Posts Tagged ‘journalists’

Turkey’s President Erdogan Called a “Dictator” — Accused of Unlawful Meddling in the Judiciary — “Shoulder-to-shoulder against fascism.”

June 20, 2017

CAMLIDERE, Turkey — Turkey’s main opposition leader accused President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday of meddling in the judiciary and called him a “dictator”, as he extended his cross-country protest march against the jailing of a parliamentary ally into a sixth day.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, 68, head of the secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP), set out last week from the capital Ankara on a 425-km (265-mile) march to Istanbul after fellow party member Enis Berberoglu was jailed for 25 years on spying charges.

Image result for Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Turkey, photos

Kemal Kilicdaroglu

Berberoglu was the first CHP lawmaker to be imprisoned in a government crackdown that followed the abortive military coup in July 2016. More than 50,000 people have been jailed and more than 150,000 sacked or suspended from their jobs.

“I will always be on the side of justice. If someone tells me my rights are a favor, I will speak of his dictatorship. I say you (Erdogan) are a dictator,” Kilicdaroglu said in a speech after stopping at a national park near Camlidere, a rural area about 100 km outside of Ankara.

His comments were an apparent response to criticism from Erdogan over the weekend in which the president said justice should be sought in parliament and the CHP was only being allowed to march as a favor from the government.

Erdogan has likened the protesters who came out in support of Kilicdaroglu in Ankara and Istanbul to those who carried out the attempted coup, and said, “You should not be surprised if you receive an invitation from the judiciary.”

Kilicdaroglu responded on Tuesday by accusing the president of attempting to influence the judiciary. “If I prove that your government sends notices to the courts and gives them orders, will you resign your post like an honorable man?” he said.

Rights groups and government critics, including members of Kilicdaroglu’s CHP, say Turkey has been sliding toward authoritarianism since the coup bid. The government says its crackdown is necessary given vast security threats it is facing.

“I have been participating in the march since the beginning,” said one woman, 59, who declined to give her name. “We want justice for our children. This is the only reason we are marching.”

The slight, bespectacled Kilicdaroglu has so far clocked up a little more than 100 km, trudging along a highway westwards from Ankara and at times carrying a sign that says “Justice”.

CHP officials said he was eating only soup in the morning and over the course of the day the same food given to the roughly 1,000 other supporters marching with him.

He alternates between two pairs of trainers and at night massages his feet with salt to soothe the swelling. He sleeps overnight in a caravan specially prepared for him.

Kilicdaroglu, who aims to march to the jail where Berberoglu is being held, on Tuesday condemned the government’s purges, naming academics he said had been stripped of their posts for no reason and asking why journalists were being jailed.

Some 160 journalists are imprisoned in Turkey, according to the journalists union, and authorities have shut down 130 media outlets since the failed coup.

“Shoulder-to-shoulder against fascism,” and “justice, justice” chanted the crowd of around 1,000 on a hillside who listened to his speech. Some carried a banner that said: “You’ll never walk alone”.

The march is expected to last around 25 days, with participants walking some 16-20 km daily.

(Additional reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Writing by Daren Butler)

Report: Mexican Journalists, Activists Targeted With Spyware

June 19, 2017

MEXICO CITY — An internet watchdog has found that Mexican journalists, lawyers and activists were targeted by Israeli-produced spyware that is sold exclusively to governments.

A report published Monday by Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto says the targets included people investigating alleged government corruption and purported human rights abuses by security forces.

They received messages with links that, if clicked on, opened up their devices to being spied upon. Prominent journalists Carmen Aristegui and Carlos Loret de Mola were among those targeted.

The Mexican government issued a statement “categorically” denying spying on human rights defenders, journalists, anti-corruption activists or anyone else without proper judicial authorization.

Citizen Lab reported in February that the NSO Group spyware had been used against Mexican activists who campaigned against sugary drinks and junk food.

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President Enrique Peña Nieto, center, vowed last month to take concrete steps to ensure the safety of journalists in Mexico. Since 2011, the Mexican government has bought around $80 million worth of spyware for the stated purpose of combating crime. CreditAlfredo Estrella/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s most prominent human rights lawyers, journalists and anti-corruption activists have been targeted by advanced spyware sold to the Mexican government on the condition that it be used only to investigate criminals and terrorists.

The targets include lawyers looking into the mass disappearance of 43 students, a highly respected academic who helped write anti-corruption legislation, two of Mexico’s most influential journalists and an American representing victims of sexual abuse by the police. The spying even swept up family members, including a teenage boy.

Since 2011, at least three Mexican federal agencies have purchased about $80 million worth of spyware created by an Israeli cyberarms manufacturer. The software, known as Pegasus, infiltrates smartphones to monitor every detail of a person’s cellular life — calls, texts, email, contacts and calendars. It can even use the microphone and camera on phones for surveillance, turning a target’s smartphone into a personal bug.

The company that makes the software, the NSO Group, says it sells the tool exclusively to governments, with an explicit agreement that it be used only to battle terrorists or the drug cartels and criminal groups that have long kidnapped and killed Mexicans.

ding to dozens of messages examined by The New York Times and independent forensic analysts, the software has been used against some of the government’s most outspoken critics and their families, in what many view as an unprecedented effort to thwart the fight against the corruption infecting every limb of Mexican society.

“We are the new enemies of the state,” said Juan E. Pardinas, the general director of the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness, who has pushed anti-corruption legislation. His iPhone, along with his wife’s, was targeted by the software, according to an independent analysis. “Ours is a society where democracy has been eroded,” he said.

The deployment of sophisticated cyberweaponry against citizens is a snapshot of the struggle for Mexico itself, raising profound legal and ethical questions for a government already facing severe criticism for its human rights record. Under Mexican law, only a federal judge can authorize the surveillance of private communications, and only when officials can demonstrate a sound basis for the request.

It is highly unlikely that the government received judicial approval to hack the phones, according to several former Mexican intelligence officials. Instead, they said, illegal surveillance is standard practice.

“Mexican security agencies wouldn’t ask for a court order, because they know they wouldn’t get one,” said Eduardo Guerrero, a former analyst at the Center for Investigation and National Security, Mexico’s intelligence agency and one of the government agencies that use the Pegasus spyware. “I mean, how could a judge authorize surveillance of someone dedicated to the protection of human rights?”

“There, of course, is no basis for that intervention, but that is besides the point,” he added. “No one in Mexico ever asks for permission to do so.”

The hacking attempts were highly personalized, striking critics with messages designed to inspire fear — and get them to click on a link that would provide unfettered access to their cellphones.

Carmen Aristegui, one of Mexico’s most famous journalists, was targeted by a spyware operator posing as the United States Embassy in Mexico, instructing her to click on a link to resolve an issue with her visa. The wife of Mr. Pardinas, the anti-corruption activist, was targeted with a message claiming to offer proof that he was having an extramarital affair.

U.S. charges President Erdogan’s Washington security team with assault

June 15, 2017

AFP and Reuters

© AFP file photo

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-06-15

Washington prosecutors have charged a dozen Turkish security and police officers with assault after an attack on protesters during Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan visit to the U.S. capital last month, officials said on Thursday.

The daytime brawl outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in the city on May 16 left nine protesters injured and strained U.S.-Turkish relations.

A video posted online showed men in dark suits chasing protesters and punching and kicking them as Washington police struggled to intervene.

“I condemn this attack,” Mayor Muriel Bowser told reporters at a news conference announcing the charges. “It was an affront to our values.”

Arrest warrants for the members of Erdogan‘s security detail have been issued, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham said.

“If they attempt to enter the United States, they will be arrested,” he said.

Newsham said there was no probable cause to arrest Erdogan, who watched the confrontation unfold from a nearby car.

A total of 18 people have been charged in the incident. They include two Canadians and four Americans, according to prosecutors.

Two men were arrested on Wednesday. Sinan Narin of Virginia faces a charge of felony aggravated assault and misdemeanor assault, and Eyup Yildirim of New Jersey faces two charges of felony assault and a misdemeanor assault charge.

Some additional suspects still have not been identified, the police chief said.

(REUTERS)

Related:

Scroll down for video

Shocking footage has emerged showing violent clashes between people protesting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his supporters in Washington DC

Shocking footage has emerged showing violent clashes between people protesting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his supporters in Washington DC

Two elderly men - who were protesting against the Turkish leader - were pictured after the clashes with blood pouring from their heads

A protester with a megaphone is pictured with blood smeared across his face, hand, and clothing

Two elderly men – who were protesting against the Turkish leader – were pictured after the clashes with blood pouring from their heads

Protesters demonstrating against Turkish President Erdogan were attacked by what appeared to be suited bodyguards (left) of the president

Protesters demonstrating against Turkish President Erdogan were attacked by what appeared to be suited bodyguards (left) of the president

Flint Arthur, one of those at the protest against Erdogan, told CNN why they were demonstrating.

‘We are protesting (Erdogan’s) policies in Turkey, in Syria and in Iraq,’ he said, before turning the comments towards the tactics adopted by those supporting the president.

‘They think they can engage in the same sort of suppression of protest and free speech that they engage in in Turkey.

‘They stopped us for a few minutes … but we still stayed and continued to protest Erdogan’s tyrannical regime.’

This suited man - believed to be a bodyguard of the Turkish president - was filmed kicking a protester who was on the ground
This man tried to run away after kicking a woman who was on the ground

This suited man – believed to be a bodyguard of the Turkish president – was filmed kicking a female protester who was on the ground. Then he tried to run away

Men in suits were filmed at the start of the video running across the street to physically attack the protesters

Men in suits were filmed at the start of the video running across the street to physically attack the protesters

The men wearing suits appeared to start the physical altercations - based on videos posted online on Tuesday

The men wearing suits appeared to start the physical altercations – based on videos posted online on Tuesday

A woman (pictured) had to receive treatment after she was knocked down and kicked by men in suits

This man received treatment after he suffered a severe cut to the head

A woman (left) had to receive treatment after she was knocked down and kicked by men in suits, while the man on the right had a severe cut to the head

The Guardian reports protesters were carrying the flag of the Kurdish PYD party.

Doug Buchanan, a DC Fire and EMS spokesman, said two of those hurt were seriously injured and were taken to hospitals by ambulance.

He said by phone that emergency personnel were called to the residence about 4.30pm Tuesday.

Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck says the altercation broke out between two groups but he didn’t elaborate on the circumstances.

Police are seen securing the street outside the Turkish embassy on Tuesday after clashes broke out

Police are seen securing the street outside the Turkish embassy on Tuesday after clashes broke out

Washington Police (left and right) battled to control the wild scenes on Tuesday afternoon

The altercation (pictured) came the same day that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with President Donald Trump at the White House

Washington Police (left and right) battled to control the wild scenes on Tuesday afternoon

He said two people were arrested, including one who was charged with assaulting a police officer.

The altercation came the same day that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with President Donald Trump at the White House.

The State Department declined to comment.

Donald Trump welcomes President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to the White House for talks

Donald Trump welcomes President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to the White House for talks

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to the press following meetings with US President Donald Trump in the Roosevelt Room of the White House

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to the press following meetings with US President Donald Trump in the Roosevelt Room of the White House

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4513490/Turkish-president-s-bodyguards-attack-protesters-DC.html#ixzz4hK2xe6Wd
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

From March 31, 2016 —

Turkey Seeks Detention of 189 Lawyers in Post-Coup Probe — Fethullah Gulen and users of encrypted messaging

June 14, 2017

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. AFP/File photo

ANKARA — Turkish authorities issued detention warrants for 189 lawyers as part of an investigation into followers of a Muslim cleric accused of orchestrating last July’s attempted coup, state-run Anadolu news agency said on Wednesday.

The scope of purges that have also seen more than 130 media outlets shut down and some 150 journalists jailed has unnerved rights groups and Western allies, who fear President Tayyip Erdogan is using the coup bid as a pretext to muzzle dissent.

The 189 suspects were sought by anti-terrorist police across eight provinces including Istanbul for alleged links to the network of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, the agency said. He has denied involvement in the failed putsch.

Police have so far detained 78 of the lawyers, some believed to be users of ByLock, an encrypted messaging app the government says was used by Gulen’s followers.

Since the July coup attempt, authorities have jailed pending trial 50,000 people and sacked or suspended 150,000, including soldiers, police, teachers and public servants, over alleged links with terrorist groups, including Gulen’s network.

Erdogan says the crackdown is necessary due to the gravity of the coup attempt in which 240 people were killed.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Daren Butler and Ralph Boulton)

Egypt Blocks 21 Websites for ‘Terrorism’ and ‘Fake News’

May 25, 2017

CAIRO — Egypt has banned 21 websites, including the main website of Qatar-based Al Jazeera television and prominent local independent news site Mada Masr, accusing them of supporting terrorism and spreading false news.

The blockade is notable in scope and for being the first publicly recognised by the government. It was heavily criticised by journalists and rights groups.

The state news agency announced it late on Wednesday. Individual websites had been inaccessible in the past but there was never any official admission.

Reuters found the websites named by local media and were inaccessible.

The move follows similar actions taken on Wednesday by Egypt’s Gulf allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which blocked Al Jazeera and other websites after a dispute with Qatar.

Qatar said hackers had posted fake remarks by its emir criticising U.S. foreign policy but Saudi and UAE state-run media reported the comments anyway.

An official from Egypt’s National Telecom Regulatory Authority would not confirm or deny the blockage, but said: “So what if it is true? It should not be a problem.”

Two security sources told Reuters the 21 websites were blocked for being affiliated with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood or for being funded by Qatar.

Cairo accuses Qatar of supporting the Brotherhood, which was ousted from power in Egypt in 2013 when the military removed elected Islamist President Mohamed Mursi following mass protests against him.

Ties between Qatar and Egypt were badly damaged after Mursi’s fall. Doha welcomed a number of senior Brotherhood figures, although since then Qatar has asked several to leave.

Mada Masr, an Egyptian news website based in the country which describes itself as progressive and has no Islamist or Qatari affiliations, was also inaccessible.

Journalists at Mada Masr said the website was publishing articles on Facebook for now. It remains accessible outside Egypt or via proxy.

“Nothing explains this blockade more than a very clear intention from the authorities to crack down on critical media in ways that bypass the law,” Mada Masr Editor in Chief Lina Attalah told Reuters on Thursday.

The website is registered in Egypt and its journalists are based in the country, she said. No one from the government contacted the management before or after the 21 websites went down.

CLIMATE OF FEAR

Two other local websites, including that of a print newspaper registered with the authorities, were also down, as were several Brotherhood-affiliated websites and Egypt-focused ones that publish from abroad.

The Huffington Post’s Arabic website also was inaccessible, although the international version could be accessed.

State news agency MENA cited a senior security source as saying the websites were blocked because they supported terrorism and that the government would take legal action.

“A senior security source said 21 websites have been blocked inside Egypt for having content that supports terrorism and extremism as well as publishing lies,” MENA said.

Mahmoud Kamel, who sits on the board of Egypt’s official press union, said was a clear attack on freedom of speech.

“This move is unacceptable. We oppose all blocking of news websites but this is unfortunately part of the general climate of fear we are experiencing in Egypt,” he told Reuters.

Egyptian authorities have cracked down on the Islamist, secular and liberal opposition alike since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, then the military chief, toppled Mursi.

Since then, hundreds have been killed and thousands arrested, including journalists. Sisi told CNN in 2015 that Egypt has “unprecedented freedom of expression”.

(Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; Additional reporting by Ali Abdelaty, Eric Knecht and Ahmed Mohamed Hassan; Editing by Giles Elgood and Alison Williams)

Related:

Sisi’s Egypt cracks down on news websites

May 25, 2017

AFP

© EGYPTIAN PRESIDENCY/AFP/File / by Emmanuel Parisse | Rights activists accuse Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of running an ultra-authoritarian regime

CAIRO (AFP) – 

Egypt’s government, already accused of muzzling freedom of expression and opposition to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has blocked access to a host of news websites including Qatar’s Al-Jazeera.

Around 20 websites based in Qatar and Egypt have been inaccessible since Wednesday night, including the Doha newspapers Al-Watan and Al-Raya, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Ikhwan Online and Egypt-based Al-Sharq television which is close to the outlawed group.

Independent sites such as Mada Masr, which takes a strong stand against corruption, and Huffpost Arabi, the Arabic edition of the Huffington Post, have also been cut for Egyptian web surfers.

It is not the first time that Al-Jazeera has run foul of Sisi’s administration.

Cairo has accused the network of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood which it blames for violence after Sisi ousted the movement from power in 2013.

Three Al-Jazeera journalists, including a Canadian and an Australian, were detained between 2013 and 2015, triggering international protests.

Timothy Kaldas, a non-resident fellow at the Washington-based Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, said the latest crackdown appeared to be aimed at curbing discontent in Egypt and enacted without fear of consequences.

“More and more people are frustrated in Egypt in general. So they want to stop the critical information which could increase the frustration,” he said.

And after Sisi met US President Donald Trump last weekend, Cairo had “realised there will be no pressure coming from the United States … whereas before they would have been criticised”.

– Down tools and stay silent –

On Thursday, Mada Masr posted on its Twitter account a cartoon of a man in front of a closed wooden door standing in the desert with the caption: “We have confirmed Mada Masr’s website has been blocked. Stay tuned on how to find us again.”

Huffpost Arabi, in a tweet of its own, calls on readers to use its Facebook page.

An anti-terrorism law, adopted in August 2015, lays down stiff penalties for publishing “false information” on attacks in Egypt that contradicts official reports from the country’s defence ministry, stirring condemnation from rights groups.

A growing list of media personalities have since either decided to down tools and stay silent or run into trouble with the judiciary.

In March, a former head of Egypt’s journalists’ union, Yehya Kallache, and two aides were handed suspended one-year prison sentences for having sheltered two journalists on the run.

Heart surgeon-turned-comedian Bassem Youssef used to host the most popular political satire television show in the history of Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous nation.

Dubbed Egypt’s Jon Stewart, Youssef ignored all the rules governing the state-controlled media, lampooning politicians from across the spectrum.

But his show “El Bernameg” went off the air in 2014 and he left the country with his family to resettle in Los Angeles.

Such cases have added fuel to accusations by rights activists that Sisi is running an ultra-authoritarian regime which has suppressed all opposition since the military toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

In the 2017 press freedom index published by watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Egypt ranks 161st out of 180 countries.

by Emmanuel Parisse

The Latest: US, Turkey in Dispute Over Fight in Washington (Photos & Video — You Decide)

May 22, 2017

ANKARA, Turkey — The Latest on relations between the U.S. and Turkey: (all times local):

9:45 p.m.

Turkey is protesting what it calls “aggressive and unprofessional actions” by American security personnel against Turkish bodyguards during a violent incident last week in Washington.

Officials haven’t specified the actions by U.S. security officials it deems inappropriate.

A senior U.S. official says Turkey on Monday summoned the American ambassador, John Bass, to air its grievances. The official says Bass has told Turkey’s government that its guards violated U.S. laws.

The guards accompanied Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his visit to Washington. They were seen hitting and kicking protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence, and a video shows Erdogan watching the melee.

U.S. and Turkish officials disagree about what prompted the violence. Pressure is mounting on the Trump administration not to let the incident on U.S. soil go unpunished.

Related:

Scroll down for video

Shocking footage has emerged showing violent clashes between people protesting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his supporters in Washington DC

Shocking footage has emerged showing violent clashes between people protesting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his supporters in Washington DC

Two elderly men - who were protesting against the Turkish leader - were pictured after the clashes with blood pouring from their heads

A protester with a megaphone is pictured with blood smeared across his face, hand, and clothing

Two elderly men – who were protesting against the Turkish leader – were pictured after the clashes with blood pouring from their heads

Protesters demonstrating against Turkish President Erdogan were attacked by what appeared to be suited bodyguards (left) of the president

Protesters demonstrating against Turkish President Erdogan were attacked by what appeared to be suited bodyguards (left) of the president

Flint Arthur, one of those at the protest against Erdogan, told CNN why they were demonstrating.

‘We are protesting (Erdogan’s) policies in Turkey, in Syria and in Iraq,’ he said, before turning the comments towards the tactics adopted by those supporting the president.

‘They think they can engage in the same sort of suppression of protest and free speech that they engage in in Turkey.

‘They stopped us for a few minutes … but we still stayed and continued to protest Erdogan’s tyrannical regime.’

This suited man - believed to be a bodyguard of the Turkish president - was filmed kicking a protester who was on the ground
This man tried to run away after kicking a woman who was on the ground

This suited man – believed to be a bodyguard of the Turkish president – was filmed kicking a female protester who was on the ground. Then he tried to run away

Men in suits were filmed at the start of the video running across the street to physically attack the protesters

Men in suits were filmed at the start of the video running across the street to physically attack the protesters

The men wearing suits appeared to start the physical altercations - based on videos posted online on Tuesday

The men wearing suits appeared to start the physical altercations – based on videos posted online on Tuesday

A woman (pictured) had to receive treatment after she was knocked down and kicked by men in suits

This man received treatment after he suffered a severe cut to the head

A woman (left) had to receive treatment after she was knocked down and kicked by men in suits, while the man on the right had a severe cut to the head

The Guardian reports protesters were carrying the flag of the Kurdish PYD party.

Doug Buchanan, a DC Fire and EMS spokesman, said two of those hurt were seriously injured and were taken to hospitals by ambulance.

He said by phone that emergency personnel were called to the residence about 4.30pm Tuesday.

Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck says the altercation broke out between two groups but he didn’t elaborate on the circumstances.

Police are seen securing the street outside the Turkish embassy on Tuesday after clashes broke out

Police are seen securing the street outside the Turkish embassy on Tuesday after clashes broke out

Washington Police (left and right) battled to control the wild scenes on Tuesday afternoon

The altercation (pictured) came the same day that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with President Donald Trump at the White House

Washington Police (left and right) battled to control the wild scenes on Tuesday afternoon

He said two people were arrested, including one who was charged with assaulting a police officer.

The altercation came the same day that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with President Donald Trump at the White House.

The State Department declined to comment.

Donald Trump welcomes President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to the White House for talks

Donald Trump welcomes President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to the White House for talks

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to the press following meetings with US President Donald Trump in the Roosevelt Room of the White House

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to the press following meetings with US President Donald Trump in the Roosevelt Room of the White House

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4513490/Turkish-president-s-bodyguards-attack-protesters-DC.html#ixzz4hK2xe6Wd
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

From March 31, 2016 —

White House sources told Peace and Freedom in March 2016 that Erdogan was insulted by President Obama’s conduct toward him and the fact that he was “pushed off into the arms of Joe Biden.” We tried to white an “upbeat” headline which you see above…

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

May 19, 2017

AFP

© 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.

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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.

Image may contain: text

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

http://www.france24.com/en/20170519-turkey-seeks-arrest-owner-3-staff-opposition-daily-report

Image result

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

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Turkish coup commission head promises report soon

ANKARA

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.

May/18/2017

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Suicide bombers storm state TV station in eastern Afghanistan

May 17, 2017

AFP

© Noorullah Shirzada, AFP | Afghan security personnel guard a checkpoint on the outskirts of Jalalabad on April 28, 2017.

Latest update : 2017-05-17

Suicide bombers stormed the national television station in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad on Wednesday, triggering gunfights and explosions as journalists remained trapped inside the building, officials said.

At least two people were killed and 14 others wounded in the ongoing assault, which underscores the growing dangers faced by media workers in Afghanistan.

No insurgent group has so far claimed responsibility for the raid in Nangarhar province, a hotbed of Islamic State jihadists, where the US military dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb last month in an unprecedented attack.

“Four attackers entered the RTA (Radio Television Afghanistan) building this morning. Two blew themselves up and two others are still resisting,” government spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told AFP. He had earlier said there were three attackers.

“At least two civilians have been killed and 14 others wounded so far,” Kohgyani said, with a health worker telling AFP that many of those brought to hospital suffered gunshot wounds.

An RTA photographer said he fled the building as soon as the gunfight erupted, but many of his colleagues were still stuck inside.

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At least 17 wounded taken to main hospital in Jalalabad. 2 wounded in critical conditions, direc health Nin. Photos shared by a friend

Islamic State insurgents are active in Nangarhar province, of which Jalalabad is the capital.

The US military last month dropped the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb — dubbed the “Mother Of All Bombs” — on IS positions in Nangarhar, killing dozens of jihadists.

The bombing triggered global shock waves, with some condemning the use of Afghanistan as what they called a testing ground for the weapon, and against a militant group that is not considered as big a threat as the resurgent Taliban.

According to the US Forces-Afghanistan, defections and recent battlefield losses have reduced the local IS presence from a peak of as many as 3,000 fighters to a maximum of 800.

Deadly country for media

The Pentagon has reportedly asked the White House to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan to break the deadlocked fight against the Taliban.

US troops in Afghanistan number about 8,400 today, and there are another 5,000 from NATO allies, who also mainly serve in an advisory capacity — a far cry from the US presence of more than 100,000 six years ago.

Wednesday’s attack marks the latest militant assault on an Afghan media organisation.

Afghanistan suffered its deadliest year on record for journalists in 2016, according to the Afghan Journalists’ Safety Committee (AJSC), adding that the country is the second most dangerous for reporters in the world after Syria.

Soldiers in the Afghan Army capturing a suspected militant after an attack on a TV station in Jalalabad, in Afghanistan, on Wednesday, May 17, 2017. Witnesses reported multiple loud explosions and gunfire.Credit Ghulamullah Habibi/European Pressphoto Agency

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As least 13 journalists were killed last year, AJSC said, claiming that the Taliban was behind at least ten of the deaths.

In January last year, seven employees of popular TV channel Tolo, which is often critical of the insurgents, were killed in a Taliban suicide bombing in Kabul in what the militant group said was revenge for “spreading propaganda” against them.

It was the first major attack on an Afghan media organisation since the Taliban were ousted from power in 2001 and spotlighted the dangers faced by journalists as the security situation worsens.

Dan Coats, the head of US intelligence agencies, warned last week that the security situation “will also almost certainly deteriorate through 2018, even with a modest increase in the military assistance by the US”.

US-led forces have been fighting in Afghanistan for almost 16 years, making it America’s longest war.

Turkey orders arrests of energy and education staff — When will the “post coup crackdown” end? — More than 150,000 people detained or sacked from government positions

May 16, 2017

Turkey has issued warrants to arrest more than 85 government officials, domestic media report. The latest roundup has targeted staff members from the Energy and Education ministries.

Türkei Sincan Gefängnis in Ankara (Getty Images/AFP/A. Altan)

Turkey’s government has ordered 85 more officials arrested, domestic media report. The latest wave of arrests affects the Energy and Education ministries, according to CNN Turk.

The arrests come a day after a court ordered the online editor of the opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet jailed pending trial on a charge of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization,” in the words of Turkey’s official Anadolu press agency.

Oguz Güven Türkei (picture alliance/abaca)Guven was detained Monday morning in Istanbul

Oguz Guven joins a dozen Cumhuriyet journalists already in jail and facing sentences of up to 43 years in prison.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – who will meet his US counterpart, Donald Trump, in Washington later on Tuesday – has sought the extradition of the Pennsylvania-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom he accuses of masterminding last July’s failed coup attempt. In the past 10 months, Erdogan has ordered the arrests of several academics, members of the press and the staff of multiple government agencies.

Read: That’s rich: Turks seek escape to Greece

Many Turks initially supported Erdogan’s mass detentions after last July’s failed putsch, in which rogue troops allegedly commandeered warplanes to bomb the parliament and used tanks to kill 240 people. But criticism has mounted as the arrests have widened, with relatives of many of the now more than 150,000 people detained or sacked from government positions denying their loved ones’ involvement in the coup and calling them victims of a purge.

mkg/rc (Reuters, AFP)

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