Prominent Turkish journalist Nazlı Ilıcak, who was in jail since July 29, 2016 over her alleged links to the Gülen movement, will reportedly be denaturalized from her Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) citizenship for allegedly allowing the followers of the Gülen movement on the island to use her residence there, the despotic Erdoğan regime’s mouthpiece Sabah daily reported on Monday.
According to the report, Ilıcak’s property in northern Cyprus, which was rented 22 years ago, had been used by the alleged members of the Gülen movement. Basing on intelligence reports it was also alleged that some Turkish police officers with alleged links to the Gülen movement and some local police officers held meetings at this residence.
Ilıcak had been naturalized as a citizen of Turkish Cyprus in 1995. “I dined at a restaurant which had previously been a house next to a monastery they called Bellapais in Girne in 1995. A British gay couple had been managing this restaurant named Abbey House and they wanted to hand the restaurant over so that they could leave. I bought here as a house because its price was much cheaper compared to Turkey. I applied for citizenship as I had residence and I was accepted,” Ilıcak had stated in 2004 about her naturalization process.
A total of 17 journalists, including Ilıcak, are being tried in a case on charges of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order,” “attempting to overthrow the parliament” and “attempting to overthrow the government.” While facing three aggravated life sentences for the charges, they also face an additional prison term of 15 years on charges of “committing crimes on behalf of a terrorist organization without being a member.”
Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has showed that 283 journalists and media workers are now in jails as of August 18, 2017, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 258 are arrested pending trial, only 25 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 135 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. Turkey’s Contemporary Journalists’ Association (ÇGD) recently announced that more than 900 press cards were cancelled.
Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch AKP government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.
Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.
Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup. Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15.