On 10 February I wrote in my last blog that: “Next Tuesday I am travelling to Istanbul to see the curtain come down on one of the most farcical trials I have witnessed in my years as an observer at trials of journalists in Turkey.” Owing to an unscheduled trip to hospital in London and subsequent operation, I never made it to Turkey and the judicial farce continued when the newly appointed judge refused to dismiss the case as called for by the Istanbul prosecutor.
Next Tuesday I am travelling to Istanbul to see the curtain come down on one of the most farcical trials I have witnessed in my years as an observer at trials of journalists in Turkey. The Odatv case began in 2011 when journalists and others on the internet news station were accused of being involved in a plot to overthrow the government and being part of the “Ergenekon Terrorist Organisation.” Among those charged was journalist Muyesser Yildiz, who was adopted by the NUJ some five years ago and I have covered the trial in my blogs since that time (the last report was on 25 September 2016 see ‘More trials pile up’).
The weekend before before the SPOT (Solidarity with the People of Turkey) delegation arrived in Istanbul, the city was in the grip of freezing temperatures and the heaviest snow-falls for 20 years with over 2 feet (65 cm) of snow paralysing the city. A few days later when we arrived on 11 January, much of the snow and ice had thawed, but it was obvious that the country’s democracy was still in the grip of a deep freeze and the temperature was plunging.