Cumhuriyet’s online editor Güven, two more journalists detained in Turkey

Journalist Oğuz Güven.

Turkish police has detained the chief online editor of daily Cumhuriyet in İstanbul on Friday and journalists Serhat Yaruk and Çağlar Özbilgin on Thursday under post-coup emergency rules in Turkey.

“I am being detained,” editor-in-chief Oğuz Güven tweeted on Friday morning without elaborating on the charges raised against him. According to state-run Anadolu news agency (AA), Güven was detained over a report regarding the death of Denizli chief public prosecutor Mustafa Alper in a car accident.

Alper, 48, and his driver Muzaffer Akşehirli were killed on May 10 when a truck laden with excavations crashed into their car on a highway in the Merkezefendi district.

A total of 12 Cumhuriyet columnists and executives are currently in prison on alleged terror charges. Cumhuriyet daily’s former editor-in chief Murat Sabuncu along with 11 other Cumhuriyet columnists and executives were arrested in early November 2016 over charge of allegedly committing crime on behalf of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding the July 15 coup attempt.

Also, the preceding Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Can Dündar moved to Germany after Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan personally targeted him for a sensational report on Cumhuriyet about Turkish Intelligence Organization’s (MİT) illegal arm transfers to radical Islamist groups in Syria.

Meanwhile, journalists Serhat Yaruk and Çağlar Özbilgin were added to tens of journalists who have been detained under post-coup emergency rules on Thursday. Polis detained Yaruk after a raid on his mother’s house in Mersin province as part of a Van-based investigation.

Journalist Özbilgin was also detained at Çaglayan courthouse in İstanbul where he attended a court hearing on accusation that he insulted President Erdogan in one of his articles. According to Turkish media, Özbilgin was taken into custody as part of a separate investigation in which he is accused of inciting hatred in public.

Turkey is the leading jailer of journalists in the world with one third of arrested journalists across the globe being held in Turkish jails. Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has documented that 237 journalists are now in jails, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 215 are arrested pending trial, only 22 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 100 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.

May 12, 2017

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