Turkey’s Directorate General of Press and Information (BYEGM) has denied a request by former Cumhuriyet daily Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar for renewal of his permanent press card due to “national security policy.”
According to a statement from the BYEGM, Dündar’s request was rejected due to national security policy, and a decision of whether Dündar’s press card will be revoked will be made at the next meeting of the Press Card Commission.
“The request of Can Dündar, who on every occasion defames Turkey and attributes false statements to Turkey, has been denied due to national security policy,” the statement read.
Dündar is currently standing trial in absentia for “espionage” after publishing an article on the alleged transportation of weapons to radical groups in Syria by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT).
Dündar had been arrested and jailed for 92 days along with colleague Erdem Gül from Cumhuriyet for publishing a story on Turkish intelligence trucks carrying hidden weapons bound for Syria in early 2014. They were arrested on Nov. 26, 2015, and released on Feb. 26, 2016 following a Constitutional Court decision.
An İstanbul court acquitted Dündar and Gül of charges of attempting to overthrow the government while ordering that the charges of “knowingly and willfully helping a terrorist organization” be separated from the trial.
Shortly after his release and an armed attack against him, Dündar quit his position as editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet and left Turkey as scores of other journalists under pressure have done.
While Dündar left Turkey prior to a failed coup attempt on July 15, his wife was stopped by police at İstanbul Atatürk Airport and her passport was seized under the state of emergency that was declared days after the coup attempt.