New York, NY September 28, 2000 – A Turkish criminal court is expected to issue a verdict tomorrow in the case of journalist Nadire Mater, who faces up to twelve years in prison on charges of “insulting” the powerful Turkish military. The charges stem from a book of interviews Mater conducted with former conscripts in the civil conflict in southeastern Turkey.
Author and journalist Kati Marton, a CPJ board member, will attend Friday’s hearing at the Beyoglu criminal court in Istanbul in a show of solidarity with Mater.
Mater, a free-lance journalist who writes for the news agency Inter Press Service (IPS), was charged last September with two counts of “insulting” the Turkish military, a crime under Article 159 of Turkey’s Penal Code. If convicted, she faces between two and twelve years in prison. Her publisher, Samih Sokmen, faces a possible fine.
CPJ has been supporting Mater since her controversial Mehmed’s Book: Soldiers Who Have Fought in the Southeast Speak Out, was banned on June 23, 1999. The book consists of interviews with 42 retired Turkish soldiers of the bloody civil conflict with Kurdish insurgents that the Turkish government has waged for much of the last 15 years.
When she presented her defense to the court on August 24, Mater declared: “The truth is plain to see. Banning the truth does not eradicate it.” The trial was attended by dozens of journalists and supporters, including CPJ board member Peter Arnett and CPJ Mideast program coordinator Joel Campagna.