Exiled Turkish journalist sets up shop in Germany, aims to hire reporters sacked in Turkey

Published October 5th, 2016 - 04:00 GMT
Can Dundar, former editor in chief for Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet, stood trial for reporting on arms shipments to Syria. (AFP/File)
Can Dundar, former editor in chief for Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet, stood trial for reporting on arms shipments to Syria. (AFP/File)

An award-winning Turkish journalist, who fled his homeland after facing trial and being sentenced to jail time for his publication of information about Turkey's arms shipments to militants in Syria, has opened up a new operation in Berlin.

Can Dundar, who was sentenced to more than five years in jail, plans to launch the outlet soon and aims to take advantage of the faltering media landscape in Turkey, where many journalists have lost their jobs after their newspapers and channels were shuttered by the government.

"Many journalists are unemployed, many colleagues were kicked to the curb," Dundar said in a YouTube video.

"My intention is to do here what we were trying to do in Turkey with our hands and feet tied," noted Dundar, who fled to Germany earlier this year.

Dundar, who was blasted by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his reporting at Cumhuriyet newspaper, did not clarify the source of funding for the new "modern" operation.

Cumhuriyet continues to face trouble. A columnist at the newspaper, Ayse Yildirim, had her passport revoked at an international airport in Istanbul on Wednesday. She was travelling with her husband Celal Baslangic, a well-known journalist.

"We were leaving for a business trip to Brussels. During the passport control they told us that our passports were cancelled," Yildirim told dpa by telephone.

Baslangic is facing trial, along with dozens of other writers and reporters, for their role in supporting Ozgur Gundem, a Kurdish newspaper that was closed over the summer by the government.

This week, Turkish police raided the offices of IMC television, a popular left-leaning and pro-Kurdish station. The broadcaster had already been taken off satellite, but the crackdown means its internet broadcasts have also been cut.

Dozens of media outlets have been shuttered since the failed July 15 coup in Turkey, where a state of emergency is in effect.

Even prior to the putsch - which the government blames on Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, based in the US - opposition and critical outlets were being closed down.

Some 97 journalists are in jail in Turkey, according to the European Federation of Journalists. Tens of thousands of websites and Twitter accounts are blocked in the country.

The most recent moves have even affected seemingly non-political entities, like a channel that broadcast children's shows and cartoons in the Kurdish language.

Turkey often accuses the Kurdish networks its shuts of acting as propaganda outfits for the armed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).


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