Turkish prosecutor extends detention of investigative journalist Öztürk

The İstanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday extended the detention of Ece Sevim Öztürk, a journalist known for her investigative reporting on a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

Öztürk, also the editor-in-chief of the Çağdaş Ses news website, was detained by İstanbul police on June 8 over “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 Çağdaşses 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.

Critics of Öztürk claimed her news bites have been “acquitting” the Gülen movement, which was accused of masterminding the coup attempt by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and nationalists.

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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