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Journalist released after brief detention for criticizing ‘July 15 saga’

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Yeliz Koray, managing editor of the Kocaeli Koz newspaper, was released from detention on Sunday after police took her into custody on Saturday night for a critical article about the government turning a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 into a “saga.”

Following reactions and calls for an investigation into Koray for her article, which was put online on Friday, police raided the journalist’s home on Saturday evening and detained her, Kocaeli Koz reported.

On Sunday she was taken to a court following interrogation at police headquarters in Kocaeli and released on judicial probation.

Listing past wars and victories including World War I, the Gallipoli War and the War of Independence, Koray criticized the government and its supporters for “turning suppression of the coup attempt on July 15, 2016 into a saga in an effort to overshadow and forget the victories of the Turkish Republic.”

Assessing the state of the media in Turkey in a report for the anniversary of the failed coup attempt last July, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Thursday concluded that Turkish journalism is in its death throes because President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government has used a state of emergency to step up a witch-hunt against critics, mentioning the European Court of Human Rights as a last hope for jailed journalists.

“The state of emergency declared five days after the coup attempt has allowed the government to summarily close dozens of media outlets. And Turkey, which is ranked 155th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index, is now the world’s biggest prison for professional journalists, with more than 100 detained,” said RSF.

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