Judicial recess formally begins; court orders removal of news reports on access ban on reports on Emine Erdoğan; JinNews reporter faces “terrorism” investigation; BİK penalizes birgun.net; man who threatened columnist acquitted
Court hearings on hold until September as judicial recess begins
Court hearings in all but emergency cases were put on hold as Turkish courts began a summer recess as of 20 July.
The trials that are now suspended until the autumn include a large number of freedom of expression and the media cases where journalists, writers and others are in the dock.
The new judicial year begins as of 1 September. A full list of upcoming trials in the new judicial year can be viewed in our trial calendar.
Court orders ban on access to reports on previous ban on reports about Emine Erdoğan
An İstanbul court has ordered a ban on access to news reports concerning a previous court-ordered ban on reports about new powers granted to the Environment Agency, established under the auspices of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s wife, Emine Erdoğan.
The decision, rendered by the İstanbul Anadolu 2nd Criminal Judgeship of Peace upon a complaint by Mrs. Erdoğan’s lawyer, orders the authorities to block access to 24 URLs, which contain news articles about a June 3 decision by the İstanbul Anadolu 6th Criminal Judgeship of Peace to block access to some 66 news reports about the Environment Agency’s new powers. The latest decision also orders removal of the 24 news reports.
The 66 news articles that were previously banned, also upon a complaint from Emine Erdoğan, concern legal changes in tendering regulations for installment of eyebolts and buoys in bays, which went into effect on 15 July 2022.
The İstanbul Anadolu 2nd Criminal Judgeship of Peace decision said the 24 URLs “covered the same content and therefore violated the complainant’s personal rights.”
Emine Erdoğan, on the other hand, denied the allegations that the latest legal changes were a favor to her. In remarks published in Hürriyet newspaper, Mrs. Erdoğan called the news reports “immoral” and said she had issued corrections. “The agency is an official institution of the state. How can it be attached to me? How can I have anything to do with those tenders? Is such a thing even possible in the state order? The things I have done for the environment and children speak for themselves,” she said
Investigation launched against JinNews reporter Öznur Değer
The Mardin Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation against JinNews reporter Öznur Değer on the charge of “terrorism propaganda” over her two social media posts, according to news reports published on 20 July 2022.
Değer gave her statement at the Kızıltepe District Police Directorate’s Anti-Terror Bureau. The reporter had posted photos of a congress of the Democratic Regions Party (DBP) that was held in Ankara Nazım Hikmet Congress Hall on 27 February 2022 and of Newroz celebrations in Ercis, Van on 21 March 2022.
According to the prosecutor’s office, the post about the congress “praises and supports a terrorist organization,” while the Newroz photo displayed the “flag of the terrorist organization,” referring to the PKK.
Değer said in her statement that her social media posts were within the scope of the freedom of expression and that they they did not constitute a crime.
BİK issues penalty against birgun.net upon university’s complaint
The Press Advertising Agency (BİK) has decided to suspend “additional indicator” benefits for BirGün newspaper’s website birgun.net for seven days upon a complaint from the Dokuz Eylül University administration over a critical news article. The penalty was issued under the recently amended Press Ethics Code.
Defendant who threatened Cumhuriyet columnist acquitted by court
The İstanbul 13th Criminal Court of First Instance ruled on 21 July 2022 to acquit a defendant who was on trial on account of his threats against Cumhuriyet newspaper columnist Zülal Kalkandelen.
The court ruled for acquittal on the basis of lack of evidence against the defendant, identified by his initials İ.B. He was prosecuted after reportedly threatening Kalkandelen of sexual violence over her articles against hunting.
Kalkandelen initially filed a complaint when she was threatened in 2020 due to her anti-hunting articles but the authorities ruled there was no ground to prosecute.
“How am I supposed to find justice? It seems they [the authorities] will finally do something after something happens to me,” Kalkandelen said of the acquittal verdict.
Fatih Tezcan sentenced to prison for "insulting Atatürk" Pro-government journalist Fatih Tezcan was sentenced to 2 years and 2 months in prison on 19 July 2022 on the charge of "insulting Kemal Atatürk,” the founder of the Turkish Republic.
The news of conviction was announced by an anonymous Twitter account, which was then confirmed by Tezcan in a reply tweet.
ETHA’s website blockedEtkin News Agency (ETHA)’s website was blocked by a decision dated 18 July 2022 of the Diyarbakır 5th Criminal Court of First Instance, on the ground of "protection of national security and public order."
At least 67 journalists, media employees behind bars in TurkeyAs of 25 July 2022, there are at least 67 journalists and media employees who are in prison either pending trial or serving sentence in Turkey.
The full list can be accessed here.