Cumhuriyet daily website editor Oğuz Güven, who was arrested on May 15 for allegedly disseminating the propaganda of a terrorist organization, was released after 30 days by an İstanbul court, Cumhuriyet reported.
Güven was detained on May 12 for a report that appeared on the daily’s website about the recent traffic death of Denizli Chief Prosecutor Mustafa Alper in Turkey’s western province of Denizli.
“Nothing can be done about this state of decay,” Güven said in reaction to the ruling for his arrest before being taken to Metris Prison in İstanbul.
A number of jurists had reacted to the “unlawful detention” of Güven, calling for the immediate release of the journalist.
The European Union also commented on the detention of Güven, calling on Turkey to respect the highest democratic standards and practices.
Cumhuriyet’s Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu was in early November arrested along with eight other Cumhuriyet columnists and executives for allegedly committing crimes on behalf of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15.
Meanwhile, former Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar earlier moved to Germany after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan personally targeted him for a sensational report in Cumhuriyet about alleged illegal arms deliveries by Turkey to opposition groups in Syria.
Rights organizations estimate the number of jailed journalists in Turkey as between 160 and 235.
Amnesty International recently projected the names of imprisoned Turkish journalists onto the facade of the Turkish Embassy in The Hague.
AI also launched a campaign on Twitter late in March to support jailed journalists in Turkey, calling for their release, with the hashtag #FreeTurkeyMedia.
Turkey is ranked 155th among 180 countries in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on April 26.
If Turkey falls four more ranks, it will make it to the list of the countries on the blacklist, which has the poorest records in press freedom.
The US-based Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom around the world, has named Turkey as among the countries that have a “not free” press, in a report released on April 28.
According to “Freedom of the Press 2017,” the Turkish government, using enhanced powers under a state of emergency, carried out a massive purge of media outlets accused of links to the attempted military coup in July.
Turkey is the leading jailer of journalists in the world. The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has documented that 265 journalists are now in jails as of June 14, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 242 are arrested pending trial, only 23 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 105 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 coup attempt. (SCF with turkishminute.com) June 14, 2017