Food Engineer and columnist at Bianet (independent Turkish press agency), Professor Dr Bülent Şık, went on trial for charges of “disclosure of secrets about duty”, “provision of prohibited information” and “disclosure of prohibited information” on Thursday.
The charges followed the publication of a series of articles in the Cumhuriyet daily, after which the Ministry of Health filed a criminal complaint against Şık. The indictment, which was originally drawn up by the Press Crimes Investigation Bureau of the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, demanded that Şık be sentenced to between five and 12 years in prison.
Serious health risks in Turkish cities
In his defence at the hearing, Bülent Şık pointed out that he has found serious health risks in samples taken from various foods, sea products, air and soil in some Turkish cities, including Tekirdağ, Kırklareli and Edirne, which lie between Kocaeli and the Ergene Basin, as well as in Antalya.
Şık stated that it is unacceptable that the Ministry of Health has not taken any preventive measures to avoid the health risks of the population. He emphasised that as a scientist, his first responsibility is towards people’s health, not towards companies and foundations. However, the demand for his release was rejected by the panel of judges and the hearing has been postponed to May 30, 2019.
Investigation launched upon Ministry’s complaint
According to the Bianet, Bülent Şık’s article series that were subjected to the investigation were on the “Project on Assessment of Environmental Factors in the Provinces of Kocaeli, Antalya, Tekirdağ, Edirne, Kırklareli and Their Impacts on Health.” The findings of which have not been published by state officials.
The article series titled “The state has concealed the carcinogen products, we are making them public! Here is the poison list,” were published in the Cumhuriyet daily newspaper for four days, from April 15 to April 18, 2018.