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 Nurcan Baysal acquitted

Journalist Nurcan Baysal acquitted

Baysal was standing trial over the article in which she described her observations of the condition of houses used by police special forces during the operations carried out in the region


The first hearing in the retrial of journalist Nurcan Baysal on the charge of “publicly denigrating the Turkish nation, state, parliament, government and judicial organs” was held at the İstanbul 55th Criminal Court of First Instance on 25 January 2024. Baysal was put on trial for her news item titled “Cizre’deki evlerin içinden: ‘Kızlar biz geldik siz yoktunuz’ yazıları, yerlerde sergilenen kadın çamaşırları” (“From inside the homes in Cizre: Graffiti on walls reads, ‘Girls we have come but could not find you’, women’s underwear exhibited on the floor”), which was published on T24 news site on 7 March 2016.

Baysal and her lawyer Emine Özhasır were present at the hearing, which P24 monitored.

Prosecutor requests acquittal in their final opinion on the case

Some members of the special operations forces had graffitied sexist expressions on the walls of Sarıyıldız Apartments in Cudi Neighborhood in operations carried out during curfews. In her defense statement, Baysal said she had visited the block of apartments with a delegation of Mazlum-Der and Human Rights Foundation of Turkey members and continued: “I noted what I saw and wrote about them. Many of those serving at the time were detained in FETÖ investigations. I wrote the piece so that their crimes would be investigated. I had no intention to commit a crime, I did my duty.”

Baysal’s lawyer Özhasır said that the Constitutional Court had ruled that the sentencing of her client in the previous trial had violated the freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly. “My client is a journalist and has used her Constitutional right to freedom of expression,” lawyer Özhasır said.

Submitting their final opinion on the case, the prosecutor requested Baysal to be acquitted on the grounds of lack of certain, credible and tangible evidence free from all forms of doubt. Baysal and her lawyer stated they agreed with the opinion and repeated their request for acquittal.

The court ruled to acquit Baysal on the grounds that the “legal elements of the impugned crime had not formed.”

Background of the case

A court case was filed against Baysal for “denigrating members of the security organization” over the article she wrote after the operations in Cizre. At the fifth and final hearing held on 20 February 2018, the İstanbul 54th Criminal Court of First Instance sentenced Baysal to 10 months of imprisonment and deferred the verdict.

Baysal and her lawyers appealed to the Constitutional Court against the ruling. On 29 March 2023, the Constitutional Court ruled that Baysal’s rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly had been violated and conveyed the case to the İstanbul 55th Criminal Court of First Instance for a retrial.