Turkey: police detain opposition Cumhuriyet editor and journalists

Turkey: police detain opposition Cumhuriyet editor and journalists
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There was turmoil at Turkey’s opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet on Monday morning after its editor was arrested by police.

Reports say around a dozen other journalists have also been detained after over a dozen arrest warrants were issued for members of staff. Homes of the paper’s executives and writers are said to have been searched.

It’s the latest move in a wide-ranging crackdown on the media and other professions.

At the weekend a further 10,000 civil servants were sacked and 15 more media outlets closed.

The detained editor, Murat Sabuncu, and the others are accused by prosecutors of committing crimes for the movement of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, as well as Kurdish militants.

Turkish authorities blame Gulenists for the failed coup in July, though he has denied involvement.

In August an investigation was launched into several Cumhuriyet executives after allegations that the paper’s publications legitimised the coup attempt.

The previous editor Can Dundar was sentenced to six years jail for publishing state secrets involving Ankara’s Syria operations. He lives in exile in Europe and recently “told euronews”: it was the worst period in Turkish history for media oppression.

More than 100,000 people have been sacked or suspended and 37,000 arrested since the failed putsch. President Erdogan says the crackdown is crucial to nullify Gulen’s network from the state apparatus.

The campaign group Reporters Without Borders said last week that government control of the media in Turkey was “almost complete”.