Turkey’s top court finds no rights violation in cases of 6 journalists: report

The Turkish Constitutional Court found no violation of rights in two separate cases involving six journalists over their reports on military involvement in Libya and a Turkish intelligence officer killed in the country, Deutsche Welle Turkish service (DW) reported.

The Constitutional Court found the applications of five journalists — Barış Pehlivan, Hülya Kılınç, Ferhat Çelik, Aydın Keser and Murat Ağırel — “inadmissible,” rejecting their claims of rights violations as “groundless.”

The journalists published reports and tweeted about the secretly held funeral of an agent of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) killed during a mission in Libya.

In another case, the top court found no violation of rights in the detention of journalist Müyesser Yıldız.

Yıldız, who was accused of revealing state secrets in two articles about the Turkish government’s military involvement in Libya, was taken into custody on June 8, 2020 and released at her first hearing on November 9, 2020.

In September 2020 the İstanbul 34th High Criminal Court sentenced Pehlivan and Kılınç to three years, nine months in prison, while Çelik, Keser and Ağırel received four years, eight months each on charges of “disclosing information related to national security” and “disclosing documents pertaining to intelligence operations.”

Their sentences were upheld by the 3rd Criminal Chamber of the İstanbul Regional Court of Justice in February.

Barış Terkoğlu was acquitted of the charges along with Eren Ekinci, an employee of the municipality where the intelligence officer’s funeral took place, who was accused of providing pictures to the journalists of the funeral of the deceased intelligence officer.

The charges against the journalists center on articles and social media posts published shortly after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in February 2020 that Turkey had “several martyrs” in Libya.

Turkey had provided military support and training in Libya to the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), helping it fend off a 14-month assault on Tripoli by eastern Libyan forces led by military commander Khalifa Haftar.

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