At the second hearing in Silivri in the Cumhuriyet trial, the court ordered the continued detention of the five newspaper people despite the indictment having been demolished and the witness testimony. During the hearing, Ahmet Şık's lawyer Fikret İlkiz said that Ahmet Şık was the defendant of all periods and was being punished like Sisyphos in Greek mythology. The presiding judge Orkun Dağ, for his part, responded to İlkiz's comparison to Sisyphos with recourse to Icarus in Greek mythology.
Here are the key points from Ahmet Şık's lawyer Fikret İlkiz's defence:
No press prosecutor can draft an indictment into a terrorist organisation
“This indictment has no tongue, but a tongue is very important. If an indictment has no tongue, there is no possibility of reaching agreement, nor the possibility of debate. Can a crime be committed on behalf of an organisation while not being a member of the organisation through a newspaper, headlines and articles? Can aid be given without being a member? The indictment begs these questions. In our view, this cannot be but in Turkey it is so. You ask questions like, “Who decides on headlines? Who hired you?” Rightly; these are the questions begged by the indictment. No press prosecutor can or should draft an indictment into a terrorist organisation. There are international treaties protecting press freedom and we are also party. You dismiss these principles. But, we deem them to exist.”
You may not like Ahmet Şık but there are ECHR decisions
“You may not like certain international decisions but the European Court of Human Rights has decisions over Ahmet Şık. You may not like Şık, but there is such a decision. If a person the state is trying is basically putting the democratic legitimacy of the state, or even whether or not the state exists, on trial, the best answer to be given is that the Venice Commission on 15 March 2016 recommended the abrogation of the article on “committing a crime on behalf of an organisation while not being an organisation member.”
The truth has been incarcerated and lies freed
“The people have been deprived of a scrap of genuine news, a mere line of true commentary. All articles have been distorted; the truth has been incarcerated and lies freed. Even more grievous and grave than all these circumstances, those who hold power have started to engage in heedlessness or transgression or even treason against these fine professions. Do not be astonished, the dismissing of journalist employees is due to articles that fall foul of the press proprietors and politicians’ ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ calculations. The slow and faulty functioning democratic-political-social-economic order has broken down once more; the people have once again become ruined and exhausted in utter destitution. Your duty, even in just such conditions and circumstances, is to preserve your professional morality and rescue the honour of your profession. The strength you need is present in the tips of your pens, your computer keys and your faith in democracy.”
Journalists are witnesses, not of courts, but of events
“In our eyes, Ahmet Şık is a witness to events. He is a journalist. So, we cannot, as he has put it, set up a court in the media. But, we do not know what is to be done about those who send these documents prior to each hearing. Journalists are witnesses, not of courts, but of events. Journalists cannot be witnesses of other journalists. But they have become so today. Ahmet Şık is the defendant of all periods, the detainee of all periods, the one detained in all periods. He was detained when he exposed Gülen's true face. Who has Ahmet Şık angered? Who has he made mad? We can ask what secrets he has perhaps brought into the open.”
In his defence, Fikret İlkiz said that Ahmet Şık was being punished like Sisyphos, commenting that he was the defendant of all periods.
Icarus warning from the judge over İlkiz's comparison to Sisyphos
Presiding judge Orkun Dağ responded to Ahmet Şık’s lawyer Fikret İlkiz's robust defence saying, “You must not forget Icarus, either.” Following a recess that was taken in the hearing, judge Dağ announced the interim decision: “A portion of the interim decisions are identical to our previous interim decisions. The restrictions on Emre İper have been lifted. Expert examination of unexamined digital data has been decided on. Execution of the apprehension of Can Dündar and İlhan Tanır is awaited. There is a dissenting opinion of one of our colleagues with reference to one person, over Kadri Gürsel. The defendants’ continued detention is ordered. We will pass a more secure decision over detention after having heard the other three witnesses.”
What is the Sisyphos legend to which Fikret İlkiz alluded in his comparison with Ahmet Şık?
The Sisyphos myth has its roots in Greek mythology. Legend has it that Sisyphos was a king who contributed to the development of shipping and trade but was greedy and deceptive to the extent that he broke the rules of hospitality and killed travellers and guests. From Homer’s account, Sisyphos earned the reputation of being the most talented of men. He wooed his cousin, dethroned his brother and betrayed Zeus’ secrets – especially the secret that Zeus ravished the river god Asopus’ daughter Aegina. At this, Zeus wanted Hades to chain Sisyphos in Hell. However, Sisyphos faced a greater penalty as a punishment for his deceptiveness: rolling a large rock up a steep hill even though he knew it would fall back down each time.
What is the Icarus legend to which Presiding Judge Orkun Dağ referred?
The Athenian architect and inventor Daedalus and his son Icarus are shut into a tower at King Minos’ orders. Because Daedalus’ son Icarus told Ariadne how she could find the way through Theseus’ labyrinth and they helped in slaying the Minotaur, it was wished for them to be punished by the king. Daedalus makes a pair of wings that would assist in escaping from the window of this tower for himself and his son from wax and the feathers of birds that visit the tower. The father tells Icarus that he should refrain from enjoying the flight and not go near the sun from the joy of flying, nor fly close to the sea to prevent the wings from getting damp. Icarus does not heed his father on attaining the freedom to fly and the wax melts when he goes too close to the sun and he loses his life when he falls into the Aegean Sea.