The prosecutor, who was expected to present his final opinion, demanded that a separate criminal complaint be filed against Gök for two social media posts
BİRCAN DEĞİRMENCİ, DİYARBAKIR
The third hearing of the trial in which journalist Abdurrahman Gök is charged with “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terrorism propaganda” was held at the Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court on 30 September 2021. Gök, best known for his photos capturing the murder of Kemal Kurkut by police during the 2017 Newroz celebrations in Diyarbakır, is on trial for his journalistic work, facing a prison sentence of 7 to 20 years in the trial.
P24 monitored the hearing, which began five hours later than scheduled. Gök was in attendance with his lawyers Mehmet Emin Aktar and Resul Temur. Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) lawyer Ülkü Şahin and Mezopotamya News Agency staff members also observed the hearing. A riot squad stood in front of the courtroom throughout the hearing.
The prosecutor, who was expected to submit their final opinion of the case, addressed the court first. The prosecutor requested that two separate posts Gök shared on his social media accounts in 2017 and 2018 in the research report included in the file be examined due to the possibility that they could constitute a crime. The prosecutor demanded that a criminal complaint be filed with the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on the charge of “terrorism propaganda” against Gök.
Addressing the court next, Gök explained that he has shared approximately 30,000 posts on his Twitter account since 2012 and that a majority of these posts were news items. Gök said he did not know the content of the posts the prosecutor referred to only by their dates.
Lawyer Resul Temur requested to see the printouts of the said posts in the file. After looking at the screenshots, Gök explained to the court that one of the posts was a photo he took in 2014 in Kobani and the other was from the time he covered the operation launched in 2018 in Raqqa. Reminding that he previously submitted documents to the court showing that he covered the war in Syria as a journalist, Gök pointed out that these posts were photos of the stories he covered.
Lawyer Resul Temur reminded the court that as part of the judicial reform package introduced in 2019, a clause was added to Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK), stipulating that articles and social media posts “that do not go beyond the limits of criticism or giving information do not constitute a crime.” Temur said that the criminal complaint will therefore not contribute to the file.
Lawyer M. Emin Aktar also pointed out the same provision and stated that through this amendment, the legislative body aimed to protect journalists from this threat. He asked the court to reject the request for an additional criminal complaint.
Issuing an interim ruling, the court decided to file a criminal complaint against Gök with the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. The court also decided to request the file concerning a previous case against Gök, which resulted in acquittal, and adjourned the trial until 20 January 2022.