Newspaper editor-in-chief arrested for anti-Erdogan tweets

Published October 10th, 2015 - 11:35 GMT

Turkish police have arrested the editor-in-chief of the English-language newspaper, Today’s Zaman, for reportedly posting a series of tweets critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Bulent Kenes was detained after police raided the newspaper’s headquarters in the Turkish city of Istanbul on Friday.

The detention was televised live, while a crowd of supporters gathered outside the paper’s office with placards reading, “Free media cannot be silenced!”

The arrest came after an Istanbul judge agreed to a request by prosecutors to apprehend Kenes, claiming that tweets he had posted in August insulted Erdogan.

The journalist , however, denied the accusations, emphasizing that he was instead exercising free speech.

“I will continue to oppose turning this country into an open-air prison and an unlawful, oppressive and arbitrary administration,” he said.

Back in June, Kenes was also given a 21-month suspended jail sentence over similar charges.

Meanwhile, the Turkish Journalists’ Union published a statement, saying that the case was “another example of intimidation of the media” ahead of elections in the country.

On October 3, Turkish journalists held a demonstration in Istanbul to protest against what they called the growing suppression of media and threats against reporters in the country.

The Turkish government has been under fire for alleged clamping down on journalists and sentencing them to long prison terms.

In June, center-left Turkish daily Cumhuriyet released a video, implicating the country’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) in assisting the Daesh Takfiri militants operating against the Syrian government.

Irked by the revelations, the Turkish president, however, threatened that Can Dundar, Cumhuriyet’s editor-in-chief, would “pay a heavy price” for publishing the video.

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