Two Turkish journalists released ahead of trial

Published December 29th, 2015 - 01:00 GMT

Turkish courts on Tuesday released two journalists charged with plotting a coup because of a magazine cover criticizing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's November election win, AFP reported.

Cevheri Guven and Murat Capan, leading editors at Nokta magazine, face jail terms of up to 20 years each on charges of provoking armed rebellion against the Turkish Republic. They were released pending trial, Dogan news agency reported.

Guven and Capan were arrested after Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) were swept to victory in elections on November 1.

Nokta's Istanbul offices were raided by police. The two editors were then detained over a magazine cover that read: "The start of civil war in Turkey." 

The magazine's latest edition was ordered to be withdrawn by an Istanbul court, accusing it of inciting violence. 

This was not the first time Nokta had been raided by authorities. Their offices had been raided by police in September for a magazine cover satirizing Erdogan. 

Deteriorating press freedom in Turkey under Erdogan has become a growing concern among international watchdog groups. A growing number of journalists are facing trial for accusations of insulting or criticizing government officials. 

In a separate case, editors Can Dundar and Erdem Gul of the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet, have been held for over a month and face espionage charges for reporting on Turkey's alleged arms supplies to militants in Syria.

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