Police in Istanbul detained Toğay Okay, a reporter for the socialist weekly newspaper Özgür Gelecek, on October 27, 2016, according to press reports. Istanbul’s Second Court of Penal Peace on November 8, 2016, ordered him jailed pending trial on charges of being member of a terrorist organization, according to court documents reviewed by CPJ.
The charges stem from Okay’s coverage in late 2015 of the funerals of three militants with two outlawed armed groups, the Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist (TİKKO) and the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP), who were killed in clashes with Turkish security forces.
In his court testimony, which CPJ has reviewed, Okay said under interrogation that he had attended the funerals as a reporter, but that he also personally knew one of the deceased, Cengiz İçli, because the latter had visited a publishing house where Okay had worked when İçli was a student. Okay also said that he had not participated in rallies in support of the deceased.
The court nevertheless found there was a “strong suspicion” that the journalist was a member of an illegal organization and ordered the journalist jailed pending trial. He is being held in Sanliurfa E-Type Prison. As of late 2016, he had not been indicted, and no date had been set for his trial.