T24 columnist and journalist Tolga Şardan was arrested after being detained from his home in Ankara on November 1 as part of an investigation launched over his article on corruption allegations in the judiciary.
The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation against Şardan for his article titled “What’s in the report submitted by MIT to the Presidency” on the grounds of “publicly disseminating misleading information to the public”.
In his article, Şardan wrote about the alleged intteligence report submitted to President Tayyip Erdoğan, which included findings on corruption allegations in the judiciary.
“On 31/10/2023, on the internet news website T24.com.tr, Tolga Şardan wrote an article titled “What’s in the ‘judicial report’ submitted by MIT to the Presidency?”, which contains words and statements that constitute the elements of the crime of ‘Publicly Disseminating Misleading Information’ regulated in Article 217/A of the Turkish Penal Code No. 5237, an ex officio investigation was initiated against the suspect Tolga ŞARDAN in accordance with Article 160 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, and the suspect was detained within the scope of the investigation,” the statement from the prosecutor’s office read.
Within the scope of the investigation, police raided Şardan’s house in Ankara on November 1 and searched it for nearly an hour.
After the search, Şardan was detained and taken to the Ankara Courthouse to give his statement via the Audio and Video Information System. Şardan was arrested afterwards.
The Association of Contemporary Journalists, Ankara Journalists Association and the Ankara branch of the Journalists Union of Turkey supported Şardan at the courthouse.
Veteran journalist Şardan is known for his exclusive reports on security and police affairs and judicial misconducts.
The article that the prosecutor office quoted as a reason for Şardan’s detention is an article in the contentious bill that passed in the parliament in October 2022.
From the moment that the 40-article bill came to the public attention it was harshly criticized by all professional journalist associations and opposition parties which argued that this bill intends to grant massive censorship authority to the presidential office and judiciary by defining an arbitrary crime of “deliberately disseminating misleading information”.