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 in State of Emergency - 96

Journalists in State of Emergency - 96

A regional court rules for re-trial in the MIT trucks case; indictment into the Istanbul 10 completed


The Second Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Law, an appellate court, has ruled for a retrial in the case of opposition politician and former journalist Enis Berberoğlu, who was given a 25-year sentence for his role that led to the publication of a news report in Cumhuriyet, which suggested that the Turkish government might have sent weapons to armed groups in Syria, on October. 9.

Berberoğlu, who is a deputy of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), was found guilty of “disclosing documents pertaining to state security that needs to remain confidential for the domestic or international benefit of the state, or for espionage purposes” in a trial regarding the Cumhuriyet newspaper’s report that featured weapon-laden trucks operated by the National Intelligence Agency (MIT) allegedly en route to Syria.

The court, which also overturned the prison sentence, stated that the initial ruling hadn’t established the case for “espionage.”

It also recalled that a sentence given to former Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar, is currently being reviewed at the Supreme Court of Appeals. The court said the court needed to wait for the outcome of the appeals process in that trial for a final verdict. It also recalled that similar photographs showing the MIT-operated trucks had been previously published in the Aydınlık newspaper.

The appellate court referred the case to the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court for review and retrial, yet it kept the arrest warrant for Berberoğlu in place on the grounds that he is a flight risk.

Prosecutor seeks 10 years for rights activists

The Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office has completed an indictment into ten rights activists and the head of Amnesty International Turkey.

Ten activists were detained on terror-related charges after attending a meeting held on Istanbul’s Büyükada island. Eight of them still remain imprisoned.

The prosecutor accuses Kılıç of “membership in the armed terrorist organization FETÖ” -- the Fethullah Gülen network, regarded a terror group in Turkey -- and seeks up to 15 years of imprisonment for him. The indictment seeks between five to ten years for the remaining activists on charges of “helping an armed terrorist organization.”

Rights defenders Özlem Dalkıran (Citizens’ Assembly); lawyer Nalan Erkem (Citizens’ Assembly); İlknur Üstün (Women’s Coalition); İdil Eser (Amnesty International Turkey director); Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association); lawyer Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association); Şeymus Özbekli (Rights Initiative); Nejat Taştan (Equal Rights Watch Association); Ali Gharavi (information security consultant – Swedish national); and Peter Steudtner (information security consultant – German national) were detained on July 5.

Two of them were released under judicial control measures and an international travel ban.

Atilla Taş acquitted in presidential insult trial

Atilla Taş, a former pop-singer and later columnist at the shuttered daily Meydan, was acquitted in a trial where he was accused of having insulted the Turkish president, according to a tweet from his lawyer.

Taş was acquitted at a Büyükçekmece court on October 10.

He still remains imprisoned as part of a coup-related trial.

ETHA journalist to appear in court

The first trial in a case where shuttered Etkin News Agency (ETHA) journalist Meşale Tolu will appear before a judge for the first time will be heard on Oct. 11-12 at the 29th High Criminal Court in Istanbul. Tolu has been imprisoned since May 6.

Tolu, a dual Turkish-German citizen, faces 15 years in prison on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization” and “propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization.”

ETHA has called on supporters to attend the first hearing.

Journalist detained in Spain returns home

Swedish-Turkish journalist Hamza Yalçın, who was arrested in Spain on August 3 on a Turkey's request, returned to Sweden after Spain decided not to extradite him to Turkey.

Yalçın arrived in Copenhagen in Denmark on on October 6 evening, and spoke to media before taking the train back to Halmstad in south-western Sweden to be reunited with his family, the Swedish newspaper Local reported.

Yalçın has lived in Sweden since 1984. He was arrested by Spain on an Interpol notice issued by Turkey, where he is wanted for penning an article deemed to be insulting to the Turkish president by prosecutors and several other articles where he allegedly “spread propaganda for a terrorist organization.” He writes for the socialist magazine Odak.

Evrensel writer Yusuf Karataş appears before judge

 Yusuf Karataş, who was released after spending two months in prison as part of an investigation to the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) -- an umbrella network of Kurdish civil society organizations -- appeared before a judge on October 9.

The Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court rejected the defendant’s demand for an acquittal. The trial was adjourned until January 17, 2018.

First hearing in Sözcü case slated for November 7

On October 6, the Istanbul 37th High Criminal Court accepted an indictment into the owner of the Sözcü newspaper, Burak Akbay; the newspaper’s İzmir correspondent Gökmen Ulu; internet edition editor Mediha Olgun and financial affairs manager Yonca Yücekaleli, Sözcü reported.

Akbay risks up to 30 years in prison for “managing an armed terrorist organization and spreading its propaganda,” while the other three face up to 15 years for “helping a terrorist organization while not being a part of its hierarchical structure.”

The first session in the trial will be heard on November 7. Ulu is imprisoned in the investigation while an arrest order has been issued for Akbay, who is said to be abroad.

Imprisoned journalist Öğreten speaks to P24

Journalist Tunca Öğreten, who has been in prison since late 2016 for reporting on leaked emails of Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, has shared information on prison conditions and his views on his upcoming trial, in an interview with P24.

The journalist stands accused of assisting the terrorist organizations DHKP-C and FETÖ, while not being a member of either, for preparing news stories on the minister’s leaked emails. “I will ask the judge: Is something known to all of the 7 billion people a secret?” he told P24.

ECtHR finds Turkey violated Article 10 in journalist trial

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), in a ruling it announced on October 10, said that Turkey had violated Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which guarantees freedom of speech, in the case of journalist Fatih Taş, who was imprisoned for an article published in the Vesta magazine in 2004.

Taş was given ten months in prison for the publication of an article titled “About the Kurdish intellectual.” The sentence was given in 2008. His applications were also rejected in the appeals process.

The European Court ruled for Turkey to pay EUR 2500 to Taş as compensation for emotional damage and also foot the EUR 1930 bill for court expenses.



Click here to view the list in a spreadsheet file; where figures on shuttered media and civil society associations are also available on separate tabs.