Turkish court sentences Cumhuriyet journalist to two years in jail
A Turkish court sentenced a daily Cumhuriyet reporter to more than two years in jail on July 19 over charges of making people potential targets for militant groups through her reporting, the paper said.
The case was triggered by an article written by Canan Coşkun last September about prosecutors’ questioning detained lawyers for two hunger-striking teachers allegedly linked to the far-leftist Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army-Front (DHKP-C) militant group, viewed as a terror network by Turkey.
The court found out that Coşkun, who covered Istanbul courts as her beat, made “people involved in the fight against terrorism a target,” Cumhuriyet said.
A lawyer for Coşkun told the court the naming of a prosecutor in that article did not amount to making that person a target and denied the charges against her, rights group Amnesty International reported on Twitter.
“Another punishment for press freedom,” main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu, who attended the hearing, wrote on Twitter.
“Writing a story and being a journalist is sufficient for a court to take a ‘negative view,’” said Tanrıkulu.
In April, a Turkish court sentenced 14 Cumhuriyet staffers to jail on charges of terrorism and supporting the network of Fethullah Gülen, a U.S.-based cleric blamed for organizing an attempted coup on July 15, 2016.
Since the attempted putsch, more than 120 journalists have been detained and more than 180 media outlets have closed on suspicion of links to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
Free speech advocacy group Reporters Without Borders in April ranked Turkey 157 out of 180 countries in its annual report on global press freedom and estimated about 90 percent of Turkey’s newspaper coverage is pro-government.