Turkish journalist detained again for covering alleged judicial corruption

Furkan Karabay, an editor for the Gerçek Gündem news website, has been detained by the İstanbul police on accusations of “targeting officials fighting against terrorism” and “libel,” for reporting on allegations of corruption implicating the judiciary.

The news report in question was based on the official minutes of a hearing, Gerçek Gündem said. However, it mentioned a prosecutor by name, which led to Karabay’s detention.

His lawyer, Enes Ermaner, announced on social media on Thursday that he was not allowed to see his client in custody.

“I hope no mistreatment will come of this,” he said on X.

The detention came days after Karabay was released under judicial supervision after being detained due to another news report on alleged judicial corruption.

The news report that led to his previous detention concerned a letter sent by İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor İsmail Uçar, who exposed an alleged network of bribery within the judiciary.

Addressed to the Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK), Uçar’s letter had detailed alleged bribery, nepotism and other irregularities in the system.

Karabay’s social media posts about the matter were censored by the authorities.

Turkey, which is known as one of the top jailers of journalists in the world, ranks 165th among 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2023 World Press Freedom Index, which was announced in early May.

Turkey has seen an erosion in the rule of law, especially after a failed coup in July 2016, when more than 4,000 judges and prosecutors were removed under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is accused of replacing the purged judiciary members with young and inexperienced judges and prosecutors who have close links to the AKP.

In a development that confirmed the erosion of the Turkish judiciary, Turkey was ranked 117th among 142 countries in the rule of law index published by the World Justice Project (WJP) in late October, dropping one rank in comparison to last year.

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