Turkey arrests 4 for attending local protests against gov’t media crackdown in 2014

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An Edirne judge on Tuesday ruled for the arrest of four people who attended local protests against the detention of journalists Ekrem Dumanlı and Hidayet Karaca in 2014 as part of an investigation into the Gülen movement.

A total of seven people were detained in Edirne province for their attendance at local protests held in late 2014 against the detention of Dumanlı, former editor in-chief-of the now-closed-down Zaman daily, and Karaca, former CEO of another media outlet shuttered by the government, Samanyolu TV, on Oct. 24. While one of them was set free immediately after interrogation, two were released pending trial and four were put behind bars on Oct. 27, according to the Doğan news agency.

The Turkish government detained Dumanlı and Karaca on terrorism charges as part of its ever-widening pressure on the Gülen movement on Dec. 14, 2014. While the former was later released pending trial, Karaca has been under arrest since then.

Supporters of both outlets protested the detentions in peaceful demonstrations and via press statements across the country. A group of people also gathered in front of the Edirne Courthouse in protest of the government’s media crackdown five days after the journalists’ detention.

The Edirne Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for 12 people for attending the protests. While seven of them were detained on Oct. 24, the remaining five could not be located at their registered addresses.

On Tuesday four suspects were arrested on charges of membership in FETÖ, an acronym for the Fethullahist Terror Organization, a derogatory term the Turkish government coined to label the Gülen movement as terrorist.

Four people included M.E., the manager of a movement affiliated preparatory school; H.Y., a small business owner and S.U., the representative of Zaman newspaper in Edirne’s Uzunköprü district.

The government accuses the movement of masterminding a July 15 coup attempt, attempting to overthrow the government by means of corruption probes in 2013, helping Moody’s downgrade Turkey’s sovereign credit rating, downing a Russian warplane and causing the breakdown of a peace process with the Kurds and many other similar wrongdoings.

The movement denies all the allegations. (Turkey Purge)

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