The accusation stems from eight Twitter posts Ekinci shared in 2013 and 2014 and a joint statement he signed about the 2014 battle against ISIS in the Syrian town of Kobani
CANSU PİŞKİN, ISTANBUL
Writer Yavuz Ekinci appeared before a criminal court in Istanbul on 9 September 2021 for the first hearing of his trial over his social media posts from eight years ago. The award-winning short story writer and novelist is charged with “terrorism propaganda” under Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) for eight tweets he shared in 2013 and 2014 and for signing a joint statement against the ISIS attack on the Syrian town of Kobani.
The Istanbul 34th High Criminal Court did not allow spectators in the courtroom due to Covid-19. Ekinci and his lawyers were present in the courtroom.
Addressing the court for his defense statement, Ekinci rejected the accusation and demanded to be acquitted.
Explaining that his Twitter posts about Kobani and the YPG were aimed at denouncing ISIS attacks against civilians, Ekinci said: “At a time when the state established a corridor to Kobani, I shared hashtags like other academics and writers due to the importance I attach to human life. There is absolutely no criminal intent in my posts.”
Ekinci added that the posts he had shared about Newroz celebrations, also held as evidence against him in the indictment, were about the failed Peace Process and had no intention of terror propaganda.
Noting that he has shared over 5,000 posts since he joined Twitter in 2011, Ekinci said: “The majority of my tweets are about my books and social matters that I encounter, see or hear. I care about social matters, violence against women, discrimination, the environment and human rights. I supported the peace process. I felt the tragedy in Kobani. I posted about Kobani and Newroz and my approach was similar to the state’s policy at that time. Likewise, I posted about the recent flood in Kastamonu, the forest fires in Manavgat and Dersim, the coup in Egypt, the attack in Shengal, the July 15 coup attempt, the people trying to escape from Afghanistan by holding on to the wheels of a plane while fleeing the Taliban. In a similar vein, as a writer, I signed a declaration calling for a humanitarian corridor to Kobani; another one calling for peace; and another one denouncing the 15 July coup attempt. Writers should not turn a blind eye to society. Now I am being prosecuted for my Twitter posts from eight years ago. No one can say, ‘Times have changed.’ Being accused of terrorism propaganda in spite of the value I place on human life makes me extremely sad as a writer.”
Asserting that he has published three short story collections, five novels, one children's book to date, Ekinci added: “Writers are the conscience, the spirit, the memory and the witnesses of the time they live in. I am the spirit, memory, witness and conscience of this age. The posts I shared within the scope of freedom of expression cannot be deemed as terrorism propaganda. I am being blamed for photos I shared without making any comments -- photos that have already been widely shared elsewhere.”
After hearing Ekinci and his lawyers’ defense statements, the Istanbul 34th High Criminal Court decided to send the case file to the prosecutor’s office for the preparation of their final opinion and adjourned the trial until 11 January 2022.