Turkish journalist faces 23 years in jail for story on judges and prosecutors
ISTANBULReporter Canan Coşkun faces 23 years in prison for coverage of a story about top judicial officials allegedly buying discounted residences from a public real estate company.
Coşkun, who works for daily Cumhuriyet, will appear in court on Nov. 12 facing 23 years and four months in prison on charges of “insulting public officials over their duties.”
The news story on the residence project in Istanbul’s Başakşehir district was published in Cumhuriyet on Feb. 19 with the headline “Controversial residence sales in judiciary.”
The judges and prosecutors who allegedly bought discounted residences from the public firm included members of the Unity in Justice Platform (YBP), which had been supported by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the recent elections to the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK).
The indictment prepared by the Chief Public Prosecutor Umut Tepe accuses Coşkun of “tarnishing the reputations of the judges and prosecutors by spelling out their names in her story.” It also said the story had “insulted” them “by creating a negative perception against them.”
The judges and prosecutors mentioned in Coşkun’s story for allegedly buying the apartments included names from a number of controversial cases in Turkey. These included Istanbul public prosecutor Hadi Salihoğlu, Istanbul deputy public prosecutor Orhan Kapıcı, and former Istanbul public prosecutor Vedat Yiğit, who opened an investigation into Cumhuriyet for republishing the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. Also included was prosecutor Ali Doğan, who started a probe into soldiers who stopped and searched Syria-bound trucks owned by the Turkish intelligence agency; top judge İslam Çiçek, who ordered the release of the sons of four former ministers embroiled in the Dec. 17 and 25 investigations; prosecutors İrfan Fidan, İsmail Uçar and Fuzulu Aydoğdu, who quashed the corruption probe into 96 suspects including Bilal Erdoğan and Yasin El Kadı.