Journalist detained in western Turkey after scandalous allegations about failed coup

Journalist Serdar Akinan

Turkish police detained a journalist in the western province of Çanakkale in the early hours of Wednesday after he made scandalous allegations about a failed coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016, Turkish Minute reported on Wednesday.

Serdar Akinan released a 16-second video on Twitter at around 5 a.m. on Tuesday and said he was being detained and taken to the police station in Ayvacık.

In the video, apparently taken in Akinan’s house, he is heard telling the officers they can conduct a search and asking if he can call his lawyer.

“Of course, you can. We’ll go to the police station. Just leave your phone. Your phone will be seized, too,” an officer tells Akinan.

Although the reason for Akinan’s detention has not yet been announced, his detention came hours after he claimed that three helicopters carrying Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants from Libya and Syria landed on the night of the coup near a hotel in in Muğla where President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was vacationing.

Akinan said the helicopters carrying the ISIL militants arrived before the putschist soldiers who were allegedly planning to assassinate Erdoğan.

He said there were records of phone conversations and a police report about the ISIL militants in the area on that night but that the police officer who reported about the ISIL militants in helicopters was killed after he was run over by a vehicle two days later.

Many believe the abortive putsch, which killed 251 people and wounded more than a thousand others, was a false flag aimed at entrenching the authoritarian rule of President Erdoğan by rooting out dissidents and eliminating powerful actors such as the military in his desire for absolute power. There are also claims that radical groups were mixed among people who took to the streets to suppress the coup after a call from Erdoğan.

On the night of the abortive putsch, Erdoğan immediately blamed the faith-based Gülen movement. The next morning, after announcing the coup had been put down, the Turkish government immediately started a wide-ranging purge of military officers, judges, police officers, teachers and other civil servants that ultimately led to the dismissal of more than 130,000 from their jobs.

The detention of Akinan, who was taken to İstanbul for questioning, also came after an interview he conducted with a man named Muhammet Yakut, who has been making scandalous revelations on YouTube about Justice and Development Party (AKP) figures’ alleged links to dirty businesses, black money and mafia schemes as well as the shady background of the July 15 coup attempt.

A gag order was imposed on the investigation.

Yakut claimed in the interview that July 15 was staged and all the AKP government officials knew about it.

Little is known at present about Yakut, who has been releasing videos on his “Delilerin Delisi” (the craziest of the crazy) YouTube channel.

Some people liken him to mob boss Sedat Peker, who lives in exile in United Arab Emirates. Peker promised to reveal the government’s dirty laundry two months before the May 14 parliamentary and presidential elections; however, he has been unable to do it so far because he has been forbidden from broadcasting exposés on the internet.

Rights groups routinely accuse Turkey of undermining media freedom by arresting journalists and shutting down critical media outlets, especially since President Erdoğan survived a failed coup in July 2016.

Turkey, which is one of the top jailers of journalists in the world, was ranked 149th among 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2022 World Press Freedom Index, released in May.

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