Judge orders arrested Turkish journalists’ lawyers to leave courtroom
An Istanbul judge ordered the lawyers of journalists Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan to leave the courtroom during a hearing on Nov. 13 in a case into seven suspects, including veteran journalist Nazlı Ilıcak along with the two brothers, trialed over alleged links to Fethullah Gülen.
The judge made the lawyers leave the courtroom after a quarrel on grounds that they were speaking without permission.
The lawyers were interrupting the prosecutor to voice their demands from the court.
It was first lawyer Ergin Cinmen to interrupt the prosecutor, saying that the court should listen to their demands before hearing the prosecutor’s dictum. The court head ordered him to leave.
When the hearing resumed after a 20-minute break, Figen Çalıkuşu, another lawyer of the Altan brothers, faced a similar procedure after she argued that the prosecutor’s opinion should not be heard before evidence was collected.
Çalıkuşu applied for recusal.
Two other lawyers of the Altans, Ferhat Çağıl and Melike Polat, insisted that the hearing should not continue when a demand for recusal was in place, ending in two more breaks.
The hearing is yet to resume.
Four of the six arrested suspects in the case – Ilıcak, Yakup Şimşek, Fevzi Yazıcı and Şükrü Tuğrul Özşengül - appeared in the court as Altan brothers attended the hearing via video conference.
The prosecutor claims that the suspects are linked to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), widely believed to have been behind the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt. They also face additional prison terms on the charge of “committing crimes on behalf of a terrorist organization without being a member.”