Turkish investigative journalist Öztürk arrested by Istanbul court over links to Gülen movement

An İstanbul court on Wednesday arrested Ece Sevim Öztürk, a journalist known for her investigative reporting on a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 in Turkey, the Hürriyet daily reported.

Öztürk, who was referred to court after 13 days’ detention, was arrested for “aiding the Gülen movement.”

Also the editor-in-chief of the Çağdaş Ses news website, Öztürk was detained by İstanbul police on June 8 on allegations of spreading “terrorist propaganda,” a reference to her recent reporting, including a documentary on the coup.

According to state of emergency measures, police can keep a “terror suspect” in custody for seven days, which was reduced from the previous 30 days by a government decree in 2017.

The Çağdaş Ses news website published an article on Öztürk’s detention, accusing the nationalist website OdaTV and pro-government Yeni Şafak daily of targeting her.

Öztürk’s reporting on the coup attracted much attention on social media and was quoted by several news outlets in Turkey.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claimed that his government has created a Turkey free of corruption and suppression during a speech at a campaign rally in the southeastern city of Mardin on Wednesday.

Erdoğan sacked and imprisoned police officers and prosecutors in 2013 after a corruption scandal ensnared him, his family members, cabinet ministers and business associates. Turkey is ranked 81st our of 180 countries in Amnesty International’s Corruption Perceptions Index , equal with Morocco, India and Ghana, and ranks lower than any European country outside of Russia and the Balkans.

Turkey is ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). If Turkey falls two more places, it will make it to the list of countries on the blacklist, which have the poorest record in press freedom.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 242 journalists and media workers were in jail as of June 3, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 182 were under arrest pending trial while only 60 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 142 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down some 200 media outlets, including Kurdish news agencies and newspapers, after a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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