Free speech trials in Turkey: Week of 16 April

15 April 2018

Below is a schedule of trials where various individuals will be tried for speaking their opinions, making statements, writing articles, posting tweets or otherwise using their right to freedom of expression on 16 April through 20 April at various Turkish courts:
16 April Monday

  • Journalist and video artist Kazım Kızıl and 24 others will appear before the İzmir 33rd Court of First Instance for appearing at a protest against the results of Turkey’s 16 April referendum last year, which handed President Erdoğan vast powers by a minimal majority. 

Kızıl, a member of Turkey’s Union of Journalists (TGS), was detained for filming the rally. He was kept in pretrial detention until July 2016. He and the other stands accused of violating Turkey’s law on demonstrations and marches. 


  • Former co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş and HDP deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder will be at the 26th High Criminal Court on charges of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” over remarks they made at a Newroz rally on 17 March 2013. 

    Demirtaş is in Ankara imprisoned in another trial where he faces up to 146 years in prison. 

17 April Tuesday

  • Turkish singer Suavi (Mehmet Suavi Saygan) will appear before the 33rd Criminal Court of First Instance on charges of “insulting the president” in remarks he made on 29 October 2016 where he said that “There is no difference between FETÖ and Tayyip.” Suavi is standing trial without an arrest warrant. 

18 April Wednesday

  • Singer Ferhat Tunç is accused of “inciting the public to hatred and hostility” over tweets that called on the people to protest the results of the 16 April referendum, which created the impression that the result was obtained partly owing to election fraud. His trial will be heard by the Büyükçekmece 14th Criminal Court of First Instance in Istanbul at 10 am


  • Academics for peace, who signed a petition calling for an end to military operations in Turkey’s Kurdish populated provinces in late 2015 and 2016 will appear at the Çağlayan Courthouse. The academics who will be tried on Wednesday are from Boğaziçi, Mimar Sinan, Niştantaşı, Kırıkkale and Yeni Yüzyıl universities. The trials are at 9.30 at the 13th and 36th High Criminal Courts


  • RSF Turkey representative Erol Önderoğlu and head of the Turkey Human Rights Foundation (TİHV) Şebnem Korur Fincancı will be on trial at 10 am at the 13th High Criminal Court in Çağlayan on charges of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization.” Journalist Ahmet Nesin, who lives abroad, is also a suspect in the trial. The charges are based on the suspects’ participation in a solidarity campaign for the Kurdish newspaper Özgür Gündem. The three suspects were arrested on 20 June 2016 and released after spending ten days in prison. 

19 April Thursday 

  • More Academics for Peace will be tried starting 8.30 am in the Istanbul 36th High Criminal Court at Çağlayan. Several academics expelled from the İstanbul Technical University and Yıldız Technical University will be tried on Thursday. 

This schedule widely relies on the great work of the project titled Çetele