Journalists, singer appear before Istanbul judge in anti-Gülen case
ISTANBULEleven arrested journalists and one singer appeared before a judge in Istanbul on Aug. 16 in a case into the alleged media links of the Fethullah Gülen movement, widely believed to be behind Turkey’s July 2016 coup attempt
A total of 13 suspects, including arrested pop music singer Atilla Taş and 11 arrested journalists, testified in the first hearing of the case, with a prosecutor seeking two aggravated life sentences for each over their alleged involvement in the coup attempt.
The suspects were arrested on Sept. 2, 2016 over charges of managing a Twitter account that spread propaganda on behalf of Gülen.
In a trial on March 31 the court ordered the release of the 13 suspects, but one day later 12 of the suspects were rearrested on criminal charges filed in a fresh indictment.
Separately, a prosecutor sought in an indictment on Aug. 16 the arrest of 11 detained journalists, referring them to the court.
The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Aug. 10 issued detention warrants for a total of 35 journalists and media workers over allegedly using the smartphone application ByLock, used almost exclusively by the followers of Gülen.
Journalists including Burak Ekici of the left-wing daily BirGün, the former news editor of sports club Fenerbahçe’s official television station, a graphic designer at daily Vatan, and eight others were detained after the warrant was issued.
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron sought to secure the release of a French reporter detained in Turkey at the end of July, during an Aug. 15 conversation with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a statement said.
Macron “expressed his concern about the case of Loup Bureau,” a journalism student detained in Turkey, and “voiced his desire to see our compatriot return to France as soon as possible,” the Elysee Palace stated.
Bureau, 27, was arrested on July 26 and accused of having links to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey views as a terrorist group linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
In addition, a fugitive military officer suspected of being one of the key figures linked to last year’s defeated coup was arrested in southern Antalya province on Aug. 16, Anadolu Agency quoted a police source as saying.
The Antalya Police Department’s counter-terrorism unit raided a house in the central Muratpaşa district in the morning and arrested Lt. Col. Özcan Karacan for his role in the coup bid, said the source.
Karacan, who was carrying a fake ID and had changed his appearance by growing his hair and beard, had allegedly given pro-coup pilots the order to “shoot at vehicles with blue lights [police vehicles]” through a walkie-talkie in Ankara on the night of the coup attempt, the source said.