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Turkey’s arrested journalists ask for indictment, trial without detention

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A number of Turkish journalists, most of whom were jailed in the wake of a failed coup attempt on July 15, have asked for an indictment and trial without detention, declaring their innocence of charges of terrorist links.

The Cumhuriyet daily reported on Friday that Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy and former journalist Utku Çakırözer paid a visit to Silivri Prison to talk to some of the 145 journalists currently jailed in Turkey.

According to messages that Çakırözer conveyed from the journalists, most of them complain about the lack of due process, arrest in the absence of any evidence and the inability to communicate with the outside world. Imprisoned author Ahmet Altan said he is not even allowed to visit his brother, economics professor Mehmet Altan, in the same prison. Mehmet Altan, on the other hand, pointed out that anyone who talks about corruption in reference to investigations that came to public view in Turkey on Dec. 17-25, 2013 can be arrested.

The editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet, Murat Sabuncu, said in order to prevent Turkey’s disconnection from Europe, Turkey should solve the problem of journalists who are being kept under arrest. He added that even though he tweeted against a failed coup on July 15, he was arrested on charges of links to the putsch.

Former Zaman columnist Ali Bulaç asked for the release of the journalists, saying that up until his arrest, there had not been a single investigation into his columns.

Another Zaman columnist, Şahin Alpay, stated that he has always wanted a democracy in Turkey in accordance with European Union standards and that his columns favored this idea. Accused of helping to prepare conditions for the coup attempt, Alpay said he never would have imagined a coup could take place. Alpay also stated that at 72, he is the oldest prisoner in Silivri and suffers from 11 chronic diseases.

Kadri Gürsel, another arrested Cumhuriyet columnist, said in his message that among 63 questions he was asked in interrogation, only one of them was about his columns. Stating that being held under arrest without trial is a violation of human rights, Gürsel asked for an indictment as soon as possible. He also complained about not being able to read any books in prison.

Former singer and columnist for the Meydan daily, which was shut down after the coup attempt, Atilla Taş said he has nothing to do with the Gülen movement given the fact that it is reason enough to be declared a criminal in Turkey. He also complained about health issues and not being able to see a doctor.

Murat Aksoy, who used to write for Bugün, also asked for an indictment while stating that he is imprisoned because of his columns.


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