58 probed for criticizing Anadolu Agency

58 probed for criticizing Anadolu Agency

58 probed for criticizing Anadolu Agency

Pianist Fazıl Say, journalist Can Dündar and CHP deputy Umut Oran. (From L to R)

An investigation has been launched into a total of 58 well-known figures in Turkey on the grounds that they criticized the state-run Anadolu Agency on Twitter, daily Cumhuriyet has reported.

Top journalists, including daily Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar, Hürriyet columnist Melis Alphan and Taraf columnist Emre Uslu are among the suspects, while the former general manager of the agency, Kemal Öztürk, and Vice-General Director Ebubekir Şahin are the complainants. The suspects have been accused of “provoking the people to hate and enmity, as well as defamation, slander and intimidation” for their posts on social media.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies Umut Oran and Müslim Sarı, artist Erdal Beşikçioğlu, world-famous pianist Fazıl Say and singer Atilla Taş are also among the suspects.

The complainants have demanded the removal of the content or the suspension of the users’ accounts.

“I would like to remind that the former general manager of Anadolu Agency was the former press agent of [Deputy Prime Minister] Bülent Arınç,” Dündar wrote on March 30, 2014, during local elections.

“Loyal CHP party members, please ignore the reports of Anadolu Agency,” CHP deputy Umut Oran wrote in what the complainants termed abuse and defamation.

Recently, a criminal investigation was launched into Dündar on Feb. 24 over remarks he made in an interview with Celal Kara, a Turkish prosecutor who was in charge of the notorious corruption case in December 2013 targeting several top government figures. However, the charges were dropped due to a lack of evidence on March 6.

Say, meanwhile, was sentenced to 10 months in prison in 2013 after he retweeted several lines attributed to 11th-century poet Omar Khayyam.