Turkey detains journalist Koray briefly for criticizing ‘July 15 saga’

Journalist Yeliz Koray

Yeliz Koray, managing editor of the Kocaeli Koz newspaper, was briefly detained on Saturday night and referred to court for a critical article about the government turning a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 into a “saga.” The court has decide to release journalist Koray with condition of judicial probe.

After reactions and calls for an investigation into Koray for her article, which was put online on Friday, police raided the journalist’s home on Saturday evening and detained her, Kocaeli Koz reported.

On Sunday morning she was taken to court following interrogation at police headquarters in Kocaeli.

Listing past wars and victories including World War I, the Gallipoli War and the War of Independence, Koray criticized the government and its supporters for “turning suppression of the coup attempt on July 15, 2016 into a saga in an effort to overshadow and forget the victories of the Turkish Republic.”

Moreover, İstanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office has issued a detention warrant for famous Turkish movie director Mustafa Altıoklar over his critical Twitter post on the commemoration activities during the first anniversary of the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 on Saturday.

It wast reported that Altıoklar, who posted the message in his twitter account that “What a big stupidity to celebrate first anniversary of the fake coup… You bring oppressed people of my country to what a pittyfull situation? You have turned them into monkeys…”  is in Germany.

Assessing the state of the media in Turkey in a report for the anniversary of the failed coup attempt last July, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Thursday concluded that Turkish journalism is in its death throes because President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government has used a state of emergency to step up a witch-hunt against critics, mentioning the European Court of Human Rights as a last hope for jailed journalists.

“The state of emergency declared five days after the coup attempt has allowed the government to summarily close dozens of media outlets. And Turkey, which is ranked 155th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index, is now the world’s biggest prison for professional journalists, with more than 100 detained,” said RSF.

Turkey is the leading jailer of journalists in the world. The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has documented that 265 journalists are now in jails as of July 15, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 240 are arrested pending trial, only 25 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 controversial coup attempt.

July 16, 2017

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