US Embassy urges Turkish courts to uphold ‘media freedom’ upon arrest of Dündar, Gül
Can Dundar, the editor-in-chief of opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, speaks to the media outside the headquarters of his paper in Istanbul, Turkey, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015. AP PhotoThe United States Embassy in Turkey has labeled the detention of two prominent Turkish journalists as another example of pressure on the media, calling on the Turkish courts to uphold the principle of media freedom in line with the country’s constitution.
“We are very concerned by the arrests of @candundaradasi & @erdemmgul and what appears to be yet another media outlet under pressure,” the U.S. embassy said on Nov. 27 in a message posted to its official Twitter account, tagging the twitter accounts of daily Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar and Ankara Bureau Chief Erdem Gül, respectively.
“We hope the Turkish courts & authorities will uphold the fundamental principle of media freedom enshrined in the Turkish constitution,” the Embassy added.
Meanwhile, U.S. Ambassador to Turkey John Bass blacked out his official Instagram account.
Dündar and Gül were arrested on charges of “espionage” and “being a member of an armed terrorist organization” based on reports in Cumhuriyet regarding Syrian-bound National Intelligence Agency (MİT) trucks in 2014.
The “armed terrorist organization” mentioned by the prosecutors referred to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), a term used by prosecutors to define the followers of Fethullah Gülen, a U.S.-based Islamic scholar.
Footage released by Cumhuriyet on May 29 reportedly showed gendarmerie and police officers opening crates on the back of trucks which contained what the daily described as weapons and ammunition sent to Syria by the MİT in January 2014.