Turkey President Erdogan Opposes Journalists Liberation

Turkey President Erdogan Opposes Journalists Liberation
Sun Feb 28, 2016 17:39:01

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he has no respect for a recent Constitutional Court decision ordering the release of two journalists jailed for reporting on the government’s alleged arms delivery to militants in Syria.

Can Dundar, the editor-in-chief of the center-left Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, and the paper’s Ankara representative Erdem Gul were freed on Friday three months after their arrests on charges of revealing state secrets, treason, terrorist propaganda and espionage.

"I will remain silent to the decision the court has given. But I don't need to accept it, I want to make that clear. I don't obey or respect the decision," Erdogan said on Sunday.

"This has nothing to do with press freedom. This is a case of spying," he added.
The two journalists were freed after Turkey’s Constitutional Court challenged the charges as a violation of their rights.

Their arrest came after Cumhuriyet newspaper published a video showing that Turkey’s intelligence agency helped in the delivery of weapons to foreign-backed militants in Syria.

The video showed that trucks belonging to Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) were carrying 1,000 mortar shells, hundreds of grenade launchers and more than 80,000 rounds of ammunition for light and heavy weapons for Takfiri groups in Syria.

The Turkish government has denied allegations and said the vehicles had been carrying humanitarian aid to Syria.

Dundar and Gul will stand trial on March 25 on the charges, while prosecutors have demanded life terms.

"As Tayyip Erdogan, I believe in defending freedom of expression until the end. But I do not believe in using freedom of expression ... as a mask to attack to the country. Because this is espionage," said Erdogan.

He further noted that there cannot be “limitless media freedom” in the country, as there is no “absolute freedom for the media in any country in the world.”

Ankara has widely been blamed for the surge in the deadly militancy in Syria as it has been supporting militants with funds, training and weapons. It also stands accused of being involved in illegal oil trade with Takfiri Daesh terrorists, Press TV reported.

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