Hakan Dirik and Erk Acarer's hearing adjourned until December

27 September 2018

Hearing of Cumhuriyet newspaper İzmir correspondent Hakan Dirik and BirGün reporter Erk Acarer was held at İstanbul 2. Court of First Instance, Dirik was present in the courtroom with his lawyer. Hearing was adjourned until 20 December.

Journalists were sued on 'slander' charges after Former Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ filed a complaint against them, regarding their news stories that covered Turkey's alleged export of 'sarin gas', a chemical weapon used by jihadist opposition groups in Syria. Former People's Republican Party (CHP) MPs Eren Erdem and Ali Şeker had drawn attention to the 'sarin gas' case which was being tried at Adana, with a press meeting they conducted on 21 October 2015. Dirik had met with sources both before and after the meeting and informed the public about the case file and the indictment. His story involved claims that Bekir Bozdağ allegedly threatened the prosecutor and forcefully closed the case. BirGün reporter Erk Acarer also reported the same claims in his news story.

Prosecutor Celal Sarıdere claimed that journalists committed 'slander' via the press. Hearing started at 10:00 AM. Dirik requested to separate the case file because Acarer lives abroad. He also requested the court to take the testimony of former CHP MP Eren Erdem, as a witness. Court decided to wait for the Justice Ministry's answer regarding Erk Acarer's statement and cancelled its decision to take Eren Erdem's statement because a CD recording of the press meeting already exists in the case file. Hearing was adjourned until 20 December.