Istanbul police on August 10, 2017, detained Ahmet Sağırlı, who was a columnist for the pro-government daily Türkiye until he was fired a week before his arrest, according to news reports. CPJ was unable to determine the reason for the journalist’s dismissal.
Sağırlı was one of 35 journalists and media workers whose arrest a Turkish court mandated the week before as part of a sweeping purge of suspected followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to reports. The Turkish government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and “parallel state structure” (FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey and alleges that it masterminded a failed July 2016 military coup.
Sağırlı’s arrest is part of an investigation into journalists and others who allegedly used the Bylock app, according to press reports. Authorities allege that use of the encrypted messaging app is proof of FETÖ/PDY membership.
Turkey issued arrest warrants for 35 journalists and media workers. Of those, nine were ordered to be jailed pending trial and as of late 2017, two were released under house arrest, including Sağırlı, according to news reports.
As of late 2017, no court date had been scheduled. CPJ was unable to find details of a lawyer who could provide further information on the case, or to review a copy of the indictment.