The new Turkey
Ufuk Emin Köroğlu.
Former journalist in the shuttered Karşı newspaper

28-Jan-2019 16:52


7 January 2019:

Eren Erdem rearrested after court overseeing “Karşı trial” orders his release

The “Karşı newspaper trial,” where 11 defendants, including the former publisher of the shuttered daily, Turan Ababey, and the newspaper’s former employees, including its one-time editor-in-chief Eren Erdem, stand accused of various criminal charges on account of their work with the newspaper, resumed on 7 January in Istanbul. 

Erdem, who is also a former main opposition CHP MP, has been jailed pending trial since late June as part of this case. The case, overseen by the 23rd High Criminal Court of Istanbul, is the outcome of an investigation into Karşı that was launched on the grounds that the newspaper had revealed leaked tapes as part of the graft probes targeting the government in 2013, publicly known as “17-25 December.” Erdem addressed the court during the hearing from the Silivri Prison via SEGBIS. 

The prosecution submitted their final opinion of the case during the hearing, requesting that Erdem be given up to 19 years in prison in total on the charges of “aiding an armed terrorist organization without being its member” and “violating the confidentiality [of an investigation] by way of revealing the identity of an anonymous witness.” They also requested the continuation of Erdem’s detention on remand. 

Requesting the acquittal of defendants Turan Ababey, Kutlu Esendemir and Mehmet Bozkurt of the charge “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed terrorist organization,” the prosecution also asked that the files of defendants Değer Özergün, Ufuk Emin Köroğlu, Mehmet Aydoğmuş, Murat Kazancı and Emrah Direk, whose statements have yet to be taken because they are at large, be separated. 

Issuing an interim ruling at the end of the hearing, the court ruled to release Eren Erdem under judicial control measures and adjourned the trial until 1 March for the final defense statements in response to the prosecutor’s final opinion to be prepared. 

However, the Office of the Chief Public Prosecutor of Istanbul filed an objection to Erdem’s release pending trial the same day and the 24th High Criminal Court of Istanbul, the next court of first instance, issued an arrest warrant against Erdem. 

On 8 January, the 24th High Criminal Court held an interim hearing, where Erdem and his lawyers gave their statements in response to the arrest warrant. The court ruled with a majority opinion at the end of the hearing to send Erdem back to prison.



31 October 2018:

Karşı newspaper trial gets under way after two files merged



The “Karşı newspaper trial,” where 12 defendants, including the former publisher of the shuttered daily, Turan Ababey, and the newspaper’s former employees, including its one-time editor in chief Eren Erdem, stand accused of various criminal charges on account of their work at the newspaper, got under way on 31 October in Istanbul. At the end of the three-day hearing, the court ruled for the continuation of Eren Erdem’s detention.

Erdem, a former CHP MP, was jailed pending trial in June on accusations stemming from his time as Karşı editor in chief as part of the case overseen by the 35th High Criminal Court of Istanbul. Erdem is charged with “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed terrorist organization without being part of its hierarchical structure,” “revealing the identity of a secret witness” and “violating the confidentiality of an investigation.”

The 23rd High Criminal Court of Istanbul, which later accepted an indictment into the publisher and employees of Karşı, ruled to merge the case file with the file before the 35th High Criminal Court against Erdem. An appellate court later ruled that the 23rd High Criminal Court should have jurisdiction over the merged case.

The indictment for the merged case file seeks up to 15 years of imprisonment for Alaaddin Akkaşoğlu, the owner of the newspaper’s website, karşıgazete.com, and a partner of the shuttered Akis Publications; karşıgazete.com chief editor Mehmet Aydoğmuş; Our Kala, who is purported to be the owner of the Twitter account “@Fedakarkisi”; Murat Kazancı, the news director for the hardcopy; and Emrah Direk, on the charge of “membership in an armed terrorist organization.” Also indicted is Kutlu Esendemir, the newspaper’s general coordinator, for “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed terrorist organization without being its member.” He also faces 15 years in prison.

The indictment also seeks up to 18 years in prison each for Karşı reporter Ufuk Emin Köroğlu and former editor in chief of the shuttered Millet daily, Değer Özergün, on charges of “membership in an armed terrorist organization” and “disclosing the identities of public officials who have taken part in the fight against terrorism.”

The prosecution did not seek jail terms for Ababey, reporter Emre Erciş, and responsible managing editor Mehmet Bozkurt, who are charged with “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed terrorist organization without being its member.” Instead the prosecution asked that they benefit from effective remorse.

The 23rd High Criminal Court had also issued arrest warrants for five of the suspects: Alaaddin Akkaşoğlu, Değer Özergün, Mehmet Aydoğmuş, Murat Kazancı and Onur Kala, who are accused in the indictment of using ByLock, an encrypted messaging app purported to be exclusively used by the members of the Fethullah Gülen network, which the government accuses of being the perpetrators behind the 2016 coup attempt.

The first hearing after the merging of the files took place over three days in Silivri. Eren Erdem, Turan Ababey, Emre Erciş, Mehmet Bozkurt and Kutlu Esendemir as well as defense lawyers were in attendance at the court.

Erdem gave his defense statement on the first day of the hearing, responding to the accusations against him.

Onur Kala, who was recently arrested, also addressed the court for his defense statement via the courtroom video-conferencing system SEGBİS from the Istanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan. He denied the accusations.

After the completion of the defense statements, the prosecutor requested continued detention for Erdem on grounds that “the collection of evidence was ongoing” and that there was “strong suspicion of crime.” The prosecution also asked that Onur Kala be jailed pending trial and that the case file against Alaaddin Akkaşoğlu be separated.

Announcing its interim ruling on the last day of the hearing, 2 November, the court ruled to keep Erdem behind bars, and jailed Kala pending trial, as well as separating Akkaşoğlu’s file. The court also ruled to await the execution of arrest warrants against Ufuk Emin Köroğlu, Emrah Direk, Değer Özergün, Mehmet Aydoğmuş and Murat Kazancı and set 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 January 2019 as the dates for the next hearing.

The investigation into Karşı was launched on grounds that the newspaper had revealed leaked tapes as part of the graft probes targeting the government in 2013, publicly known as “17-25 December.” Source


2 August 2018:

The Istanbul 23rd High Criminal Court, which accepted the indictment into the former owner and 10 employees of the shuttered Karşı newspaper, has issued arrest warrants for five of the indicted journalists.

The state-run Anadolu news agency reported on 2 August that the court ordered that arrest warrants be issued for journalists Alaaddin Akkaşoğlu, Değer Özergün, Mehmet Aydoğmuş, Murat Kazancı and Onur Kala, whom the indictment accuses of being users of ByLock, an encrypted messaging app purported tobe exclusively used by the members of the Fethullah Gülen network, which the government accuses of being the perpetrators behind the 15 July 2916 coup attempt.

The indictment, issued in May, seeks up to 18 years in prison each for Karşı reporter Ufuk Emin Köroğlu and former editor in chief of the shuttered Millet daily on charges of “membership in an armed terrorist organization” and “disclosing the identities of public officials who have taken part in the fight against terrorism.”

The indictment also seeks up to 15 years of imprisonment for Alaaddin Akkaşoğlu, the owner of the newspaper’s website, karşıgazete.com, and a partner of the shuttered Akis Publications; karşıgazete.com chief editor Mehmet Aydoğmuş; Our Kala, who is purported to be the owner of the Twitter account “@Fedakarkisi”; Murat Kazancı, the news director for the hardcopy; and Emrah Direk, on the charge of “membership in an armed terrorist organization.” Also indicted is Kutlu Esendemir, the newspaper’s general coordinator, for “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed terrorist organization without being its member.” He too faces 15 years in prison.

The indictment did not seek jail terms for the newspaper’s former owner, Turan Ababey, reporter Emre Erciş, and responsible managing editor Mehmet Bozkurt, who were charged with “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed terrorist organization without being its member.” Instead the prosecution asked that they benefit from effective remorse.

The Istanbul 23rd High Criminal Court, in addition to issuing arrest warrants, also ruled that the file be merged with an ongoing case against Eren Erdem, a former opposition MP, who was jailed pending trial on 29 June on accusations stemming from his time as Karşı editor in chief. The trial court overseeing Erdem’s case accepted to merge both case files, but ruled that the trial be overseen by the 23rd High Criminal Court. The case file was then referred to an appellate court, which will determine which of the two trial courts will have jurisdiction over the case.