Released Cumhuriyet columnist: I have never seen such immoral accusations

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Cumhuriyet columnists Aydın Engin (L) and Hikmet Çetinkaya share time with their colleagues in the newspaper headquarters in İstanbul after their release on Friday evening.

Aydın Engin, a columnist for the Cumhuriyet daily who was released on Friday evening after spending four days in police custody, said he has never seen such ridiculous and immoral accusations in his life, adding that he has faced many trials in his long career.

Speaking to reporters in front of the İstanbul Courthouse after his release, Engin said: “I am a senior media suspect. I have never seen such an immoral dossier in my life. I am not saying absurd, I am saying immoral.”

Engin, along with 13 other journalists from Cumhuriyet, was detained on charges of aiding the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and FETO after police raided his house on Monday.

FETO is a derogatory term and acronym for the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization, coined by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to refer to the Gülen movement, which Erdoğan and the AKP accuse of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15.

The İstanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office has referred nine journalists and executives from the Cumhuriyet daily, including its Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu, to the İstanbul 9th Penal Court of Peace for arrest.

The daily’s columnists Engin and Hikmet Çetinkaya and account managers Gülseli Özaltay and Bülent Yener were released by the court pending trial. A travel ban was imposed on the four Cumhuriyet employees who were released.

Engin also shared Sabuncu’s message with Cumhuriyet readers saying, “We bow before our people, our readers, no one else.”

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