A lawsuit was filed against journalists Haluk Kalafat and Elif Akgül on the charge of “publicly insulting the Turkish nation (TCK 301/1)” for six news stories published on bianet in 2015, 2018 and 2019 (April 27).
At the hearing held on October 19, lawyer Veysel Ok said that the investigation started with a complaint made to CİMER in 2019 and said, “An investigation permit was requested from the Ministry of Justice in 2021. The indictment was prepared on December 9, 2021. The memorandum of agreement was drawn up in December 2022. Internet news sites were subject to the Press Law in October 2022. Therefore, the investigation has run out of time. “We demand that the client be given an immediate dismissal decision without taking their defense statements in the case,” he said.
Hearing prosecutor Mehmet Ateş requested the rejection of the request, stating that the statute of limitations will apply to online news sites as of October 2022. Judge Ali Çalı asked Akgül and Kalafat whether bianet is an official news organization and whether it has submitted a declaration to the prosecutor’s office. Journalists stated that they no longer work at bianet and said that they had no information about the issue. Thereupon, Judge Çalı rejected the request and started taking defenses against the indictment.
In his opinion, the prosecutor requested that Kalafat and Akgül be punished under TCK 301. Akgül and Kalafat then requested time to defend against the opinion. In line with the demands, the court decided to write a memorandum to the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office to ask whether bianet has filed a declaration of property and to investigate whether it qualifies as an online news site. The next hearing will be held on February 20, 2024 (October 19).