Turkey Frees 7 Journalists, but Others Remain Behind Bars

“We’re standing firm,” he said, in comments translated and disseminated through a messaging application by a team from the newspaper.

The four who remain detained are Mr. Atalay; Murat Sabuncu, the editor in chief; Kadri Gursel, a senior columnist and adviser to the board; and Ahmet Sik, an outspoken investigative reporter.

They are charged with aiding several terrorist groups and having an editorial policy that favored the groups. In their defense, the journalists and managers said during the hearings that they had had minimal contact with suspects and only in the course of their journalistic work.

“This verdict here today says, ‘We will make you kneel,’” Mr. Sik called out to colleagues and reporters. “Up until today I only bow my head to kiss the hands of my Mum and Dad, and it will be the same after today.”

The decision was more or less expected, and was greeted with mixed feelings by family members and colleagues.

“We will keep working until we get them all back,” Elif Gunay, the daughter of one of the released defendants, wrote on the same messaging application.

But a senior columnist, Aydin Engin, who has been running the newspaper since their arrests, said it would be a struggle for the paper to survive. “It is very difficult to go on” without those “key people,” he said. “For nine months I was trying to take on their responsibilities, but I am 76 and it is very difficult.”

Mr. Atalay in his testimony on Monday accused the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of trying to silence the paper or seize control of it. And he challenged the very premise of the trial. One of the main charges is that he and his colleagues had changed the editorial direction of the newspaper, which, he said bluntly, the court had no business to question.

Cumhuriyet, founded 93 years ago, is the oldest daily newspaper in Turkey, and nearly as old as…

Read the full article at the Original Source..

Back to Top