Turkey: Four women architects sentenced on "terror charges"

Turkey: Four women architects sentenced on "terror charges"
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Former and current officials of the chamber of architects were found guilty of "terrorism propaganda" because the chamber gave an award to a Kurdish journalist in 2021.

Four former and current officials of Turkey's Chamber of Architects were sentenced to prison terms on charges of "terrorism propaganda," over allegations that they contributed to propaganda by giving an award to a Kurdish journalist two years earlier.

Guler Yildiz, a journalist with long professional experience and recently working for the all-women Kurdish media outlet Jin TV, was given an award by the chamber of architects in the category of TV journalism in 2021.

The final court session in Ankara on Friday was attended, alongside representatives of several NGOs, by Emin Koramaz, the chair of the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB), and Ilhan Cihaner, former chief public prosecutor and former deputy for the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP).

Noting that the said award is given to journalists who contribute to public interest through their work, accused Ece Yoltay asked for her acquittal, saying:

"Guler Yildiz has not been convicted on any charges. It is not a logical assessment that we have contributed to an illegal group's propaganda while there is no evidence that she is affiliated with any such group."

Accused Tezcan Karakus Candan, chairwoman of the chamber's Ankara branch, said:

"Here in this room, not merely seven people but the entire chamber, and in fact a moral is facing court. We will give awards to many other journalists this year, and the prosecutor may start investigating them too, if he would like to. We have no concerns about it. I reject the allegations. We are engaged in a struggle against [ill-gotten] gains in real estate. This case was launched to discredit our struggle. We are ready to pay a price if it means people won't get killed."

Four women architects, Ece Yoltay, Tezcan Karakus Candan, Nilay Evirgen Kabal and Muteber Osmanpaşaoğlu were found guilty by the Ankara court, who sentenced them each to a prison term of 1 year and 8 months. The court postponed the execution of the sentences.