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Turkey: freed journalists' rallying call for press freedom

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By Sarah Chappell
Turkey: freed journalists' rallying call for press freedom

<p>Turkey has released two prominent journalists after the country’s top court ruled that their detention had violated their rights. </p> <p>Can Dundar, the editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet newspaper, and Erdem Gul, the paper’s Ankara bureau chief, have been released pending their trial in March on espionage charges. They were arrested in November.</p> <p>“We think it was a historic ruling by the Constitutional Court. This ruling has paved the way for freedom of the press, freedom of speech,” Dundar told a crowd of media and supporters after the journalists’ release in Silivri, Istanbul province.</p> <p>“They (the court) has proved that they are not bound by the (presidential) palace. It will open the way for a press that will not be under the pressure of the palace,” Dundar continued.</p> <p>Standing beside him, Gul warned of the limitations on press freedom in Turkey, saying: “We are getting out, but this does not mean that the dispute over jailed journalists is over. We still have friends in prison. Our struggle for them must continue.”</p> <p>Dundar and Gul were charged with aiding a terrorist organisation and jeopardising state security after Cumhuriyet published reporting and videos, which the newspaper said showed Turkish intelligence officials transporting weapons to Syria in 2014.</p> <p>The charges, which Dundar and Gul deny, carry a life sentence.</p> <p>The International Federation of Journalists (<span class="caps">IFJ</span>) has called for the Turkish authorities to “drop all charges against Can Dundar and Erdem Gul and to release the 30 other journalists still held behind bars”.</p>