Turkey detains prominent journalist in probe over coup

AFP , Tuesday 26 Jul 2016

Turkish journalist Nazli Ilicak (C), also a well-known commentator and former parliamentarian, is escorted by a police officer (R) and her relatives (L and rear) after being detained and brought to a hospital for a medical check in Bodrum, Turkey, July 26, 2016.(photo:Reuters)

Turkish authorities on Tuesday detained a veteran female reporter as part of the investigation into the failed July 15 coup after issuing warrants for over 40 journalists in a move that caused international concern.

Nazli Ilicak was on a list of 42 journalists sought for arrest issued by Istanbul prosecutors early Monday.

She was detained early on Tuesday while during a traffic check in the south west Bodrum region, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

Ilicak is now being taken to Istanbul where she will later appear in court to learn if she will be remanded in custody.

She has been detained as part of the investigation into the group of the US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen who the Turkish authorities blame for the failed coup bid.

Ilicak was fired from the pro-government Sabah daily in 2013 for criticising ministers caught up in a corruption scandal.

The government blamed the 2013 corruption scandal on Gulen, with some officials at the time calling it a coup bid aimed at ousting the president.

Born in 1944, Ilicak also briefly served as an MP from 1999-2001.

Including Ilicak, six journalists have been detained so far although 11 other suspects are believed to be outside the country, the Dogan news agency said.

Other prominent journalists hit with warrants include commentator Bulent Mumay and the news editor of Fox TV in Turkey, Ercan Gun.

Amnesty International said the overall crackdown was a "brazen purge based on political affiliation" and the latest detentions represented a "draconian clampdown on freedom of expression".

Erdogan's government had been under fire even before the failed putsch for restricting press freedoms in Turkey, accusations the authorities strongly deny.

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