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.

Two Gezi Park trials merged

Two Gezi Park trials merged

The trial against jailed businessperson and civil society leader Osman Kavala and 15 other defendants, including exiled journalist Can Dündar, will resume on 21 May


The trial against seven “Gezi Park trial” defendants whose files were separated at the final hearing in February 2020 because they did not attend hearings -- including exiled journalist Can Dündar -- resumed on 28 April 2021 at the Istanbul 30th High Criminal Court.


P24 monitored Wednesday’s hearing, where the defendants, who all reside abroad, were represented by their lawyers.


Issuing its ruling at the end of the hearing, the court decided to merge the file against Dündar, actors Memet Ali Alabora and Ayşe Pınar Alabora, writer Handan Meltem Arıkan and civil society employees Gökçe Yılmaz, Hanzade Hikmet Germiyanoğlu and İnanç Ekmekçi with the main trial.


The main trial was remanded to the trial court in January, when the 3rd Criminal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice, an appellate court, overturned the acquittals of nine other defendants in the case, including imprisoned businessman and civil society leader Osman Kavala.


The acquittals of Kavala, Yiğit Aksakoğlu, Mücella Yapıcı, Can Atalay, Mine Özerden, Çiğdem Mater, Tayfun Kahraman, Hakan Altınay and Yiğit Ali Ekmekçi were overturned on the grounds that the trial court had “failed to take into account all the evidence in the indictment in the reasoning of its judgment.”


In the meantime, Kavala, who has been jailed pending trial since November 2017, is currently facing additional “coup” and “espionage” charges as part of another file, where the accusations stem from his alleged “involvement” in the failed coup of 15 July 2016. That case has also been merged with the “Gezi trial,” which is set to resume on 21 May 2021 at the Istanbul 30th High Criminal Court.


The charges leveled against the 16 defendants in the Gezi Park indictment include “attempting to overthrow the government,” which is punishable by aggravated life imprisonment, as well as “causing damage to property,” “unauthorized possession or exchange of hazardous substances,” “damaging cemeteries and worship places” and “violating the law on firearms and other weapons.”