The new Turkey
Hayri Demir.
Mezopotamya news agency (MA) reporter

22-Oct-2019 11:37


18 October 2019:

Journalist Demir's Photo with Demirtaş Cited as Crime Evidence: 'This is Clearly a Plot'

Journalist Hayri Demir's interview and photograph with Selahattin Demirtaş, the former co-chair of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), were cited as evidence in the case he is being tried for "being a member of a terrorist organization" and "propagandizing for a terrorist organization.

Speaking to bianet before the hearing that will be held on October 23 at Ankara 15th Heavy Penal Court, Demir said that the investigation minute prepared by Bolu Security Directorate was added to the case file.

He said that he interviewed Demirtaş on October 1, 2015, and the photos, the text and his social media posts on the interview are cited as evidence.

"Stolen memory cards were delivered to the police"

"Thieves broke into my house in Ankara on February 28, 2017. The person or people who broke into the house just took the two memory cards of the camera in the drawer, rather than taking the money box which was full of money. I notified the police. Police officers came, searched for fingerprints and took minutes.

"The stolen memory cards were delivered to the police afterward. In contradicting minutes, it is stated that the memory cards were brought to provincial and district security directorates.

"An indictment was prepared against me over the photos in the memory cards. The news reports, footage and photos in the stolen memory cards were cited as evidence for charges. News material on the card was made the subject of allegations. It was requested that I shall be sentenced to from nine years to 22.5 years in prison."

"Security Directorate put everything about my journalistic activities in an investigation minute"

"The first hearing of the case was held last September. Before the second hearing which will be held on October 23, Bolu Security Directorate put everything about my journalistic activities in an investigation minute. My news report on Selahattin Demirtaş is also in it.

"It is said, 'The person who is a DİHA reported and is arrested now shared a photograph of the interview he made with the person called Selahattin Demirtaş,' in the minute prepared by Bolu Security Directorate."

"Is it a crime to interview a political party's chairperson?"

"An interview I made with a chairperson of the party which received six million votes was made the subject of allegations. We understand from the investigation that journalism can be considered a crime by both the judiciary and the government.

"If you are a dissident, it is not possible to escape from allegations. This example shows the situation of the freedom of the press in Turkey."

"It is clear this case is a plot. There are 180 countries in the world and Turkey ranks 157th. It deteriorates day by day." (HA/VK)



3 July 2019:

Trial of journalists Sibel Hürtaş and Hayri Demir adjourned until December

A trial where journalists Sibel Hürtaş and Hayri Demir are among 11 defendants charged with “inciting hatred and animosity” and “disseminating terrorism propaganda” over their social media posts about Turkey’s military operation on Syria’s Afrin resumed on 3 July 2019 in Ankara.

P24 monitored the hearing, where both Hürtaş and Demir were in attendance as well as defense lawyers.

The presiding judge of the Ankara 15th High Criminal Court told those in attendance that the Justice Ministry had yet to respond to the prosecution’s request for the proceedings to continue under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) — “insulting the government of the Republic of Turkey, the judicial bodies of the state, the military or security organizations.”

Hürtaş’s lawyer Nuray Özdoğan then addressed the court. “My client is a press member and her international travel ban has turned into a punishment,” Özdoğan said. The lawyer also asked the court to lift the judicial control measures imposed on all 11 defendants.

Alişan Şahin, another defense lawyer, requested the court to file an application with the Constitutional Court for the annulment of TCK Article 301 on the grounds that the provision is against the principle of equality and the right to freedom of expression.

Announcing its interim ruling at the end of the hearing, the court rejected the requests to file for the annulment of TCK Article 301 and to lift the judicial control measures imposed on the defendants. The court set 3 December 2019 as the date for the next hearing.



27 March 2019:


New charge under TCK 301 sought in Sibel Hürtaş and Hayri Demir’s trial
 
The fourth hearing in a trial where 11 defendants, including journalists Hayri Demir and Sibel Hürtaş, stand accused for their social media posts, was held on 27 March in Ankara. The defendants in the case are accused of “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist group” and “inciting the public to hatred and animosity” over their social media posts critical of Turkey’s military operation on the Syrian city of Afrin.
 
Hürtaş, Demir, their co-defendant Bengü Aslı Bayramoğlu and defense lawyers were in attendance for the hearing at the 15th High Criminal Court of Ankara.  
The prosecution submitted their final opinion of the case during the hearing, seeking convictions for Bengü Aslı Bayramoğlu, Hüseyin Gökdemir, Osman Konukçu, Lezgin Tekay, Muhammed Barış Ceyhan and Saim Serin of the “propaganda” charge.
 
The prosecution also sought conviction for Demir on the same charge, however, the accusation was based on a social mediapost by Demir that was not included in the indictment.
 
The prosecution did not submit their final opinion concerning the remaining four defendants in the case, however, they asked the court to seek the Justice Ministry’s approval for new charges to be pressed on all defendants in the case under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) -- “publicly denigrating the Turkish nation, the state of the Turkish Republic, or the institutions and organs of the state.”
 
Addressing the court during the hearing, Demir requested additional time for his defense statement. He also said the social media post for which he is accused was actually a news item that was based on official documents.
 
DEfense lawyers also requested continuance for defense statements in response to the prosecutor’s final opinion. The lawyers also reacted to the prosecution’s request to press new charges under Article 301, saying any legal process to be carried out in connection with this charge would be unlawful.
 
In its interim decision, the court agreed to seek the Justice Ministry’s approval to press new charges under TCK 301 against the defendants and adjourned the trial until 3 July 2019. In the event the ministry gives the go-ahead, the court will return the case file to the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office



22 November 2018:
Trial against Sibel Hürtaş and Hayri Demir adjourned until January

 
The second hearing of a trial where 11 defendants, including Artı TV’s Ankara representative Sibel Hürtaş and Mezopotamya news agency reporter Hayri Demir, stand accused for their social media posts concerning Turkey’s military operation on Syria’s Afrin, was held on 22 November in Ankara.
 
The defendants in the case are accused of “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization” and “inciting the public to hatred and animosity.” They  each face up to 10 years in prison if convicted. The trial is overseen by the 15th High Criminal Court of Ankara.
 
At the beginning of the hearing, the chief judge on the panel announced that the police report in response to an enquiry on the dates of the social media posts that are the grounds for the accusations has arrived. The defendants then addressed the court for their defense statements, each rejecting the accusations and requesting for their acquittal. The defense statements were frequently interrupted by the chief judge on the panel, and were not fully transcribed in the court minutes.
 
Defense lawyer Nuray Özdoğan, who addressed the court on behalf of the entire defense, requested that the defendants be granted the right of exemption from attendance in hearings. Özdoğan also requested additional time to examine the reports that have recently been added to the case file.
 
During the hearing, defense lawyers complained that there was a perceptible noise from police radio inside the courtroom and that this constituted a violation of the defendants’ rights to a fair trial. In its interim ruling at the end of the hearing, the court granted the defendants the right of exemption from attendance and adjourned the trial until 22 January 2019.


6 September 2018:

Journalists in court
The trial of two journalists who criticized Turkey's 2017 military action in northern Syria on social media has begun, Evrensel reported on September 6. The journalists--Sibel Hürtaş, the Ankara correspondent for the station Artı TV, and Hayri Demir, reporter for the Mezopotamya News Agency--are on trial for "provoking the people into animosity and hatred" and "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organisation" on Twitter. Both journalists, who are free while the trial continues, pleaded not guilty.


15 May 2018:

Sibel Hürtaş and Hayri Demir face up to 10.5 years in prison

Artı TV Ankara bureau chief Sibel Hürtaş and Mezopotamya news agency (MA) reporter Hayri Demir are facing “inciting the public to hatred and animosity” and “propaganda” charges in a new indictment against the journalists.

 The indictment, issued by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, seeks up to 10.5 years imprisonment for each: up to 3 years on the charge of “inciting the public to hatred and animosity” and additionally up to 7.5 years on “conducting propaganda for a terrorist organization through publication.”

 The charges stem from the journalists’ news reports and social media posts concerning Turkey’s military operation on Syria’s Afrin.

 Excerpts from remarks made by the politicians Osman Baydemir and Ahmet Faruk Ünsal during interviews they gave to Hürtaş are held as evidence against the journalist.

 Both Hürtaş and Demir were taken into custody in late January on account of their social media posts and released four days later under judicial control measures.*


15 May 2018 - 2 journalists face lengthy jail sentences due to criticism of Afrin operation

An indictment drafted by Turkish prosecutors seeks 10 and a half years for two journalists, Artı TV Ankara representative Sibel Hürtaş and Mezopotamya news agency reporter Hayri Demir, due to their social media messages about a Turkish military operation in Syria’s Afrin region, the Diken news website reported on Tuesday.

On Jan. 22, Turkish police detained dozens of people including local politicians and journalists due to their criticism of the Afrin operation, which was launched jointly by the Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters on Jan. 20 against the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey sees as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Hürtaş and Demir were among the detainees but were later released on judicial probation.

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has drafted an indictment for the two journalists in which it seeks a total of 10 years, six months in prison based on the 216th article of the Turkish Penal Code, which concerns inciting the public to hatred and enmity, and Article 7 of the Turkish Anti-Terror Law, which concerns disseminating the propaganda of a terrorist organization through the media.

Remarks made by Hürtaş during an interview with former Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Ahmet Faruk Ünsal in which she said, “We should ask why Turkey was disturbed by Afrin when it was a secure and safe place,” made their way to the indictment as evidence of a criminal act.

Hürtaş, whose trial is set to begin soon, said the prosecutor’s move is a serious blow to freedom of the press and expression.

“I will continue to perform my job as a journalist within the framework of media ethics,” the journalist said.

The Turkish government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have reacted strongly to people who oppose the operation, and prosecutor’s offices have initiated investigations into those who share social media messages critical of the operation. Source


 

*Source