Press Freedom

'We will not surrender': Outrage as editor of Turkish newspaper arrested

Murat Sabuncu has been accused of “legitimising” the attempted putsch earlier this year.

TURKISH POLICE HAVE arrested the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Cumhuriyet, which has openly voiced its opposition to President Recep Erdogan.

The newspaper, which had published revelations embarrassing for the government, said at least a dozen journalists and executives were detained in early morning raids.

The detentions come after authorities fired more than 10,000 civil servants at the weekend and closed 15 pro-Kurdish and other media outlets, the latest purge since July’s failed military coup aimed at ousting Erdogan.

Cumhuriyet’s editor Murat Sabuncu was detained and police were hunting for executive board chairman Akin Atalay, the official news agency Anadolu said.


The Istanbul prosecutor said an investigation had been launched into allegations the secular daily’s output was “legitimising” the attempted putsch.

The newspaper said it would “fight until the end for democracy and freedom” in a statement on its website headlined:

We will not surrender.

“Cumhuriyet is a newspaper and being a journalist is not a crime,” it added. “Believing in its journalism, it continues and will continue its publication.”

Cumhuriyet said an arrest warrant was also issued for former editor-in-chief Can Dundar, who was sentenced to jail in May for allegedly revealing state secrets in a high-profile case that triggered alarm about the state of press freedom in Turkey.

The newspaper had accused the government of seeking to illicitly deliver arms bound for Islamist rebels in Syria. Erdogan had warned Dundar he would “pay a heavy price”.

Turkey Journalists On Trial Turkish journalists protested in April of this year. AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Dundar is now believed to be in Germany after he was freed earlier this year pending appeal.

He described Monday’s actions as the “storming of the last fortress” on Twitter as Turkish media said his house in Istanbul was also raided.

The International Press Institute said an arrest warrant was issued for one of the rights group’s board members, Kadri Gursel, who also wrote for Cumhuriyet.

Read: Man appears in court charged with possession of gun, silencer and ammunition >

Read: Garda sergeants and inspectors accuse Government of spreading misinformation >

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