Greens express outrage as political advisor is targeted by Turkish police

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Rebecca Harms

The Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament has strongly criticized a Turkish police raid on the İstanbul home of Ali Yurttagül, a columnist and a former political advisor to the Greens/EFA group, as well as a warrant issued for his arrest.

Detention warrants were issued on Tuesday for 35 journalists including Yurttagül, who wrote for the Yeni Hayat daily, which was closed by Turkish government along with 130 other media outlets last month.

Yurttagül now serves as an advisor to Greens/EFA Co-president Rebecca Harms on the topic of EU-Turkey relations.

According to news reports, the journalists are accused of promoting the Gülen movement in the media and in social media.

“Mr Yurttagül was a trusted and well-respected member of our staff and continues to advise me on relations with Turkey. I am deeply concerned at the way he has been treated. Any allegations that he has links to ‘terrorist networks’ are unfounded and are a worrying example of an apparent anti-democratic backlash in Turkey,” Harms said in her written statement.

“We demand the Turkish authorities drop the warrant for Mr Yurttagül’s arrest and refrain from any further unfounded police action against him, and others like him.”

Underlining the point that the Greens/EFA are concerned about the attempted coup against the democratically elected government of Turkey and have criticized it publicly, Harms added:
“However, we are equally concerned about the growing number of police actions against various parts of the Turkish society, including independent journalists, judges and academics. The legal prosecution of those responsible for the attempted coup must happen on the basis of the rule of law.”

A group of soldiers, acting outside the chain of command, attempted a military coup at around 10 p.m. on July 15, which left more than 200 people – including civilians – dead. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accused the Gülen movement, inspired by the views of US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, of being behind the coup attempt, an accusation the movement strongly denies. Tens of thousands of public servants, judges, prosecutors, journalists and civilians have been detained by Turkish police on suspicion of links to the Gülen movement.

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