Life sentences given in high-profile Turkish media trial

A Turkish court gave life sentences to six people, including former newspaper editor Ahmet Altan, his brother, columnist and economist Mehmet Altan, and well-known journalist, Nazli Ilıcak, after convicting them of being the media wing of an Islamist sect the government says carried out the July 2016 failed coup attempt, secularist newspaper Sözcü said.

The three – together with Yakup Şimşek, Fevzi Yazıcı and Şükrü Tuğrul Özşengül – were all accused of having had foreknowledge of the coup attempt.

“The Supreme Court and Constitutional Court decisions show that I am innocent,” Ilıcak said in her closing statement. “I ask for you to give your decision in the context of those precedents and I request my acquittal.”

“I have been tried hundreds of times,” Ahmet Altan said. “I have been tried under military rule, in the Feb. 28 (1997) trials and by the freaks called the State Security Courts. This is the first time I have faced a court that is carrying out a constitutional crime. As far as I am aware, there is no equivalent in either Ottoman or republican history.”