Third hearing in Cumhuriyet trial begins in Istanbul
ISTANBULThe third hearing in the Cumhuriyet trial, in which 20 executives and journalists from the critical Turkish newspaper are being tried, including editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu, reporter Ahmet Şık, columnist Kadri Gürsel and cartoonist Musa Kart, began on Sept. 25 at Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse.
The jailed Cumhuriyet staff members - Şık, Akin Atalay, Gürsel, Sabuncu, Ahmet Kemal Aydoğdu, and Yusuf Emre İper - were present at the hearing.
More than 20 main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies, including CHP Deputy Group Chair Engin Altay, and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies Garo Paylan and Celal Doğan, were also in attendance at the trial.
During the hearing the former deputy chairman of the Cumhuriyet Foundation, Alev Coşkun, spoke in defense of the defendants.
“When our friends were arrested, I said I was against this … I do not know Murat Sabuncu or Ahmet Şık. Orhan Erinç has been a friend of mine for 50 years. What does Turhan Günay … have to do with this case?” Coşkun said.
“I worked with these friends; they cannot be terrorists and they cannot have any connection to [the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization] FETÖ,” she added.
The accusations against the Cumhuriyet staff members include “being a member of terror organization” and of having links to the network of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, widely believed to have masterminded the failed July 2016 coup attempt.