Protesters in Silivri, Turkey demonstrate in support of journalists and staff from the Cumhuriyet newspaper who Turkish officials have accused of aiding terror organizations. Their trial is part of a larger media crackdown under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of September 10, 2017

By Özgür Öğret/CPJ Turkey Representative on September 11, 2017 11:21 AM ET

Court orders four Cumhuriyet managers and journalists to remain in custody for trial

A Turkish court remanded four members of the Cumhuriyet newspaper yesterday who are on trial for terrorism-related charges, according to reports from their employer and Reuters.

The court ruled that Akın Atalay, a lawyer and chairman of Cumhuriyet Foundation's board of directors, Murat Sabuncu, the paper's chief editor, Kadri Gürsel, a columnist and publishing adviser and Turkish National Committee chair of the International Press Institute, and Ahmet Şık a reporter, will remain in custody during the trial.

Seven of the other co-accused in this case were released in July pending the conclusion of their trial, CPJ documented at the time.

The next hearing is due to take place September 25.

Turkish prosecutors accuse the journalists of being or aiding followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom the government accuses of masterminding a failed military coup in July 2016, and of aiding the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Turkey classifies as a terrorist group. The journalists deny the charges.

Turkey is the world's worst jailer of journalists, according to CPJ research.

[September 12, 2017]

Turkish minister accuses BBC of terrorism

Turkey's interior minister yesterday accused the local BBC service of terrorism after the broadcaster reported on a Turkish drone strike in the country's southeastern Hakkari province that left four dead, according to the daily Evrensel.

The minister, Süleyman Soylu, said on Twitter and in a statement on his personal website that the BBC purposefully distorted what happened in the August 31 strike in a report entitled "The Armed Drone Debate: What Happened in Hakkari?"

The BBC report covered a disagreement by Turkish authorities and the opposition over who was killed in the strike. Turkish authorities, including Soylu, have said the strike targeted and killed four members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Members of the opposition contend those killed by the strike were civilians.

The BBC report included interviews with relatives of the deceased who denied that their family members had any connections to the PKK, and showed public statements that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made on the strike.

In his statement, Soylu said that the BBC collaborated with opposition members to "revitalize" the PKK.

[September 11, 2017]

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