Turkey frees seven news­pa­per work­ers

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

ISTANBUL — Seven staff mem­bers of an op­po­si­tion news­pa­per were re­leased from a Turk­ish jail early Sat­ur­day pend­ing the out­come of their trial on charges of aid­ing ter­ror or­ga­ni­za­tions.

A court ruled for the re­lease of Cumhuriyet news­pa­per’s car­toon­ist Musa Kart and six oth­ers Fri­day, but or­dered four oth­ers to re­main held.

The daily news­pa­per is staunchly op­posed to Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan and is one of the few re­main­ing out­lets in Turkey crit­i­cal of the gov­ern­ment.

A to­tal of 19 de­fen­dants went on trial Mon­day on charges of aid­ing sev­eral out­lawed or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing Kur­dish mil­i­tants, a far-left group and the net­work of U.S.-based cleric Fethul­lah Gulen, whom the gov­ern­ment blames for a failed coup last year.

Upon be­ing re­leased from prison, Kart told re­porters they had been im­pris­oned for nine months for “un­just, law­less, base­less al­le­ga­tions.” He said the in­dict­ment would col­lapse with their re­lease.

Their fam­i­lies and sup­port­ers em­braced them out­side the prison on the out­skirts of Istanbul. The terms of their re­lease bar them from leav­ing Turkey.

Cumhuriyet’s ed­i­tor-in-chief Mu­rat Sabuncu, in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist Ah­met Sik, promi­nent colum­nist Kadri Gursel and chair­man Akin Ata­lay re­main be­hind bars.

The Cumhuriyet ar­rests are part of a wider crack­down in the af­ter­math of last sum­mer’s coup at­tempt that has led to the im­pris­on­ment of more than 50,000 peo­ple.

The trial was ad­journed un­til Sept. 11.


Peo­ple out­side a court Fri­day in Istanbul protest as jour­nal­ists who op­pose Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan are put on trial. The head­lines read: “Free­dom.”

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