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Erdoğan files criminal complaint against columnist, alleging instigation of coup

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s lawyer has filed a criminal complaint against journalist Ragıp Zarakolu for a column he wrote, accusing him of “instigating a military coup d’état,” Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported on Wednesday.

Zarakolu’s column, titled “No escape from ill fate,” was published in the Evrensel newspaper and on the Artı Gerçek news website on Tuesday, drawing comparisons between Erdoğan and former Turkish Prime Minister Adnan Menderes, who was hanged by a military junta after a takeover in 1960.

In his petition to the prosecutor, Erdoğan claimed that Zarakolu openly threatened him with a military putsch and execution, requesting that authorities investigate and charge him with crimes against the constitutional order and the president.

In addition to Zarakolu, Erdoğan’s petition also requested investigations into the executives of the Evrensel newspaper and the Artı Gerçek news website.

Erdoğan’s communications director Fahrettin Altun has also filed a criminal complaint against Zarakolu over the same article.

Zarakolu made a statement in response to the accusations, claiming that his column has a content that goes against military coups and that he spent his life opposing them.

“Everyone will need human rights and justice one day,” Zarakolu wrote.

Turkey is a world leader in jailing journalists with more than 100 who are currently convicted or in pre-trial detention for their publications or social media posts. The country ranked 154th out of 180 countries in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index, published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

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