After a 6 year ordeal an Istanbul court on 12 April ordered the acquittal of 13 suspects, including journalists and writers, charged with membership of the Ergenekon organisation in the OdaTV case. Among those acquitted is journalist Muyesser Yildiz who was adopted in a solidarity move by the NUJ in 2012. According to press reports the court unanimously acquitted the suspects including journalists Ahmet Şık, Nedim Şener, Soner Yalçın, Yalçın Küçük and former police chief Hanefi Avcı, based on their pleas, expert reports, witness statements and ‘the wider context of the file’.
“The UK has distinguished itself as a friend in the eyes of the Turkish government, and both sides are seeking to cement a strategic relationship. But, as the UK does so, it must not be seen as disregarding—or even excusing—allegations of serious human rights violations and the erosion of democracy in Turkey. It is vital that the UK’s criticism both privately and publicly is not withheld when grounds for criticism exist.”
Thus runs an extract from the recent UK parliament’s foreign affairs committee report ‘The UK’s relations with Turkey’ published at the end of March following eight months of review and consideration of evidence submitted by interested parties including the NUJ and the TUC.
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.