Photojournalist Çağdaş Erdoğan was detained on September 2, 2017, while taking pictures in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district. He was accused of taking photographs of a social facility for the employees of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and was arrested 11 days later, on September 13, on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization (PKK/KCK).”
The prosecutor issued a confidentiality order regarding Erdoğan’s file during the investigation.
As a result, the allegations against the 24-year-old Erdoğan were not known until the indictment against him was accepted on November 20. In the indictment Erdoğan is also accused of spreading “propaganda for a terrorist organization.” Erdoğan faces up to 22.5 years in prison for the accusations in the indictment.
Evidence for the allegations levelled against Erdoğan consist exclusively of photographs he has taken and his posts on both his social media account and on his personal website.
The photographer’s work has been published internationally by a number of well-known media outlets, including Getty Images, Agence France-Presse, The Associated Press, BBC, The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel. Erdoğan has also exhibited his work in Greece and Italy. His photographs of night life in Istanbul have been compiled in a book.
Erdoğan appeared in the first hearing of the trial against him on February 13, 2018, at the 33rd High Criminal Court of Istanbul, which ruled to release the photojournalist.
At the second hearing held on June 1, Erdoğan said he was unable to attend four exhibitions where his work was on display when he was in prison and added that he was now invited to four other exhibitions over the next two months, asking the court to lift his travel ban to attend them. At the end of the hearing, the court accepted requests from Erdoğan and his lawyer for lifting of his international travel ban and exempted him from attending future hearings. The third hearing in the case will be held on November 2, 2o18.