Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Istanbul office of an opposition newspaper on Friday, accusing the government of silencing critics and attempting to cover-up a scandal after two journalists were jailed on terror and espionage charges for their reports on alleged Turkish arms smuggling to Syria.
Cumhuriyet newspaper’s editor-in-chief Can Dundar and the paper’s Ankara representative Erdem Gul, were sent to a prison in Istanbul late on Thursday, accused of willingly aiding a terror organization and revealing state secrets.
In May, the paper published what it said were images of Turkish trucks carrying ammunition to Syrian militants.
The images reportedly date back to January last year, when local authorities searched Syria-bound trucks, touching off a standoff with Turkish intelligence officials.
Cumhuriyet said the images were proof that Turkey was smuggling arms to rebels in Syria.
The government had initially denied the trucks were carrying arms, maintaining that the cargo consisted of humanitarian aid. However, some officials later suggested that the trucks were in fact carrying arms or ammunition destined to Turkmen in Syria.
Prosecutors launched an investigation into the journalists after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan filed a criminal complaint.
Crowds filled the yard and a street outside of Cumhuriyet’s headquarters, chanting: “Free press cannot be silenced.”
Turkish Opposition legislator Baris Yarkadas said: “The government does not want any journalist to see what kind of a calamity they have involved Turkey in.”
US Department of State Deputy spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement that the US is troubled by the arrests.
“The investigation, criminal charges, and arrest raise serious concerns about the Turkish government’s commitment to the fundamental principle of media freedom,” the statement said.
At a separate protest in Ankara, police used tear gas to break up a gathering of journalists hoping to march to Cumhuriyet’s office in the city.
The US embassy expressed concern over the arrests of Dundar and Erdem.
“We hope the Turkish courts and authorities will uphold the fundamental principle of media freedom enshrined in the Turkish Constitution,” the US embassy said on Twitter.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown