Turkish court rules against prosecution of reporter who covered tapes

Istanbul public prosecutors have decided against prosecution in an investigation into a reporter accused of violating the secrecy of investigations after she reported on content of leaked tapes that were made public in a session in Parliament by opposition party.

The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office had launched an investigation into Bugun reporter Ezelhan Ustunkaya, who reported on leaked tapes in connection to a sweeping corruption scandal that broke on Dec. 17 and implicated former Cabinet ministers, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s close associates and well-known businessmen, citing that the reporter violated the secrecy of the case.

İstanbul Public Prosecutor Hasan Bolukbası, who headed the investigation, however, said there was no basis for prosecution, citing Turkish constitutional law on press freedom and European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) decisions on the issue.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıcdaroglu in his parliamentary group meeting in January played an audio recording incriminating former Interior Minister Muammer Guler and his son Barıs Guler, as they are heard discussing the police raid and money stashed at home during a police raid on the first day of the Dec. 17 operation.

When Ustunkaya reported on the incident, she faced an investigation for violating the secrecy of the ongoing probe.

Prosecutor Bolukbası, however, saw no fault in her reportage and decided to drop the case against the journalist.