Journalists appear at court in Turkey’s controversial OdaTV case

Journalists appear at court in Turkey’s controversial OdaTV case

ISTANBUL
Journalists appear at court in Turkey’s controversial OdaTV case

A total of 13 suspects including journalists and writers appeared before a judge in the ninth hearing of the OdaTV case on Feb. 15, charged with membership of the “Ergenekon” organization. 

The controversial case was initially pursued by prosecutors with links to the Gülen movement, an ally turned enemy of the government. 

Journalist Ahmet Şık is among the suspects being tried without arrest in the OdaTV case, but he is in jail in a separate case, having been arrested on Dec. 30, 2016 on charges of making propaganda of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).

Suspects Hanefi Avcı, Soner Yalçın, Yalçın Küçük, Barış Pehlivan, Barış Terkoğlu, Nedim Şener, Muhammet Sait Çakır, Şükrü Doğan Yurdakul, İklim Kaleli and Coşkun Musluk participated in the hearing in Istanbul.

However, a group of colleagues and supporters of Şık were not allowed in the courtroom to observe the hearing. 

Prosecutor Ali Kaya had sought acquittal on all charges for the 13 suspects in the eighth hearing on Dec. 14, 2016. 

Kaya argued that there was insufficient evidence for the existence of the Ergenekon organization. The related “Ergenekon” legal case was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Appeals in April 2016.
 
During the hearing, Şık said he did not want the case to be closed with “a simple verdict,” adding that two of his lawyers had also been arrested. 

Şık and Şener were jailed as part of the OdaTV case in 2011, and both spent around a year in prison while awaiting trial before the publication of Şık’s book, titled “The Imam’s Army.” The book focused on the organization of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen’s followers within the police and the judiciary at a time when the movement and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) were close allies.
 
The 2013 Ergenekon case was strongly supported by the Fethullah Gülen network and saw 275 military officers, journalists, lawyers and academics indicted for allegedly conspiring to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. However, the suspects were then released following a Constitutional Court ruling and their convictions were quashed earlier in 2016, with the authorities accusing Gülen of perverting the legal process and fabricating evidence.