Turkey seeks arrest of owner, 3 staff of opposition daily — Since Turkey’s 15 July 2016 Coup Attempt, Erdogan Government Has Arrested and Detained More Than 300,000 Citizens


© AFP/File | Turkish authorities issued arrest warrants on Friday for the owner and three employees of opposition daily Sozcu, a report said

ANKARA (AFP) – Turkish authorities issued arrest warrants on Friday for the owner and three employees of opposition daily Sozcu, state media reported, as the crackdown on opposition media widened.

The owner, Burak Akbay, and the three others, including the executive in charge of the website, Mediha Olgun, are accused of links to the movement led by Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen blamed for last year’s failed coup, Anadolu news agency reported.

The fiercely anti-government and ultra-secularist daily whose name means “spokesman” is one of the country’s bestselling papers. Its slogan is: “If #Sozcu is silent, Turkey will be silent.”

Istanbul prosecutors issued the warrants for the four including correspondent Gokmen Ulu and Yonca Kaleli, a finance executive, CNN Turk broadcaster said.

Anadolu said Olgun had been detained and Akbay was out of the country.

However, Sozcu’s lawyer Ismail Yilmaz denied arrest warrants had been issued, telling the private Dogan news agency warrants had been issued to seize and search their belongings.

Yilmaz confirmed Olgun was in custody but said that could be in connection with another investigation, Dogan reported.

The four are accused of “committing crimes on behalf of an armed terror organisation”, referring to the Gulen movement, CNN Turk reported.

Turkey refers to the movement as the “Fethullah Terrorist Organisation” (FETO), but Gulen vehemently denies ordering the coup and the movement denies any terror charges.

CNN Turk said the suspects were wanted in connection with an online article published on the same day as the attempted coup on July 15 and the accusations levelled at them included “facilitating a real attack on the president”.

The article in question revealed details of where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was on holiday in the upmarket Aegean resort of Marmaris, CNN Turk said, and had images of his hotel.

Sozcu is the second daily to be targeted after another leading opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet saw 20 staff members charged under the state of emergency imposed after the attempted putsch.

The daily is on occasion rabidly anti Erdogan and its angry front pages are regarded with some suspicion by some liberal Turks critical of the president.

Its sometimes lurid approach contrasts with the more moderate tone of Cumhuriyet, one of the country’s oldest dailies.

According to the P24 press freedom website, there are 165 journalists behind bars in Turkey, most of whom were detained as part of the emergency imposed after the coup bid.


Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

Gülen Says Turkey’s Slide Into Authoritarianism Must Be Stopped In WP Article

On the day when Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will meet with his US counterpart Donald Trump at the White House, Turkish-Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen penned an article for the prestigious US daily Washington Post in which he called on Turkey’s European allies and the US to help Turkey stop its slide into authoritarianism and restore its democracy.

Gülen and the movement he inspired are being accused by Erdoğan and the Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP) government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, which resulted in the killing of 240 people. Gülen strongly denies any involvement in the coup.

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In the article, Gülen said the Turkey that he once knew as a hope-inspiring country on its way to consolidating its democracy and a moderate form of secularism has become the dominion of a president who is doing everything he can to amass power and subjugate dissent.

“The West must help Turkey return to a democratic path. Tuesday’s meeting, and the NATO summit next week, should be used as an opportunity to advance this effort,” he wrote.

The Islamic scholar stressed how Erdoğan has systematically persecuted innocent people since the failed coup attempt –arresting, detaining, firing and otherwise ruining the lives of more than 300,000 Turkish citizens, be they Kurds, Alevis, secularists, leftists, journalists, academics or participants of the Hizmet or Gülen movement, the peaceful humanitarian movement with which he is associated.

“As the coup attempt unfolded, I fiercely denounced it and denied any involvement. Furthermore, I said that anyone who participated in the putsch betrayed my ideals. Nevertheless, and without evidence, Erdoğan immediately accused me of orchestrating it from 5,000 miles away,” Gülen said.

According to the Islamic scholar, Erdoğan’s persecution of his people is not simply a domestic matter.

“The ongoing pursuit of civil society, journalists, academics and Kurds in Turkey is threatening the long-term stability of the country. The Turkish population already is strongly polarized on the AKP regime. A Turkey under a dictatorial regime, providing haven to violent radicals and pushing its Kurdish citizens into desperation, would be a nightmare for Middle East security.”

“The people of Turkey need the support of their European allies and the United States to restore their democracy. Turkey initiated true multiparty elections in 1950 to join NATO. As a requirement of its membership, NATO can and should demand that Turkey honor its commitment to the alliance’s democratic norms,” he wrote.

Gülen said two measures are critical to reversing the democratic regression in Turkey.

He suggested that a new civilian constitution should be drafted first through a democratic process involving the input of all segments of society and that is on par with international legal and humanitarian norms, and drawing lessons from the success of long-term democracies in the West.

The second measure Gülen proposed is the development of a school curriculum that emphasizes democratic and pluralistic values and encourages critical thinking. “Every student must learn the importance of balancing state powers with individual rights, the separation of powers, judicial independence and press freedom, and the dangers of extreme nationalism, politicization of religion and veneration of the state or any leader,” he said.

Yet, the Islamic scholar said before either of those things can happen, the Turkish government must stop the repression of its people and redress the rights of individuals who have been wronged by Erdoğan without due process.

“I probably will not live to see Turkey become an exemplary democracy, but I pray that the downward authoritarian drift can be stopped before it is too late,” added Gülen. (turkishminute.com) May 16, 2017


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Memebers of Turkey’s armed forces dropped the gear and ran during the 15 July 2016 Coup Attempt


Turkish coup commission head promises report soon


AFP photo

AFP photo

The head of a parliamentary commission investigating the July 15, 2016, failed coup and the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) has said a final report will soon be published, while adding that it would be wrong to expect it to be similar to an indictment.

“It would be wrong to expect the report to include the names of the suspects and the charges against them like an indictment because it’s a judicial process,” commission head and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Burdur lawmaker Reşat Petek told state-run Anadolu Agency on May 17, adding that the report would include how FETÖ, widely believed to have been behind the thwarted coup, infiltrated the state.

“The report will, of course, include the issues on FETÖ’s political leg, its relations with the political parties, how they collaborated and infiltrated [the state]. We will make evaluations in a general framework. The judiciary is conducting its duties already,” he said.
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The commission established to shed light on the coup attempt and the effects of secret organizations on politics started working on Oct. 4, 2016. The commission held a total of 22 meetings in three months and listened to 51 people.

The commission’s work was concluded four months ago and the writing process has been ongoing ever since.

Petek rejected criticism that the report has been late in coming, noting that examining the information obtained from both physical and digital environments and putting them into the report takes time.

“We haven’t adopted an understanding of leaving the work to commission experts and letting a report be issued. I’m looking into it personally. Examining this information takes time,” he said, adding that they obtained documents from a number of institutions, including the Justice and Interior Ministries, the Financial Crime Investigation Board (MASAK), the High Education Board (YÖK) and the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet).

Petek also said the report would consist of three parts, with the first examining the formation of FETÖ, its legal and illegal structures and the way it works.

“The July 15 coup attempt and how it was suppressed is the second part. In the conclusion, the precautions to prevent further coup attempts are included. Legal, administrative, educational and religious precautions are listed separately,” he said.

During the interview, Petek also said they were in the final stage of preparing the report and that the draft report was about to be finished. The commission will examine the draft report, receive additional views and then present the report to the parliament.

“We are not happy about this taking a long time. However, we can’t say ‘We should submit it quickly’ and prepare a hasty report. I care about this report a lot, because it will be presented to the parliament and will be addressed to the Turkish and global public,” he said.

Petek acknowledged that they did not lengthen the process despite Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and National Intelligence Agency (MİT) Chief Hakan Fidan’s refusal to answer the panel’s questions but said they were still expecting a wide-scale report from MİT.

“We are not extending the process just because of them. We expect an extensive report from MİT, and I know that efforts are being carried out. It will reach our commission and will contribute to our report,” he said.

The fact that Fidan and Akar have not testified to the commission has previously stirred debate, with the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) registering its criticism on the matter.




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One Response to “Turkey seeks arrest of owner, 3 staff of opposition daily — Since Turkey’s 15 July 2016 Coup Attempt, Erdogan Government Has Arrested and Detained More Than 300,000 Citizens”

  1. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

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