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Another Turkish journalist indicted over Gülen links

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An İstanbul court on Tuesday accepted an indictment demanding seven-and-a-half to 15 years in prison for journalist Alparslan Akkuş, who had worked for the now-closed Bugün newspaper, on charges of membership in a terrorist organization, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Akkuş is accused of having the ByLock smart phone application, considered by Turkish authorities as a secret communication tool among Gülen movement followers.

According to the Turkish government the Gülen movement orchestrated a coup attempt in 2016, although the movement strongly denies any involvement.

As part of a post-coup crackdown against movement followers some 140,000 public servants were dismissed and 600,000 people were investigated on accusations of terrorism.

The indictment of Akkuş also mentions that his brother Mehmet Oğuz Akkuş is a dismissed military judge and that there is an ongoing investigation into him.

Turkish courts regard having a family member affiliated with the Gülen movement as “evidence” of being a follower of the movement.

In his testimony Akkuş said his phone was a gift from Bugün’s then-Editor-in-Chief Erhan Başyurt, who also downloaded the application. He was sacked before the newspaper was seized by the government in 2015 over Gülen links.

Since the failed coup attempt Turkey has jailed more than 200 journalists on terrorism charges.

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