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.

Sadık Topaloğlu

Sadık Topaloğlu

Journalist Sadık Topaloğlu is being tried in two different cases on the charge of "being a member of an armed terrorist organization."


While Topaloğlu was a reporter for the Dicle News Agency (DİHA), which was closed by a statutory decree, he was detained in Şanlıurfa within the scope of an investigation conducted against journalists working in Kurdish media. With the allegation of "being a member of an armed terrorist organization," he was sent to Kandıra No 1 F Type Closed Prison on 24 December 2011.


The indictment of the KCK Press Trial in which 44 journalists and media workers were charged with "being an armed terrorist organization manager" and "being a member of an armed terrorist organization" was issued on 27 April 2012. In the indictment prepared by the Istanbul Public Prosecutor's Office, journalism activities were defined as “organizational activities.”


In the 23-page section on Topaloğlu of the 800-page indictment, the tape recordings of Topaloğlu's 32 phone calls and 15 news reports were listed. The so-called "evidence" was used as a basis for Topaloğlu's accusation of "being a member of an armed terrorist organization."


The prosecutor claimed that Topaloğlu "wrote news about inciting and provoking the Kurdish people against their state and taking their place in the ranks of the terrorist organization, and prompting the public to disobey." In the indictment of the "legal assessment" section of the Topaloglu, he was claimed to “serve for Press KCK executive committee.”


The first hearing of the KCK press trial was held on 10 September 2012 at the Specially Authorized 15th High Criminal Court. The trial was held at the Specially Authorized 15th High Criminal Court until 3 March 2014. Following the abolition of the specially authorized courts, the file was transferred to the Istanbul 3rd High Criminal Court.


Topaloğlu was released at the 15th hearing on 26 April 2013. The KCK press trial is continuing at the Istanbul 3rd High Criminal Court.


Second trial with the same accusation


Mezopotamya news agency (MA) reporter Sadık Topaloğlu was arrested in Istanbul on 29 November 2019, on "intelligence information.” Due to the "confidentiality" decision brought to the investigation by the prosecutor's office, Topaloğlu was prohibited from meeting with his lawyer for 24 hours. Topaloğlu, whose four-day detention limit expired, was taken to the courthouse on 3 December 2019.


Topaloğlu was referred to the court by the prosecutor's office with a request for imprisonment. Upon the request, the Istanbul 3rd Criminal Court of Peace sent Topaloğlu to Silivri Prison on the charge of "being a member of an armed terrorist organization."

The indictment against Topaloğlu was issued on 14 January 2020. In the indictment prepared by the Terror and Organized Crime Investigation Bureau of the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, it was noted that Topaloğlu was being tried within the scope of the KCK Press Trial, which started in 2011 and continued.


In the indictment, where Topaloğlu's trips abroad with his passport from 2009 to 2015 were also shown as evidence, documents and materials confiscated during the search made in Topaloğlu's home were also included. The invitation list prepared for the Musa Anter and Press Martyrs Awards ceremony, which was found in the portable memory confiscated during Topaloğlu's house search, was also listed as evidence in the indictment.


In the indictment where the statements of Ö.B. and D.A., two people who were investigated in Hakkari and Antalya, respectively, included, it was claimed that Topaloğlu was “trained in Qandil for the organization’s intelligence unit.” The prosecutor demanded that Topaloğlu be punished for "membership in an armed terrorist organization."


The Istanbul 22nd High Criminal Court accepted the indictment. The first hearing of the case was held on 26 March 2020 in Silivri Prison Campus’s courtroom. Topaloğlu, who made his defense in Kurdish, said that the departure records were for professional purposes and that he did not recognize the witnesses who made statements against him. The court decided to release Topaloğlu with a ban on leaving abroad.


The next hearing of the trial will be held on 9 March 2021.