Court arrests Aydınlık Editor-in-Chief Yücel

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İlker Yücel

İlker Yücel, editor-in-chief of the Aydınlık daily, which is affiliated with the ultranationalist Homeland Party (VP) of Doğu Perinçek, was arrested by a court after being detained in Turkey’s Iğdır province on Saturday.

“I have been detained in Iğdır for not publishing a correction from [Energy Minister and son in law of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] Berat Albayrak that included an insult to Aydınlık,” said Yücel in a Twitter message.

Mehmet Nuri Aytekin, Yücel’s lawyer, said his client would be released if a TL 100,000 fine is paid.

The Turkish Journalists Union (TGS) called for the immediate release of Yücel in a tweet.

On Wednesday morning, Zekeriya Güzüpek, former head of the now-closed pro-Kurdish Dicle news agency (DİHA), and journalist Mehmet Ali Ertaş, an editor for DİHA’s Kurdish service, were detained in Diyarbakır during a police raid on their homes.

On May 26, Sözcü daily reporter Gökmen Ulu and online manager Mediha Olgun were arrested, and an arrest warrant was issued for Sözcü’s license holder, Burak Akbay, on charges of membership in the faith-based Gülen movement next day.

According to a report issued by the TGC on Friday, 123 Turkish journalists were fugitives abroad as of the end of April, while The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) documented that 264 journalists were in jail as of May 27.

Turkey is ranked 155th among 180 countries in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on April 26.

If Turkey falls four more ranks, it will make it to the list of the countries on the blacklist, which has the poorest records in press freedom.

The US-based Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom around the world, named Turkey as among the countries that have a “not free” press, in a report released on April 28.

According to “Freedom of the Press 2017,” the Turkish government, using enhanced powers under a state of emergency, carried out a massive purge of media outlets accused of links to the attempted military coup in July.

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