The trial on the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was continued before the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court on 28 March. At the 17th hearing, the court board accepted the plaintiff lawyers’ request for a revision of the report issued by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK). The court board chaired by Judge Rüstem Eryılmaz ruled to keep Yasin Hayal and Erhan Tuncel in detention. Hayal and Tuncel are two of a total of 19 defendants tried in the scope of this case. The court indicated that the charges pressed against them might change and that they might be punished according to Article 309 of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK) on “violation of the constitution”. The request of the plaintiff lawyers to hear Ahmet Samast, father of prime suspect Ogün Samast, as a witness was declined. The trial will be continued on 30 May. The defence lawyer of defendant Tuncel requested to broaden the investigation and objected to the file’s transfer to the prosecution because from his point of view evidence had not been fully collected yet. However, the court dismissed this request. It was furthermore decided to bring eye-witnesses Emsale Çakmak and Cemal Yıldırım to court on compulsion and to wait for the reply of the Trabzon High Criminal Court on Duty related to witness Sinan Reşitoğlu. The trial against triggerman suspect Ogün Samast will be continued before the Sultanahmet (Istanbul) 2nd Juvenile High Criminal Court on 4 April.
On 29 March, the Trabzon 1st High Criminal Court continued the trial related to the Dink murder. In the scope of this trial, the then Provincial Gendarmerie Commander of Trabzon (eastern Black Sea coast), Colonel Ali Öz, stands accused of “negligence of duty” prior to the murder. The court accepted the request for co-plaintiff status submitted by the Dink family members Rakel Dink (widow of the slain journalist), their daughters Sera Dink and Delal Dink, their son Arat Dink and the journalist’s brother Hosrof Dink. The Public Prosecutor demanded to dismiss the request for a merger of the trial at the Trabzon High Criminal Court with the murder case tried before the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court and the procedures related to the murder handled by the Trabzon 2nd Magistrate Criminal Court because, according to the prosecutor, the case files lack legal and de facto connections. Defendant Öz’s lawyer Sürmen also put forward that the trials were based on different laws and thus a merger would not be possible. Sürmen requested to drop procedures. However, the joint attorneys of the Dink family reiterated their request for a merger of the trials. The Prosecutor announced to review the case file of the Trabzon 2nd Magistrate Court and to communicate her opinion subsequently. The prosecutor is going to present her final view on the request of the defence lawyer in the coming hearing on 17 May.
24 January, 18 years after the violent death of renowned Turkish journalist Uğur Mumcu, his family filed a criminal complaint about “the officials who neglected the investigation and the prosecution of the real perpetrators and instigators”. Mumcu was killed on 24 January 1993 by the explosion of a bomb that had been placed at his car in front of his home. The regarding file was returned by the Court of Appeals twice. Only defendant Ferhan Özmen is currently serving an aggravated life sentence. A new case was opened in 2010 against four people who are alleged members of the “Tawhid-Salaam Jerusalem Organization” that was found responsible for the murder.
The Court of Appeals decided to have the murder trial of journalist Cihan Hayırsevener tried before the Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court instead of the Bandırma High Criminal Court. Hayırsevener, then General Publications Director of the Güney Marmara’da Yaşam newspaper (‘Life in Southern Marmara’) published in Bandırma (Balıkesir), was killed on 18 December 2009. A total of twelve defendants stand trial including triggerman suspect Serkan Erkkuş, Ilk Haber newspaper publishing coordinator Engin Arıcan, the Bandırma Deputy Mayor, Talip Yıldız, and members of the Kuruoğlu family who is publishing the Ilk Haber daily, namely İhsan Kuruoğlu, İlbey Kuruoğlu and Osman Kuruoğlu. Journalist Hayısevener had been threatened prior to his violent death because of his articles on corruption. The police detained 29-year-old Serkan Erakkuş in the context of the murder. Defendants Tolga Ö. and Ali T. were released pending trial.
On 25 March, employees of Kapadokya TVand the İhlas News Agency were beaten when they recorded footage after a road accident of a coach. Their cameras were broken. Executives of the Dorak Tourism Company had apparently said, “You are undermining tourism”. The President of the Nevşehir Journalists Association (NGC), Muammer Başar, condemned the attack on the journalists and the destruction of their cameras.
Journalist Murat Aktaş was allegedly threatened by the Chief Advisor of the Prime Minister, Turan Erol. When forwarding a question Erol told him, “Don’t make this kind of news, your newspaper might be closed”. Aktaş is working for Objektif newspaper, a local daily published in Amasya, a province in central Anatolia close to the Black Sea. Erol is the former head of the Capital Markets Board (SPK). While he answered questions related to economics, he did not comment on questions regarding journalists in custody and detention, Aktaş conveyed later on. Erol denied the allegation.
Journalists were attacked when they were covering news on the killing of four people on 16 March in Adana (eastern Mediterranean coast). NTV news channel Adana representative Hamza Gül was taken to hospital due to injuries to his head and chest caused by severe beating. The Çukurova Journalists Association (ÇGC) condemned the attack.
On 23 February in Rize (eastern Black Sea coast), tension arouse upon the police stopping a convoy with young man who were bidding farewell to go to the military. The police beat Ali Bakoğlu, co-owner of the Zümrüt Rize newspaper, and freelance journalist Necati Dilli with truncheons. The Rize Chief of Police announced that “judicial and administrative procedures” were initiated against the responsible police officers. The attack was condemned by the Rize Journalists Association, the Rize Journalists and Reporters Association, the ÇGD Rize Branch and the Black Sea Media Representatives Association.
Journalist and writer Mehmet Metiner was the target of an assassination plot. One person who allegedly prepared the plot was taken into custody. In his statement given to the police he said that he ‘was thinking about killing Metiner but he called it off at the last moment because he felt regret’. Reportedly, a person with the initials K.B. had been following Metiner for a while. Allegations were put forward that K.B. was pushed towards making a correspondent statement when he was in police custody.
The Kabalcı Bookstore in Beşiktaş/Istanbul received a threat from youth members of the Rights and Equality Party (HEPAR) lead by Osman Pamukoğlu. Reason for the threat was the selling of the 2011 Agenda by Metis Publishing with the subtitle “Against Racism, Discrimination and Hate Crimes”. The group picked a quarrel with employees of the publishing company because they interpreted a child figure depicted on the page of 10 November (day of Atatürk’s death) as an insult to the memory of Atatürk, the founder of the modern Turkish Republic. The figure on subject is also printed on the pages of 17 February, 3 March, 2, 16 and 23 June, 4, 18 and 25 August, 8, 15 and 29 September and 6 and 20 October. The Say Stop! to Racism and Nationalism Initiative and the Human Rights Foundation (İHD) protested the policies of “concealing and threat” displayed by the action.
The weekly Penguen humour magazine apologized after criticism of a caricature by Bahadır Baruter published on 9 February 2011. The caricature was subtitled, “There is no god, religion is a lie”. Baruter himself was quoted by radikal.com.tr as saying, “A lynch campaign was launched in the cyber world against the caricature published in my column. I am the sole creator of this idea and the drawing. As it was defined in the statement by the magazine, the column is a free space”.
Columnist Adem Yavuz Arslan, Ankara correspondent for the Bugün (‘Today’) newspaper, was threatened by means of a parcel sent to his Office on 26 January less than two weeks after the release of his book on the assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. Arslan is the author of the book “An Armenian: The Hrant Dink Operation Codes”. The book revealed new facts about the murder. The parcel contained several bullets for an automatic Kalashnikov rifle and a white beret, it was announced. Arslan said that he was being threatened on the phone ever since his book had been published less than two weeks ago. With this incident, the dimensions of the threat assumed increased proportions, he claimed. Hence, the author requested protection from the police. The Turkish Journalists Association (TGC), the Media Association, the Turkish Publishers Association (TYB) and the Press Institute Association condemned the threat.
Journalist Kazım Şen, owner of the usak.tv news site, was shot at in front of his house in Uşak (interior of western Turkey). He was injured at his foot. Supposed attacker Tekin Uğur (23) was arrested, the weapon was seized. Four people were taken into custody upon Şen’s statement, among them the former provincial chair of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). They were released when Uğur was arrested. Abdurrahman Yavuz, head of the Uşak Journalists Association, condemned the attack on the journalist.
Journalist Çetin Yılmaz was attacked by the bodyguards of Necmi Kadıoğlu, Mayor of the Esenyurt district of Istanbul, on 17 January. Yılmaz, concessionaire of the local Alternatif Doğuş Newspaper (‘Alternative Generation’), recalled, “After the mayor had pointed at me calling me the leader of a gang, his bodyguards and supporters walked me over and took me out of the room. They took the cassette from the Ekin TV cameraman by force and physically harassed me”.
Hüseyin Orhan, General Publications Director of the Değişim Media Group, was apparently threatened after news and comments written about Halil Posbıyık, Mayor of Ereğli (south-central Turkey). Orhan, also the owner of the www.ereglininsesi.com website (‘Voice of Ereğli’) filed a criminal complaint, as it was announced on 11 January. The Ereğli District Governor İbrahim Çay transferred Orhan’s petition to the Police Directorate as an urgent matter.
Caricaturist Bahadır Baruter announced that he was threatened and insulted via the internet because he designed a deck of cards with Ottoman figures resembling insects.
Five journalists went to prison in the first quarter of 2011 on the grounds of their writings and books, namely Vedat Kurşun and Ozan Kılıç as former editors-in-chief of the Kurdish Azadiya Welat newspaper; Bedri Adanır, owner of Aram Publishing and executive of Hawar newspaper; the editorial manager of the İşçi Köylü (‘Worker Peasant’) newspaper, Barış Açıkel; and Proleterce Devrimci Duruş (‘Proletarian Revolutionary Stance’) newspaper writer Nevin Berktaş. As of 31 March 2011, they are still in prison.
42 journalists are being imprisoned in the scope of major trials such as “Ergenekon”, “KCK”, “Revolutionary Headquarters”, “MLKP” or “Sledgehammer”.
Journalists Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener were arrested on 6 March in the scope of the “Ergenekon” file on the grounds of the books they published already or were about to publish.
Eleven homes in Istanbul and Ankara were raided by the police on 3 March. Several people were taken into custody: Journalists Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener, both of whom were arrested on 6 March, writer Yalçın Küçük, Oda TV Co-ordinator Doğan Yurdakul, journalist Sait Çakır, Oda TV Ankara representative Mümtaz İdil and police officer Aydın Bıyıklı. Moreover, the homes of Oda TV writers İklim Kaleli Bayraktar and Müyesser Uğur Yıldız and former National Intelligence Agency (MİT) member Kaşif Kozinoğlu were searched. Oda TV staff member Baryaktar was released by the prosecution. The operations, police custodies and arrests were condemned by 40 professional and labour organizations, among them the Canada-based International Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX) organization, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in Brussels, the International Press Institute (IPI), Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Freedom for Journalists Platform (GÖP), The Platform for Solidarity with Detained Journalists (TGDP), the Contemporary Journalists Association (ÇGD), the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK), Confederation of Trade Unions of Public Employees (KESK), the Turkish Journalists Union (TGS) and the Turkey Union of Chambers of Architects and Engineers (TMMOB).
Journalist Necip Çapraz, concessionaire of the local Yüksekova News daily, was taken into custody on 21 March in the context of the investigation into the Union of Kurdistan Communities (KCK) Turkish Assembly. He was released by the Van Courthouse on 25 March after four days at the Hakkari Police Directory. The TGC and GÖP talked to the Governor of Hakkari, Muammer Türker, while Çapraz was in custody to draw attention to his desolate health condition.
On 25 February, DİHA reporter Çağla Yeleser was taken into police custody at the Ankara Intercity Bus Terminal. The journalist was on his way to Diyarbakır to cover a news story. The police put forward that they “received the notice that Yeleser was going to rural areas”. The journalist was kept in police custody for four days.
Hürriyet newspaper writer Ahmet Hakan Coşkun was taken into police custody in the early morning of 23 February from his hotel room in Ankara. He was taken to the Küçükesat Police Station because of an arrest warrant issued in his name in the context of a trial filed against him by businessman Cem Uzan. Çoşkun was tried on charges of public insult of Uzan and acquitted. However, he was still registered as “wanted” in the police records. He was released the same day.
The editor-in-chief of the People’s Daily (‘Halkın Günlüğü’) newspaper, Hıdır Gürz, and the paper’s representative in Mersin, Deniz Kısmetli, are among the 23 people who were taken into police custody in the course of police operations carried out in seven different provinces on 22 February. The searches were directed at the offices of the People’s Daily newspaper and the Democratic Peoples Association and the homes of members of the Democratic Peoples Federation (DHF). Gürz was taken into custody in Zonguldak. Kısmetli was taken to Adana and released by the prosecution together with a further eleven people. The Platform for Solidarity for Detained Journalists condemned Gürz’s arrest.
On 18 February, OdaTV.com site administrator Soner Yalçın, general publications director Barış Pehlivan and news director Barış Erkoğlu were arrested under allegations of “membership in the Ergenekon organization”, “inciting hatred and hostility” and “obtaining and publishing classified documents regarding the security of state”. The journalists were taken into custody on 14 February in the course of a raid on the office of the internet site. They are still being detained in the Silivri prison. Editor Ayhan Bozkurt was released.
Writer Hasan Basri Aydın (72) was released from the Paşakapı Prison on 7 February. He had been sentenced to imprisonment of two years and two months in total in the scope of two different trials. He was tried before the Ankara 3rd Criminal Court of First Instance and the Sincan 1st Criminal Court of First Instance on the grounds of alleged insult conveyed in two letters he sent to Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Çiçek.
The Freedom for Journalists Platform (GÖP) urged for the release of all arrested journalists in prison. The call came on 17 February after a visit by GÖP members to journalists Mustafa Balbay, former Cumhuriyet newspaper Ankara correspondent, and Tuncay Özkan who are incarcerated in the Silivri Prison.
As of 9 November 2009, Deniz Yıldırım, general publications director of the Aydınlık magazine, is being prosecuted before the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court. He is facing charges of “disclosing non-public conversations between individuals” and “illegally obtaining or publishing personal data”.
Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter Hamdiye Çiftiçi has been detained at the E Type Prison of Bitlis (south-eastern Anatolia) for ten months. The journalist was among a number of people who were arrested in the course of raids carried out in 2010 within the context of the prosecution of the Union of Kurdistan Communities/Turkey Assembly (KCK/TM), the umbrella organization that includes the PKK. Together with reporter Çiftçi, many executives and employees of the BDP were detained under allegations of “membership of an illegal organization” in the scope of the operations. The group of detainees includes Mikail Atan, representative of the Mesopotamia Association of Those Losing their Relatives (MEYA-DER).
On 31 March, the Diyarbakır 6th High Criminal Court again rejected the request for the release of Bedri Adanır, owner of Aram Publishing and editorial manager of the Kurdish Hawar newspaper. Adanır is tried under allegations of “propaganda for an illegal organization” on the grounds of publishing a book by imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. The case was postponed to 12 May. Adanır’s lawyers had appealed a five-year prison sentence handed down to their client on the same charges in 2010. The journalist is being imprisoned in the Diyarbakır D Type Prison since January 2010.
The owner and editor-in-chief of the İşçi Köylü (‘Workers Peasants’) newspaper, Barış Açıkel, served his prison sentence of four years and eight months on charges of “membership of an illegal organization”. Since July 2010 however, he is kept at the Kandıra No. 2 F Type Prison because of his sentence on “making propaganda for an illegal organization” on the grounds of news and articles published in the newspaper. The Ankara 11th High Criminal Court informed the lawyers in writing on 10 January 2010 that his sentence had been converted into a monetary fine of TL 73,435 (€ 36,500). The court determined that Açıkel was not to be released before March 2013. The journalist is in jail since 29 March 2004, mainly under charges of “spreading propaganda for an illegal organization”.
On 2 March, the Court of Appeals Public Chief Prosecution demanded to overturn the 166.5-year prison sentence handed down to journalist Vedat Kurşun, former Editor-in-Chief of the Kurdish Azadiya Welat newspaper. Kurşun has been detained in the Diyarbakır D Type Prison since 30 January 2009. The Court of appeals demanded Kurşun’s acquittal from charges of “membership in an organization” and furthermore claimed that “propaganda” charges could not be applied 103 times but that the journalist could be sentenced under the according provision only once. The local court is going to retry the file.
Nevin Berktaş, author of the book “Difficult places that challenge the faith: Prison Cells”, was arrested on 3 November upon the approval of her 10-month prison sentence on charges of “spreading propaganda for an illegal organization”. Berktaş is still being incarcerated in the Bakırköy Women and Children Detention House on Istanbul’s European side. The writer’s lawyers requested to deduct the 10-month sentence from the period of five years and seven months she had previously served too long in prison but the court dismissed the request. Berktaş was behind bars for 22 years under allegations of membership in the Revolutionary Communist Union of Turkey.
On 24 February, the Court of Appeals 9th Criminal Chamber eventually upheld the life sentence for journalist Erdal Süsem, editor of the Eylül Sanat Edebiyat (‘September Arts and Literature’) magazine. He was convicted of “membership in the Maoist Communist Party” (MKP). The Istanbul 12th High Criminal Court previously sentenced Süsem to a two-count life sentence on charges of “attempting to change the constitutional order by force”. The verdict was overturned twice. Süsem has been in prison since 5 February 2010.
Kenan Karavil, publications director of the Adana Dünya (‘World’) Radio, is being tried before the Adana 8th High Criminal Court in the scope of the case regarding the urban structure of the Union of Kurdistan Communities (KCK). Karavil has been in the Kürkçüler F Type Prison since 10 December 2009. At the hearing on 24 February, the court declined the journalist’s request to present his defence in Kurdish. The trial was postponed to 31 May. Karavil is facing prison terms of between eight and 22.5 years under charges of “committing a crime on behalf of an illegal organization” and “spreading propaganda for an illegal organization”. Azadiya Welat Adana correspondent Seyithan Akyüz was arrested together with Karavil after he had been kept in police custody for four days by the Adana Police Directorate Anti-Terror Branch. The former general publications co-ordinator of Gün TV, Ahmet Birisn, was taken into custody as well in the course of the KCK operation and has remained in the Diyarbakır D Type Prison ever since.
The Court of Appeals overturned the 21-year prison sentence handed down to journalist Ozan Kılıç, former Editor-in-Chief of the Kurdish Azadiya Welat newspaper. The Court of Appeals 9th Chamber ruled that the sentence was disproportionally high and overturned the decision given by the Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court on 9 February 2010. Kılınç was sentenced on charges of “spreading propaganda for the PKK organization” and “committing a crime on behalf of an illegal organization without being a member of that organization”. On 22 July 2010, Kılıç was arrested and incarcerated in the Diyarbakır D Type Prison.
The Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court rejected the release of journalist and interpreter Suzan Zengin at the hearing on 15 February. Zengin was taken into police custody on 28 August 2009 and arrested subsequently. She is facing imprisonment of up to 15 years under allegations of membership in the TKP/ML TİKKO organization. Zengin, employee of the Worker Peasant newspaper (‘İşçi Köylü’) is being detained in the Bakırköy (Istanbul) Women and Children Prison. Her next hearing is scheduled for 14 June. The trial was opened on 16 March 2010. Her lawyer Gül Altay claimed that Zengin’s detention constituted a violation of press freedom and requested her client’s release pending trial. However, the court declined the request.
On 25 January, journalist Berivan Eker, former editor-in-chief of the Kurdish women magazine Renge Heviya Jine (‘The colour of women’s hope), received a prison sentence of two years and six months on charges of “spreading propaganda for an illegal organization”. The punishment was set at the lower limit due to a mitigation applied for good conduct. Eker was both convicted and released from detention at the final hearing. She will have to go back to prison if the Court of Appeals upholds the decision.
Sabri Adanır, Cizre representative of the Gündem newspaper, has been detained in the Diyarbakır E Type Prison since 5 April 2007 under allegations of “membership in the PKK organization”. On 1 February 2010, the journalist was sentenced to imprisonment of six years and three months by the Diyarbakır High Criminal Court.
Sinan Aygül, Bitlis reporter for the DİHA News Agency, was taken into police custody on 19 January 2011 in the scope of an operation related to the KCK Turkey Assembly. Azadiya Welat representative Ali Konar was previously taken into custody in Elazığ together with a further 120 people in the context of a KCK operation carried out in several provinces. He has been arrested since 24 May 2010.
Halit Güdenoğlu, owner and editor-in-chief of the weekly Yürüyüş (‘march’) magazine, Yürüyüş employees Kaan Ünsal and Cihan Gün and Musa Kurt, writer for the Public Workers Front magazine, were taken into custody in the course of a raid on the magazine office by riot forces on 24 December 2010. The police drilled holes into the walls to check the bricks, tore down doors with hammers and seized computers. The raid of the riot forces was done with the help of helicopters. The journalists were arrested and brought to the Ankara Sincan No.1 F Type Prison.
Osman Baha Okar, Bilim ve Gelecek (‘Science and Future’) magazine editor and administrative manager, and Hakan Soytemiz, editorial manager of the RED and Enternasyonal (‘International’) magazines, have been detained at the Silivri L Type Prison since 24 September because of their alleged affiliation to the “Revolutionary Headquarters” terrorist organization. The trial against Okar, Soytemiz and twelve other detained defendants will start on 12 April before the Istanbul 12th High Criminal Court. A further four defendants will be tried un-detained.
The Court of Appeals 9th Circuit upheld the six-year and three-month prison sentences imposed to DİHA reporters Behdin Tunç and Faysal Tunç. The journalists were arrested on 5 April 2007. They will remain in the Diyarbakır D Type Prison. The Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court found both of them guilty of “assisting and providing shelter for the PKK organization”. DİHA reporter for the south-eastern province of Şırnak, Haydar Haykır, was taken into custody in the district of Çizre (Şırnak) on 8 January 2008. He was arrested and taken to the Batman H Type Prison four days later on 12 January.
23 people are being tried under allegations of membership in the Marxist Leninist Communist Party (MLKP), among them Füsun Erdoğan, general co-ordinator of the Istanbul Özgür (‘Free’) Radio, Atılım newspaper publication co-ordinator İbrahim Çiçek and Atılm newspaper employee Sedat Şenoğlu. The request for their release pending trial was dismissed at the hearing on 10 December. They were not allowed to present their defence in Kurdish. The Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court postponed the case to 17 May. Erdoğan, Çiçek and Şenoğlu have been detained since 8 September 2006.
Atılım newspaper writer Bayram Namaz has been detained in the Edirne No.1 F Type Prison since 12 September 2006. Charges of “membership in the MLKP organization” and the “attempt to destroy the Constitutional order” are being pressed against the journalist who is tried before the Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court. The next hearing is scheduled for 17 May.
Hasan Coşar, writer for the Atılım newspaper, was sentenced to prison terms of ten years and ten months on charges of “membership in the MLKP organization” and “spreading propaganda for an illegal organization”. The verdict was given by the Ankara 11th High Criminal Court on 18 March. Coşar was taken into police custody on 28 March 2009 and arrested the following day. He is being incarcerated in the Sincan F Type Prison.
On 24 April, the Court of Appeals upheld the sentence handed down to DİHA employees Ali Buluş and Mehmet Karaaslan under allegations of “membership in an illegal organization”. Both journalists have been detained in the Mersin Ermenek E Type Prison since 19 April 2007.
Emine Altınkaya, Ankara reporter for DİHA, was taken into custody together with another 40 people when she covered an event at the Ankara Youth Culture Centre on 27 November 2010. She is being kept at the Altınkaya Sincan Prison where she awaits the preparation of her indictment.
On 27 June 2001, Erol Zavar, former editor-in-chief of the Okak (‘Focus’) magazine, was handed down a life sentence on charges of membership in the “Resistance Movement” by the Ankara No.2 State Security Court (DGM). Zavar was taken to the Sincan No.1 F Type Prison on 15 January 2001. He underwent 15 surgeries in the past four years because of cancer.
Atılım newspaper Istanbul reporter Dilek Keskin was taken into custody when she visited her family in Antakya. She was arrested on the grounds of a 4 year and two month prison sentence that has not been finalized yet. She was taken to the Antakya E Type Prison.
Mustafa Gök was released from prison due to health problems caused by a hunger strike as a means of protest against operations on F Type prisons. Gök was arrested for the first time in 1993 and received a life sentence on charges of the “attempt to destroy the constitutional order”. After his release in 2002, Gök worked as a representative of the Emek ve Adalet (‘Labour and Justice’) magazine in Ankara till 2004. On 24 December 2010, he was arrested again by reason of having his health restored. Gök is being detained in the Sincan No.1 F Type Prison.
The Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court tries Aydınlık newspaper writer Hikmet Çiçek over allegations of “membership in an illegal organization”, “providing classified documents” and “illegally registering personal data”. Çiçek was taken into police custody on 25 March 2008 in the scope of the Ergenekon Investigation. Three days later, he was taken to the Silivri Prison.
On 29 March, the Court of Appeals Criminal General Assembly overturned the ten-month prison sentence handed down to Fatih Taş, owner of the Weşanen Aram Publishing Company. He was convicted of “spreading propaganda for the PKK” on the grounds of the book “Hill of fights – Rebellion” published in the Kurdish language. Taş had claimed before the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court that the Turkish translation of the book was inaccurate. On 16 March 2007, Taş had been convicted of “propaganda for an illegal organization” according to Artilce 7/2 of the TMY on the grounds of poems published in the book.
A trial was opened against Barış Yarkadaş, general publications director of the Gerçek Gündem (‘Real Agenda’) news site, upon the necessary permission issued by the Ministry of Justice. Yarkadaş is sued by the Prime Ministry because of a reader comment that was published on the website in 2008. He is facing imprisonment of up to five years under allegations of “insult of the president”. The trial will start on 21 June. Yarkadaş was litigated by the Prime Ministry over the same charges before, again on the grounds of a reader comment. He was acquitted in June 2010.
Kurdish musician Ferhat Tunç is facing allegations of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” because he used the word “guerrilla” in a speech during his performance at a concert. The event on 7 August 2010 took place in Kiğı, a district of the Kurdish-majority city of Bingöl in south-eastern Turkey. The first hearing of this trial will be held at the Diyarbakır 4th High Criminal Court on 26 May. The charges stem from the following statement preceding the concert: “Blood is being shed in this country; the blood of our children who we sent to the military, of Kurdish children who have been hiding in the mountains for years, and of the Kurdish guerrilla. We do not want anybody to die. We want this war to stop immediately”.
Tunç was sentenced to imprisonment of 25 days because he was found guilty of having praised 17 militants of the Maoist Communist Party who were killed on 27 January. The musician mentioned the militants at the Nazmiye Düzgün Baba Festival on 27 January. The Malatya 3rd High Criminal Court postponed the pronouncement of judgement. Thus, Tunç would have to serve his sentence if he would reoffend within the next five years.
Two new trials were opened against Radikal newspaper reporter İsmail Saymaz on the grounds of his book “The postmodern Jihad” and his article entitled “The Sultanbeyli Courthouse”. Saymaz has twelve cases pending already, one of them by reason of his news item about the arrest of İlhan Cihaner, Public Chief Prosecutor of Erzincan (north-eastern Anatolia). The journalist faces up to 97 years in jail for those twelve trials. The additional case regarding the book was now launched at the Special Authority 2nd High Criminal Court of Erzurum (eastern Anatolia). Saymaz is tried over allegations of “targeting people on anti-terror duties”, an offence that carries prison terms of up to three years. The first hearing of the case will be held on 26 April. The book “The postmodern Jihad” was furthermore the reason for a compensation claim of TL 7,000 (€ 3,500) previously filed against the journalist by Prosecutor Osman Şanalı. Saymaz was due in court before the Ankara 11th Magistrate Law Court on 14 March. The trial was postponed to 20 April. Saymaz is facing another ten years in jail based on charges of “insult” of Judge Dilek Gökkoyun and “influencing the judiciary”. The journalist appeared at the Bakırköy (Istanbul) 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance on 3 February in the scope of this case. He was supported by members of the Freedom for Journalists Platform (GÖP). This case will be continued on 14 April. Saymaz is also tried before the Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance together with Editorial Manager Hasan Çakkalkurt because of a news item regarding Köksal Şengün, Court President of the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court, and Kadir Özbek, Deputy President of the Judges and Prosecutors Supreme Board (HSYK) and their alleged involvement in technical surveillance. The trial opened on the grounds of his article entitled “Love games in Ergenekon – The Ergenekon prosecutor also took the judge’s statement” will be continued on 17 May.
On 21 April, the cases against journalists Ali Dağlar, İlhan Taşçı and İsmail Saymaz will start before the Erzurum 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. The journalists are charged with “insult of a public official” and the “attempt to influence a fair trial” on the grounds of their books “Master 01” (Dağlar), “Justice in a Gown” (Taşçı) and “The postmodern Jihad” (Saymaz). Saymaz is indicted under allegations of using the picture of Erzurum Prosecutor Osman Şanal on the cover of his book “The postmodern Jihad”. He stands furthermore accused of “settling old scores with the result of his investigation into a congregation/sect” and of “deliberate insult of the Jihad”. For the book “Justice in a Gown”, the indictment put forward a “deliberate insult of the Jihad” as well. The book “Master 01” allegedly “gave the impression of being a member of a religious order by acting biased and intentionally”. The journalists are indicted under Articles 125 and 128 of the TCK that carry prison terms of up to five years in total. The books touch upon the “Ergenekon” trial and the “Erzincan” process tried before the Erzurum 2nd High Criminal Court.
Five people are facing trial over charges of “alienating the public from the military service” on the grounds of their support for conscientious objector Enver Aydemir when they attended the hearing of Aydemir in 2010. The defendants include Aydemir’s father Ahmet Aydemir as well as his lawyer Davut Erkan, writer Fatih Tezcan, actor and director Mehmet Atak and conscientious objector Halil Savda. They are tired under Article 318 of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK). In the indictment, Public Prosecutor Hasan Ali Aydın based the charges of “propaganda” and “attending an event that alienated the public from military service” on the slogans shouted during a press release made at Aydemir’s hearing on 21 January 2010. Some of these slogans were “Conscientious objectors for peace”, “Nobody is born as a soldier” or “Release Enver Aydemir”. The trial starts before t he Eskişehir Criminal Court of First Instance on 21 April.
Sezgin Tanrıkulu, former President of the Bar Association of Diyarbakır will be prosecuted over charges of “attempting to influence the judiciary” because he criticized the release of Specialist Sergeant Gültekin Sütçü. Defendant Sütçü is being tried in the scope of the JİTEM trial and was released pending trial upon the Diyarbakır Military Court’s decision for lack of jurisdiction. Tanrıkulu’s case will be tried before the Siverek High Criminal Court in Şanlıurfa, a city in south-eastern Anatolia. In a statement made on 17 August 2007, Tanrıkulu criticized the decision of the military court. “It is not appropriate for a court that decides for a lack of jurisdiction to release a defendant of the trial. (…) The ‘good guys’ are not being touched in Turkey”.
The Ankara Chief Prosecution opened a trial against HaberVaktim news site owner Murat Demirci, editor Engin Kaşdaş, BeyazGazete internet site owner Levent Kelleci, editor Sacit Şahin, AktifHaber news site editor Alaeddin Yüksek and AktifKulis site owner Murat Güzel. The journalists are charged with “insult” of Constitutional Court Member Serdar Özgüldür and Major Gen. Hıfzı Çubuklu, legal advisor of the General Staff. The defendants stand accused of having published “faked” footage of a conversation between Özgüldür and an unidentified individual on the internet. The defendants are facing imprisonment between two and four years each on charges of “insult of a public official”. The trial will be handled by the Ankara 2nd Magistrate Criminal Court.
Another trial was opened against Radikal newspaper reporter Ertuğrul Mavioğlu. Mavioğlu stands accused of “spreading propaganda for an illegal organization” on the grounds of his interview with PKK leader Murat Karayılan. Mavioğlu is facing five years in prison for the interview that was published in Radikal newspaper in three separate sections between 28 and 30 October 2010. He might also be deprived of a number of civil rights in case of a conviction. The trial will start in May before the Istanbul 11th High Criminal Court.
Abdullah Çetin, DİHA reporter in Siirt, is tried over allegations of “propaganda for an illegal organization” on the grounds of a news item published by the ANF agency. The charges carry a maximum five-year jail term. Çetin is facing imprisonment of between ten months and five years in the case heard by the Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court. Çetin covered the funeral of HPG member Asiye Gündüz who died in an armed conflict. The People’s Defence Forces (HPG) is an armed wing of the PKK. On his way back from Eruh (Siirt), Çetin was taken into police custody. His telephone, the memory card and the pictures he had taken were seized by the police. Çetin was released after he had given his statement.
Journalist Aziz Özer, editorial manager of the Güney magazine, was sentenced to imprisonment of one year and six months by reason of the article entitled “The story of an incredible three-day resistance” and a short picture story called “The Judge”. On 31 March, the Istanbul 9th High Criminal Court convicted Özer of “spreading propaganda for an illegal organization” according to Article 7/2 of the TMY. Lawyer Özcan Kılıç announced to appeal the decision. A caricature in the 98th issue of the magazine featured a grave stone with crescent and star and the name “Niyazi Martyr”. The caricature was also subject of the trial.
On 29 March, the Bakırköy (Istanbul) 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance heard the statement of journalist Semra Pelek who stands trial together with Mustafa Dolu, editor-in-chief of Akşam newspaper. Pelek, former editor of the nation-wide daily, and Dolu are being sued on the grounds of publishing the statement of former Air Force Commander ret. General İbrahim Fırtına given to the prosecution in the context of the Ergenekon investigation. Dolu did not attend the hearing and the court decided to bring the responsible manager to court on compulsion. The next hearing of the trial was set to 11 August. The prosecutor demanded prison terms of up to eight years on charges of Article 285 and 288 TCK on “Violation of Confidentiality” and the “Attempt to influence a fair trial” respectively.
On 29 March, the Ankara 7th Civil Court of First Instance sentenced BDP Şırnak MP Hasip Kaplan to a monetary fine of TL 6,000 (€ 3,000) in compensation to be paid to Prime Minister Erdoğan on the grounds of an “attack on his personal rights”. Kaplan is facing another compensation claim worth TL 20,000 (€10,000) based on a speech delivered in Cyprus in January 2010.
Journalist Ercan Atay, editorial manger of the Batman newspaper, is being litigated over charges of “praising a crime” by the Batman Magistrate Criminal Court. The charges stem from publishing an e-mail of the PKK environment on 8 August 2010. The e-mail was related to a roadside explosion in Batman that left four human rights defenders dead. Atay will be due in court on 12 April.
16 members of the Beyoğlu Troupe art society stand accused of “insult” upon a complaint of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The second hearing of the case was held on 25 March before the Magistrate Criminal Court of Çatalca (Istanbul). The legal procedures started upon the performance of the Beyoğlu Troupe at the “Judas Tree Festival” organized by the Municipality of Çatalca in July 2010. One of the characters in the play “From our country” performed a song entitled “The Tayyip Blues”. The lyrics of the song were taken as a reason for the criminal complaint. The court decided not to watch a video of the performance at court since Emre Yalçın who sang the disputed song could not be seen. The trial was postponed to 18 May.
Writer Orhan Pamuk has to pay a TL 6,000 (€ 3,000) monetary fine in compensation to six people who complained about the Nobel Prize laureate. The compensation claim stemmed from Pamuk’s statement “We killed 30,000 Kurds and one million Armenians” made during a newspaper interview in Switzerland. The Şişli 3rd Civil Court of First Instance had previously dropped procedures against Pamuk twice due to “the claimants’ lack of capacity to sue”. The Court of Appeals 4th Law Chamber overturned the verdict on 11 April 2007 upon the appeal of the claimants. The supreme court ruled that the plaintiffs fulfilled the conditions for making a claim. If personal rights had been attacked, it held, the legislation should be applied. The Court of Appeals returned the file also for the third time and the final decision was announced on 26 March. Eventually, the local court decreed for TL 1,000 (€ 500) in compensation for each complainant.
Human rights defender Hakan Tahmaz and Birgün newspaper editorial manager İbrahim Çeşmecioğlu were convicted on 24 March on the grounds of their so-called “Qandil interview”. Both defendants were sentenced for “publishing announcements of an illegal organization” because of an interview with KCK leader Murat Karayılan. Tahmaz was sentenced for leading the interview, Çeşmecioğlu for publishing it. The court on the other hand decided for a one-year prison sentence for Tahmaz which was finally mitigated to ten months. Çeşmecioğlu was handed down a monetary fine of TL 16,660 (€ 8,300) corresponding to 1000 days in prison. Prosecutor Kasım İlimoğlu claimed that the defendants carried out journalistic activities and demanded their acquittal based on previous decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Both defendants stood accused of “publishing statements of PKK/KONGRAGEL” according to article 6/2 of the Anti-Terror Act (TMY). Reason for the prosecution was the interview entitled “Unilateral Ceasefire Amplifies the Problem” published on 9 August 2008.
The trial filed against Halil Savda, owner of the “opponents of war” website (www.savaskarsitlari.org) was continued at the Beyoğlu Magistrate Criminal Court on 24 March. Savda is tried under allegations of “insult via the media” upon a complaint of Ahmet Ateşli after he had quoted Ateşli from a news article in Birgün newspaper. The trial was postponed to 14 December since Ateşli was absent at the hearing. The case is based on the article “Ağar: Allegations and beyond” dated 25 July 2007 and published as a quoted news on the website.
Kurdish politician Aysel Tuğluk, Co-Chair of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), is still in the dock in Ankara and Diyarbakır under allegations of “spreading propaganda for an illegal organization”. She appeared before the 4th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır on 24 March. The trial was adjourned to 26 May. Tuğluk’s lawyer had requested additional time for the preparation of the defence. Tuğluk is tried on charges of “spreading propaganda for an illegal organization” in twelve different incidents and “committing a crime on behalf of an illegal organization without membership in the organization”. The indictment seeks prison terms of up to 70 years in total. The charges stem from twelve speeches delivered in the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakır between 2005 and 2009. Moreover, Tuğluk is being tried together with former DTP MP Ahmet Türk at the 12th High Criminal Court of Turkey’s capital Ankara. This time, charges of “making propaganda for a separatist terrorist organization” are being pressed against DTK Co-Chairs Tuğluk and Türk based on speeches given at the First Regular Congress of the DTP in 2006. The trial was continued on 22 March. The prosecutor demanded Türk’s acquittal in his final speech. For Tuğluk he requested a prison sentence of up to five years according to Article 7/2 TMY. The final decision on the case is expected for the session on 21 June.
Ziya Çiçekçi, owner and responsible manager of the shut-down Günlük newspaper, received prison sentences of eleven years and eleven months in total plus monetary fines amounting to TL 16,600 (€8,300) on the grounds of articles and news published in the daily. According to Günlük lawyer Özcan Kılıç, Çiçekçi has another ten trials pending against her at the Istanbul 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th High Criminal Courts and before the Beyoğlu (Istanbul) 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. Additional cases have been opened against publications director Filiz Koçali, reporter Yüksel Genç and news chief Ramazan Pekgöz. The one-year and three-month sentence of writer Veysi Sarısözen is pending at the Court of Appeals. Sarısözen was convicted of charges of “propaganda for an illegal organization” by the Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court on 1 April 2010. The decision was based on his article “Terror? War?” published on 14 June 2007.
Saadet Irmak, executive of the weekly Yeni Yorum (‘new comment’) and Demokratik Toplum (‘democratic society’) newspapers, is facing a total of 13 trials at the Istanbul 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th High Criminal Courts. He stands accused of having spread propaganda for an illegal organization by reasons of articles and news published between 8 November 2010 and 6 March 2011. The publication of the weekly Ülkede Yorum newspaper was suspended for one month because of writings published in the issue dated 15-21 November 2010.
The Günlük Evernsel newspaper is facing compensation claims of TL 140,000 (€70,000) in total for monetary and non-pecuniary damage based on news items and articles published since 2003 till the present. Three compensation claims are directed at writer Ertuğrul Ünlütürk: The Minister of the Environment and Forestry, Veysel Eeroğlu, claims TL 15,000 (€7,500) because of the article “The state of the ministry” published on 27 March 2010; Adülkadir Aksu demands TL 10,000 (€ 5,000) based on the content of an interview with BDP member Bengi Yıldız on 9 May; Koza Gold Enterprises Inc. try to sue out TL 40,000 (€ 20,000) due to the news item “Toxic possibility” published on 10 February 2009. Reporter Enver Şat was handed down a monetary fine of TL 2,400 (€ 1,200) by reason of the article “Why is Fethullah getting stronger?” dated 6 December 2004. The file is pending at the Court of Appeals. At least nine compensation trials were opened against the executives of the Günlük Evrensel newspaper. Newspaper Officials İsmail Muzaffer Özkurt and Ahmet Sami Belek received a monetary fine because of the article “Warning and suggestions for a solution from Öcalan” published on 1 October 2003. The decision has not been approved yet by the Court of Appeals. They were furthermore convicted under Articles 6 and 7 of the TMY at the Istanbul 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th High Criminal Courts on the grounds of the articles “Kongra-Gel suggested a peace project”, “Öcalan criticized Karayılan”, “Supporting both the AKP and the USA”, “Kongra-Gel announced congress results” and “Karayılan: We are ready for peace if the operations stop”. The files are pending at the Court of Appeals as well as the one-year prison sentence handed down to journalist Uğraş Vatandaş by the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court on charges of “publishing an announcement of an illegal organization”. The charges are based on the article “What is the benefit of the last regret?” published on 10 December 2007.
PM Erdoğan and the ruling AKP are pressing charges against poet and writer Ataol Behramoğlu. The TL 20,000 (€ 10,000) compensation claim stems from Behramoğlu’s statements voiced on television. The trial was heard before the Ankara 15th Criminal Court of First Instance on 22 March. It was postponed to 25 May. The writer is prosecuted over his utterances made as a guest of the program “Neural Zone” (‘Tarafsız Bölge’) broadcasted on the Turkish news channel CNN Türk on 12 January 2010. He said, “I do not say that the AKP will not hold the elections. Yet, in my opinion they did everything, visible and invisible, to prevent elections by illegal and anti-democratic means”.
Radikal newspaper writer Oral Çalışlar was acquitted of charges of the “attempt to influence a fair trial” based on the article entitled “The court decision that told a soldier ‘You will die'”. On 17 March, Çalışlar was acquitted by the Bakırköy 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance together with editorial manager Hasan Çakkalkurt because of “lack of intent and elements of crime”.
Adana MP Dengir Mir Mehmet Fırat from the ruling AKP filed a case against journalist Hacı Boğatekin, owner of the Gerger Fırat newspaper. Boğatekin is facing a 10,000 Turkish Lira (TL) compensation claim (approx. € 4,760) because he used the word “manservant” in one of his articles. The trial was continued on 17 March and postponed to 28 April.
The trial against Taylan Tanay, official of the Contemporary Lawyers Association (ÇHD), and bianet website co-ordinator Ertuğrul Kürkçü, was continued before the Ankara 25th Criminal Court of First Instance on 10 March. Ali Suat Ertosun, member of the Judges and Prosecutors Supreme Council (HSYK) and former Prisons and Arrest Stations General Manager, filed a TL 15,000 (€ 7.500) compensation claim against the lawyer and the journalist because of an alleged attack on his personal rights. The charges stem from an article entitled “Ali Suat Ertosun’s place is not on the HSYK but in the dock”, published on 31 July 2009. The court dismissed the plaintiff’s request to hear certain witnesses. The court was informed that ÇHD President Selçuk Kozağaçlı was acquitted in a similar case by the Ankara 9th Magistrate Criminal Court on 17 February. Judge Ömer Kızılkaya postponed the trial to 13 April.
The trial against lawyer Şiar Rişvanoğlu before the Special Authority 6th High Criminal Court of Adana was continued on 10 March. Rişvanoğlu, former Adana Branch President of the ÇHD, is sued for three statements he made on the Kurdish Roj TV channel. In a program on Roj TV on 3 May 2010, Rişvanoğlu said, “A commission has to be required to confidentially investigate all political murders in Kurdistan, all conspiracies, the massacres of the Botaş death wells, mass murders and rapes”. A case was opened against the lawyer in astronomical speed. The first hearing was held on 16 September the same year. Rişvanoğlu will be due in court again on 26 April.
The trial against Ahmet Türk, former Co-Chair of the defunct pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP), on the grounds of seven different speeches of the Kurdish politician was started on 10 March. Türk stands accused of “propaganda for an illegal organization” on the grounds of speeches delivered in the cities of Batman, Diyarbakır, Mardin, Siirt and on the Kurdish television channel Roj TV. The Diyarbakır 4th High Criminal Court postponed the case to 16 June in order to allow time for the preparation of the final speech of the prosecution. Türk is being alleged of “organizational propaganda” seven times in the scope of the case file. At the same time, Türk is being tried on charges of “committing a crime on behalf of an illegal organization without being a member of the organization”
On 10 March, author Mehmet Güler and Belge Publishing executive Ragıp Zarakolu were convicted on charges of “spreading propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party” (PKK) by reason of the book “The KCK file/Global state and Kurds without a state”. Author Güler received a prison sentence of one year and three months; publisher Zarakolu was handed down a monetary fine of TL 16,660 (€ 8,330) corresponding to 833 days in prison. Both verdicts were based on Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law. The Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court decided for sentencing both defendants on charges of “making propaganda for an illegal organization” based on the book that had been seized as soon as it was published.
Batman Post newspaper owner Mustafa Kemal Çelik is being litigated on the grounds of an interview with the family of PKK militant Mahsum Korkmaz, who was killed in the course of a military operation in 1986. The brother and the sister of the killed PKK member, Fehmi Korkmaz and Maşallah Dağ, are also tried in the scope of the case against Atay. The defendants are charged with “praising a crime and a criminal”. The trial was continued before the Batman 2nd Magistrate Criminal Court on 9 March. The defendants are facing prison terms of up to two years on charges of “praising a criminal”. The trial was postponed to 12 May. The interview entitled “The Korkmaz family told the Batman Post their very bitter story” was published on 22 August 2010. The interview was done with Deputy Mayor Fehmi Korkmaz and his brother Maşallah Korkmaz. It was reported that the body of Mahsum Korkmaz, who was killed in the course of a military operation in 1986, was never returned to his family. It was said that he was first taken to Tugary/Siirt (south-eastern Turkey) and four months later dumped into to the Kasaplar River.
ÇHD President Selçuk Kozağaçlı is sued for compensation by Ali Suat Ertosun, member of the Judges and Prosecutors High Council (HSYK) because of an alleged attack on Erotsun’s personal rights. The ÇHD President is facing a TL 25,000 (€12,500) compensation claim at the Ankara 21st Criminal Court of First Instance. The trial was continued on 8 March. The defence lawyers presented to court the decision for Kozağaçlı’s acquittal in the context of the same text given by the Ankara 9th Magistrate Criminal Court on 17 February. The court may wait for the decision of the Court of Appeals. The compensation case will continue on 25 May. Ertosun claims an attack on his personal rights because of an article critic of violent prison operations carried out on 19 December 2000.
It was reported on 8 March that the Ministry of Justice refused permission for an investigation about Süheyl Batum, Deputy Chair of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), under allegations of “humiliating the Turkish nation”. Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin said, “We did what was necessary according to the case law of the ECHR. CHP member Batum is not in a special situation. I refused permission to 98 percent of all requests that came to me within the past 22 months”.
The Istanbul 11th High Criminal Court convicted Sociologist İsmail Beşikçi and lawyer Zeycan Balcı Şimşek of “making propaganda for the PKK organization (Art. 7/2 TMK). The charges stem from an article published in the “Contemporary Law and Society” magazine, the periodical of the Contemporary Lawyers Association (ÇHD) Istanbul Branch. Sociologist Beşikçi was handed down prison terms of one year and three months, Şimşek received a TL 16,660 (€ 8,330) monetary fine on the grounds of the article entitled “The right of nations to self determination and the Kurds”. The final hearing was held on 4 March. President Judge Şeref Akçay opposed the vote noting that in his opinion the defendants should have been acquitted.
Taraf newspaper writer and Kurdish politician Orhan Miroğlu is facing trial because of his article “I cannot sleep with the waxing moon” published in the nation-wide daily on 2 November 2009. He is charged with Article 216 TCK. The first hearing of the case was heard before the Kadıköy (Istanbul) 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance on 3 March. The trial was postponed to 9 June. In his article, Miroğlu pointed to the fears experienced between Kurds and Turks.
The trial against writer Temel Demirer on the grounds of his statement “Hrant Dink was not killed for being Armenian, but for recognising the genocide [of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915]” was continued on 3 March before the Ankara 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. Demirer is sued under Article 301 of the TCK (“insults” to the Turkish state). Saying “I do not let anybody call my state a murderer”, Demirer tries to annul the approval for his case which was issued by Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Şahin at the administrative court. Hence, the trial was postponed to 3 June. Demirer is facing imprisonment of up to two years.