Turkey Frees Journalists Who Reported Ankara Arms Delivery to Terrorists in Syria

Turkey Frees Journalists Who Reported Ankara Arms Delivery to Terrorists in Syria
Fri Feb 26, 2016 14:51:33

Two Turkish journalists, who reported on Ankara’s alleged arms delivery to militants in Syria, have been released from prison after a top court rejected charges against them.

Can Dundar, editor-in-chief of the center-left Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, and the paper’s Ankara representative Erdem Gul were freed on Friday.

The two journalists have been under arrest since late November 2015 on charges of treason, espionage, and terrorist propaganda.

They had formally been charged with obtaining and revealing state secrets “for espionage purposes” and seeking to “violently” overthrow the Turkish government as well as aiding an “armed terrorist organization.”

However, the two were freed after Turkey’s Constitutional Court challenged the charges as a violation of their rights.

“We think the Constitutional Court’s ruling is a historic one,” Dundar told reporters outside the prison.

“This verdict has cleared the way not only for us but for all of our colleagues and freedom of press and expression,” he said.

In late May 2015, Cumhuriyet posted on its website footage showing trucks belonging to Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) allegedly carrying weapons for Takfiri groups in neighboring Syria. The Cumhuriyet video also purportedly showed trucks of the MIT being inspected by security officers.

The daily reported that the trucks were carrying some 1,000 mortar shells, hundreds of grenade launchers and more than 80,000 rounds of ammunition for light and heavy weapons.

Ankara denied the allegations, saying the trucks had been carrying humanitarian aid to Syria.

Turkey has been accused of supporting militant groups fighting to topple the Syrian government since March 2011. It also stands accused of being involved in illegal oil trade with Takfiri Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) terrorists.

The Turkish government has also been under fire for clamping down on journalists and sentencing them to long prison terms. Dozens of journalists are currently held in prison in the country.

S/SH 11

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