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Robert Cusack

Detained secular Turkish newspaper staff charged with 'terrorism'

The arrests sparked protests outside the opposition newspaper office earlier this week [AFP]

Date of publication: 5 November, 2016

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Prosecutors have brought charges against a number of journalists and executives of Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet who were detained in dawn raids earlier this week.
Nine employees from Turkey's Cumhuriyet newspaper - the country's oldest secular media outlet - have been formally arrested on terrorism charges.

A number of executives and columnists were detained by police during dawn-raids at their homes on 31 October amid a growing clamp-down on opposition media.

The newspaper responded by publishing details of the arrests under the headline You will be Shamed by History.

Among those arrested were Murat Sabuncu, the editor-in-chief, caricaturist Musa Kart, and board members Kadri Gursel, Guraz Tekin Oz, Mustafa Kemal Gungor, Turhan Gunay, Hakan Kara, Onder Celik and Bulent Utku.

According to the Istanbul prosecutor's office, they will all stand trial for "committing crimes on behalf of the Fethullahist Terror Organisation [supporters of opposition cleric Fethallah Gulen] and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)".

The columnists Hikmet Cetinkaya and Aydin Engin were released from custody on probation, but both handed travel bans.

The EU and US have voiced their opposition to the arrests while Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, has called the arrests "yet another red line".

Responding to Schulz's tweet, Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, told parliament: "Brother, we don't care about your red line. It's the people who draw the red line. What importance does your line have."

It is estimated that a total of 110,000 people have been sacked and 37,000 arrested since the July coup plot, which the government says was necessary to rid the country of coup supporters.

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