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.

Trial of former Taraf journalists postponed to October

Trial of former Taraf journalists postponed to October

Court ruled at the end of the two-day hearing to keep the only jailed defendant in the case, Mehmet Baransu, behind bars until next hearing 


The trial of former Taraf executives Ahmet Altan, Yasemin Çongar, Yıldıray Oğur and reporter Mehmet Baransu over the alleged publication of a secret military document called “Egemen Operation Plan” resumed this week at an Istanbul court.

The hearing, which was followed by P24 at the courtroom, was originally planned to take three days but it was concluded at the end of day two on 12 August. Baransu, the only defendant in pre-trial detention in the case, attended the second day of the hearing at the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court via judicial videoconference system SEGBİS. The trial was adjourned until 12-14 October 2020.

Other defendants had been exempted from attending the hearings by a previous court order.

The trial, ongoing since 2016, concerns publication in now-defunct Taraf in 2010 of a series of alleged plans by a group within the military plotting a coup in 2003. The reports were followed by a court case against hundreds of military officials, the so-called Sledgehammer Trial, which resulted in aggravated life sentences against defendants including senior commanders. But the defendants were acquitted in a retrial in 2015 after the Sledgehammer Trial was branded as a conspiracy against the top military cadres. In 2016, Altan, Çongar, Oğur and Baransu were sued for publishing the Egemen Operation Plan in connection with the Sledgehammer case. Altan, Çangar and Oğur face up to 52.5 years in jail while the indictment seeks up to 75 years for Baransu. 

Prior to the this week's hearing, Baransu submitted a lengthy petition to the court requesting extension of the inquiry into the case but he said at the hearing that he wanted to discuss his request in presence of his attorney. Baransu's lawyer had submitted a petition to the court, stating that he was unable to attend the court hearing. The court accepted Baransu's request and adjourned the trial until 12-14 October 2020.