A bank account belonging to the sister of two jailed Turkish intellectuals, Mehmet Altan and Ahmet Altan, has been frozen, according to a tweet by journalist Ali Abaday.“Ahmet and Mehmet Altan’s sister’s account @HSBC closed without any warning and the bank refused to give her money back…” Abaday tweeted on Jan. 17.
After spending a number of days in detention, columnist and academic Mehmet Altan and his brother, prominent journalist and writer Ahmet Altan, were arrested by an Istanbul court in September 2016.
In another tweet Abaday said: “@HSBC closed one of its customer’s account without any warning and refused to give her money back. #TurkeyPurge”
The Altan brothers face several charges, including “attempting to overthrow the government of the Republic of Turkey and prevent its functioning” and “membership in a terrorist organization.”
They are also accused of sending “subliminal” messages regarding a failed coup attempt on July 15 on a TV show a day before the putsch.
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others.
The Altan brothers are prominent journalists who have been unequivocally critical of the regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Ahmet Altan is a novelist and former editor-in-chief of the now-closed-down Taraf newspaper. The daily ran headlines that led to the Ergenekon and Balyoz coup plot investigations, which helped the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government subdue the role of the military in Turkish politics. After quitting Taraf, Altan resumed writing harsh critical columns against the increasingly authoritarian AKP government and President Erdoğan.
Mehmet Altan, an economics professor at İstanbul University, is also a columnist known for his liberal views and criticism of the government amid increasing and unprecedented pressure on the media and dissidents. He was recently targeted by pro-Erdoğan columnist Hilal Kaplan for not being dismissed from his position at the university at a time when hundreds of academics and teachers were being expelled from their posts as part of an investigation into the failed coup attempt. TM