Journalist and author Nurcan Baysal was taken into custody on 22 January 2018 during a midnight police raid on her home in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır. Her lawyer, Reyhan Baydemir, told reporters at the time that the grounds for Baysal’s detention was her social media posts concerning Turkey’s military operation on the Syrian city of Afrin.
Baysal is one of the founders of the Diyarbakır Political and Social Research Institute (DISA). As a journalist and columnist for various news outlets and periodicals, she particularly writes about the Kurdish issue and covers development and poverty issues. Baysal is also an advisor for various non-profit foundations, including the Global Fund for Women, the Women Labor and Employment Platform and the Urgent Action Fund, among others.
Following the completion of her interrogation at the police department, Baysal was referred to the courthouse on 24 January. The prosecutor referred her to a Criminal Judgeship of Peace, seeking her imprisonment on the charge of "terrorism propaganda." The judgeship released Baysal under judicial control measures.
In April 2018, the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched a criminal case against Baysal on the charge of "inciting the public to hatred and enmity,” which is punishable by up to 3 years in prison. The indictment was accepted by Diyarbakır 7th Criminal Court of First Instance.
The first hearing of this trial was held on 17 May 2018. Baysal could not attend because she was abroad.
Presenting her defense statement during the second hearing on 16 October 2018, Baysal rejected the accusation and said the posts for which she was indicted were aimed at calling for peace and criticizing the government’s foreign policy.
Baysal was acquitted of "inciting the public to hatred and enmity," at the final hearing of her trial held on 21 February 2019.
10-month sentence for article about Cizre
On 20 February 2018, an Istanbul court gave Baysal a 10-month prison sentence for a 2016 report in which she recounted scenes from Cizre in the aftermath of an operation by the Turkish military in the southeastern town.
Announcing its verdict at the conclusion of the fifth hearing of that trial, Istanbul 54th Criminal Court of First Instance initially sentenced Baysal to one year in prison for “publicly denigrating the security force.” The court then reduced the sentence to 10 months for good conduct and deferred the sentence, meaning that Baysal will be subject to probation for five years.
Baysal was once again arrested on 3 June 2019 in Diyarbakır. She was released the same day after giving her statement at the anti-terror branch of the Diyarbakır Police Department. Baysal later announced via her Twitter account that she was arrested as part of an investigation into the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) on the allegation of "terrorist group membership."