I was unable to go to Turkey last week for yet another round in the OdaTV trial, held on 12 June (see previous blog ‘OdaTV trials – more of the same’ dated 1 February 2015) but the European Federation of Journalists was represented by Patrick Kamenka from France.
Last week’s hearing was held in Istanbul’s main justice palace and yet again the court decided to postpone the case until 18 November to get (yet another) technical report on the case, and decided to have it prepared by experts from Istanbul Technical University, as the defence believes that rouge files had been placed on the journalist’s computers linking them to a terrorist organisation and sending them malicious e-mails.
According to an insider close to the defence, the report will be the 5th technical report on the case evidence. Previously, the suspects’ attorneys got reports compiled by experts in Bogazici University and Middle East Technical University, respectively. Following these reports, the court also ruled a while back to get experts from TUBITAK(The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey) to write a separate, objective report on the case. They even ended up writing a second follow-up report which caused the lead judge to say, that they, “as judges do not understand that much of technical stuff”. The court also listened to a technical expert invited to the court by one of the defendants’ lawyers.
My source concludes that…”If this was about justice, they would pursue the evidence uncovered in those (earlier) reports more aggressively. However this trial is more a political witch hunt than a case about an actual terrorist organisation. All they are doing is buying time until the dust settles in the political arena. If the dust does settle, they will probably rule in a manner which serves their best interests, and to whichever ideology that ends up on top in the current political hassle.”
Meanwhile President Erdoğan has invited the largest party (the AKP) to consider forming a (coalition) government. Just after the election Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu resigned in a procedural move after his AK Party lost its majority. President Erdoğan accepted the gesture, but asked him to stay in the post until a new government was formed. If Davutoglu fails (he has 45days) Erdoğan is expected to invite the next largest party, the secular CHP to have a go.
Meanwhile pressure on critical journalists remain, with a Turkish court handing out a 21-month suspended jail sentence to an editor of a leading English-language Turkish daily newspaper after convicting him of insulting the President Erdoğan. The Ankara penal court said Today’s Zaman editor-in-chief, Bulent Kenes was guilty of insulting Erdoğan in a tweet implying his late mother would have been ashamed of him had she lived to see what he was doing to the country. Erdoğan’s mother Tenzile died in 2011, and the tweet was posted in July 2014 when Erdoğan was serving his last months as premier, just before he won presidential elections that August.