Turkey: ICJ and IBAHRI welcome acquittal of defendants in Gezi Park trial

The ICJ  and IBAHRI welcome today’s ruling by the Istanbul 30th Assize Court that acquitted all defendants in the Gezi Park case for lack of evidence. The ICJ and IBAHRI have been observing all hearings of the trial.

“Today’s decision is welcome,” said Massimo Frigo, Senior Legal Adviser of the ICJ. “The factual and legal circumstances surrounding the case make clear that these defendants should have never been put to trial to begin with.”

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, IBAHRI Director, commented: “We have watched this trial closely, with senior lawyers attending the process as observers. It is a case that should never have been brought, for those who faced trial suffered untold anguish. But such injustice has become all too common in Turkey, where the rule of law and human rights have lost meaning. We live in hope this augurs a return to sanity and due process.”

These protests, commencing in May 2013, were an effort by a group of environmentalists to save a park in central Istanbul from being re-zoned, but soon grew into nationwide demonstrations.

Police quelled the protests in Taksim Square through the use of tear gas and water cannons.

The sixteen defendants in the present trial were charged under the following articles of the Turkish Criminal Code: Article 312 (an attempt to overthrow the Turkish government or an attempt to prevent it from fulfilling its duties), Article 151 (damage to property), Article 152 (qualified damage to property), Article 174 (possession or exchange of hazardous substances without permission), Article 153 (damaging places of worship and cemeteries), Article 149 (qualified robbery), Article 86 (intentional injury), crimes under the Law on Firearms, Knives and Other Tools no. 6136 and crimes under the Law on Protection of Cultural and Natural Assets no. 2863.

The ruling follows a 2019 decision of the European Court of Human Rights brought by Turkish human rights defender Osman Kavala, one of the defendants in the present case.


Massimo Frigo, Senior Legal Adviser, ICJ’s Europe and Central Asia Programme, t: +41 22 979 3805; e: massimo.frigo(a)icj.org

Additional information

The defendants in the case are Osman Kavala, Ali Hakan Altinay, Ayse Mücella Yapici, Ayse Pinar Alabora, Can Dündar, Çigdem Mater Utku, Gökçe Yilmaz, Handan Meltem Arikan, Hanzade Hikmet Germiyanoglu, Inanç Ekmekci, Memet Ali Alabora, Mine Özerden, Serafettin Can Atalay, Tayfun Kahraman, Yigit Aksakoglu and Yigit Ali Ekmekçi.

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