The leading columnist of Zaman Daily, Ali Ünal was arrested in August 2016 and was charged with “attempting to abolish or replace the constitutional order of the Republic of Turkey through force and violence” and “establishing and managing a terrorist organisation [FETÖ]”. In the prosecution where President Erdoğan is the complainant himself, he faces two aggravated life prison sentences and up to 29.5 years of imprisonment.
It was alleged that Ünal was in direct contact with Fethullah Gülen, translated his book, he was part of the media branch of the organisation, and he travelled abroad 46th times most of which he met with Gülen. After 27 months of detention the last hearing of the trial was held on November 14, 2018. The Uşak 2nd High Criminal Court sentenced him to 19 years and 6 months of imprisonment for “establishing and leading armed organisation”. The court decided on the acquittal of the journalist pertaining the accusation of “overthrowing the state and constitutional order”.