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Monday 5 December 2016

Outcry as nine senior staff at Turkish newspaper detained

Published 05/11/2016 | 14:06

Senior journalists from Cumhuriyet have been jailed ahead of a trial
Senior journalists from Cumhuriyet have been jailed ahead of a trial

The chief editor and eight senior staff of Turkey's Cumhuriyet newspaper have been detained pending trial, prompting a call for an emergency meeting by Turkey's main opposition party.

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Editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu, cartoonist Musa Kart and other staff were detained for questioning earlier this week - some following raids at their homes - for allegedly supporting Kurdish militants as well as a movement led by Fethullah Gulen, the US-based Muslim cleric accused of masterminding Turkey's failed coup in July.

The crackdown on the left-leaning and pro-secular newspaper prompted widespread criticism, with the main opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, calling an emergency meeting to discuss the matter.

CHP chairman Kemal Kilicdaroglu told reporters the arrests were "unacceptable" and dismissed government claims that the judiciary was acting independently.

"The judiciary ruled upon orders of the political authority," he said, adding that such practices were seen in dictatorships, not democracies.

The detentions came amid a widening government crackdown on opposition voices.

On Friday, authorities arrested the two co-chairs of Turkey's pro-Kurdish political party and several other party figures for alleged ties to Kurdish militants.

The government-run Anadolou Agency said Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of the People's Democratic Party or HDP, was among the 12 party legislators detained overnight for refusal to testify on terror-related charges.

Mr Demirtas, fellow co-chair Figen Yuksekdag and seven other parliamentarians were formally put under arrest pending trial. The courts released three others on condition they report regularly to authorities.

AP

Press Association

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