Constitutional Court’s decision on jailed journalists

Constitutional Court’s decision on jailed journalists

The Constitutional Court has reached a very important decision upon an individual application, which is about the highly debated freedom of press. The decision rules, “Giving a jail sentence for a press offence is openly contradictory to the journalist’s freedom of expression and freedom of press.” 

This decision of the Constitutional Court is in coherence with the former decisions the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) reached on similar cases. In several other decisions the ECHR said, “Even the existence of a criminal penalty is a threat to freedom of press.”  

Normally, even the calls to give statements from the office of the prosecutor for journalists about their work should be regarded as a type of penalty threat. 

As a matter of fact, the Constitutional Court decision said the suspension of the announcement of the verdict would create a concern of punishment, thus restricting press freedom. After its decision, the case concerning journalist Orhan Pala should be reheard. Normally, the court must comply with the Constitutional Court decision, but as I said, “under normal conditions.” 

In this country we have seen many times that courts and prosecutors act contrary to ECHR and Constitutional Court decisions. Because of this, I am saying “Let’s see the practice.”

We will not be waiting too long for the practice. According to the Solidarity Platform with Jailed Journalists, 150 journalists are held in prisons. Most of them do not even have an indictment written about them; their pre-trial arrests function as penalty. 

Why the indictments are not written is a secret known to everybody. An overwhelming majority of these journalists have been arrested for being “terrorists” but prosecutors cannot find any evidence proving their association with a terror organization.  

They are being kept in jail on charges that they will be acquitted for at the end. 

Pennsylvania visitors 

In the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) main case ongoing in Ankara, journalist Fehmi Koru testified as a witness. He said the Undersecretary of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) had gone to see Fethullah Gülen in Pennsylvania twice with former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and his wife once. None of these are a secret anyway. The question is what their purpose was in going all this way to visit Gülen. It was never disclosed, but it is not difficult to guess. It is nobody else but President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who sent both the MİT chief and then-Foreign Minister there. Furthermore, we also know that then-President Abdullah Gül was angry at the Foreign Minister for going to Pennsylvania without getting permission from him. 

Why has Erdoğan sent two significant persons of the state all the way to Gülen’s home in Pennsylvania? The reason is very clear: Until the last moment, Erdoğan was in search of reconciliation with Gülen. Erdoğan knew that the Fethullahist gang had conquered the state; one day they might use this power to reach out to top-rule. But instead of fighting this gang through legal paths, he looked for conciliatory means. If Gülen did not count on his own power as much, he would have reconciled and they would have ruled the country hand in hand as in the past. 

The president says that he was deceived by the Fethullahist, but, actually, one cannot talk about deceiving.
He was not deceived, because while he handed over the state to the Gülenists, his aim was to destroy the opposition in this country. It was not possible for him not to know about the “legal tricks” played in the Ergenekon and Balyoz (Sledgehammer) cases because he was in contact with the prosecutors and the police chiefs of the time at every stage of the business. And as the only person responsible for the state to be seized by this gang, he now desires a one-man rule. 

If he starts ruling the country as a one-man, what is the guarantee that he would not again be deceived by some others?