Journalists were on trial for news reports on alleged failure of the authorities to take precautions to prevent the 2015 Ankara attack
A case against five employees of the Evrensel and Cumhuriyet dailies on account of the news reports they had published regarding the October 10, 2015 terrorist attack in Ankara that killed 102 people was dismissed on January 15 at the first hearing of the case.
The case, in which five journalists from two newspapers — including Cumhuriyet’s former editor in chief, Can Dündar, and Evrensel’s chief editor, Fatih Polat — were to stand trial, was dismissed when the prosecutor demanded the dropping of the case due to the expiration of the statute of limitations prescribed in Turkish Press Law.
The news stories used as evidence in the case concerned an inspector’s report that had found that security forces had not taken the necessary precautions in order to prevent the attack although intelligence existed prior to the attack.
The panel of judges at the Ankara 2nd High Criminal Court ruled unanimously on January 15 for the dismissal of the case after attorney Mustafa Söğütlü, a lawyer for the defendants, argued that the four-month period prescribed in law had passed before the case was opened, and the prosecutor also demanded the dismissal of the case, for which a complaint was filed on April 15 and a criminal case was opened on October 19.
News stories published in 2016, on April 12, 13 and 14, including those headlined “Bombayı biliyorlardı” (“They knew about the bomb”) and “Ankara Katliamı’nın bir tek saati bilinmiyormuş” (“Only missing information about Ankara attack was its timing”) were regarded as crime evidence for the case.
The then-Ankara representative of Evrensel, Cem Gurbetoğlu, the newspaper’s correspondent Tamer Arda Erşin and Cumhuriyet correspondent Kemal Göktaş were the other suspects in the case, which sought up to three years in prison for each of the journalists.