Up to 11 years sought for journos over report on allegations of bribery by Erdoğan's ex-lawyer

Turkish prosecutors are seeking up to 11 years in prison for two journalists from news website İleri Haberi for covering allegations of bribery by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's former lawyer Mustafa Doğan İnal.

Journalists İzel Sezer (L) and Doğan Ergün are seen in this collage photo.

Duvar English

Turkish prosecutors have launched an investigation into two journalists from İleri Haber news website for reporting on allegations that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's former lawyer Mustafa Doğan İnal was involved in bribery.

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office Press Crimes Bureau prepared an indictment seeking up to 11 years and four months in prison for journalists Doğan Ergün and İzel Sezer, online news outlet Birgün reported on Dec. 7.

The indictment claimed that the journalists had “explicitly insulted” lawyer İnal, “slandered him” and “exposed private speeches between people in an unlawful way via the press.”

The first hearing of the case will take place on Dec. 23 at the Istanbul 33rd Criminal Court of First Instance.

Journalists Barış Terkoğlu ve Barış Pehlivan had written about the allegations on İnal in their book “Cendere” (Press). Afterwards, MP Ahmet Şık inquired about the incident on Twitter, asking Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül, “Will you do what is necessary?”

The journalists later reported on the allegations, citing Şık's tweets from Dec. 2 and 16, 2020. Upon the lawyer's complaint, the prosecutors launched an investigation into İleri Haber's former editor-in-chief Ergün and the news site's then managing director Sezer, who is the current editor-in-chief.