Media reports labelling Turkish hunger strikers ‘terrorists’ part of freedom of expression: Prosecutor’s office
ANKARAThe Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has dismissed criminal charges against some media organs by the lawyers of two Turkish hunger strikers for targeting and labeling them as “terrorists,” daily Cumhuriyet reported on June 4.
The move came after the lawyers of jailed Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça -- who are on hunger strike to protest dismissal from their posts through state of emergency decrees – filed criminal charges against some media outlets on charges of “defamation,” “attempting to influence a trial,” “slander,” and “provocation of people toward animosity,” Cumhuriyet reported.
The prosecutor’s office stated that as there was no regulation in Turkish law that accepted false news as a crime, and as such reports were “not written with ill will and with the intention of committing an offense,” a prosecution could not be initiated.
“As it has been indicated in the 2nd, 12th, 25th, and 26th articles of the Constitution, the spirit of the Turkish Republic is multivocality that is respectful of human rights, is bound to the supremacy of law, and nourishes itself on democracy,” the prosecutor’s office further said in its ruling.
Nuriye Gülmen, an academic, and Semih Özakça, a primary school teacher, were arrested on terror charges late on May 23, the 75th day of their hunger strike. They have been continuing their hunger strikes in jail.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has previously claimed that Gülmen and Özakça had “organic ties” with the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party - Front (DHKP-C).