Arguing that Eren Tutel had committed the crime of “insulting a public official,” the prosecutor has requested sentencing for two counts of the impugned crime separately based on complaints by two plaintiffs Elif Akyüz and Abdurrahman Akyüz. The prosecutor demanded an increased sentence because of the impugned crime being committed “publicly and repeatedly”
CANSU PİŞKİN, İSTANBUL
The fourth hearing in the trial of BirGün newspaper sports editor Eren Tutel on charges of “insulting a public official” upon a complaint by Turkish Wushu Federation (TWF) Deputy President Abdurrahman Akyüz and his daughter Elif Akyüz, was held at the İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance.
Lawyers for the sides excused themselves from the hearing, which P24 monitored.
Delivering their final opinion on the case at the hearing which the parties did not attend, the prosecutor argued that Tutel had committed the impugned crime by preparing the news items titled “Wushu’da yeni perde: Şampiyonlukları da sahteymiş” (“A Fresh Twist in Wushu: They Also Faked Championship Win”), “Akyüz oğluna sporcunun odasını bastırmış: Yasa tanımayan federasyon” (“Akyüz Has Son Attack Athlete’s Room: Unlawful Federation”), “Wushu federasyonu skandalda rakipsiz” (“Wushu Federation Unrivalled in Scandal”,) “Türkiye Wushu Federasyonu’nun usulsüzlükleri bitmek bilmiyor: Eşofmanı parayla satıp sporcuları dolandırmışlar” (“No End to Wushu Federation of Turkey’s Irregularities: Athletes Sold Tracksuits and Cheated”) that appeared in the print edition and website of BirGün on 14, 20 and 21 January 2021 respectively.
National athlete considered a public official
Citing European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and Appellate Court jurisprudence in the opinion, the prosecutor argued that the news items subject to the charges were of a nature that could damage the dignity, honour and standing of intervening parties, that they contained unfounded allegations against the intervening parties and did not meet the criteria for news items which are required to be “true and current, serve the public interest and benefit through their disclosure, have an intellectual connection between the form of disclosure and subject matter and not employ denigrating language in disclosure.”
Stating that co-plaintiff Elif Akyüz, a national athlete, should be considered a public official as per Additional Article 1 of the Law 3289 on Youth and Sports Services, the prosecutor also said that co-plaintiff Abdurrahman Akyüz held the titles of Member of the Board of Directors and Deputy President of the TWF and should also be considered a public official. The prosecutor therefore requested Tutel to be sentenced on two counts of the impugned crime, separately for Elif Akyüz and Abdurrahman Akyüz. Arguing that the impugned crime was committed “publicly and repeatedly,” the prosecutor demanded an increased sentence.
Accepting the excuses presented by the co-plaintiffs and the defendant’s lawyers, the court adjourned the trial until 14 February 2023.