Turkish prosecutor seeks prison sentences for journalists who covered alleged judicial corruption

Photo: MLSA

A Turkish prosecutor has demanded prison sentences for journalists Faruk Eren and Furkan Karabay on charges of “targeting officials fighting terrorism” due to their coverage of allegations of corruption within the judiciary, the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) reported.

During a hearing at an Ankara court on Tuesday, the prosecutor claimed that Karabay’s news coverage and social media commentary on the allegations “went beyond the scope of his right to free speech.”

The prosecutor also held Eren accountable as the editor-in-chief of the Gerçek Gündem news website, where Karabay published his news, on the grounds that “he could not have been unaware” of Karabay’s publications and posts.

The two journalists have been put on trial upon a complaint by İrfan Fidan, a member of the Constitutional Court who was implicated in the allegations.

Karabay was arrested in late December and spent more than a week in pretrial detention.

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 last year.

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 previous year.

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