KEMAL GÖKTAŞ/CANAN COŞKUN
Our newspaper’s editorial consultant and columnist, Kadri Gürsel, reacted to the hearing prosecutor’s opinion seeking the continuation of detention. Gürsel said the following:
“You cited in your interim ruling as grounds for the continuation of my detention that witnesses had not been heard on the so-called change of editorial policy imputed against Cumhuriyet. I demonstrated that, even if there existed such an allegation in the form of witness testimony, I was incapable of being party to it. You also adduced as grounds for my continued detention my communications with 92 ByLock users and 145 people who are under investigation in relation to FETO. What I stated before your bench was to say that I may have communications records with these people but I may not have made contact with them and I only entered interactive communications with eight of them, and five of these were ByLock users. I demolished the charges in mathematical terms but your bench did not ask me a single question about this matter.
Until seeing the interim ruling, I naively thought, ‘You may have found my statement to be adequate, or you may have decided not to ask me a single question out of political preference.’ Or, there may also have been a third reason: you may have passed the prejudgment over me that I committed the crime of aiding a terrorist organisation while not being a member solely from looking at the police case report concerning ByLock. No consideration at all was given to my defence in relation to my remaining in detention for a further 45 days. My right to a fair trial was impeded.
The HTS report was not looked at
With consideration given to the police case report, the claim that I was influential in the so-called change to editorial policy was cited as grounds for my continued detention. I will thus set out in detail why I was not in contact with these people. If you have not examined the HTS report, please do so. You had not looked at the HTS report up to the date on which you drafted the interim ruling. I realise this from the interim ruling. Had you examined the report, you would have seen that the records termed ‘extraordinary’ consisted of SMSs sent to me on a one-off basis and which went unanswered. Had the HTS report been examined, it would have been seen in the records in question that the last report was on 26 October 2015. That is, the last ByLock user called me six and a half months prior to my commencing at Cumhuriyet. After 10 May 2016, that is when I started writing at Cumhuriyet, there was a single FETO suspect who called me. And that was the journalist Murat Aksoy. And he called to congratulate me. I ceased being plagued by ByLock users long before I started at Cumhuriyet. This is the truth.
Acts of harassment
It is erroneous to raise the same accusations against the Cumhuriyet managers. I think that the HTS report has not been read and this has impeded my right to a fair trial. It is a fact that SMSs sent to me on a purely one-off basis cannot be classified as communications. These SMSs were acts of harassment made as part of a campaign. In the summer of 2014, hundreds of people showered me with SMSs. A section of them are in the same format. Some of them are FETO suspects. The majority of these messages were not opened. I saved a portion of them thinking they may come in useful later, but it did not occur to me that such a thing would happen.
What I am getting at is that the number of message senders is more than 83. This is the very affair that created this ‘extraordinary number.’ When there is talk of these media trials in Istanbul and Ankara, I think I am the only person who is in detention because ByLock users sent messages. Half the ByLock users who each sent me two or three messages were free on the date on which the charges were raised, but Kadri Gürsel is in detention. I know that I am not the only person that these people harassed. This is not looked into at all, but is used as evidence against me.
I had the longest conversation with a ByLock user named Tolga Güzeltaş on 26 July 2014. But, I remember speaking to a woman. She was a policeman’s wife. But, I appear in the HTS record to have spoken to Tolga Güzeltaş. But, Tolga Güzeltaş was in detention at that time. I mean, it was impossible for me to have spoken to him. Let me thus submit this as counterevidence. I spoke to somebody called Mehmet Işık about one and a half hours later. But, in the realisation that I was up against a campaign, I brought the call to an end. The reason I am on trial here is not because I was called by ByLock users, but because I am one of the opposition.”
Kadri Gürsel: The message senders are free and I am in detention
KEMAL GÖKTAŞ/CANAN COŞKUN