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.

Journalist Gökay Başcan acquitted of the same charge for the second time

Journalist Gökay Başcan acquitted of the same charge for the second time

The court had acquitted Başcan in the trial held by simple trial procedure on 3 May 2023, but Erdoğan’s lawyers had objected to the verdict


The second hearing in the trial of BirGün newspaper editor Gökay Başcan on the charge of “insult” over a complaint filed by Emine Erdoğan, spouse of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, was held at the İstanbul 17th Criminal Court of First Instance on 28 March 2024.

Başcan and lawyers for the parties were present at the hearing, which P24 monitored.

The prosecutor had presented their final opinion on the case at the first hearing of the trial on 28 September 2023, and requested sentencing for Başcan for the impugned crime.

Delivering his defense statement against the opinion, Başcan rejected the charge and requested his acquittal.

Başcan’s lawyer Tolgay Güvercin said, “The prosecutor has not stated which expression constitutes insult. I think the prosecution requests sentencing over the word ‘himaye’ (auspices). However, this expression was not used originally by my client, but in the news items by the Environment Agency published on its website. The news item subject to the trial is true. Elements of the crime have not formed” and requested the acquittal of his client.

Co-plaintiff Emine Erdoğan’s lawyers said they upheld their complaint and requested sentencing for Başcan.

The prosecutor, who had amended their final opinion on the case due to the change of the prosecutor for the hearing, stated that there was public interest in the reporting subject to the trial and that the expressions used in the news item should be considered severe criticism covered by the freedom of expression and the press, and requested Başcan’s acquittal.

Başcan and his lawyer Güvercin, who spoke regarding the final opinion, said they agreed and requested acquittal.

Emine Erdoğan’s lawyers said they did not agree with the prosecution’s opinion and requested sentencing for Başcan.

The court ruled to acquit Başcan as elements of the impugned crime had not formed.

Background of the case

A case was filed against BirGün editor Gökay Başcan over a complaint filed by Emine Erdoğan concerning news items on an amendment to the Law on the Environment granting tender powers covering coastal areas to the Presidency of the Environment Agency and claims that the agency was connected to Emine Erdoğan.

Başcan was acquitted on 3 May 2022, at the end of the trial held using the simple trial procedure. Upon an objection by Erdoğan’s lawyers, the court decided to hold hearings and apply the general trial procedure.