Turkey places 9 more journalists under arrest ‘over Gulen links’

Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen is pictured at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, on December 28, 2004. (File photo by Reuters)
Updated 17 August 2017
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Turkey places 9 more journalists under arrest ‘over Gulen links’

ISTANBUL: An Istanbul court has placed under arrest nine journalists on suspicion of links to the alleged mastermind of the failed 2016 coup, the latest in a series of measures against Turkish media workers that have alarmed the West.
Turkish authorities had on August 10 issued arrest warrants for 35 media employees accused of using the Bylock messaging app allegedly used by US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen to mobilize followers in Turkey and of belonging to a “terror” group.
A total of 11 were detained at the time and late on Wednesday an Istanbul court placed nine under arrest ahead of trial and released two under judicial supervision, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.
Among the nine remanded in custody is the website editor at the leftist opposition Birgun daily Burak Ekici and the former news editor of the TV channel of Turkish football side Fenerbahce, Yasir Kaya.
Those released include a prominent former columnist for the Turkiye daily, Ahmet Sagirli. Anadolu said searches are continuing for the remaining 24 suspects, who are likely to have fled abroad.
The latest arrests come amid growing alarm over press freedom in Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in particular under the state of emergency imposed in the wake of the failed July 2016 coup and which remains in place.
Gulen, an Islamic preacher who lives in the US state of Pennsylvania, denies any link to the botched putsch.
Turkey ranks 155 on the latest Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters Without Borders) world press freedom index, below Belarus and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to the latest figures from the P24 press freedom website, there are 164 journalists behind bars in Turkey, most of whom were detained under the state of emergency.
In one of the highest profile cases, 17 staff from the Cumhuriyet daily — one of the few voices in the media in Turkey to oppose Erdogan — last month went on trial for aiding “terror” groups.
While most of the suspects in that case have been released from pre-trial detention, four Cumhuriyet journalists remain behind bars.
The crackdown has also affected foreign reporters and freelance French journalist Loup Bureau was detained last month on charges of links to a Kurdish militia Ankara regards as a terror group.


Turkish opposition accused of insulting Erdogan via cartoons

Updated 18 July 2018
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Turkish opposition accused of insulting Erdogan via cartoons

  • Insulting the president is a crime punishable by up to four years in prison in Turkey
  • Erdogan filed close to 2,000 lawsuits against people for alleged insults

ANKARA: Turkey’s state-run news agency says President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has filed complaints against the main opposition party leader and 72 legislators accusing them of insults for posting and sharing a cartoon on social media that depicts him as a variety of different animals.
Anadolu Agency said complaints were filed Wednesday against Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who posted the cartoon on Twitter, and other officials who shared it in support of four university students arrested for holding up a poster of the same caricature during their graduation ceremony.
Insulting the president is a crime punishable by up to four years in prison in Turkey.
Erdogan filed close to 2,000 lawsuits against people for alleged insults, dropping many following a failed military coup in 2016 as a goodwill gesture, but filing many others since.