2 journalists given suspended sentences on charges of revealing state secrets

Photo: Twitter @RSF_tr

A Turkish court has handed down suspended sentences to Müyesser Yıldız, the Ankara news editor for the OdaTV news website, and İsmail Dükel, the Ankara representative of the TELE1 television channel, on charges of revealing state secrets, Turkish Minute reported, citing the Anka news agency.

Yıldız was given a prison sentence by a high criminal court in Ankara of three years, seven months, 10 days for obtaining and revealing state secrets, while Dükel was sentenced to one year, 15 days on charges of revealing state secrets. A travel ban earlier imposed on Dükel was lifted by the court but continued in place for Yıldız.

The court suspended the execution of both sentences.

When asked by the court if she had anything to say before the ruling, “Yıldız said: “There’s nothing left to say. Anything that could have been said legally has been said. No matter if we women are killed or arrested, Turkey will see bright days again through the power of women.”

The conviction of the journalist coincided with International Women’s Day on March 8.

Yıldız and Dükel were taken into custody on June 8, 2020. Yıldız was formally arrested three days later, while Dükel was released and placed under judicial supervision.

Yıldız, who was also released at her first hearing on Nov. 9, was accused of revealing state secrets in two articles about the Turkish government’s military involvement in Libya.

One article published in December 2019 questioned which Turkish commanders met with Khalifa Haftar, the head of the Libyan National Army, which was fighting the internationally recognized Government of National Accord of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, backed by Turkey.

The second article, from January 2020, gave details about a military officer who was sent to Libya to oversee Turkey’s involvement there.

The journalist is widely known for her pieces scrutinizing the narrative of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on a 2016 coup attempt that allowed the president to seize vast powers.

Following her release, Yıldız argued in an interview published in the Cumhuriyet daily that her imprisonment was ordered by the AKP government to stop her from investigating what really went down on the night of the abortive putsch on July 15, 2016, which killed 251 people.

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