Yeni Asya journalist arrested over terror charges

Naciye Nur Ener Kılıç

Naciye Nur Ener, a journalist from the critical Yeni Asya daily, has been arrested on charges of being a member of a terror organization, the Yeni Asya daily announced on Monday.

Ener was detained by police teams who raided her house on Sunday night and was subsequently arrested by the İstanbul 4th Penal Court of Peace and sent to Bakırköy Women’s Prison in İstanbul.

The journalist was arrested based on a letter from an informant who accused Ener of being a follower of the faith-based Gülen movement and using a smart phone application known as ByLock, which is considered by the Turkish authorities as the top communication tool among followers of the Gülen movement.

Although the informant, an old friend of Ener, called the journalist and told her that they reported her to the police because of anger at somebody else and regrets what they did, this was not taken into consideration by the judicial authorities.

In her defense, Ener denied any links to the Gülen movement and using ByLock.

A statement released by the Yeni Asya daily on Monday called on Turkish authorities to give an end to the massacre of law in the country. The daily described Ener’s arrest as the latest and one of the most terrible examples of acts of unlawfulness that have escalated in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Stockholm Center for Freedom, an advocacy group that monitors rights violations in Turkey, issued a report on March 1, 2017, saying that the number of jailed journalist has reached to a new record of 200 with Germany’s Die Welt, Deniz Yücel being among new arrestees.

Of these journalists, 179 are arrested pending trial and without a conviction. Most of the journalists do not even know what the charges are or what evidence, if any, the government has because the indictments were not filed yet. Also, over 180 media outlets have been closed by AKP government last year.

Turkey experienced a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.

Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup. Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

In the currently ongoing post-coup purge, over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. As of March 1, 93,248 people were being held without charge, with an additional 46,274 in pre-trial detention.

A total of 7,316 academics were dismissed as 4,070 judges and prosecutors were purged over alleged coup involvement or terrorist links. (SCF with March 6, 2017


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