A court in Istanbul on Monday ruled to continue the pretrial detention of 17 staff members from Turkey’s leading opposition newspaper the Cumhuriyet Daily#.
They were arrested in November and December 2016 and charged with aiding terror organisations after last July’s failed coup against President Erdogan
A protest was held outside the court and was attended by Christophe Deloire, Secretary-General of Reporters Without Borders:
“Unfortunately, the situation is worse and worse, month after month and Erdogan succeeded to suppress pluralism and free press in this country.”
MP’s from the main opposition CHP party made a statement outside the court waving copies of the newspaper.
Cumhuriyet Newspaper Ankara Representative Erdem Gül was critical of the Turkish government’s policy towards free speech:
“Turkey holds a record, a record of imprisoned journalists, 170 journalists. Everyone who is not with the government is a terrorist in Turkey. They can accuse you of being in any terror organization. But it is journalism, freedom of thought and expression that are on trial.”
Prosecutors are seeking up to 43 years in jail for the paper’s staff, including some of Turkey’s best-known journalists.