Persecuted Turkish newspaper editor Can Dündar said yesterday he was resigning as he no longer had faith in the judiciary to hear his appeal following last month’s failed coup. In May an Istanbul court sentenced the editor-in-chief of the Kemalist Cumhuriyet daily to five years and 10 months in prison for publishing a story and photos of National Intelligence Organisation agents driving a convoy of arms to terrorists in Syria. The story infuriated Turkish president Erdogan. Mr Dündar was bailed pending appeal and is now believed to be in Germany.
In his farewell editorial yesterday he wrote that he would not return to Turkey, as the draconian emergency powers assumed by Recep Tayyip Erdogan since the coup meant he would not get a fair hearing. “From now on, what we face would not be the court but the government,” he said. “To trust such a judiciary would be like putting one’s head under the guillotine.”
Yesterday, Turkish police raided three major courts in Istanbul with warrants for the arrest of 173 prosecutors and other judicial staff suspected of involvement in the failed coup.
Can, together with his Ankara based bureau chief, Erdum Gül who received a similar prison sentence to Can and is also free on bail, spent three months in pre-trial detention before being freed in February under a ruling from the Constitutional Court. (See my recent blog of 1 July.)
Meanwhile a delegation from the NUJ visited the Turkish ambassador in London yesterday (15 August) to protest about the crack down on press freedom since 15 July. A full report can be found at: https://www.nuj.org.uk/news/delegation-meets-turkish-ambassador-to-discuss-attacks-on-press/