Turkey: 2 journalists detained over ‘espionage’ probe

International

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish police on Monday detained two journalists for questioning as part of an investigation into alleged “political and military espionage,” the state-run Anadolu Agency said.

The two journalists — Ismail Dukel, the Ankara representative of TELE1 television channel, and Muyesser Yildiz of the OdaTV news website — were being questioned by anti-terrorism police, the agency reported.

OdaTV said Yildiz, who has reported on military issues, was detained following a raid on her home. Police searched her house and confiscated electronic material, the website reported.

Last month, authorities charged seven journalists — including two OdaTV editors and a reporter — with violating laws governing the intelligence agency, for stories on the death of an intelligence officer who was reportedly killed in Libya. The journalists will go on trial later this month.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists ranks Turkey among the top jailers of journalists worldwide, alongside China and Saudi Arabia.

As many as 85 journalists and other media workers are currently in jail under Turkey’s broad anti-terrorism laws, according to the Turkish Journalists Syndicate, including many who were detained in a crackdown following a 2016 coup attempt.

Turkey maintains that the journalists are prosecuted for criminal acts and not for their journalistic work.

Separately, prosecutors issued warrants to detain 149 people — most of them former police officers — for alleged links to a network led by U.S.-based Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen.

Anadolu Agency said 74 people, including six former police chiefs, were being sought by prosecutors in the western province of Balikesir, 42 were sought be authorities in northwestern Bursa province while 33 of the suspects were detained in Gaziantep, near the border with Syria.

Turkey blames Gulen’s network for the failed 2016 coup. About 77,000 people have been arrested and around 130,000 others, including military personnel, have been dismissed from state jobs in the ongoing crackdown on Gulen’s network.

Gulen, who has been in self-imposed exile in the U.S. since 1999, denies involvement in the coup attempt, which killed about 250 people and injured around 2,000 others.

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