Counterterrorism police in the southern province of Antalya on July 23, 2016, detained Osman Yakut, a former reporter for the shuttered daily Zaman,, as part of a sweeping purge of journalists and others suspected of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to press reports. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and “parallel state structure” (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed July 15, 2016, military coup.
Zaman was among the more than 100 news outlets the government closed by decree on July 27, 2016, using emergency powers it assumed after the attempted coup, saying the media outlets were FETÖ/PDY mouthpieces. Since then, CPJ research shows that Turkish authorities have jailed dozens of Zaman journalists pending trial on terrorism-related offenses.
On July 26, 2016, a criminal court in Antalya ordered Yakut and eight other journalists detained in Antalya to be jailed pending trial on charges they are FETÖ/PDY propagandists, according to press reports. The reports gave no further details.
As of September 2017, only three of the detained journalists, including Yakut, remained in prison, according to a local journalist who has followed the case and who spoke with CPJ on the condition of anonymity.
According to the indictment, all the defendants are charged with “being a member of a [terrorist] organization.”
Prosecutors cited as evidence against Yakut his social media posts, employment at Zaman, and that he stayed at a Gülenist dormitory while in college. Yakut denied the charge and said that he is only a journalist, according to a copy of his testimony that was included in the indictment.
The journalist is detained in Antalya prison.