Director of Turkish Homophobic Newspaper Called to Court Hearing

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Yeni Akit Müdürü Hakkında Yakalama Kararı,” (“Director of Turkish Homophobic Newspaper Called to Court Hearing,”) kaosGL.org, 23 January 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=15669

The last hearing of Kaos GL’s public case against the conservative newspaper Yeni Akit took place today. The court ruled that the Yeni Akit director Zekeriya Say, accused of degrading LGBT people, must be brought to the next hearing.

The last hearing of Kaos GL’s public case against Yeni Akit for its hateful publications was held today in Istanbul’s Bakırköy 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance.

Ali Erol and Umur Güner as well as lawyers Hayriye Kara and Oya Aydın Göktaş were present in the court. Yeni Akit director Zekeriya Say was not at the hearing. Following the request of the lawyers, the court ruled that the director must be brought to the next hearing by force as a “defendant.”

The lawyers of Kaos GL drew attention to the fact that the case is not limited to insult and humiliation. They stated that the newspaper committed the crime of discrimination by humiliating a certain group of society based on sexual orientation and pointed to the fact that Yeni Akit continues its hateful and discriminatory publications.

The next hearing was postponed until March 26, 2014 at 10:30 AM.

What happened?

Kaos GL filed a criminal complaint against Yeni Akit after its news entitled “The Perverts are Infiltrating the Schools” on October 23, 2012 following the association’s teacher training on homophobia and transphobia at schools. The complaint was filed based on Article 216 of the Turkish Penal Code, “Provoking people to be rancorous and hostile.” On March 12, 2013 Bakırköy Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office decided for non-prosecution by deeming it “freedom of press” to call gays “perverts.”

Following the appeal, the case was filed based on “insult through the press”, making it the first public case in Turkey about hatred in the media against LGBT people.

Yeni Akit’s homophobia is not a new thing

Kaos GL Association claimed damages in 2008 because of Yeni Akit’s news entitled “Uskul’s preference is on the perverts side” following Prof. Zafer Üskül’s participation in the 3rd International Anti-Homophobia Meeting organized by Kaos GL. The association had also filed a criminal complaint with the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office against author Serdar Arseven, demanding a criminal case based on insult. The Supreme Court of Appeals ruled in 2011 that the news is beyond the limits of criticism and that the rights of the association were violated and therefore ordered the compensation of damages. However, despite the criminal complaint about Arseven, the court ruled for non-prosecution.

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