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’).
According to a report after the December hearing in the Hurriyet Daily News; “In the eighth hearing of the case, (held last December) 13 suspects which included writers and journalists Ahmet Şık, Yalçın Küçük, Nedim Şener and Hanefi Avcı, prosecutor Ali Kaya said there was insufficient evidence over the allegations made against the suspects, who were initially accused of being involved in activity that was beyond the remit of journalism.
The prosecutor argued that there was insufficient evidence over the existence of the Ergenekon organization, which was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Appeals in April 2016. The court ruled that the “Ergenekon Terrorist Organization,” the source of all the allegations, did not actually exist, and dropped all charges in the case that accused the organization of being Turkey’s deep state…”
So along with dozens of other supporters I will be in the Istanbul court on 15 February to see the end of a trial which should never have begun. The Odatv journalists are likely to be acquitted but there are some 150 journalists still in prison, who like them, are being victimised by the state for just doing their jobs as journalists. Turkey remains the world’s biggest prison for journalists. There will be no letting up in our solidarity.