Bülent Şık, a food engineer and an environment and human rights activist, was accused of “Disclosure of Confidential Information in Respect of a Duty” and was sentenced to a year and 3 months imprisonment.
Şık received his PhD on environment-friendly food analysis techniques, and between the years 1990-2009, he worked in various laboratories of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock. In 2009, he left his post to work for Akdeniz University as a lecturer. He served as the deputy technical director of the Center for Food Security and Agricultural Research, at the same university. He focused on food security, residual analysis of toxic chemical substances and environment friendly applications of chemistry.
He served on a five year long (2011-2016) Ministry of Health Project (Evaluating the Environmental Factors and Their Effects on Health in the Provinces of Kocaeli, Antalya, Tekirdağ, Edirne, Kırklareli). The project was investigating the possible correlation between the rising number of cancer cases in western Turkey and soil, air, water pollution. The results of this study revealed that the pollution levels found in food and water samples were of toxic levels. Pesticides, heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon were found in many samples. In some residential areas, the water was found not safe for drinking due to high lead, aluminum, chrome and arsenic levels.
He was fired from his position with the presidential decree 677 in November 2016. He was working as an assistant professor at the university when he signed the Academics for Peace declaration.
He published the results of his research in Cumhuriyet (newspaper) in April 2018 since the Ministry of Health did not take any action regarding the toxicity found in Şık’s research samples. The title of the four-day article series was: “Türkiye’yi kanser eden ürünleri devlet gizledi, biz açıklıyoruz! İşte zehir listesi” (The state hid the list of cancer-inducing products in Turkey, we are revealing the list!)
Once the articles were published, an investigation against Bülent Şık opened upon receiving the Ministry of Health’s complaint that relied on three main accusations: “Disclosure of Confidential Information in Respect of a Duty” (TCK 258); Securing Prohibited Information (TCK 334) and Disclosure of Prohibited Information (TCK 336)“.
The decision hearing was held on September 26, 2019 at Istanbul Court of Law 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. Bülent Şık acquitted from the accusation of “Securing Prohibited Information“. He received a year and 3 months imprisonment due to “Disclosure of Confidential Information in Respect of a Duty” accusation. The sentence was not reprieved since the defendant did not report remorse in his statements. The decision will be finalized after a decision is reached at the court of appeal.