Following the decision of the 16th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals, the Istanbul 26th High Criminal Court, which re-tried six people including the Altan brothers and Nazlı Ilıcak, ruled the case on 4 November 2019. The Court acquitted Mehmet Altan for lack of sufficient evidence to punish him; Ahmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak, whom they found guilty of “not being a member of the organization, but intentionally helping the organization”, together with the verdict. Fevzi Yazıcı,Yakup Şimşek and Şükrü Tuğrul Özşengül who were found guilty of “membership in a terrorist organization”, decided to continue the detention.
Altan’s actions were not considered within the scope of journalism
The Istanbul 26th High Criminal Court announced its reasoned decision on the case of Altanlar exactly one month later. In its reasoned decision, which Altan was sentenced to 10 years and 6 months imprisonment on the charge of intentionally helping the organization even though he was not a member of the organization, the court said that it was not possible to evaluate Altan’s actions of the case in the context of journalistic activity. In the reasoned decision, it is evaluated as a service to organization that Altan was the founder and editor-in-chief of Taraf newspaper, and he was a writer on the news website “haber.com” and his columns titled “I’m here to talk to me”, “Absolute fear”, “Crush to pass” and “Montezuma” considered to be serving the organization.
The decision also included the following statements about Altan: At Can Erzincan television channel with the other defendants Nazlı Ilıcak and Mehmet Altan gave a speech in the program called Free Thought against the constitutional order of the organization before the process of coup, trying to give the appearance of political opposition and the aim of maintaining the legitimacy of the broad public masses that serve the purpose of maintaining the sympathizing class. It is necessary to decide that the actions, which cannot be evaluated within the scope of journalistic activity, serve the purpose of the organization and that they are not included in the hierarchical structure, but that they are guilty of assisting the FETÖ / PDY armed terrorist organization and should be punished.
The court explained the reason for Altan’s punishment by moving away from the lower limit as the intensity of the caste.
Institutions Ilıcak worked was made the reason of punishment
Although Nazlı Ilıcak is not a member of the organization, the court sentenced her to 8 years and 9 months’ imprisonment on purpose of intentionally helping the organization. As a reason for the punishment given to Ilıcak, shown to be a long-time writer in various publications of the organization, the book “Is there the cemaat under each stone” and the program on Can Erzincan television which she attended with the Altan brothers. The decision, Ilıcak’s regret during the trial process, reduced the penalty
“There is no definite, concrete and sufficient evidence”
The justification for the acquittal decision given to Mehmet Altan was explained as follows:
The fact that the defendant was not in the scope of the file to provide the conclusion that the FETÖ / PDY was acting in line with the aims of the armed terrorist organization and aimed to prepare the ground for a possible military coup was not included in the file and that the accused could not be given sufficient, concrete and definite evidence to be punished for the crime of membership of a terrorist organization. The court was based on the fact that Fevzi Yazıcı and Yakup Şimşek, who had been sentenced to 10 years and 15 months in prison for membership of a terrorist organization, had worked in the daily Zaman, opened an account of participation in Bank Asya, and took part in the preparation of the advertisement for the newspaper Zaman.
The reason for Şükrü Tuğrul Özşengül, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for membership of a terrorist organization; On the day of the coup attempt, the accused, together with the other media members of the organization, his words were evaluated on the STV channel, which broadcasts over the internet, by participating in a program called Freedom Time. It was necessary to decide that he should be punished with the conclusions and convictions in which he acts as a member of the organization and has the title of an organization member. ”