Terror trial in Turkey: acquittal for journalist Tolu

Status: 01/17/2022 2:11 p.m

After almost five years, the German journalist Tolu has been acquitted by a Turkish court. Tolu and her husband were accused of “terrorist propaganda” and “membership of a terrorist organization”. He was also acquitted.

The German journalist Mesale Tolu was acquitted at the end of a trial in Turkey. “After 4 years, 8 months and 20 days: Acquitted on both counts,” Tolu wrote on Twitter.

The Ulm-born journalist was accused of “terrorist propaganda” and “membership of a terrorist organization”. In the original indictment, prosecutors accused Tolu, her husband Suat Corlu and others of membership in the far-left Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP). The MLCP is considered a terrorist organization in Turkey and is banned.

Acquittal also for husband

Her husband Suat Corlu was also acquitted, according to the head of the organization “Reporters Without Borders”, Christian Mihr, who was on site as a trial observer in Istanbul.

Mihr welcomed the court decision. The allegations were unfounded from the start, and Tolu “never had to go through the ordeal of months of pre-trial detention and four years of insecurity in an absurdly long process,” he explained. The “arbitrary proceedings” were “further proof of the non-rule of law in Turkey”.

Even if there are now fewer media workers in Turkish prisons than a few years ago, “due to the tough conditions for their release from prison, many are no longer physically behind bars, but are mentally imprisoned”. Germany should not look the other way here.

Arrested at the end of April 2017

Tolu and her husband did not attend the trial in Istanbul. Tolu was working for the leftist ETHA news agency in Istanbul when she was arrested in April 2017. She spent several months in pre-trial detention before being conditionally released in December 2017. In August 2018, a court lifted her ban on leaving the country so that she could return to her son in Germany. In October 2019, the ban on leaving the country for her husband was lifted.

Judgment no redress

Tolu explained that in a constitutional state such a process would not have taken place in the first place. The verdict cannot make up for the repression and the time spent in prison.

The Green MP Max Lucks described the acquittal as overdue. It was politically motivated and a violation of human rights “to harass the journalist with unfounded allegations against her work,” said the chairman of the Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid, who was on site in Turkey as a process observer for the Bundestag. Tolu and Corlu were arrested for pursuing their journalistic work – “a clear violation of press freedom”. Lucks spoke of a frightening testimony about the state of the judiciary and freedom of the press in Turkey.

According to Reporters Without Borders, at least ten media workers are currently in prison in Turkey. The country is ranked 153rd out of 180 countries for press freedom. According to the federal government, as of December 15, 2021, a total of 13 German nationals were in custody in Turkey on criminal charges such as suspected terrorism, membership of an illegal organization or the dissemination of propaganda.


Leave a Comment