Turkey: Journalists’ sentences mean an end to the rule of law

ARTICLE 19 has condemned an Istanbul appeals court for approving aggravated life sentences given to six media workers convicted of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order”. The defendants included journalists Mehmet Altan, his brother Ahmet Altan and Nazli Ilıcak, who were accused of sending ‘subliminal messages’ during a television appearance prior to the attempted coup in  Turkey in 2016.

Director of Programmes at ARTICLE 19, David Diaz-Jogeix  said: We are seeing an end to the rule of law in Turkey. These convictions are the latest politically- motivated assault on journalists, lawyers, judges and political opponents by the Erdogan Government.

The judicial system is in crisis, as demonstrated by the failure to give the six defendants a fair trial. Their lawyers have been expelled from hearings, they have been denied the opportunity to see evidence used against them by the prosecutor and there have been different judges at each hearing.”

Diaz-Jogeix urged the European Union to take action: The European Court of Human Rights has said that domestic remedies must be exhausted before it can issue judgments on cases in Turkey. We can no longer wait. It is time for the European Union to act.


For more information contact Pam Cowburn, Media Advisor: [email protected], 07749 785 932.

Notes to Editor

ARTICLE 19 is a global human rights organisation that promotes freedom of expression.

ARTICLE 19 has observed the trial since the first hearing in June 2017 and submitted an expert opinion to the court in June: https://www.article19.org/resources/turkey-article-19-submits-expert-opinion-in-the-case-of-brothers-ahmet-and-mehmet-altan/

The independent press in Turkey is facing a severe crackdown with 174 journalists are in prison.