Turkish journalist briefly detained due to article titled ‘We can stop the dictatorship’

Turkish journalist Ali Ergin Demirhan, an editor at the critical sendika.org news website, was briefly detained on Monday due to an article on the site in January titled “We can stop the dictatorship,” in reference to the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Demirhan announced the news of his detention from his Twitter account on Monday, saying:“ Our article titled ‘We can stop the dictatorship’ is regarded as terrorist propaganda. I am being detained.”

He was released after giving testimony to the prosecutor.

The editor was taken into custody by police officers at the sendika.org offices in İstanbul on accusations that he disseminated terrorist propaganda.

The article, dated Jan. 11, called on the public to organize and join forces against a dictatorial regime that it said was being established in the country by Erdoğan.

President Erdoğan is harshly accused by his critics of establishing one-man rule in Turkey, destroying the separation of powers and silencing dissent.

Turkey is ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Wednesday. 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 253 journalists and media workers were in jail as of May 11, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 192 were under arrest pending trial while only 61 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 the coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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