The ‘Journalists Outside Bars’ assembled in 2011 upon the trial of journalism activities within Oda TV and KCK Press cases under the partnership of AKP (Justice and Development Party) and Gülen's cemaat (community). Within this period, it is still actively working as journalists are still tried. It reassembled due to the operation initiated against Cumhuriyet newspaper on October 31, 2016. It underlined the request for justice through its demonstrations organized prior to the hearings for Cumhuriyet newspaper case starting on July 24, 2017. To this end, it flew colorful balloons in front of the courthouse and organized a march hand in hand coupled with the hugging of persons marching side by side. It sent postcards to the prison so as to break the isolation imposed on its colleagues. It came together once again prior to the 6th hearing of Cumhuriyet newspaper case to be held on March 9, 2018 so as to eliminate deficiencies. We asked this question to the ‘Journalists Outside Bars’ during the meeting: "What would you tell the panel of judges if you had the right to speak at the hearing?" It addressed the relevant judges as follows:
ARE YOU TRYING TO BRING DOWN THE STATE?
Ertuğrul Mavioğlu: We held demonstrations in Galatasaray, Tünel, Kadıköy, Çağlayan and Silivri. We spoke out everywhere to cry out the unjust nature of this case. You have never heard our voice. This situation reminds me of a proverb. There is no one as blind as those who do not want to see and as deaf as those who do not want to hear. Bring this injustice to an end. The truth does not need to be defended. The truth does not fly into air in contrary to lies. Release a lie to the air and it will have implications on the person it reaches. Perception management is all the rage nowadays. Putting the advocates of truth in jail and punishing them in this way play an important role in the transformation of this country into hell. We do not expect you to defend the truth, but you have established a judiciary mechanism upon instructions for more than 1 year - actually, 2 years for Ahmet Şık by considering Oda TV case - by blocking the advocates of truth to this extent. Accordingly, this undermines trust in the judiciary mechanism in Turkey. We do not think that justice will return when you release our friends now, but at least we will meet our friends again. The Minister of Justice says "The state will collapse if there is no justice". Are you trying to bring down the state?
YOUR PROFESSION IS DEFAMED
Timur Soykan: Do you feel that your professional dignity is harmed after the incident of Deniz Yücel? They always had the opportunity of putting on a mask during all these processes. They showed to the entire world that they became the government's pawn, the judiciary had no independence anymore and they turned into a gang by taking people as hostages and taking part in international bargaining. How did you feel when your profession, which is the dignity of a person, was under such assault? We actually went through the same process 7 years ago. Those who considered themselves as powerful and thought that they had control over the police, judiciary and state were attempting to erase the truth and send it into jail. Years have passed over these incidents and we have observed that those considering themselves so powerful as to erase the truth ended up in Silivri Prison and the keys turned in reverse as specified by Ahmet Şık while getting out of the prison in 2011. We know that these keys will turn in reverse again. - Human history dating back thousands of years shows that you will not come out ahead when justice is violated. They will go through times when those keys will turn in reverse and they will need that justice.
WHAT IS GOING ON HERE IS NOT A GAME
Elif Ilgaz: They have been putting up a show for months so as to try the journalists, our colleagues and friends. What is going on here is not a trial, they "pretend" to do it in this way. You, judges, pretend to hold a trial while attorneys and the accused 'pretend' to defend. Everyone does their best to play their roles as if there were justice. We, the audience, also do that. We, bystanders, become a part of the game by keeping our mouths shut. However, we all know that the dices are loaded. I do not want to be a bystander anymore and I am rising up against it! How much additional time will you steal from their lives? How many more years, months, days and hours? You know that you do not have the right to steal even a second from an innocent person's life, don't you? I would like to remind you that what is going on here is not a game. The life is going on in a cell for our friends just because they paid a heavy price for honoring the dignity of their profession, engaging in journalism and conveying the truth. Tell me how long you will continue to try them as if there were justice and continue to play this game? Esteemed Judge, it rests with you. The judiciary is independent. You are independent. Break this game and put aside those dices. Remember how the claims have been refuted for months. Open law books, listen to your wisdom and conscience and render your judgment. I will not be the one to teach you that justice is secured with the law. Abide by the law. Do not undermine that foundation.
YOU ARE TRYING A SOCIAL DUTY
Gülşah Karadağ: The prosecutor drawing up this indictment and the judge approving this indictment are acting in an illegal way. I would really like to have an authority to which we can complain about them. Their colleagues must expel from profession those approving and drawing up these and other press indictments. Because your indictment is not legal and lawful. If you tried me one day, what I would only tell you is "I am so sure about my journalism activities as well as those of my friends working at Cumhuriyet newspaper that we are acting within the bounds of the law and the laws of the Republic of Turkey while you are the ones who are in violation of these laws. We know that we are right and we are on the same side with justice. How dare are you trying journalism? How dare are you trying journalism just because 'the government is criticized'? That is actually why journalists exist. Journalists are the ones who reveal anything hidden and concealed from fraud to irregularity and unlawfulness. Journalists reveal what is hidden and concealed by the government, politicians and the opposition. How dare are you trying this social duty?
THE CASE HAS BEEN INVALIDATED IN LEGAL TERMS
Fatih Polat: This case was initiated as a political case where the publication policy of a newspaper was tried. When Ahmet Şık was not allowed to defend himself and was taken out of the courtroom, the equality of arms, a sine qua non for a fair trial, was not in place any more. Therefore, we face with a case invalidated in legal terms. What remains out of this case for us is limited to the honorable defenses by our colleagues, which can be the subject of lectures at the faculties of communication. We will remember the case in terms of two aspects. Firstly, a trial procedure where the right to a fair trial is completely disregarded and secondly, a journalist stance constantly standing up against this trial procedure and claiming its place in history with unfaltering defenses.
I INVITE THEM TO JUSTICE
Güventürk Görgülü: Road to the hell is not covered with the stones of goodwill, but injustice in this country. I invite all of you to justice.