On February 15, Cumhuriyet Daily reporter Ahmet Şık appeared before a judge in the 2011 OdaTV trial, which has been exposed as a FETO conspiracy. Şık is currently imprisoned in Silivri Prison on unrelated charges of propagandizing for the Fetullah Gulen Movement, or the government calls it “FETO,” and the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) in his reporting and Twitter posts. Şık, who has been remanded for trial in relation to these charges, for which he was taken into custody on December 29, 2016 and arrested on December 30, 2016, appeared in the OdaTV trial.
Şık was among the suspects slated to be tried without arrest in the OdaTV case, but is now being held in Silivri prison, where he was imprisoned for about one year in 2011, while awaiting trial before the publication of his book The Imam’s Army. The book examined the organization of the followers of Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen in the police and the judiciary at a time when the movement and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) were close allies.
On February 3, the National Writers Union (NWU) joined PEN America and The Independent at a press conference called by the Research Institute of Turkey (RIT) to demand the release of Ahmet Sik and all jailed Turkish journalists. Since the failed coup last July, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has launched massive purges of the police, judiciary, media, schools, and universities. Thousands have lost their jobs and dozens of newspapers and TV stations have been closed.
Before the Odatv trial, a press statement concerning Ahmet Şık was made in front of the Istanbul Judicial Complex in Çağlayan. However, a group of journalists and other supporters were not allowed into the courtroom to observe the hearing based on claims the courtroom was full. The many journalists waiting outside the courtroom chanted slogans including: “Ahmet must be freed and resume writing” while journalists gathered in front of the courthouse unfurled a banner reading “The plot continues. We have not been and will not be silenced.”Melike Gul Demir prepared from EnglishPen, YavuzBaydar & Cumhuriyet