40 years imprisonment sought for journalist Karaca for ‘plotting’ against pro-Al Qaeda group

Journalist Hidayet Karaca.

An indictment prepared by an İstanbul prosecutor seeks 40 years jail term for Samanyolu Broadcasting Group General Manager Hidayet Karaca on charges of membership in an organization that conspired against a Turkey-based radical Islamist group called “Taşhiyeciler.”

Accordign to Turkish media, the same indictment also seeks 33-year sentence for former police intelligence chiefs Ali Fuat Yılmazer and Erol Demirhan. The two police chiefs were jailed following corruption probes in late 2013 implicating then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government and is accused of having committed a range of crimes, from “illegal wiretapping to involvement in the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in 2007.” They are being held in İstanbul’s Silivri Prison.

In addition to Taşhiyeciler  Samanyolu manager Karaca is accused of having links to the Gülen movement, which the Turkish government accuses of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

In an operation on Dec. 14, 2014, former Zaman Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanlı, Samanyolu head Karaca and a number of soap opera scriptwriters and police officers were detained on charges of “terrorism and membership in an organization” that conspired against Tahşiyeciler, based on a speech by Turkish Islamic Scholar Fethullah Gülen in 2009 in which the scholar warned against a group that “might” be called Tahşiyeciler and whose leader, Mehmet Doğan, had publicly praised Osama bin Laden.

The prosecutors who ordered the Dec. 14 detentions claim that following Gülen’s speech, Dumanlı ordered two columnists to write about Tahşiyeciler and that he published a news report on the speech. The allegations also claim that Samanyolu TV made implications about the group in an episode of a soap opera it broadcast. It is further claimed that the police then “unfairly” raided the group.

Previous reports by police intelligence, military intelligence and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) had described Tahşiyeciler as a terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda.

The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has also documented that 272 journalists are now in jails as of July 26, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 248 are arrested pending trial, only 24 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 109 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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