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.

Journalists İdris Sayılğan and Naci Kaya acquitted

Journalists İdris Sayılğan and Naci Kaya acquitted

Sayılğan and Kaya, who were detained in February 2020 as they were covering the refugee crisis near the Turkish-Greek border, were accused of "entering a military forbidden zone"


The third hearing of the trial against Mezopotamya news agency (MA) reporters İdris Sayılğan and Naci Kaya, who were detained in February 2020 as they were covering the refugee crisis at the Turkish-Greek border, was held on 14 April 2021 at the Edirne 8th Criminal Court of First Instance.


Sayılğan and Kaya did not attend the hearing, where they were represented by their lawyers. Presenting their final opinion, the prosecutor demanded that Sayılğan and Kaya be punished as charged. Issuing its judgment, the court acquitted both journalists for lack of conclusive and credible evidence requiring conviction.


Sayılğan and Kaya were detained on 29 February 2020 while reporting on refugees seeking to cross into Europe from Edirne on the allegation that they had violated the judicial control measures imposed on them as part of their ongoing trials.


The Edirne Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office contacted the respective courts overseeing the trials against Sayılğan and Kaya, demanding their detentions on remand for “border violation.” Kaya was released while Sayılğan was jailed on 2 March and sent to Edirne F Type Closed Prison. He was released the next day after his lawyers objected to his arrest.


On 6 March 2020, the Edirne Chief Public Prosecutor's Office filed an indictment against both journalists, charging them with “secretly trespassing upon land which is restricted by virtue of the State’s military interest" pursuant to Article 332/1 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which carries a prison sentence between two to five years.