13 journalists, including Turkish pop singer and columnist for now-closed Meydan daily Atilla Taş, are ready to appear before an Istanbul court on August 16 for taking part in or supporting a coup attempt in Turkey last year.
The suspects were initially acquitted after the first hearing held in April, yet were re-detained before their release due to another investigation into coup charges.
Of the 13 journalists, Ali Akkuş was released after being detained and the other 12 journalists were arrested after a two-week period of detention.
An indictment drafted by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office that sought two consecutive life sentences for the journalists on coup charges was accepted by the 25th High Criminal Court in İstanbul.
The indictment revealed that the suspects are accused of membership in a terrorist organization due to their stories, critical tweets and retweets and of attempting to abolish constitutional order and attempting to overthrow the government of the Republic of Turkey.
The journalists named in the indictment are National Party (UP) leader and Türk Solu weekly columnist Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Yakup Çetin, Bünyamin Köseli, Cihan Acar, Abdullah Kılıç, Oğuz Usluer, Hüseyin Aydın, Murat Aksoy, Mustafa Erkan, Seyit Kılıç, Yetkin Yıldız, Ali Akkuş and pop singer and journalist Atilla Taş.
According to the Turkey Purge website, based on information compiled from PEN International, the Platform for Independent Journalism (P24), the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF), the Journalists’ Union of Turkey (TGS) and the Progressive Journalists Association (ÇGD), 274 journalists were jailed in Turkey following a failed coup last year. While 163 of them are still in pretrial detention, the others were released pending trial or were cleared of charges.
Turkey’s Contemporary Journalists’ Association (ÇGD) recently announced that more than 900 press cards were cancelled.
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.
The movement denies any involvement. But President Erdoğan and his government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.
Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.