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.

Hakan Aygün

Hakan Aygün

Journalist Hakan Aygün was detained in Bodrum on 2 April 2020 for a Twitter post about a donation campaign launched by President Erdoğan due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Aygün, who was taken into custody within the scope of an investigation initiated by the Bodrum Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, was referred to court with a request for imprisonment on 3 April 2020. Aygün was imprisoned on the same day by the Bodrum Criminal Court of Peace and sent to the Muğla E Type Closed Prison.


In the indictment issued by the Bodrum Chief Public Prosecutor's Office on 6 April 2020, it was claimed that Aygün's Twitter post "was a clear and imminent danger in terms of public safety and was of a nature to disturb public security and order.” Aygün was charged with "inciting the people to hatred and hostility” and "publicly humiliating the religious values adopted by a section of the public." The Bodrum 3rd Criminal Court of First Instance accepted the indictment.


The first hearing of the case was held on 6 May 2020 at the Bodrum 3rd Criminal Court of First Instance. Aygün, who attended the hearing through the Audio and Video Information System (SEGBİS) from the prison, stated that his posts were not meant to insult but only as criticism. The court decided to release Aygün, considering the time he spent in detention.


A second indictment was issued against Aygün on the day he was released. The social media post, which was not included in the first indictment, but claimed to be the reason for the investigation and arrest warrant, was included in the second indictment.


The same prosecutor also signed the second indictment issued by the Bodrum Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on 6 May 2020. The prosecutor demanded Aygün’s conviction for "insulting the religious values adopted by a section of the people" with his social media post.


The prosecutor’s office demanded the court merge the second indictment with the first one and continue the trial against Aygün as a merged file. The Bodrum 3rd Criminal Court of First Instance decided to combine the two indictments on 15 May 2020.


In the third hearing held on 27 October 2020, Aygün defended himself regarding the second indictment prepared against him. Denying the accusations against him, “For the crime of insulting religious values to occur, the act must be suitable for disrupting public peace. The indictment is not explained how the ‘disruption of public peace’ condition, which is one of the criminal elements, is formed. Besides, the values of the religion of Islam were not humiliated in the tweet. Writing an article by quoting a surah or a verse does not constitute a crime,” said Aygün.


The next hearing of the trial will be held on 19 January 2021.