Hasan Hüseyin Özese, one of the judges in the Ergenekon trial, who had been sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of Gülen Movement membership, has completed his sentence and been released on parole. Despite Özese’s eligibility for parole since January, he has been kept in prison for another 7 months.
Özese’s release has greatly upset Sözcü Newspaper columnist İsmail Saymaz (and his followers). “He has been released before his parole and his sentence would end on July 14, 2026…” Saymaz cannot claim ignorance about probation, parole, and the completion of sentences. He is treating his readers as fools. Not only that; he’s sending a message to someone saying, “How could you release this man!”
In his article, İsmail Saymaz claims that Judge Hasan Hüseyin Özese “followed instructions from Pennsylvania,” but he doesn’t provide a single concrete evidence for this claim. Even if he wanted to, he couldn’t provide any evidence; because no investigation or court process has produced a single concrete evidence regarding this claim. It’s a completely speculative article filled with clichés. If his intention was journalism, he would examine court records, find the instructions from Pennsylvania if they exist, and present them to us.
Furthermore, without any shame, İsmail Saymaz asserts that the defendants of the February 28 trial (in 2021), the Gezi Trial (in 2022), and Merdan Yanardağ (in 2023) were imprisoned under instructions from Pennsylvania. If only he could find that instruction and give us all a lesson in journalism! Or if he could write a couple of lines to CİMER (Presidential Communications Center), saying, “Çetin Doğan, Osman Kavala, and Merdan Yanardağ were imprisoned under Pennsylvania’s orders,” and secure their releases!
This is not his first misconduct. On March 31, 2017, when 21 out of 26 journalists on trial at Istanbul’s 25th Heavy Penal Court were released, İsmail Saymaz was among those who raised a storm of protest.
Oh, how could Büşra Erdal be released while Ahmet Şık was still inside! Even if he deleted his subsequent tweets, his record remains.
İsmail Saymaz and his companions, like Fatih Tezcan, Abdurrahman Uzun, Süleyman Özışık, Cem Küçük, and Ersoy Dede, succeeded in creating a fuss on social media, prompting the prosecution to launch a new investigation against 21 journalists, immediately detain them before they could leave prison, and ensure their re-arrest. The reason for the re-arrest of these 21 journalists was considered to be their news articles and social media posts, interpreted as evidence of their membership in an organization. (Details can be found here)
The events of the evening of March 31, 2017, left a dark stain on Turkey’s legal history. It later became clear that this campaign had received significant attention from the Palace (referring to the presidential palace). Abdurrahman Uzun, a court jester of the Palace, along with Hadi and Süleyman Özışık, described their conspiracy that night in a broadcast:
“Something was happening on March 31. All the courts were in session, all those FETÖ traitors were being released, and there was a short time left until the referendum in April. […]
I prepared banners, videos, but I saw that the masses weren’t coming. So, I took a risk and published the names and registry numbers of all members of the 42nd Heavy Penal Court, which had granted those releases, on my official account. And I presented it as if these guys were making a revolution, staging a coup that night. It was 11, 12 in the evening, and it made it to Turkey’s agenda. At 2 in the morning, the Minister of Justice made an announcement. At 2.5, a higher court was established, the Chief Prosecutor of Istanbul intervened. The 43rd Heavy Penal Court was established, it stopped all releases, and took them back. At 3.5 in the morning, a very esteemed elder, someone close to Mr. President, called and said: ‘Abdurrahman,’ he said, ‘President, he really liked your move. He said, ‘you should do it like this, you should prepare the ground for us so that we can make our own political moves.'”
Cem Küçük was also one of those who vigorously fought for the suspension of releases that night. In a 2019 article published in Türkiye Newspaper, he said, “By 2022, most of the FETÖ members inside will be gradually released. 40,000 people will be released. Some of them will be angry and seek revenge. The apparatus called the state will eliminate it before it becomes a danger.”
So, what’s the conclusion? Let murderers, drug dealers, rapists, thieves, and fraudsters be granted amnesty after amnesty, but let lives be ruined for depositing money in Bank Asya, for donating sacrificial animals, for granting scholarships, or for reporting news or tweeting. Let people be kept in prison, even though they have completed their sentences, by fabricating excuses not to release them. Is this justice?
İsmail Saymaz or Cem Küçük (and others like them) are sick-minded individuals who enjoy adding fuel to the fire of lawlessness. Don’t be fooled by pseudo-dissidents like Saymaz! When Süleyman Soylu was going to appear on Habertürk TV, he wanted two journalists not to be present: Hadi Özışık and İsmail Saymaz. What are you talking about?
Let me conclude the rest of this article with a quote from Ahmet Dönmez’s article titled “Give Us a Lesson in Journalism, İsmail!” published on TR724 six years ago:
Women visiting their husbands with their children are being detained in prisons, İsmail! There are dozens of innocent children given to child protection institutions when their parents are arrested, İsmail! People are being arrested just because they received their salaries from a bank, just like your salary account is in a bank, İsmail!
Give us a lesson in journalism, İsmail! Write about these and shame us. Write about those who were imprisoned because of jealousy from neighbors, reported by envious relatives, or demanded by rivals-enemies. Write about those who had their homes, shops, and properties confiscated despite saving three to five pennies with their sweat for years. Write about wives arrested simply because their husbands didn’t surrender to this hired judiciary just because their wives went abroad. Give us a lesson in journalism, İsmail! Write about the businesses, shops, and properties of thousands confiscated. Write about those who were dismissed from their civil service jobs and couldn’t find work outside, so they turned to making and selling pastries at home, only to be arrested due to a neighbor’s tip-off! Or criticize the newspapers you write for, the television shows you grace with your presence.
*Mehmet Tahsin is a lawyer and a columnist for TR724.com.