Cumhuriyet journalists' case merged with opposition MP case over ‘assisting FETÖ'
ISTANBULAn Istanbul court has ruled to merge a case in which journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül are being tried for allegedly aiding a terrorist organization and a case in which a main opposition deputy is facing similar charges in addition to a charge of supplying confidential state information.
“Today there are so many journalists being tried here and these need to end. Journalists should be released from court, detention and jails as soon as possible and should be doing their own jobs. Journalists should not be the story but those who make stories,” Gül said.
“Whatever it is called, this case is a journalism case, it is journalism being tried,” Gül told the press before his hearing.
Convening to hear the case of Dündar and Gül on Sept. 21, the court decided to merge the dossier, which charges the two with helping the Gülenist movement “without being a member” with the dossier of CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu, who faces up to 18 years in prison for aiding the Gülenist movement and supplying information on trucks belonging to the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) that were allegedly shipping arms to Syria.
Dündar and Gül’s case was partially resolved when they were acquitted of the charge of “attempting to overthrow the government” and were sentenced to five years in prison for “revealing state secrets,” a decision that is currently under appeal. But the case against the two over charges of “intentionally helping an armed terror organization without being a member” is still continuing. Dündar and Gül had been tried on all three counts after their story that related how MİT was supplying weapons to armed rebel factions in Syria.
The prosecutor of the journalists’ case demanded that their file be merged with that of Berberoğlu, but the defendants’ lawyers objected to the request, saying it would prolong the case; instead, they demanded Dündar and Gül’s acquittal.
Dündar is currently residing in Germany, so he did not appear at the trial. The journalist has said he is not willing to return Turkey until the state of emergency ends in the country.
Berberoğlu is charged with helping the Gülen movement and with supplying secret state documents by giving Dündar the footage of Turkish intelligence trucks allegedly bound for Syria in early 2014. In the wake of Dündar and Gül’s story, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan took aim at the journalists, saying they would pay a “heavy price.”