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.

Prosecutor asks Supreme Court to quash convictions in Cumhuriyet trial

Prosecutor asks Supreme Court to quash convictions in Cumhuriyet trial

At the end of the retrial in November, the trial court had refused to abide by the Supreme Court’s judgment except in the case of Kadri Gürsel


The Office of the General Prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals issued their judicial opinion concerning the Cumhuriyet trial on 28 January 2020. Just like in their previous judicial opinion, the General Prosecutor asked the 16th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals to overturn the convictions rendered in the retrial of the case.

At the retrial in November, ordered by the Supreme Court of Appeals, the 27th High Criminal Court of Istanbul acquitted Kadri Gürsel but ruled against the Supreme Court judgment concerning the rest of the defendants: Akın Atalay, Ahmet Şık, Aydın Engin, Bülent Utku, Güray Öz, Hakan Kara, Musa Kart, Hikmet Çetinkaya, Murat Sabuncu, Orhan Erinç, Mustafa Kemal Güngör and Önder Çelik. The court convicted all 12 of the charge in the original trial (“aiding a terrorist organization without being its member”) and ruled for the continuation of the judicial control measures imposed on the defendants.

The latest judicial opinion by the Supreme Court prosecutor requested that the convictions of all defendants except Ahmet Şık be quashed and for Şık to be charged with “terrorism propaganda,”“publishing statements legitimatizing the violent acts of terrorist groups” and “insulting the Turkish nation, the state of the Turkish Republic and the organs and institutions of the state” instead of the initial charge of “aiding an armed terrorist organization.”

The judicial opinion held that there was no information, document or evidence in the file to suggest that former Cumhuriyet executives Güray Öz, Önder Çelik, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Hakan Kara, Musa Kart, Bülent Utku, Orhan Erinç, Akın Atalay and Murat Sabuncu penned any of the articles for which the defendants stand accused.

Concerning columnists Hikmet Çetinkaya and Aydın Engin, the prosecution also wrote that there was no evidence suggesting they penned the articles in question.

The General Prosecutor also requested the Supreme Court to reject the appeal by the Chief Public Prosecutor against Kadri Gürsel’s acquittal and asked the high court to affirm the trial court’s verdict concerning Gürsel in the retrial.