Turkey acquits top journalist in ‘espionage’ case

Erdem Gul, the Ankara bureau chief of the opposition Cumhuriyet daily, was acquitted by the Istanbul criminal court, the state-run Anadolu news agency said. (AFP)
Updated 16 July 2018
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Turkey acquits top journalist in ‘espionage’ case

ISTANBUL: An Istanbul court on Monday acquitted one of Turkey’s most prominent political journalists in a long-running case on espionage charges dating back to an arms interception on the Syrian border in 2014.
Erdem Gul, the Ankara bureau chief of the opposition Cumhuriyet daily, was acquitted by the Istanbul criminal court, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.
Gul had in May 2016 been sentenced to five years in jail and his then editor-in-chief Can Dundar to five years and 10 months for revealing state secrets over their front-page story which alleged Turkish secret services sought to deliver arms to Syria rebels.
Despite spending time in pre-trial detention, neither was sent to jail immediately and both walked free pending appeal.
But in a hugely complex process, Turkey’s top appeals court in March quashed both convictions, saying that Gul should be acquitted but Dundar given a stiffer sentence of up to 20 years. A retrial then commenced.
The cases of Gul and Dundar have now been separated and Dundar remains on trial.
Gul is still working in his job for Cumhuriyet but Dundar left Turkey for Germany shortly after the initial verdict, saying he refused to put his head “under the guillotine.”
Cumhuriyet’s report on a shipment of arms intercepted at the Syrian border in January 2014 sparked a furor when it was published, fueling speculation about Turkey’s role in the Syrian conflict and its alleged ties to Islamist groups.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had reacted furiously to the allegations, personally warning Dundar he would “pay a heavy price.”
He has accused Fethullah Gulen, the US-based preacher blamed by Turkey for the 2016 failed coup, of instigating the scandal to discredit his government.
It was the first in a number of high profile criminal cases against journalists which multiplied after the failed July 2016 coup against Erdogan and amplified concerns over press freedoms in the country.
In a separate case, 13 journalists and staff from Cumhuriyet were given jail sentences of up to seven-and-a-half years in late April on terror-linked charges, which critics said was punishment for the paper’s anti-Erdogan stance.
They are all however still free pending appeal. Gul remains on trial in another separate case.


Google to charge Android partners up to $40 per device for apps

Updated 20 October 2018
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Google to charge Android partners up to $40 per device for apps

  • The new system should give Google’s rivals such as Microsoft Corp. more room to partner with hardware makers
  • The fee can be as low as $2.50 and rises depending on the country and device size

BRUSSELS/SAN FRANCISCO: Alphabet Inc’s Google will charge hardware firms up to $40 per device to use its apps under a new licensing system to replace one that the European Union this year deemed anti-competitive, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday.
The new fee goes into effect on Oct. 29 for any new smartphone or tablet models launched in the European Economic Area and running Google’s Android operating system, the company announced on Tuesday.
The fee can be as low as $2.50 and rises depending on the country and device size, the person said. It is standard across manufacturers, with the majority likely to pay around $20, the person added.
Companies can offset the charge, which applies to a suite of apps including the Google Play app store, Gmail and Google Maps, by placing Google’s search and Chrome Internet browser in a prominent position. Under that arrangement, Google would give the device maker a portion of ad revenue it generates through search and Chrome.
Tech news outlet the Verge reported the pricing earlier on Friday, citing confidential documents.
The European Commission in July found Google abused its market dominance in mobile software to essentially force Android partners to pre-install search and Chrome on their gadgets. It levied a record $5-billion fine, which Google has appealed, and threatened additional penalties unless the company ended its illegal practices.
The new system should give Google’s rivals such as Microsoft Corp. more room to partner with hardware makers to become the default apps for search and browsing, analysts said.
Qwant, a small French search company that has been critical of Google, said in a statement on Friday that it was “satisfied that the European Commission’s action pushed Google to finally give manufacturers the possibility to offer such choices to consumers.”