More journalists in jail than in coup periods: Main opposition leader

More journalists in jail than in coup periods: Main opposition leader

More journalists in jail than in coup periods: Main opposition leader

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More Turkish journalists are currently in jail than were in prison under junta rule in the 1980s, main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said, slamming the government for staging a “civilian coup” in an attempt to stage a purge after the July 2016 coup.

“The number of jailed journalists has exceeded 150. It had never happened during the period of any coups,” he said.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kılıçdaroğlu also criticized the detention of Deniz Yücel, German daily Die Welt correspondent, on the grounds of being a member of a terrorist organization, abuse of personal data and terrorist propaganda on Feb. 17. 

Yücel had gone to the Istanbul Police Station to testify within the scope of an investigation over the hacking of the private email address of Turkish Energy and Natural Sources Minister Berat Albayrak, who is also the son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

“They were calling Deniz Yücel to testify. They took him into custody. He has been detained for a long time. I hope he regains his freedom in a short period of time,” he said. 

Kılıçdaroğlu also criticized the mass dismissal of public officers from their post with state of emergency decrees, especially the dismissal of academics.

“During the Sept. 12 [1980 coup d’état], the number of academics who were sacked from their posts was 127. The number of teachers who have been dismissed is 4,811 since the July 15 coup,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, referring to the date of the declaration of the state of emergency rule as a “civilian coup.”

“You are worse than Sept. 12,” Kılıçdaroğlu said. 

Kılıçdaroğlu also stated that Turkey was suffering from “more immediate problems” such as unemployment, increased agricultural problems and drops in the number of tourists, adding that Turkish citizens should vote “no” on the constitutional amendments to address those issues more effectively. 

“Those who want democracy and freedom and to live comfortably in his/her own country as a citizen of this country hand in hand! Let’s vote ‘no,’” he said.