Turkish linguist arrested on terror charges in Özgür Gündem probe
Turkish linguist and author Necmiye Alpay was arrested on Aug. 31 on terror charges as a part of an ongoing investigation into closed daily Özgür Gündem.
The Istanbul 8th Criminal Court of Peace ordered the arrest of Alpay on charges of being a member of a terror organization and disrupting the unity of the state, regarding the projected penalty, her writings and position in the daily and the possibility that she might escape if released.
In her testimony, Alpay denied the accusations, saying she had always been against terror and violence. She was later referred to court for arrest.
A member of Özgür Gündem’s advisory committee, Alpay said in her testimony that it was merely a symbolic duty, adding she accepted the post thinking it would help the resolution of Kurdish issue, prevent clashes and deaths and reduce tension in society.
Alpay also noted she did not know senior figures of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq also wrote for the daily.
Özgür Gündem was temporarily shut down on Aug. 16 for allegedly conducting propaganda on behalf of the PKK and acting as the organization’s media organ.
The daily’s editor-in-chief, Zana Kaya, and managing editor, İnan Kızılkaya, were arrested on Aug. 22.
In addition, another member of the advisory board, award-winning novelist Aslı Erdoğan, was arrested on Aug. 18 on the same charges.
Meanwhile, nine campaigners who had previously served as one-day editors-in-chief of the daily as a part of a solidarity campaign were called to testify on Sept. 1.
Among those who were called to testify were prominent journalist Hasan Cemal, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) central executive committee member Çilem Küçükkeleş, ETHA editor Derya Okatan, editor-in-chief of shut-down news website haberdar Said Sefaoğlu, Tuğrul Eryılmaz, Dicle Anter, Hasan Hüseyin Tahmaz, Murat Uyurkulak and Nadire Mater.