Jailed Oda TV journalist released at first hearing of trial

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Müyesser Yıldız (R) and İsmail Dükel

Müyesser Yıldız, the Ankara news editor for the OdaTV online news website who was arrested in June on charges of revealing state secrets, was released from jail at the first hearing of her trial.

The hearing was held at the Ankara 26th High Criminal Court on Monday. There were two other defendants in the trial: İsmail Dükel, the Ankara representative of broadcaster TELE1 who was also briefly detained in June, and an army sergeant who was jailed. The court ruled for the continuation of the imprisonment of the military member at Monday’s hearing.

Yıldız was accused of revealing state secrets in two articles about Ankara’s military involvement in Libya.

One article published in December questioned which Turkish commanders had met with Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army, which is fighting the internationally recognized Government of National Accord of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, backed by Turkey.

The second article, from January, gave details about a military officer who was sent to Libya to oversee Turkey’s involvement there.

OdaTV, an online news outlet, has been critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government. Turkey ranks among the top jailers of journalists worldwide.

Yıldız is widely known for her pieces scrutinizing the government narrative on a 2016 coup attempt, which allowed Erdoğan to seize vast powers, according to the Turkish media.

In a similar development, journalist Aziz Oruç, who was arrested on terrorism charges in eastern Turkey in December, was released from jail under judicial supervision on Monday in the third hearing of his trial at the Ağrı 3rd High Criminal Court.

Oruç was accused of membership in a terrorist organization, namely the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). He used to work for the Dicle news agency (DİHA), closed down by a government decree in the aftermath of the failed coup in July 2016.

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