Two journalists face slander charges over their reporting on the Turkish government’s alleged export of Sarin gas to jihadist opposition groups in Syria.
Hakan Dirik, the İzmir correspondent for Cumhuriyet, and Erk Acarer, reporter for BirGün, had discovered that former Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ was facing the sarin export charges in court proceedings in Adana. It quickly came out that Bozdağ had allegedly threatened the prosecutor and forced the closure of the case. Former People's Republican Party MPs Eren Erdem and Ali Şeker then drew attention to Dirik and Acarer’s revelations at a press conference on October 21 2015.
Bozdağ then filed the slander charges against Dirik and Acarer. The hearing before İstanbul 2. Court of First Instance began with the prosecution’s allegation that the two journalists had slandered Bozdağ via the press. Dirik then requested that the case file be separated on the grounds that Acarer currently lives abroad. Dirik also requested that the court permit former MP Erdem to come before the court as a witness.
The court refused to allow Erdem to appear before the court in-person, noting that a digital copy of his press conference has already been added to the case file. The court chose to adjourn the hearing until December 20 and await the Ministry of Justice’s opinion on the status of Acarer.
Updated: December 3 2018