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Top court rejects exiled journalist’s rights claim against pro-government daily

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Turkey’s Constitutional Court has rejected an application filed by exiled journalist and author Can Dündar claiming that news published by the pro-government Sabah daily violated his personal rights, local media reported on Wednesday.

Dündar, who stood trial in Turkey for reporting in May 2015 on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks that were allegedly carrying weapons to jihadist groups in Syria, was sentenced to 27 years on various charges.

He had to leave Turkey following an attack in front of the Çağlayan Courthouse in İstanbul on May 6, 2016 and has lived in exile in Germany ever since.

In late 2022 Dündar was added to the Turkish Interior Ministry’s “Terrorist Wanted List” in the “gray category,” under which a reward of up to TL 500,000 ($18,030) is offered for information that leads to the apprehension of the suspect being sought.

Dündar’s application to the top court claimed that Sabah’s news that he sold his villa at an exorbitant price with the help of FETÖ violated his personal rights.

In the Terrorist Wanted List, Dündar is described as a member of “FETÖ,” a derogatory term used by the Turkish government to refer to the faith-based Gülen movement as a terrorist organization.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

According to Turkish media reports, the top court unanimously ruled that Dündar’s application is “unacceptable” on the grounds that his claim “lacks clear evidence.”

The journalist’s application to the top court was filed after the İstanbul 11th Civil Court of First Instance and courts of appeal ruled for the dismissal of a similar lawsuit filed by him.

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