Pınar Gayıp, editor at Etkin News Agency (ETHA), is facing an investigation for the third time over her reporting on Sergeant Musa Orhan, a Turkish soldier who was convicted of sexual assault against a young Kurdish woman.
The chief public prosecutor in the western Turkish province of Aydın has accused Gayıp of slander and targeting persons involved in anti-terror efforts in her social media posts and an interview she conducted, ETHA reported on Wednesday.
Orhan was handed a 10 year prison sentence in 2021 for sexual assault against 18-year-old İpek Er in the southeastern Batman province. He was expelled from the Gendarmerie General Command, and was dismissed as a civil servant. The sergeant was not sent to prison over Turkey’s parole laws.
İpek Er died in an apparent suicide following the assault in August 2020. She had pressed sexual assault and kidnapping charges against Orhan before her suicide attempt, which went ignored for the most part.
“The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and relevant state authorities have already recognised the crime committed by Musa Orhan, who systematically raped İpek Er for 15 days and caused her death by driving her to suicide,” Gayıp said in a tweet. “Despite that fact, Orhan is protected by the judiciary, who at the same time harasses those who speak of his crimes.”
The new investigation is “the exact same, up to commas and periods” as the previous two, and is based on an interview Gayıp conducted ahead of the first hearing in the case against Orhan, she concluded.
Orhan was convicted “thanks to pressure from the public”, Gayıp told news website Bianet.
The mourning family’s lawyer Çiğdem Sevimli said during the trial that Orhan’s uniform was granting him protection. “It is not Musa Orhan who is not put on trial for real, it is the uniform that some do not want facing trial,” she told daily Evrensel at the time.