Tunca İlker Öğreten, a freelance journalist and former editor for the online opposition newspaper Diken, was charged, alongside four other journalists and a media worker, with terrorism and cybercrime offenses for publishing the purported emails of a Turkish minister.
On January 17, 2017, an Istanbul court charged Öğreten with “blocking, disrupting [a] computing system,” “destroying or changing data” and “committing a crime on behalf of an armed terrorist organization while not being a member.”
The charges relate to allegations that Berat Albayrak, Turkey’s energy minister and the president’s son-in-law, had dealings with oil fields controlled by the militant group Islamic State, according to reports. The allegations emerged when Wikileaks published emails allegedly obtained by a socialist hacking group known as Redhack, according to news reports.
Prosecutors claimed that Öğreten supported Redhack by reporting on the emails at Diken and cited as further evidence his work for the shuttered daily Taraf, which the indictment tied to the alleged terrorist organization led by exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen, which the government calls FETÖ.
According to his testimony, Öğreten was informed of the emails via a messaging group on Twitter to which his name was added without his consent. The Twitter messaging group is considered evidence for the defendants’ alleged links with various outlawed organizations.
At the first hearing on October 24, 2017, an Istanbul court ordered Öğreten and his co-accused– Mahir Kaynak, the former accountant for the daily Birgün–to remain in custody for the duration of the trial, the independent news site Bianet reported. Some other co-accused, including Ömer Çelik, a former news editor at the shuttered pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency (DİHA), was released pending the outcome of the trial.
The court accepted a plea from the energy minister, Albayrak, that he be included in the trial as an injured party. The next hearing was scheduled for December 6, 2017.
Öğreten was being held in Silivri Prison, Istanbul.