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Turkey Arrests Journalists Over Suspected Coup Links

Turkey Arrests Journalists Over Suspected Coup LinksTurkey Arrests Journalists Over Suspected Coup Links

A Turkish court formally arrested two opposition newspaper employees late on Friday as part of a media crackdown that has alarmed rights groups and Turkey’s western allies, the state-run Anadolu Agency said.

Last week, Turkey issued arrest warrants for the owner and three employees of the Sozcu newspaper, accusing them of committing crimes on behalf of the network of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, blamed by Ankara for masterminding last July’s failed coup. Gulen denies the charge, Reuters reported.

The two employees arrested were Mediha Olgun, Sozcu’s Internet editor, and Gokmen Ulu, its correspondent for the Izmir Province, said Anadolu and the paper, which is fiercely critical of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AK Party.

Since the failed coup, Turkish authorities have shut more than 130 media outlets and a press union says more than 150 journalists have been jailed, raising concerns about media freedom in a country that aspires to join the European Union.

The arrests of Sozcu’s staff came days after a court jailed the online editor of another opposition newspaper, Cumhuriyet, pending trial, on the charge of spreading terrorist propaganda.

About a dozen journalists from Cumhuriyet, long a pillar of Turkey’s old secularist establishment, are already in jail facing sentences of up to 43 years, accused of supporting Gulen’s network.

The two jailed Sozcu journalists face charges, including “knowingly aiding and abetting the FETO terrorist organization without being part of its hierarchical structure”, and “aiding the assassination attempt of the president”, Anadolu and the newspaper said.

The Turkish authorities call Gulen’s network, which it labels a terrorist organization, the “Gulenist Terror Organization (FETO)”.

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