In Turkey / Türkiye

Today’s Zaman, Feb 3, 2015

Banner at Strasbourg Press Club building in France reads 'Journalism is not a crime' and '#FreeDündar' (DHA)

Banner at Strasbourg Press Club building in France reads ‘Journalism is not a crime’ and ‘#FreeDündar’ (DHA)

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Strasbourg Press Club have expressed their support for imprisoned Cumhuriyet newspaper chiefs Can Dündar and Erdem Gül by hanging a large banner on the Strasbourg Press Club building. The banner reads “#FreeDündar” and “Le journalisme n’est pas un crime” (Journalism is not a crime). The press club’s building is located in the central Kléber Square of Strasbourg, France, which thousands of tourists and residents pass on a daily basis.

The Washington Post also published an editorial on Feb. 1 criticizing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan due to the life sentences sought for Dündar and Gül. The editorial argued that Erdogan has passed another milestone in his quest to become the “tyrant of the Bosphorus”.

“Turkish prosecutors, responding to his [Erdogan] complaint, have sought life terms in prison for two prominent journalists jailed for revealing what appears to be the government’s clandestine shipment of arms into Syria. The prosecutors asked an [Istanbul] court to sentence Can [Dündar] and Erdem [Gül] to one aggravated life sentence, one ordinary life sentence and 30 years in jail,” the editorial read.

“The severity of the proposed punishment is shocking. An aggravated life sentence means tougher conditions, including fewer leisure hours. Such sentences might be appropriate for violent crimes, but in this case, Turkey’s president appears determined to make journalism a terrible crime. In the process he is further leading Turkey, a NATO ally, away from democracy and into the abyss of authoritarianism and ignorance,” the editorial continued in its criticism of the Turkish president.

Dündar, Cumhuriyet‘s editor-in-chief, and Gül, the paper’s Ankara bureau chief, who are critical of the government, were arrested on Nov. 26, 2015 following an investigation led by Istanbul Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Irfan Fidan on suspicion of committing espionage, revealing confidential documents and membership in a terrorist organization. The charges are based on their publishing photos and video footage of trucks belonging the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) which were allegedly transferring weapons to extremist groups in Syria. The two journalists are being held in Istanbul’s Silivri Prison.

The indictment for journalists Dündar and Gül seeks an aggravated life sentence, a life sentence and 30 years’ imprisonment on separate charges, including obtaining secret information pertaining to the security of the state and revealing information that should be kept secret.

Read also:
Investigations launched into 53 people for ‘insulting’ Erdogan, Today’s Zaman, Feb 2, 2015

Administrative and judicial investigations have been launched into 53 people from 20 provinces across Turkey for allegedly insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on social media since the Isparta Governor’s Office sent a notification to all state institutions and organizations in the province, instructing their staff to urgently report all incidents in which Erdogan or other senior government officials are “insulted” on social media to the police…

Chilean activists protest President Erdogan’s arrival in Santiago, Reuters, Feb 3, 2015


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