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Turkey detains editor of opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet

Demonstrators at paper's headquarters waved copies of Monday edition with headline 'Coup against opposition' [Getty]

Date of publication: 31 October, 2016

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Turkish police detained the editor-in-chief of the opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet on Monday, the latest move against the daily that has published revelations embarrassing for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government.
Turkish police detained the editor-in-chief of the opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet on Monday, the latest move against the daily that has published revelations embarrassing for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government.

The newspaper said a dozen staff members were detained in early morning raids as part of a widening crackdown against opposition media which has seen dozens of journalists held.

The detentions come after Turkish authorities fired more than 10,000 civil servants at the weekend and closed 15 pro-Kurdish and other media outlets, the latest purge since the July coup bid.

Cumhuriyet editor Murat Sabuncu was detained and police were hunting for its executive board chairman Akin Atalay, the official news agency Anadolu said.

The Istanbul prosecutor said an investigation had been launched into allegations the paper's output was "legitimising" the attempted putsch.

Demonstrators at the paper's headquarters waved copies of the Monday edition which bore the headline "Coup against opposition".

Cumhuriyet said an arrest warrant was also issued for its former editor-in-chief Can Dundar who was sentenced to jail in May for allegedly revealing state secrets in a high-profile case that triggered alarm about the state of press freedom in Turkey.

The newspaper had accused the government of seeking to illicitly deliver arms bound for Islamist rebels in Syria. Erdogan had warned Dundar he would "pay a heavy price".

Dundar is now believed to be in Germany after he was freed earlier this year pending an appeal.

The International Press Institute said on Twitter an arrest warrant was issued for one of the rights group's board members, Kadri Gursel, who also wrote for the daily.

The latest detentions came as the authorities pressed on with a massive crackdown over a failed bid to overthrow Erdogan by a rogue military faction.

Turkey has been under a state of emergency since the failed putsch blamed on exiled Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.

The Istanbul prosecutor said in a statement quoted by Turkish media that the newspaper and its owner the Cumhuriyet Foundation were being investigated over links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Gulen movement.

The probe was looking at whether Cumhuriyet committed crimes on behalf of the two "terror organisations", the prosecutor said.

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