Turkey charges journalist with 'terror propaganda'

Award-winning Sik is one of the country's best-known journalists and previously was in jail between 2011 and 2012.

Turkey charges journalist with 'terror propaganda'

World Bulletin / News Desk

An Istanbul court Friday charged a prize-winning journalist with "terror propaganda" over a series of social media postings and articles, state media reported, as fears grow over freedom of expression in Turkey.

Ahmet Sik was detained a day earlier over tweets about the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), proscribed as a "terror organisation" by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.

He was also remanded in custody over articles for the Cumhuriyet opposition daily that criticised the Turkish secret services, state-run news agency Anadolu said.

Anadolu reported Sik was also accused of making propaganda for the ultra-leftist Revolutionary People's Liberation Party–Front (DHKP-C) and the group led by US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen blamed for the July 15 failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Gulen's movement is referred to by Turkish authorities as the "Fethullah Terrorist Organisation" (FETO). The movement insists it is a peaceful group promoting moderate Islam.

In recent years, there have been sporadic attacks by radicals from the outlawed DHKP-C, which seeks a Marxist revolution in Turkey among the working classes but also espouses a fiercely anti-Western and anti-NATO agenda.

Before Sik was taken to court, he refused to answer police questions, Hurriyet reported.

"Journalism cannot be questioned like this. This is a repetition of what happened five years ago," the investigative journalist was quoted as saying by his lawyer.

The author of several books including one of the few full-scale investigations into Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania and denies any links to the attempted putsch.

The book, called "The Imam's Army", examines how Gulen supporters infiltrated the Turkish bureaucracy and built up an alliance with the ruling party that has since collapsed.

Sik had previously been imprisoned for 375 days during the investigation into the so-called Ergenekon alleged coup plot against the government.

That case was strongly supported by Gulen but amid accusations he perverted the process, the convictions were quashed and suspects released.

The arrest will add to activists' increasing concerns over the state of press freedom in Turkey after state of emergency decrees were used to shut down over 100 media outlets.

According to the P24 Platform for Independent Journalism, 118 journalists have been arrested during the emergency imposed a few days after the coup bid, 80 of them within the coup probe.

 

Last Mod: 31 Aralık 2016, 09:05
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