As a lawyer, Veysel Ok has been working on various cases that are or were politically sensitive in Turkey’s current political climate. Among others, he represented Deniz Yücel, Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan, Şahin Alpay, Nedim Türfent and Erol Önderoğlu.
Veysel Ok was awarded the Thomas Dehler medal for his work in advocating for the right to freedom of speech and the rule of law in Turkey in 2019. The same year, he also received the Bulut Öncü Courage Award. Additionally, in 2020, he was given the Index for Censorship Freedom Speech Award.
On 11 August 2016, Veysel Ok was indicted and accused of insulting the judiciary of Turkey, as criminalized under Article 301 of the TPC. The indictment is based on a statement that Veysel Ok gave in an interview conducted by the journalist Cihan Acar who worked for the Özgür Düşünce Newspaper. Cihan Acar was indicted as well.
In the interview, that was published on 25 December 2015, Veysel Ok expressed his views about the judiciary in Turkey. He criticized the situation and underlined the importance of free speech and the independence of the judiciary. He mainly focused on the role of the Criminal Judgeships of Peace and criticized their way of functioning. Among other things, he stated:
“Previously, judges could hold varying opinions. There was a possibility of being tried by judges who valued freedoms. But now all members of the judiciary come in a single colour. We see judges serving at the Criminal Judgeships of Peace. They are deaf to defence statements or objections. Where the loyalties of these judges lie is clear. Nothing changes the result, because the decisions are pre-ordered. Either those in power give orders to the judicial authorities before the investigation, or attack the defendant via the government press”.
Following this interview, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğ’s legal representatives filed a complaint against Veysel Ok on 29 December 2015. To initiate an investigation into violation of Article 301 TPC the special permission of the Ministry of Justice is required. This permission was given on 29 July 2016.
The first court that was involved with the Veysel Ok case was the İstanbul 37th Criminal Court of First Instance. The first hearing was held on 19 September 2017. Between this first hearing and 22 November 2018, Veysel Ok needed to appear in court several times for hearings related to jurisdictional disputes. There were changes in the presiding judge, due to recusals, and requests to intervene by President Erdogan’s Office. The case shuffled between the İstanbul 37th High Criminal Court and the İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. On 22 November 2018, the 10thhearing was held. In this hearing, the İstanbul 37th Criminal Court of First Instance ruled that the case fell outside its jurisdiction and referred it to the İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. On 21 March 2019, the İstanbul 2ndCriminal Court of First Instance held a hearing on the merits of the case.
In his defence statement, Veysel Ok said:
“I still think the same way on the Criminal Courts of Peace. I do not think these judgeships are lawful. This is not an idea I hold alone, many lawyers, jurists think the same way. The Venice Commission’s report on this issue is in the case file. I made this criticism as a lawyer and am a part of the justice system myself. The criticism cannot be treated as an insult”. 
On 12 September 2019, the İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance delivered its ruling. The court convicted Veysel Ok and imposed a suspended sentence of six months’ imprisonment, which was reduced to a suspended sentence of five months due to his behaviour during the hearings.
“About”, MLSA, accessed May 17, 2021, https://www.mlsaturkey.com/en/about/.
See, for instance: Mehmet Hasan Altan v. Turkey  application no. 13237/17 (ECtHR) and Ahmet Husrev Altan v. Turkey application no. 13252/17 (ECtHR).
“Veysel Ok“, Lawyers For Lawyers, 2021, accessed April 20, 2021, https://lawyersforlawyers.org/en/lawyers/veysel-ok-2/.
“Indictment no. 2016/25212” (2016) (English translation) (hereinafter “Indictment no. 2016/25212“).
“Trial of Veysel Ok outside the jurisdiction of court, says new judge”, MLSA, accessed April 20, 2021, https://www.mlsaturkey.com/en/trial-of-veysel-ok-outside-the-jurisdiction-of-court-says-new-judge/; “Journalist’s Lawyer Veysel Ok Prosecuted”, Lawyers for Lawyers, accessed April 20, 2021, https://lawyersforlawyers.org/en/journalists-lawyer-veysel-ok-prosecuted/.
“Trial Observation Report – Turkey Case: Trial of Veysel Ok (Lawyer) and Cihan Acar (Journalist)“, Tony Fisher, accessed June 4, 2021, https://eldh.eu/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Veysel-Ok-Report.pdf, 3.
Case No. 2018/277, (Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance 2019), https://cfj.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Turkey-vs.-Veysel-Ok-Judgement.pdf, 5.