Turkish journalists charged for exposing secret arms shipments to Syrian rebels

by 1389 on November 27, 2015

in 1389 (blog admin), censorship, Syria, Turkey

Can Dundar and Erdem Gul
Can Dundar, editor-in-chief of opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, right, and Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gul outside court on Thursday. Photograph: Vedat Arik/AP

Guardian: Turkish journalists charged over claim that secret services armed Syrian rebels

Two editors from the opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper face lengthy jail sentences for alleging that Ankara’s intelligence agency was supplying weapons

A court in Istanbul has charged two journalists from the opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper with spying after they alleged Turkey’s secret services had sent arms to Islamist rebels in Syria.

Can Dundar, the editor-in-chief, and Erdem Gul, the paper’s Ankara bureau chief, are accused of spying and “divulging state secrets”, Turkish media reported. Both men were placed in pre-trial detention.

According to Cumhuriyet, Turkish security forces in January 2014 intercepted a convoy of trucks near the Syrian border and discovered boxes of what the daily described as weapons and ammunition to be sent to rebels fighting against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

It linked the seized trucks to the Turkish national intelligence organisation (MIT).

The revelations, published in May, caused a political storm in Turkey, and enraged president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who vowed Dundar would pay a “heavy price”.

He personally filed a criminal complaint against Dundar, 54, demanding he serve multiple life sentences.

Turkey has vehemently denied aiding Islamist rebels in Syria, such as the Islamic State group, although it wants to see Assad toppled.

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