Former Zaman columnist sentenced to 10.5 years on terrorism charges

Associate Professor Abdulkadir Civan, a columnist of closed Zaman and Today's Zaman dailies.

Former Zaman columnist and academic Abdülkadir Civan has been sentenced to 10 years, five months in prison on charges of alleged membership in a “terrorist organization,” Turkey Purge reported on Wednesday.

Civan wrote columns for both Zaman and its sister publication, the English-language daily Today’s Zaman, and taught economics at İzmir’s Gediz University until all three institutions were shut down by the government over their ties to the faith-based Gülen movement last year.

Meanwhile, assistant professor Mete Yıldırım received a sentence of 10 years, six months; Ali Kasap, the former chief physician at Buca Seyfi Demirsoy Hospital, got 12 years, nine months; and assistant professor Aziz Bakay was sentenced to 11 years as part of the same investigation.

The government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 although the movement denies any involvement and condemns interventions into democratically elected administrations.

As part of a witch-hunt targeting people linked to the faith-based Gülen movement, 154,694 individuals including journalists, academics, judges, prosecutors, court personnel, police and military officers, businessmen and doctors, have been detained and 50,136 have been jailed since a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 in Turkey, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on May 28.

Contrary to accusations made by Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Turkish government, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the UK Parliament concluded in March that Gülen and the movement he inspired as a whole were not behind the failed coup in Turkey.

The UK Parliament statement came a week after Germany rejected Erdoğan and the Turkish government’s accusations against the Gülen movement about July 15.

The head of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND), Bruno Kahl, said Turkey could not convince them that US-based Turkish-Islamic scholar Gülen was behind the failed coup in July.

Similarly, Devin Nunes, chairman of United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said he has not seen any evidence showing Gülen’s involvement in the putsch in Turkey.

In addition, a report prepared by the EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (IntCen) revealed that the coup attempt was staged by a range of Erdoğan’s opponents due to fears of an impending purge.

Turkey is the leading jailer of journalists in the world. The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has documented that 264 journalists are now in jails as of May 27, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 241 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 May 31, 2017

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