Upon the personally filed criminal complaint by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, requesting one aggravated life (imprisonment), one life (imprisonment) and 42 years imprisonment for “targeting state interests by using images contrary to facts” a criminal investigation started in relation to the article published with the headline “Here are the weapons Erdoğan claim to not exist” on May 29, with allegations of “procuring information as to state security”, “political and military espionage”, “declaring confidential information”, “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member”.
Dündar and Gül was arrested on November 26, 2015.
On 27 January, the indictment was accepted and declared by a press release, requesting one aggravated life imprisonment, one life imprisonment and 30 years of imprisonment, for both journalists.
On 25 February 2016, the Constitutional Court rendered its decision on the application of journalists. It concluded that the detention of journalists was unlawful and found violation of right to security and liberty, right to freedom of expression and freedom of press. Erdoğan condemned the decision of the Constitutional Court. Upon the decision, journalists were released by the first hours of February 26, after 92 days of pre-trial detention.
On the first hearing held on March 25, the Court ruled to hold the hearings without audience further on. On May 3, the prosecution requested 25 years of imprisonment for Can Dündar and 10 years for Erdem Gül.
The decision of first instance court was rendered on May 16. Dündar was sentenced to 5 years and 10 months while Gül was sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment for “disclosing confidential information of the state”. Acquitted of coup accusations, Gül and Dündar are still on trial on charges of “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed organization as a non-member” through a separated case.
On the same day, Dündar was targeted by an armed attack in front of the courthouse. He was not injured but left the country, immediately.
Penal Department No. 16 of the Supreme Court of Appeals reversed the first instance court’s decision and ruled that Dündar’s offence should have been rendered as “procuring information as to state security” which stipulates 15 to 20 years of imprisonment. Further, court ordered and arrest warrant and international red notice for Dündar. The Supreme Court decided on the acquittal of Gül.
İstanbul 14th Heavy Penal Court separated the case of Dündar and on the hearing held at 16 July 2018, acquitted Erdem Gül. The Court awaits for the extradition of Can Dündar to Turkey to continue trial.
At the fish trial held after the decision of Supreme Court on October, 31 the court decided to wait until the the extradition order is applied and adjourned the trial until March 19.
At the ninth hearing held on February 6, 2019, the court separated Dündar’s file. The court decided to wait for the implementation of the arrest warrant, since Dundar was abroad. At the tenth hearing held on May 15, 2019, the court decided to merge all of the files left during the trial process.
The court expects Dundar’s request for extradition from Germany to be fulfilled. The hearing on 19 March 2020 was postponed to 19 June 2020 due to the coronavirus.
At the 7th hearing held on July 9, the court ruled to send the case file to the prosecution for the drafting of their final opinion and also to wait for the outcome of the Justice Ministry’s application with German authorities for Dündar’s extradition to Turkey. The next hearing will be held on February 18, 2020 (9 July).
At the interlocutory hearing held on October 7, 2020, the court has indicated that despite the due announcement of the court, Can Dündar has not turned himself in to the court or any courthouse or law enforcement agency within the borders of Turkey and ruled that he shall be considered a “fugitive.” The court has also ruled that Dündar’s property shall be seized as he has not turned himself in within the stipulated time (October 7).