Global Independent Analytics

Turkey jails Cumhuriyet journalists Can Dundar and Erdem Gul

A Turkish court has jailed two prominent journalists for revealing state secrets, in a case widely criticized by international observers.

BBC reports: Erdem Gul received five years and Can Dundar five years and 10 months.

Mr. Dundar and Mr. Gul are editor and Ankara bureau chief of opposition daily Cumhuriyet. They were arrested after they had reported information Turkey`s efforts of delivering arms to rebels fighting the Syrian government.

Some time before that Mr. Dundar had almost been murdered by a gunman.

Mr. Dundar was lightly injured in the leg after several shots while briefing reporters outside the courthouse.

Speaking after the verdict, Mr. Dundar said the sentence, and the assassination attempt, were "not given only to suppress and silence us" but to "intimidate the Turkish media and make us scared of writing".

The two men were acquitted of more serious charge of espionage, which could have carried with it a life sentence. But their very prosecution has proved controversial, drawing sharp criticism from human rights campaigners and fellow journalists.

Mr. Dundar and Mr. Gul were charged in November with espionage after their reports in May 2015 alleging that Turkey's intelligence services were sending weapons and ammunition to Islamist rebels fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The journalists have become a symbol of the erosion of press freedom in Turkey, says the BBC's Mark Lowen in Istanbul.

Media freedom has plummeted in Turkey, which now ranks 151st of 180 countries in an index by the watchdog Reporters without Borders.

 

By Stefan Paraber for GIA

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