Journalist Toker’s trial where she's sued for ₺1.5 million adjourned until July

4 April 2019

Ankara - Trial of journalist Çiğdem Toker resumed at Ankara 13th Civil Court of First Instance today. Toker was sued by Şenbay Madencilik Inc. with a request of 1.5 million Turkish Liras in reparations. The company pressed charges against Toker for her article titled “If you’re looking to reduce spending, start with subway tenders,” which was published in Cumhuriyet daily on 27 October 2017.

Former Republican People’s Party (CHP) Ankara MP Aylin Nazlıaka, Education and Science Workers’ Union (Eğitim-Sen) President Feray Aytekin Aydoğan, Turkey Journalists’ Syndicate (TGS) Ankara Department Head Sinan Tartanoğlu and various journalists attended the hearing in solidarity with Toker.

Sözcü daily columnist Çiğdem Toker and her lawyer Şükrü Evim İnal attended the hearing. Complainant company’s lawyer Handan Çalık was present in the courtroom as well. Lawyer Çalık requested relevant documents on the tender bid mentioned in Toker’s concerned article to be requested from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in writing and said, “Let’s collect the evidence so that our case could be accepted.”

Toker’s lawyer Evrim İnal demanded the case to be dismissed following the collecting of evidence.  

Judge Funda Baştımar stated that the dispute between the parties was caused by the following causes: whether the necessary conditions to demand reparations for Toker’s article are met or not, whether the statements in the article constitute an injury to the complainant’s public reputation, and if a right to reparations rises, what’s the amount of reparations that the complainant can ask for. Baştımar had the clerk list all these causes in the official record of the trial.  

Both parties rejected the judge’s offer settle the dispute via a mediator.

The court ruled that the preliminary investigation is completed and that the legal investigation could begin. The court gave both parties two weeks to present all evidence to the court and decided to request certified documents about the tender mentioned in Toker's concerned article from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure in writing. The trial is adjourned until 9 July.