Charges against Turkish journalists who reported on IS massacre dropped

15 January 2018

The journalists were on trial for documenting negligence on the part of the police which failed to prevent major massacre in the capital

Jan. 15, 2018 - Charges of “showing police officers as targets,” brought against five journalists from the Evrensel and Cumhuriyet newspaper for reporting on massive security flaws in the failure to prevent an IS attack in Ankara which left more than 100 people dead were dropped on the grounds that too much time had passed.

Five journalists from the Evrensel and Cumhuriyet newspapers were on trial on Jan. 15, Monday for reporting on massive security flaws which appear to have prevented the police from preventing an IS attack on a Peace Demonstration in Ankara on Oct. 10, 2015 with the prosecutor seeking three years of imprisonment for each journalist. The journalists reports -- published in April 2016 -- had uncovered that intelligence units had prior information about the deadly massacre.

The reports included documentation showing that the Turkish Intelligence Agency, the Turkish Armed Forces and the Police Department had prior intelligence about the terrorists’ plans. Cumhuriyet’s former Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar, Evrensel’s Editor-in-Chief Fatih Polat; Evrensel reporters Tamer Arda Erşin , Cem Gurbegtyoğlu and Cumhuriyet reporter Kemal Göktaş were on trial before the Ankara 2nd High Criminal Court.

Dündar, who resides abroad and who is wanted in one of Turkey’s post-coup investigations, and Göktaş, who is currently attending a scholarship program abroad, did not attend the session.

The charges were dropped as the statute of limitations on time -- four months for press crimes according to Turkish legislation -- have expired. The complaint against the journalists was filed on April 15, 2017 but the trial began on Oct. 19, 2017.

The IS attack in Ankara killed 102 people and injured hundreds others. It is widely accepted as one of the most large-scale attacks in modern Turkish history.