Turkey detains Cumhuriyet newspaper journalists

A man reads a copy of the latest edition of the Turkish daily newspaper "Cumhuriyet" during a demonstration outside the newspaper's headquarters in Istanbul on November 2,2016.Image copyright
AFP

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Cumhuriyet is widely seen as the last of Turkey’s independent newspapers

Nine journalists from Turkey’s pro-opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet have been arrested and remanded in custody by a court in Istanbul.

The newspaper’s editor, a well-known cartoonist, and an anti-government columnist were among those arrested.

They are the latest in a series of charges laid against critics of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

On Friday, nine politicians, including the leaders of the country’s pro-Kurdish HDP party, were also jailed.

A further nine officials from the HDP, including regional heads from the south-eastern province of Adana, were detained on Saturday.

The Cumhuriyet newspaper is one of the few Turkish media outlets which remains critical of Mr Erdogan.

Its journalists have been charged with links to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is accused of plotting the attempted July coup.

On the night of 15 July, rebel soldiers used military hardware including tanks and fighter jets in a failed attempt to seize control.

Since the coup attempt, a total of about 110,000 people have been sacked or suspended and 37,000 arrested.

Both the Cumhuriyet journalists and HDP politicians will be held in jail until trial. No date has been set for either hearing.

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

Supporters rallied outside the newspaper’s Istanbul headquarters on Wednesday

Cumhuriyet was one of four winners of the “alternative Nobel Prize” in October, alongside Syria’s White Helmets and others.

It was awarded “for their fearless investigative journalism and commitment to freedom of expression in the face of oppression, censorship, imprisonment and death threats.”

It also received the Freedom of the Press prize from Reporters Without Borders last year, which said the paper was “the target of frequent persecution by the Turkish regime.”

President Erdogan currently holds emergency powers in the aftermath of the failed July coup.

They allow the president and his cabinet to bypass parliament when drafting new laws and to restrict or suspend rights and freedoms.

Critics claim he is using those powers to silence opponents. At the beginning of November, 15 media outlets were closed and 10,000 civil servants were dismissed.

Turkey detains Cumhuriyet newspaper journalists

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