Managing editor of defunct Nokta newsweekly detained as trying to flee Turkey

Journalists Cevheri Güven (R) and Murat Çapan.

Journalist Murat Çapan, the former managing editor of now-defunct Nokta newsweekly, who was sentenced by a Turkish court to more than 22 years in jail on Monday over a cover story of the magazine, was detained on Wednesday in the northwestern province of Edirne while he was attempting to flee to neighboring Greece.

Nokta magazine was shut down by the despotic Erdoğan regime in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 over its alleged links with the Gülen movement. Nokta magazine’s former managing editor Çapan was handed down an imprisonment of 22 years and six months by İstanbul’s 14th High Criminal Court on Monday. The same court also convicted the Nokta’s editor-in-chief Cevheri Güven of the same charge, giving him the same sentence.

It was reported that the border guards detained Çapan along with four other people including a retired police chief, a university lecturer, and two teachers who were purged by Turkish government’s executive decrees under the rule of emergency declared by the government following the July 15 coup attempt.

Turkey is the leading jailer of journalists in the world. The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has documented that 260 journalists are now in jails as of May 23, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 238 are arrested pending trial, only 22 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.

The coup attempt on July 15, 2016 killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (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.

According to a statement from Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ on May 6, 149,833 people have been investigated and 48,636 have been jailed as part of an investigation targeting the Gülen movement since the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey.

May 24, 2017

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