Warrants issued for 4 people at critical newspaper in Turkey

Mustafa Balbay

Mustafa Balbay

The state-run Anadolu news agency said Friday the warrants against the nationalist Sozcu newspaper's owner and three others were for committing crimes on behalf of the network of US -based cleric Fethullah Gulen without being members.

The newspaper's owner Burak Akbay could not be arrested as he is now overseas, the source said, adding the suspects are accused of committing crimes on behalf of the group even though they are not members of the movement.

The paper's managers are reportedly accused of publishing on its website the address and pictures of the Marmaris hotel accommodating President Recep Tayyip Erdogan just a few hours before the failed coup last July.

Sozcu is a staunch supporter of the secular legacy of Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and a sharp critic of Turkey's president and government.

Mediha Olgun, the editor of Sozcu's website, and reporter Gokmen Ulu were detained, and owner Burak Akbay is overseas, according to Anadolu.

Istanbul prosecutors issued four arrest warrants including correspondent Gokmen Ulu and Yonca Kaleli, a finance executive, CNN Turk broadcaster said.

The accusations levelled at them include attempted "assassination and real attack of the president" and involvement in an "armed rebellion against the government", Anadolu said.

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Akbay said he was being "targeted for correct and honest journalism".

According to the P24 press freedom website, there are 165 journalists behind bars in Turkey, most detained as part of the emergency imposed after the coup bid.

Akbay's lawyer Celal Ulgen told Odatv that police entered Akbay's place with the help of locksmith. He said the newspaper opposed the cleric.

Sozcu's front page on Friday had a large image of Ataturk with the headline: "The biggest leader in 100 years" accompanied with the usual image of his eyes next to the paper's name. "This is what happens to the opposition in Turkey, this is what will happen to opposition newspapers but we won't give up and we won't be silent", said Emin Colasan, a senior journalist.

More than 47,000 people have been arrested for alleged links to groups Turkey lists as terror organizations, including Gulen's network.

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