Istanbul, August 23, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
An Istanbul court ordered the arrest of the editor-in-chief and managing editor of daily Özgür Gündem on Aug. 22, on charges of being members of a terrorist organization.
The court ordered the pre-trial arrest of editor-in-chief Zana Kaya and managing editor İnan Kızılkaya based on criminal suspicion, possible obfuscation of evidence, possible desertion, and insufficient probation provisions. However, the court dismissed charges of disrupting the unity and the territorial integrity of the state.
The arrest of Kaya and Kızılkaya comes three days after the award-winning novelist Aslı Erdoğan, a member of Özgür Gündem’s advisory board, was arrested over alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Erdoğan was detained late on Aug. 16 at her residence and was later taken to hospital after being detained.
An Istanbul court had earlier ordered the temporary closure of Özgür Gündem for allegedly conducting propaganda on behalf of the PKK and acting as the media organ of the organization.
Police also raided the homes of columnists and managers of the daily and its office following the court ruling.
A total of 22 people, including journalists detained during the raid, were released on Aug. 18 without charges after testifying to the prosecutor over “resisting police.”
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS), and DİSK Basın-İs, the press workers’ union of the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK), have all criticized the court decision.