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Defendants: Deniz Yücel

Media Outlet and Position: Die Welt – Reporter

Accusations: Insulting the president; Denigrating the state and the Turkish nation

Possible Sentences: –

Court: İstanbul 2. Criminal Court

Case Background:

Deniz Yücel, a former reporter for German newspaper Die Welt, was accused of several charges including “insulting the president” and “denigrating the state and the Turkish nation” over his published articles and social media posts from 2016.

The charges on “denigrating the state and the Turkish nation” were filed against Yücel by Istanbul 32. High Criminal Court during the final hearing of another case on July 16, 2020, where Yücel was tried separately on the charges of “making terrorist propaganda” and “inciting public to hatred”. The Istanbul 32. High Criminal Court filed criminal charges for “publicly insulting the State of the Republic of Turkey” by citing some of the expressions he used in his two articles previously published in Die Welt on October 26 and 27, 2016.

An indictment was prepared by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on April 8, 2021, requesting Yücel to be charged with “publicly insulting the Turkish nation, the State of the Republic of Turkey”, and a prison sentence from six months to two years.

The second indictment against Yücel on the charges of “insulting the president” was submitted on May 31, over his article titled “The supporter of the military coup” published on November 6, 2016 referring to President Erdoğan.

The two case files were merged on June 14, 2021, with the claim that there is an established “personal, factual and legal link” between the two files. The court accepted the request on merging the files and set the first hearing for July 1, 2021.

Yücel was previously prosecuted on several charges for his reporting. An investigation was launched against Yücel first in February 2017, after he reported on the leaked e-mails of then- Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Berat Albayrak who is also the son-in-law of President Erdoğan. Yücel was arrested on February 27, 2017, on terrorism-related charges.

He was released from pretrial detention on February 16, 2018, and on July 16, 2020, he was sentenced to two years, nine months, and twenty-two days in prison for “spreading propaganda of terrorist organizations,” while being acquitted of other charges.

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