12 detained in media operation sent to Turkish court for arrest
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
DHA PhotoA total of 16 people, including two editors-in-chief, who were detained in a Dec. 14 operation on media groups linked to the U.S.-based Islamic Scholar Fethullah Gülen movement have been sent to court for arrest after their testimonies were taken by police.
Twelve suspects, including the editor-in-chief of daily Zaman, Ekrem Dumanlı, and the head of the Samanyolu Media Group, Hidayet Karaca, were sent to court with demands for their arrest, while probation was sought for the other four.
The 12 suspects were sent to court on charges of being members of a terrorist organization, engaging in slander and deprivation of liberty, reports stated.
Meanwhile, former Siirt Police Department head Mutlu Ekizoğlu and another officer were released by prosecutors. Twelve other suspects detained during the operation were released earlier.
A melee erupted between security officers and Dumanlı’s lawyers when the judge permitted only one attorney to enter the courtroom during the editor-in-chief’s questioning.
Dumanlı’s testimony at the police station lasted seven hours, during which Public Prosecutor Fuzuli Aydoğdu asked him questions about Fethullah Gülen and about an Islamic group called “Tahşiyeciler.”
Dumanlı reportedly said he was a follower Gülen’s books and ideas, but had never received orders from the cleric to publish a piece on a specific subject in the newspaper.
Gülen has no title as a manager at daily Zaman, but only has a column in which his pieces are published on Fridays, Dumanlı said, rejecting any claims that the scholar was intervening in the newspaper’s publishing policy.
Dumanlı pleaded not guilty, saying he was not a member of any organization.
Dumanlı told reporters there was “no turning back from democracy and freedoms” as he left the hospital for routine health checks. Meanwhile, Karaca refused to make any statements to the judge. His lawyer, Fikret Duran, told reporters that “Karaca will be arrested.”
“A fiction has been made, a scenario has been written and a plot has been organized. First, the media makes news about it based on intelligence sources and then a team starts this operation,” said Duran, claiming that the Dec. 14 operation was part of a plot against the detained suspects.
Many people gathered in front of the Istanbul courthouse in Çağlayan in support of the suspects. Some read the Quran as others held Turkish flags and placards containing slogans about the press freedom.