Freed scribe urges debate on ‘fabricated evidence’
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Musluk, a research assistant at the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ), was released pending trial late March 12 along with prominent journalists Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZJournalists in Turkey are being arrested on the basis of fabricated evidence, academic and OdaTV columnist Coşkun Musluk, one of four defendants released this week after a year in jail, has said, noting that their trial reflects Turkey’s “grave” political realities.
“People were arrested on the basis of evidence which has been proved to have been fabricated. The critics wrote about press freedom, about the imprisonment of journalists. But they did not have the courage to openly say that people in Turkey are arrested on the basis of fabricated evidence or at least insufficient evidence. This shows how grave the situation is, and how far we are from being able to speak out about the realities,” Musluk recently told the Hürriyet Daily News, adding that their trial was not just an issue of press freedom.
Musluk was released pending trial late March 12 along with fellow OdaTV writer Sait Çakır and prominent journalists Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener, whose imprisonment had sparked an international outcry. They have been charged for belonging to the media wing of Ergenekon, a purported terrorist group that allegedly plotted to unseat the government.
Musluk, a research assistant at the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ), said his articles on the OdaTV website were cited as evidence in his arrest. OdaTV was implicated after a file was discovered on one of its computers allegedly linking the website to Ergenekon. Expertise reports have established that the file was planted there through a virus program.
“Civic groups cried out that journalists were arrested. In this way they made it easier for the government to argue that the journalists are being imprisoned not for what they write but because they are terrorists. If they had said we were arrested on the basis of fabricated evidence or without concrete evidence, the government could not have responded that easily,” he said.
Commenting on international attention on the OdaTV case, Musluk denounced the West for having long turned a blind eye to massive breaches of basic rights in other cases that preceded their trial.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) “undertook a certain foreign policy mission and never faced criticism [on domestic issues]. We’ve never seen such EU and U.S. support for any [Turkish] government despite so many rights breaches and so much oppression. The EU began to criticize the government only when press freedom came under explicit threat,” Musluk said.
He said infamous restrictive provisions in the anti-terror law or the code of criminal procedures are not the only reason for the violations and put the blame on how the judicial authorities implement the law. k HDN