Istanbul court accepts indictment against 30 former Zaman newspaper employees
ISTANBULAn Istanbul court on April 27 accepted a prosecutor’s indictment against 30 former Zaman Media Group employees, including editors and columnists, on charges of possessing links to the movement of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, the main suspect in the July 2016 coup attempt.
The prosecutor demanded three aggravated life sentences for each of the 30 suspects, including former columnists Mümtaz’er Türköne, Şahin Alpay and Ali Bulaç, of the now-shuttered daily Zaman.
The 30 are accused of attempting to overthrow the government, the constitution, the parliament and prevent its activities.
Some 21 of the suspects are currently under arrest in Turkey.
The Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court accepted the indictment prepared by prosecutor İsmet Bozkurt in which he also demanded an additional 15 years for each of the suspects on charges of “being members of a terror organization,” the Fethullah Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ).
The first hearing of the case will be held between Sept. 18 and Sept. 19 at Istanbul’s Silivri district.
According to the indictment, Zaman, which was founded in 1986, was totally taken over by FETÖ the next year, and survived thanks to money that came from members of the group.
It was closed down by the Turkish state in May 2016 after being taken over.
The indictment also stated that the group started “using the media as a weapon” to “manipulate society.” It added that Zaman employed “columnists with ideas that could have supported the organization.”
The prosecutors said the columnists “exceeded the boundaries of freedom of the press and expression, used expressions that breached the rights of state officials and institutions, made remarks that could destroy social peace and order, did not hesitate to call for a military coup, and therefore performed their duty within the organization’s hierarchy with articles in line with its goals and targets.”