of a trial in which the former Chief Editors of Özgür Gündem newspaper Hüseyin Aykol and Zana Kaya, former Managing Editor İnan Kızılkaya, and Kurdish politician Hatip Dicle are charged with “publicly denigrating the Turkish nation, the Republic of Turkey, the government and the judicial bodies of the state” and publicly denigrating the state’s security and military forces” (TCK 301/1 and 301/2) was held on 13 July 2021 at the Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance.
The accusations stem from news articles published in 2016 in the now-defunct Özgür Gündem newspaper.
The judge overseeing the trial was recently appointed to another court, therefore the court did not hold a regular hearing. Ruling to keep the arrest warrant for Hatip Dicle in place and to wait for its execution, the court set 16 November 2021 as the date for the next hearing.
Trial against Can Dündar and İnan Kızılkaya adjourned until November
The 17th hearing of a trial in which Can Dündar, the former editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet daily, and İnan Kızılkaya, the former responsible managing editor of the now-defunct Özgür Gündem newspaper, are charged with “insulting a public official” (TCK 125) was held on 13 July 2021 at the Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance.
The judge overseeing the trial was recently appointed to another court, therefore the court did not hold a regular hearing. Ruling to keep the arrest warrant for Can Dündar in place and to wait for its execution, the court set 2 November 2021 as the date for the next hearing.
Dündar and Kızılkaya are on trial over an article published on 22 June 2016, the day on which Dündar symbolically edited Özgür Gündem as part of that year’s “Editor-in-Chief on Duty” campaign. The article was about judgments rendered by Bekir Altun, the former judge of the Istanbul 1st Criminal Judgeship of Peace.
Cypriot writer denied entry to Turkey
Turkish Cypriot writer Ahmet Cavit An was denied entry to Turkey on the grounds of “national security.” An, who landed at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport from Ercan Airport en route Izmir on 11 July 2021, was denied entry to the country during passport control on the grounds of “activities against national security” and was sent back to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) on the first plane. Before being deported, An was accompanied by airport police to the Immigration Office inside the airport, where he was told that the decision about him had been taken in September 2020 and that he could obtain detailed information from the Turkish Embassy in the KKTC.
At least 63 journalists and media workers in prison
As of 16 July 2021, at least 63 journalists and media workers are in prison in Turkey, either in pre-trial detention or serving a sentence.
The full list can be accessed here.