Turkey jails yet another journalist over Gülen links

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Journalist İbrahim Varlık, who used to work for the now-closed Cihan news agency, has been arrested, according to journalist Ahmet Dönmez.

Dönmez, formerly with the now-closed Zaman daily and currently living in exile, announced the news of Varlık’s arrest from his Twitter account on Tuesday.

“My dear friend, former Cihan news agency prime ministry correspondent İbrahim Varlık has just been arrested. Yet another journalist has been put behind bars. What a shame,” tweeted Dönmez.

Zaman and the Cihan news agency were among the dozens of media outlets that were closed down by the Turkish government in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

The Turkish government accuses the movement of masterminding the failed coup, although the movement strongly denies any involvement.

Dozens of critical journalists who used to work for media organizations affiliated with the movement were arrested following the coup attempt on terrorism charges, and some of them were given lengthy sentences including aggravated life on terrorism or coup charges. Some of the journalists are still in pre-trial detention.

Turkey’s ranking in Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) 2018 World Press Freedom Index, released in April 2019, remained at 157th out of 180 countries as the country continued its witch-hunt against journalists.

Turkey has been the largest jailer of journalists in the world, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), for three years in a row, incarcerating nearly 200 reporters, media workers and columnists after the failed coup in 2016.

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