Turkish journalists imprisoned on alleged coup plot ties

Three Turkish journalists allegedly involved with aiding the Ergenekon coup plot were jailed Feb. 18 amid foreign concerns for the treatment of journalists within the country. Members of the Ergenekon plot allegedly planned to assassinate prominent members of Turkey’s Christian and Jewish minority groups, blame Islamic terrorists for the deaths and use this to delegitimize the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Soner Yalcin, the owner of Oda TV, an online news website that has been critical of the Turkish government, and two of his colleagues were formally arrested following several days of interrogations. The three were detained during a police raid that followed an eight-month investigation by authorities. US officials have voiced concerns over the treatment of journalists in Turkey, while Turkish officials have warned other countries not to become involved in their domestic matters.

In June, a Turkish criminal court began the trial of 33 retired and active naval officers accused of attempting to overthrow the government and establish military rule as part of the Ergenekon plot. The Turkish government indicted the 33 defendants in March on charges of attempting to overthrow the government and establish military rule. Also in March, Turkish police detained 20 people in connection with the plot, and Turkish prosecutors charged an army general and a state prosecutor with belonging to Ergenekon and plotting to overthrow the AKP. The Ergenekon investigation has been criticized as an attempt by the AKP to silence the opposition and impose Islamic principles on secular Turkey. Trials against the Ergenekon group started two years ago and nearly 200 people have been charged in connection with it.

From Jurist, Feb. 18. Used with permission.

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