An Istanbul court on April 12 ordered the acquittal of 13 suspects, including journalists and writers, charged with membership of the Ergenekon organization in the OdaTV case.
The ruling comes six years after the opening of the case, widely thought to have been the work of prosecutors linked to U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
In the tenth hearing of the case, the Istanbul 18th court of serious crimes board unanimously acquitted the suspects including journalists Ahmet Şık, Nedim Şener, Soner Yalçın, Yalçın Küçük and former police chief Hanefi Avcı, based on their pleas, expert reports, witness statements and the wider context of the file.
It also noted that the suspects had the right to file a claim for compensation within one year of the verdict being given.
Meanwhile, the court board also ordered a legal complaint to be filed against those who created fake digital evidence and sent them to the computers of the suspects, along with public officials who acted in cooperation during the investigation process.
The OdaTV case was initiated in 2011 after police teams raided the suspects’ addresses, and came at a time when all suspects had been making broadcasts and writing articles criticizing the Ergenekon trials, which saw the arrest of over 200 suspects in a decade-old legal battle over allegations that they were aiming to overthrow the Turkish government. The suspects in the Ergenekon case were charged with membership of an illegal organization, trying to create an environment of chaos, inciting people to hostility and hatred, obtaining and revealing secret documents, attempting to influence a fair trial, and illegally recording personal data.
Following the acquittal ruling, Şık said the case should be a lesson for judicial authorities who prepared the recent indictment against Cumhuriyet columnists and executives.
“This case should be a lesson for those who wrote the Cumhuriyet indictment. Those judges and prosecutors will also come here. We will present a life that will make the dreams of our children come true,” he said.
Şık had been tried without arrest in the OdaTV case, but he is currently in jail in a separate case, having been arrested on Dec. 30, 2016 on charges of “making propaganda” for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).