An Istanbul court on April 2 ruled for the continued arrest of three OdaTV journalists, who were jailed in March over a report covering the funeral of a member of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) killed in Libya.
OdaTV editor-in-chief Barış Pehlivan, OdaTV news director Barış Terkoğlu and reporter Hülya Kılınç are accused of disclosing the identity of the intelligence agency official even though the name had been previously revealed by an opposition lawmaker.
The reporters’ lawyer Hüseyin Ersöz said on April 3 that they had filed an appeal against the journalists’ arrest, but the Istanbul 10th Criminal Court of Peace had turned down the appeal.
Ersöz wrote on Twitter that the court held the hearing without having summoned the journalists’ lawyers. “We are never to accept this understanding of fait accomplie in which lawyers are excluded!” Ersöz wrote.
The court decision document which was shared by Ersöz said that there was a “strong suspicion” that a criminal activity was undertaken and there was still evidence to be gathered.
On March 3, OdaTV published a story that did not reveal the intelligence operative’s last name but revealed images from his funeral ceremony with the headline “OdaTV obtains footage from the quiet and non-ceremonious burial of Libya-martyr and MİT agent.”
The story showed the crowd at the burial that included local politicians, the unmarked burial site and flower arrangements, particularly one that read “Organization Head.”
Following the report, prosecutors launched an investigation into OdaTV even though İYİ (Good) Party lawmaker Ümit Özdağ had revealed the name of the operative at a press conference on Feb. 26 during which he criticized Ankara’s offshore military policy.