Journalist detained by Turkish police in Mersin for carrying a magazine

Journalist Özkan Erdal

A journalist working for the Özgürlükçü Demokrasi newspaper, Özkan Erdal, has been detained in Tarsus district of Mersin province, Evrensel daily reported on Friday. According to the report, Erdal was stopped by the police as he was wandering in a street in Tarsus and detained for carrying a magazine. There was no information about the content of the magazine. Erdal is currently under custody in the Tarsus Police Department.

Meanwhile, Erdoğan Alayumat, a journalist working for the Dihaber news website who was detained along with journalist Nuri Akman on July 13 due to a complaint against them, has been arrested on charges of membership in a terrorist organization.

Akman and Alayumat, who were kept under detention for 14 days at the Hatay Police Station, are accused of “ membership in a terror organization”, “organizing activities on behalf of a terror organization” and “revealing government secrets.” They appeared before a court on Thursday which ruled to arrest Alayumat while Akman was released on judicial probation.

The journalists’ news stories, pictures, interviews and their phone conversations with their correspondent friends have been used by the court as the basis for the accusations.

The journalists, who were targeted by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency after being detained, were asked questions about their unpublished news stories on members of the Al-Nusra terrorist organization in Hatay.

Assessing the state of the media in Turkey in a report on the occasion of the first anniversary of a failed coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) concluded that Turkish journalism is in its death throes because Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government has used a state of emergency, declared after the failed coup, to step up a witch-hunt against critics.

The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has also documented that 273 journalists are now in jails as of July 26, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 249 are arrested pending trial, only 24 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 109 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. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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