Prosecutor Seeks Life Imprisonment for Yiğit

Yiğit Aksakoğlu was one of the 13 academics, rights advocates and non-governmental workers who were detained in their homes in a police operation on November 16, 2018. Aksakoğlu spent 221 days in pre-trial solitary confinement.

The prosecutor used Article 312 of the Turkish Penal Code “attempt to overthrow the government of Republic of Turkey by using violence” in the indictment, even though no concrete evidence of such actions was presented. According to the indictment, Yiğit Aksakoğlu had carried out the Gezi Park protests that took place in 2013 under the order of Osman Kavala, whom Yiğit had never met and who has been held in detention since 1 November 2017. At the first hearing on 26 June 2019, judges overseeing Aksakoğlu’s trial voted to release him from pre-trial detention. Thus, Yiğit, who reunited with his family, friends, and children, returned to work to continue the projects he developed for children aged 0-3.

On February 6, 2020, the Prosecutor’s Office recommended a sentence of lifetime imprisonment without possibility of parole for Yiğit Aksakoğlu together with Osman Kavala and Mücella Yapıcı. His lawyers, family, and friends are seriously concerned about the case being concluded unfairly under political pressure. Aksakoğlu has dedicated his life to promoting peaceful coexistence and now stands poised to be unjustly convicted for attempting the overthrow of the government through violence.

Following a trial process full of major due process violations, the next, and probably the last, hearing will take place in Silivri on February 18th. On trial day, Yiğit Aksakoğlu and his family need to know that they are not alone. 

As friends of Yiğit, we invite the public to watch the hearing on Tuesday, February 18, and to take a stand for law and justice on social media (#yigitisnotalone), by calling and sending emails/tweets to their Embassies in Turkey, and by sending their messages of support to Yiğit and his family on this website.

About Yiğit Aksakoğlu

Yiğit Aksakoğlu is an NGO professional working on rights-based approaches to early child development.He graduated from St. Joseph High School in İzmir in 1994 and continued his education at Yıldız Technical University graduating as a Civil Engineer. During his university studies, Yiğit Aksakoğlu, started his NGO activities through active involvement in AEGEE (Association des Etats Generaux des Etudiants de L’Europe). His line of work was on European integration, youth participation and good governance.

After his graduation from Yıldız Technical University (Istanbul), he continued his post graduate studies at London School of Economics on “NGO Management and Development in Developing Countries”. He worked at TESEV (Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation) and Istanbul Bilgi University’s NGO Training & Research Center professionally. Between 2003 and 2008, he lectured on “Advocacy and Influencing Policy” and “Project Management”. He also published two books in the same period, titled “Advocacy and Influencing Policy” and “Preparing Project Proposals for NGOs”.

Since 2011, he has been working as a consultant and later as the official representative of Netherlands based Bernard van Leer Foundation, working for children aged between 0-3 yrs., in the fields of early childhood development, well-being of mothers and supportive and safe city planning and development.

Yiğit Aksakoğlu is married and has two children.

Judicial Process

18 February 2020

At the sixth hearing of the Gezi Park trial, the Court Council is expected to announce its decision.

6 February 2020

The prosecutor announced his opinion. He requested Yiğit to be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.

28 January 2020

At the fifth hearing of Gezi Park trial, defendant lawyers requested the recusation of the judges due to the violation of the Law on Criminal Procedure. When their request was denied, the lawyers left the court room.

26 December 2019

One witness was listened to at a closed hearing. Defendant lawyers were not allowed to attend the closed meeting or to use their right to ask questions to the witness via voice or video connection.

24 December 2019

At the fourth hearing of Gezi Park trial, witnesses were listened to.

10 December 2019

European Court of Human Rights made a decision in Osman Kavala’s case, held that his two-year long detention violated rights under the Convention.

8 October 2019

The third hearing of the Gezi Park trial continued with a newly appointed Court Council.

18 July 2019

During the second hearing of the Gezi Park trial, lawyers continued their defense.

24-25 June 2019

The first hearing of the Gezi Park trial was held by the Istanbul 30th High Criminal Court in the building across from the Silivri Prison. The Court Council decided to release Yiğit for the remaining duration of the trial yet with a travel ban and a requirement to the police station every week.

4 March 2019

Istanbul 30th High Criminal Court acknowledged the bill of indictment on "Gezi Park Acts" sent by the Prosecutor's Office on the 19th of February.

1 March 2019

Yiğit's lawyers filed an appeal to the Constitutional Court. Motives of the appeal were as follows: Yiğit has been held in solitary confinement for more than three months, the review of his detention status was conducted without a hearing, requests for his release have been rejected without grounds and the Prosecutor’s Office refuses to meet with Yiğit's lawyers over the investigation.

19 February 2019

Istanbul Prosecutor's Office, on 19th February 2019, made a public announcement during a press conference, that the bill of indictment regarding the so-called “Gezi Park Acts” had been prepared and sent to 30th High Criminal Court for acknowledgement.The indictment will not become public until it has been acknowledged by the Court, thus it is not yet known what the accusations against Mr. Yiğit Aksakoğlu are.

8 February 2019

Yiğit, continues to be detained at Silivri Prison. Ever since his detention, appeals for his release have been systematically denied. On the third month of his detention (February 8, 2109), the request to review his detention which was heard in court was also denied.

30 November 2018

The appeal of 20th November was rejected on 30th November 2018, 10th day following the appeal, by the Court.

20 November 2018

After his arrest on 17th of November 2018, appeal by his lawyers against Yiğit's detention was referred to 7th Magistrates' Court through the Prosecutor's Office.

17 November 2018

While all other detainees were released during the day or the following day, Yiğit Aksakoğlu was placed under arrest on Saturday 17 November 2018 by the 6th Magistrates' Court.

28 January 2020

At the fifth hearing of Gezi Park trial, defendant lawyers requested the recusation of the judges due to the violation of the Law on Criminal Procedure. When their request was denied, the lawyers left the court room.

16 November 2018

Yiğit was one of the thirteen academics, rights activists and NGO professionals, including Dean of Bilgi Üniversity Law School Prof. Dr. Turgut Tarhanlı and Prof. Dr. Betül Tanbay of the Mathematics Division of Boğaziçi University, taken into custody in police raids on their homes early on Friday 16 November 2018.

28 January 2020

At the fifth hearing of Gezi Park trial, defendant lawyers requested the recusation of the judges due to the violation of the Law on Criminal Procedure. When their request was denied, the lawyers left the court room.

28 January 2020

At the fifth hearing of Gezi Park trial, defendant lawyers requested the recusation of the judges due to the violation of the Law on Criminal Procedure. When their request was denied, the lawyers left the court room.

Send Yiğit a Note to Show Your Support

Statements

News about Yigit's Case in International Media

Le Figaro, “Le pouvoir turc resserre l’étau sur la société civile”, 20 Kasım 2018

Reuters, “Turkey escalates crackdown on dissent six years after Gezi protests”, 19 March 2019

Le Figaro,Turquie: un des seize accusés du procès Gezi relâché sous contrôle judiciaire”, 26 June 2019

Al-Monitor, “Turkish activists brace for ruling in landmark protest trial”, 11 February 2020