Turkey targets 155 suspected Gulenists in new operations, police, media say

In this file photo, Turkish police stand guard in Ankara, Turkey. (Reuters)
Updated 23 March 2018
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Turkey targets 155 suspected Gulenists in new operations, police, media say

ISTANBUL: Turkish authorities began rounding up 155 suspected followers of the cleric Fethullah Gulen on Friday, police and media said.
Ankara accuses Gulen, who lives in the United States, of masterminding a failed coup in July 2016, a claim he denies. Since the coup attempt, the authorities have arrested thousands of his suspected followers and fired thousands more.
Friday’s roundup included warrants for 55 employees in 13 provinces of Isik Publications, a publishing company that printed Gulen’s books, Istanbul police said.
Warrants were also issued for 38 former police officers in six provinces who were accused of being members of Gulen’s purported network, the state-run news agency Anadolu reported. Twenty-four had been detained, it said.
In addition, police targeted 62 executives of five labor unions in a third operation spread across seven provinces, Anadolu said. Thirty-eight had been detained, it said.
The labor unions were part of Aksiyon Is Confederation, an association of unions that was shut down over suspected links to the Gulen network.
In the 18 months through December 2017, nearly 160,000 people have been arrested and 152,000 civil servants sacked as part of a post-coup crackdown, according to a report published by the United Nations on Tuesday.
The UN urged Turkey to end its state of emergency, which was declared after the coup and has been extended six times. It accused Ankara of mass arrests, arbitrary sackings, collective punishment and torturing detainees.
Turkey’s foreign ministry said the report was filled with unfounded allegations and compared the criticism to propaganda from militant groups.
The crackdown has also been criticized by Turkey’s Western allies, who accuse President Tayyip Erdogan of using the failed putsch as a pretext to quash dissent. Turkey says the measures are necessary to combat threats to national security.


Palestinian journalist wins appeal over Gaza graft report

Updated 25 March 2019
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Palestinian journalist wins appeal over Gaza graft report

  • The appeals court in Gaza “acquitted journalist Hajar Harb of all charges and closed her file”

GAZA CITY: A Palestinian journalist was acquitted on appeal over an investigative report about corruption in the Gaza Strip Monday, according to Amnesty International and a campaign group.

In a 2016 report for Al-Araby TV, Hajar Harb alleged that doctors were writing false medical reports to let people leave Gaza for treatment, one of the few reasons Israel allows Palestinians out of the blockaded strip run by Hamas.

In October that year, two doctors launched legal proceedings accusing her of defamation and “publishing false information,” according to Amnesty International.

The 34-year-old had been sentenced to six months in prison and fined, but the appeals court overruled the decision, said Fathi Sabah, head of a group supporting Harb.

The appeals court in Gaza “acquitted journalist Hajjar Harb of all charges and closed her file,” he said.

“This represents not just a victory for Hajjar but for freedom of the press,” he added.

Amnesty said Harb had been questioned by police at least four times following her report, but welcomed the decision of the court.

“It is really good news that Hajjar Harb was acquitted today, she was standing a trial that should not have taken place to begin with,” said Saleh Higazi, Amnesty’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“We hope that the Gaza authorities take this opportunity to signal that they are serious about freedom of expression and the press.”

In 2018, the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms recorded 77 violations of press freedom in the Palestinian Authority-run West Bank and 37 such cases in Gaza.

Hamas have controlled Gaza for more than a decade and have recently cracked down violently on street protests.