Nazli Ilıcak is detained by Turkish security officials in April. Photo: AA
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Seventeen Turkish journalists suspected of links to the Gülen movement will go before an Istanbul court on Monday for the first time after months behind bars.
The Istanbul Terror and Organized Crime Investigation Bureau prepared an indictment in April in which a prosecutor accused a woman Nazli Ilicak and two brothers, Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan, of “attempting to remove the constitutional order” and “committing a crime on behalf of an armed terrorist group without being a member of it, Turkish Hurriyet Daily News reported.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused US-based Hizmet (Service) Movement preacher Fethullah Gülen of orchestrating the failed coup in Turkey on July 16, 2016. The trio are journalists in their sixties and seventies and wrote for Gulenist-linked publications.
The prosecutor sought to charge the people with three aggravated life sentences and up to 15 years in prison. Several other journalists could face up to 22-and-a-half years in prison for “committing a crime on behalf of an armed terrorist group without being a member of it.”
Additionally, Hurriyet wrote the 17 journalists face charges for “attempting to prevent the Turkish parliament from carrying out its duties or completely abolish it” and “attempting to remove the government of the Turkish Republic or prevent it from carrying out its duties”
Reporters Without Borders, an international organization that promotes and defends free press, has reported that 23 journalists, citizen writers and media assistants were killed in Turkey in 2017. It also reported as of Monday there are 368 such workers currently imprisoned awaiting trial.
The Turkish government’s repression of media has been described as the “death of journalism” by Amnesty International, which wrote Turkey accounts for one third of all the imprisoned journalists, media workers and executives globally.
"There is not a single journalist who is under custody in Turkey for writing stories. If there is one, I would like to know who he/she is," the Turkish Anadolu Agency reported Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as saying in early February on an official visit to Madrid, Spain. "Those who revealed themselves as journalists have either supported terrorism or terrorist organizations.”