Authorities in the eastern city of Elazığ on July 9 released from custody journalist Şerife Oruç, who is on trial for terrorism-related charges, the news website Gazete Karınca reported. Her trial is ongoing.
A local Elazığ court ordered Oruç’s release on July 9, but authorities initially took her back into custody as she was exiting prison, citing an outstanding arrest warrant against her in another case, the website reported. The journalist was then taken to the local courthouse, the outstanding warrant was cancelled, and she was released the same day, pending the conclusion of her trial, according to Gazete Karınca.
According to CPJ research, Oruç had been in detention since July 4, 2016, and previously worked as a reporter for the pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency (DİHA).
Three newspapers shuttered
Turkey’s National Security Council, chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on July 8 shuttered three newspapers– Özgürlükçü Demokrasi and Welat, two pro-Kurdish dailies, and the leftist local weekly Halkın Nabzı–under a decree issued earlier that day, the independent news website Bianet reported.
The new decree, no. 701, allows the council to shutter newspapers for allegedly maintaining ties with terrorist organizations or taking actions against national security interests. Under the decree, the government can transfer the shuttered media organizations’ assets to the national treasury.
İhsak Karakaş, chief editor for Halkın Nabzı, told news website Demokrat Haber that he was not aware of any legal investigations into his outlet and said he believes that the paper’s editorial stance, along with critical tweets he made earlier this year about Turkey’s military action in Syria, pushed the government to shutter Halkın Nabzı.
Turkish authorities closed three news agencies, 16 television stations, 23 radio stations, 45 newspapers, 15 magazines, and 29 publishing houses and distribution companies under various decrees from July- December 2016 following the failed coup attempt, and have subsequently shuttered countless others, CPJ has documented.