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.

Nuriye Ural

Nuriye Ural

Journalist and columnist Nuriye Ural, best known for the interviews she conducted with various public opinion leaders, was arrested on 27 July 2016 as part of an investigation against 47 columnists and executives of Zaman newspaper, which was closed down through a statutory decree.

Ural was jailed pending trial on 30 July 2016 by Istanbul 4th Criminal Judgeship of Peace and sent to Bakırköy Prison.

During her interrogation, Ural was asked about an article she wrote 20 years ago, which was held as evidence against her for allegations of involvement in the failed coup attempt of July 2016.

Ural was released under an international travel ban on 12 October 2016 by a criminal judgeship of peace, which held that the allegation against Ural might change.

The indictment against Ural and 29 others was issued on 10 April 2017.

Ural's name was mentioned twice in the 64-page document, which cited an article by Ural, dated 24 December 2013, as evidence agianst her. The indictment alleged that Ural and nine other former Zaman columnists “carried out their duties within the hierarchy of the FETÖ/PDY terrorist organization with articles that complemented the organizational goal and purpose, both with those articles that are openly an element of crime and those who don’t appear to include any criminal elements.” The prosecution claimed that Ural and other columnists penned articles that "laid the groundwork" for the coup attempt.

The prosecution sought conviction for Ural on the charges of "membership in the FETÖ/PDY terrorist organization," and "attempting to overthrow the constitutional order, the Parliament and the government."

The indictment was accepted by the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court. The first hearing took place on 18-19 September 2017.

Ural made her defense statement at the second hearing, held on 8 December 2017.

During the third hearing, held on 5 April 2018, the prosecutor submitted his final opinion, seeking Ural's conviction on the charge of “aiding an armed terrorist organization without being its member” under Article 220/7 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) while requesting her acquittal of the rest of the charges.

At the end of the final hearing, held on 5-6 July 2018, the court acquitted Ural and four others of all charges while convicting six of their co-defendants.


Acquittal upheld by Supreme Court of Appeals 

On 24 September 2020, the 16th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals upheld the acquittals of Nuriye Ural, Lale Sarıibrahimoğlu, İhsan Dağı and Orhan Kemal Cengiz in the Zaman trial. The judgment became official two months later, when it was uploaded on UYAP (national judiciary informatics system) in December 2020.