2 Turkish journalists detained in espionage probe

Ismail Dükel, the Ankara representative of the TELE 1 TV channel, and Müyesser Yıldız, the Ankara news director of the ultranationalist OdaTV news website, were detained by Turkish authorities on June 8 as part of a probe into alleged espionage.

Yıldız was reportedly taken into custody on charges of “political and military espionage” early Monday morning.

Dükel’s detention was announced on social media by Mercan Yanardağ, executive editor of TELE 1, who said the reason for the detention was still unknown.

The warrant for Yılıdz was part of three issued by the Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office, the news website said.

Yıldız was taken to the counterterrorism unit of the Ankara Police Department for questioning.

Yıldız had previously criticized Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on her social media account, implying that a military operation carried out by the gendarmerie in northeastern Kars province against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants did not result in the destruction of the PKK’s “Çemçe group,” allegedly active in that area, as claimed by the interior minister. “As it turned out, the ‘Çemçe group’ has not been destroyed,” she wrote.

The PKK, which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, is designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Minister Soylu, citing Yıldız’s post, tweeted on May 18 in response: “The liquidation of the Çemçe group has saddened only you and the PKK. Our heroes today prevented an infiltration in that locality by destroying the terrorists in a clash at close quarters. I don’t regret your love for the PKK, but I do regret your associating with despicable people parading as state officials.”

Yıldız reportedly filed an official complaint against Soylu on June 5 following his remarks.

Whether Yıldız’s detention is related to this social media spat is not known.

OdaTV further claimed that the police prevented Yıldız’s lawyer from being present during a search of her house.

Yıldız is known for her back channel sourcing of news on military affairs.

Two journalists from the OdaTV news website were arrested in March on charges of revealing the identity of a Turkish intelligence officer killed in Libya.

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