Ahmet Şık

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Ahmet Şık (IPA: [ähme̞t̪ ʃɯk]; born 1970, Adana) is a Turkish investigative journalist, author of several books, and a trade unionist.[1] His book The Imam's Army, investigating the controversial Gülen movement of the Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, led to his detention for a year in 2011–2012 and the book being seized and banned. He remains under indictment in the OdaTV case of the Ergenekon trials; his cause has been taken up by English PEN, an association of writers fighting for freedom of expression.[2]


Şık graduated from the Journalism department of Istanbul University, Faculty for Communication.

Between 1991 and 2007, Şık worked for several newspapers such as Cumhuriyet, Radikal, Evrensel, and Yeni Yüzyıl. He has also worked at Nokta magazine and Reuters News Agency as a photo journalist. He turned to academic work when he was dismissed for his trade unionist activities.[1] In 1998, he was hospitalized "after a pro-police mob, furious about a murder conviction against several cops in a torture case, attacked the victim’s lawyers, the prosecutor, and journalists. In 2009, he fled the country for a year, fearing officials who had been targets of his reporting."[3]

Ahmet Şık is a member of the Turkish Journalists' Union (Turkish: Türkiye Gazeteciler Sendikası, TGS) and the Association of Contemporary Journalists (Turkish: Çağdaş Gazeteciler Derneği, ÇGD). In dailies, weeklies, and monthlies, he has published on human rights, journalism, and professional ethics.[1]

Legal charges[edit]

Article in Nokta[edit]

On 2 April 2008 Lale Sarıibrahimoğlu (columnist in the daily Today's Zaman, also known as Lale Kemal) and Ahmet Şık were acquitted of charges of insulting the military under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which penalizes the denigration of “Turkishness” or the Turkish army. Bakırköy 2nd Court of First Instance in İstanbul ruled that the article titled “The military should withdraw its hand from internal security” in the 8 February 2007 edition of weekly Nokta should be evaluated as “harsh criticism” and its publication does not constitute a criminal offence.[4]

Kırk katır, kırk satır[edit]

In June 2010, after the publication of the two-volume book Kırk katır, kırk satır, Şık and his co-author Ertuğrul Mavioğlu were indicted on charges of "breaching confidentiality of the documents" relating to the Ergenekon trials, with the prosecutor requesting a term of 4 years and 6 months.[5] The authors were eventually acquitted in May 2011.[6]

The Imam's Army[edit]

Main article: The Imam's Army

The Imam's Army (Turkish: İmamın Ordusu) is a book by Şık investigating the life and work of Fethullah Gülen and his Gülen movement. Şık was detained in March 2011, before the book was published, and the draft book was seized by the government and banned. Şık was detained pending trial, being eventually released pending trial in March 2012. In the interim, in an act of anti-censorship defiance, a version of the book was released in November 2011 under the name 000Kitap (000Book), edited by 125 journalists, activists and academics, and published by Postacı Publishing House.[7]

The Imam's Army release comments[edit]

On 30 July 2012, an Istanbul court accepted a new indictment against Şık, charging him with threatening and defaming civil servants for their duties.[8] The charges, for which the prosecutor is seeking a penalty of up to seven years imprisonment, are based on a declaration Şık gave to the press immediately upon his release from Silivri prison, in which he stated, "The police, prosecutors and judges who plotted and executed this conspiracy will enter this prison."[8]



  • Bülent Dikmener Haber Ödülü (en: Bülent Dikmenler News Award) (1994)[1]
  • Türkiye Gazeteciler Cemiyeti Fotoğraf Ödülü (en: Photography Award of the Turkish Journalists' Association) (1995)[1]
  • Metin Göktepe Gazetecilik Ödülü (Metin Göktepe Journalism Award) (2001-2002-2007)[1]
    • In 2001 for the best article in the printed press for the article "The underground killers" (tr: Yeraltındaki Katiller)
    • In 2002 special award from the jury for the article "Back to Reality" (tr: Gerçeğe Dönüş)
    • In 2007 special award from the jury for the article "There are two kinds of journalists: Opponents of the Turkish Armed Forces TSK and followers of the TSK" (tr: İki tür gazeteci vardır: TSK karşıtları, TSK yandaşları)[1]
  • Çağdaş Gazeteciler Derneği Haber Ödülü (en: News Award from the Association of Contemporary Journalists) (2002-2003-2005)[1]
  • UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize (2014)[9]


External links[edit]