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Turkey arrests editor of opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet

31 October 2016
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Prosecutor says Murat Sabuncu and 13 others from secular daily under investigation over links to PKK and preacher Gulen as post-coup crackdown widens.

Turkish police detained the editor-in-chief of the opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, state media reported Monday, while CNN Turk broadcaster said 13 arrest warrants were issued for the daily’s journalists and executives, with the local prosecutor’s office saying they were under investigations for supporting “terror organizations.”

Murat Sabuncu was detained while authorities were looking for executive board chairman Akin Atalay and writer Guray Oz, the official news agency Anadolu said. The daily said Oz was already detained but it was not known why police were seeking the daily’s staff.

Cumhuriyet said the home of cartoonist Musa Kart was also being searched.

Scores of opposition media organizations have been shut down since July’s failed coup attempt and the imposition of a state of emergency, extended earlier this month for a further 90 days.

More than 2,500 journalists have lost their jobs and at least 130 journalists are behind bars, according to the secular Hurriyet Daily News.

The latest detentions came as authorities pressed a massive crackdown over a failed July bid by a rogue faction of the military to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey has been under a state of emergency since the July 15 failed coup.

Tens of thousands of civil servants have been suspended, fired or detained, with the government pointing the finger of blame for the coup bid at exiled Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen.

The government has also shut more than 100 media outlets and detained dozens of journalists as it presses a purge that has come under fire by Western leaders and human rights organisations.

The arrests also came as the government fought an insurgency from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The Istanbul prosecutor said in a statement quoted by Turkish media that the newspaper and the Cumhuriyet Foundation, which owns the daily, were being investigated over links to the PKK and the Gulen movement.

The investigation was probing whether they committed crimes on behalf of the two “terror organizations”, the prosecutor said.

The PKK — proscribed as a terrorist organization by Ankara, the EU and US — has waged an insurgency inside Turkey since 1984.

The daily said an arrest warrant was also issued for its former editor-in-chief, Can Dundar, who was sentenced in May by a Turkish court to five years and 10 months in prison for allegedly revealing state secrets.

Dundar is now believed to be in Germany after he was freed earlier this year pending an appeal.

Established by a close associate of modern Turkey’s founder Ataturk, Cumhuriyet is an up-market, left-of-center, secular newspaper.

Staff at the paper have been physically attacked and in 2008 Molotov cocktails were thrown at the paper’s Istanbul office.

The crackdown on Cumhuriyet came after authorities ordered the closure of several pro-Kurdish media outlets, including the Dicle Haber Ajansi news agency and the Ozgur Gundem newspaper, according to a decree published Saturday in the official journal.

Turkish police detained the editor-in-chief of the opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, state media reported Monday, while CNN Turk broadcaster said 13 arrest warrants were issued for the daily’s journalists and executives, with the local prosecutor’s office saying they were under investigations for supporting “terror organizations.”

Murat Sabuncu was detained while authorities were looking for executive board chairman Akin Atalay and writer Guray Oz, the official news agency Anadolu said. The daily said Oz was already detained but it was not known why police were seeking the daily’s staff.

Cumhuriyet said the home of cartoonist Musa Kart was also being searched.

Scores of opposition media organizations have been shut down since July’s failed coup attempt and the imposition of a state of emergency, extended earlier this month for a further 90 days.

More than 2,500 journalists have lost their jobs and at least 130 journalists are behind bars, according to the secular Hurriyet Daily News.

The latest detentions came as authorities pressed a massive crackdown over a failed July bid by a rogue faction of the military to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey has been under a state of emergency since the July 15 failed coup.

Tens of thousands of civil servants have been suspended, fired or detained, with the government pointing the finger of blame for the coup bid at exiled Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen.

The government has also shut more than 100 media outlets and detained dozens of journalists as it presses a purge that has come under fire by Western leaders and human rights organisations.

The arrests also came as the government fought an insurgency from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The Istanbul prosecutor said in a statement quoted by Turkish media that the newspaper and the Cumhuriyet Foundation, which owns the daily, were being investigated over links to the PKK and the Gulen movement.

The investigation was probing whether they committed crimes on behalf of the two “terror organizations”, the prosecutor said.

The PKK — proscribed as a terrorist organization by Ankara, the EU and US — has waged an insurgency inside Turkey since 1984.

The daily said an arrest warrant was also issued for its former editor-in-chief, Can Dundar, who was sentenced in May by a Turkish court to five years and 10 months in prison for allegedly revealing state secrets.[Former Cumhuriyet Daily newspaper editor-in-chief Can Dundar, center, taking part in a news meeting at the Pro Kurdish Ozgur Gundem newspaper in Istanbul, June 21, 2016. (AFP/OZAN KOSE)]Former Cumhuriyet Daily newspaper editor-in-chief Can Dundar, center, taking part in a news meeting at the Pro Kurdish Ozgur Gundem newspaper in Istanbul, June 21, 2016. (AFP/OZAN KOSE)

Dundar is now believed to be in Germany after he was freed earlier this year pending an appeal.

Established by a close associate of modern Turkey’s founder Ataturk, Cumhuriyet is an up-market, left-of-center, secular newspaper.

Staff at the paper have been physically attacked and in 2008 Molotov cocktails were thrown at the paper’s Istanbul office.

The crackdown on Cumhuriyet came after authorities ordered the closure of several pro-Kurdish media outlets, including the Dicle Haber Ajansi news agency and the Ozgur Gundem newspaper, according to a decree published Saturday in the official journal.

While Turkey insists it is acting within the rule of law, organisations defending free speech have accused the government of violating human rights.

Even before the coup attempt, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) rated Turkey 151st out of 180 countries in an index of press freedom.

On Friday, the European Parliament called on the Turkish government and its conservative president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to “narrow the scope of emergency measures, so that they can no longer be used to curtail freedom of expression” and to free all jailed journalists not proven to have been involved in the coup attempt.

Source: www.timesofisrael.com
Photo source: www.timesofisrael.com