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.
İmrek was on trial on charges of "insulting the president" over a column
The second hearing in the trial of Evrensel daily columnist Ender İmrek on charges of “insulting the president” over a column published on the daily on 30 July 2021 was held at the Bakırköy 44th Criminal Court of First Instance on 10 January 2023.
The column, titled “Türkiye yanıyor, Saray izliyor" (Turkey is burning, the palace is watching), criticized the government for excessive spending in other areas while not sparing funds to acquire sufficient number of aircraft to help extinguish devastating wildfires that ripped through southern Turkey in the summer of 2021.
İmrek, his lawyers and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s lawyer attended the hearing.
The court had ruled to seek the opinion of the Journalists’ Union of Turkey (TGS) on whether Ender İmrek was a press member at the end of the previous hearing held on 18 October 2022. Responding to the court’s inquiry, the TGS had stated that İmrek was a press member holding a press card.
Prosecutor demands acquittal
The prosecutor in their final opinion on the case said that the column in question was within the scope of criticism and did not contain any insult against President Erdoğan, demanding the court to acquit İmrek. Erdoğan’s lawyer, on the other hand, objected to the opinion and requested conviction for İmrek.
Speaking as to the accusations, İmrek said the content of his column was critical and added that as a journalist, it was his right to be critical. He demanded his acquittal.
İmrek’s lawyers expressed that they partially agreed with the prosecutor's opinion and demanded İmrek's acquittal. The lawyers said the article that was at the center of the case contained criticism against the president, who is now the head of the entire executive system and argued that, therefore, the criticism expressed in the article was directed against the entire executive branch.
After hearing the statements, the court ruled that the elements of the impugned crime did not exist and acquitted İmrek.