Good news from Turkey: partial acquittal for Erdem Gül

Turkish journalist Erdem Gül has been acquitted of charges of 'publishing state secrets,' Turkish media reported on July 16. Yet, another trial is still pending.

Erdem Gül Erdem Gül

Turkish journalist Erdem Gül has been acquitted of charges of “publishing state secrets,” his newspaper Cumhuriyet reported on July 16.

Gül, the Ankara bureau chief of daily Cumhuriyet, appeared before judges at the Istanbul 14th Heavy Penal Court on July 16 in the case of National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks bound for Syria in 2014.

Cumhuriyet’s former editor-in-chief Can Dündar and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Enis Berberoğlu, who was accused of leaking the information on the MİT trucks to the newspaper, were convicted together with Gül in the case last year.

Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals had quashed the Istanbul court’s ruling in March, noting that Dündar should have been sentenced to up to 20 years in prison, not only five years and 10 months, while requesting the acquittal of Gül.

The 14th Heavy Penal Court in Istanbul ruled for the second time in the case on July 16.

The prosecutor argued that daily Cumhuriyet published a story about the MİT trucks with Dündar’s name in the byline in May 2015, which removed the confidential status of the information, therefore Gül’s June 2015 story about the same issue could not be considered as leaking state secrets.

The court acquitted Gül, according to Cumhuriyet, after issuing its verdict in line with the prosecutor’s opinion.

Together with Dündar and Berberoğlu, Gül is still on trial in another case over the MİT trucks stories, in which prosecutors charged them of “helping a terrorist organization.”

In 2016, Gül and Dündar were awarded the Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media of Medienstiftung der Sparkasse Leipzig.

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