Boğaziçi students’ trial is adjourned until 16 July

19 March 2019

İstanbul - Third hearing of the trial where a group of Boğaziçi University students face “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” charges for protesting against another group of students who served Turkish delight to celebrate Turkey’s military operation in Afrin, Syria on 19 March 2018 was held at the İstanbul 32nd High Criminal Court today. Following the hearing, a press statement was held at Boğaziçi University’s North Campus.

Students Tevger Uzay Tulay and Deniz Han were the only defendants present in the courtroom. Representatives from the Danish Consulate also monitored the trial.

Defense lawyers requested the confiscated digital materials to be returned since the examining of the evidence is completed. In addition, it was stated that defense statements will be presented following the Prosecutor’s opinion as to the accusations.

Lawyer Meriç Eyüboğlu stated that Boğaziçi University’s Dean of Student Affairs Zeynep Uysal is present in the courthouse to give her witness statement today. Eyüboğlu reminded that the decision to call Uysal as a witness was ruled during the last hearing’s interim decision. Eyüboğlu requested to call Uysal to the witness stand.

The panel of judges claimed that the request to call a witness was not presented to the court in writing. Then, the judges gave the floor to the defense lawyers and defendants.

After noting that the students would not present a new statement at this point in the trial, lawyer Levent Pişkina added: “Your Honor, Zeynep Uysal is a public servant and she had to take a personal day off to be here today. She is waiting outside the courtroom at the moment. We repeat our demand to call Zeynep Uysal as a witness prior to the prosecutor’s opinion because we believe that her statement would be extremely influential.”

The Presiding Judge gave the floor to the Prosecutor next, arguing that this request was not presented to them in writing and that calling a witness at this point would interfere with the existing schedule of the hearing which the panel had designed.

Following this remark, a dispute ensued between the judge and defense lawyers. Lawyer Ekin Baltaş reacted to the judge when he did not give lawyers the permission to talk and said: “You’re not listening to people standing right in front of you. If those who shout the loudest are going to be heard, then we can shout, too.” The judge replied, “Go ahead and shout. Do you see this as some sort of battle?”

The Prosecutor took the floor after this argument and requested the digital materials to be returned at the end of the proceedings and requested the court to reject the defense’s demand to call witnesses on the grounds that the witness would not contribute to the trial proceedings at this point.

In the interim decision, the panel of judges ruled to reject the defense’s demand to return confiscated digital materials and to call a witness. The trial is adjourned until 16 July.

Following the hearing, a press statement was held at Boğaziçi University’s North Campus since today is also the one-year anniversary of the event known as the “Turkish Delight Incident.” The students emphasized that they would continue to stand against unjust wars and raise their voices for truth and justice. The students also called for solidarity for the next hearing.