Pro-Erdoğan columnist: More journalists to face investigation in Turkey

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Cem Küçük

Journalist Cem Küçük, a staunch supporter of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said on Monday that new operations targeting journalists were underway.

Küçük wrote in his column for the Türkiye daily that journalists who supported corruption operations in December 2013 and those who supported the postmodern coup of Feb. 28, 1997 would face investigation.

The Dec.17-25, 2013 corruption probe implicated several members of then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s family, his inner circle and four former ministers.

After Erdoğan cast the case as a coup attempt to overthrow the government orchestrated by his political enemies, several prosecutors were removed from the case, police were reassigned and the investigation was dropped.

Küçük listed the names of journalists who will be investigated as part of a probe of the Feb. 28 coup: Ertuğrul Özkök, Fatih Altaylı, Sedat Ergin, Mehmet Y. Yılmaz, Zafer Mutlu, Fatih Çekirge, Uğur Dündar and Ali Kırca.

A coalition government led by a now-defunct conservative party, the Welfare Party (RP), which was the party of then-Istanbul Mayor Erdoğan, was forced to resign by the Turkish military on Feb. 28, 1997 on the grounds that there was rising religious fundamentalism in the country.

Erdoğan was sentenced to a 10 months in prison for reciting a poem during a public address in the province of Siirt in 1997.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) show that 245 journalists and media workers were in jail as of April 4, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 188 were under arrest pending trial while only 57 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time.

Detention warrants are outstanding for 140 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

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