Turkish court approves charges against journalists for revealing MIT operative

A Turkish court has accepted the indictment against seven journalists accused of revealing details of the death of a National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) operative in Libya, news site Diken said. 

The 34th Istanbul Criminal Court ruled that charges of breaking laws on the country’s intelligence service and “disclosing confidential information and documents” will be brought against journalists Barış Terkoğlu, Hülya Kılınç, Barış Pehlivan, Aydın Keser, Ferhat Çelik, Murat Ağırel, and Erk Acarer.

In March, news site OdaTV’s director Barış Terkoğlu, editor-in-chief Barış Pehlivan and reporter Hülya Kılınç were arrested for publishing the identity of the MIT official. The news site also showed footage of his funeral in the western province of Manisa.

OdaTV says it had not broken any rules by publishing the officer’s identity since opposition Good Party Istanbul deputy Ümit Özdağ had already named him at a televised parliamentary press conference when the article was published.

Newspaper Yeni Yaşam’s Ferhat Çelik and Aydın Keser, and Yeniçağ columnist Murat Ağirel were arrested in April on the same charges.

Acarer, a journalist with Birgün, could not be interrogated for his article on the operative because he was reportedly living abroad. 

On May 2, Istanbul’s chief prosecutor’s office issued an arrest warrant for Acarer and extended the pre-trial detention of the six other defendants.

Acarer said in several tweets he had not lied or misreported any news, and that he would not be intimidated by the Turkish authorities.