Last Update 12:13
Sunday, 17 November 2019

Protests in Istanbul over journalists arrested for 'spying'

AFP , Sunday 29 Nov 2015
Police use tear-inducing agent against demonstrators during a protest against the arrest of journalists Can Dundar and Erdem Gul in Ankara on November 27, 2015. An Istanbul court on November 26 charged Cumhuriyet's editor-in-chief Can Dundar and Erdem Gul, the paper's Ankara bureau chief, with spying after they alleged Turkey's intelligence had covertly sent arms to Islamist rebels in Syria. (Photo: AFP)
Views: 787
Views: 787

About 300 people on Sunday protested the arrest of two prominent journalists on charges of spying over their reports about Ankara's alleged arms supplies to Syrian rebels in a case that has revived long-standing criticism of Turkey's press freedom record.

The demonstrators, including journalists, rights groups and opposition MPs, marched to the Istanbul offices of the Cumhuriyet daily to express solidarity with its editor-in-chief Can Dundar and Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gul.

"Shoulder to shoulder against fascism," they shouted, according to an AFP photographer.

They held placards that read: "We stand up for press freedom. Free press cannot be silenced."

Addressing the crowd outside Cumhuriyet, the main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu denounced the arrest as a "black stain on the history of press."

"We have a common responsibility to protect our media and our democracy," he said.

"Dundar will get out and reveal the secrets again," the crowd shouted back.

A court in Istanbul on Thursday arrested Dundar and Gul for "divulging state secrets" over the publication of footage from January 2014 purporting to show Turkey's secret services helping send weapons to Islamist rebels in Syria.

They face up to 45 years in jail if convicted.

The revelations, published in May, caused a political storm in Turkey, with an enraged President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowing Dundar would pay a "heavy price".

There has been growing concern about deteriorating press freedoms in Turkey under Erdogan and in particular over the numbers of journalists facing legal proceedings on accusations of insulting or criticising top officials.

Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

© 2010 Ahram Online.