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The trial of several journalists accused of being involved in an alleged plot to overthrow the Turkish government had degraded the status of press freedom in the country, writes Ece Temelkuran
A Turkish court has denied an appeal of a court order for the confiscation of the unpublished book “İmamın Ordusu” or The Imams Army, written by politically outspoken (and arrested) journalist Ahmet Şık. The court claimed that the unpublished draft had been edited by Ergenekon, the alleged coup-plotting organization, and declared the manuscript to be an “illegal organizational document.” Last week the police were ordered to seize multiple copies of the document by the court. Anyone who has refused to hand over copies of the draft is to be charged with ”aiding and abetting a criminal organization.”
A Turkish court rejected an application for the provisional release of reporters Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener on Thursday. They were arrested on 3 March during raids relating to the alleged Ergenekon plot. They will now be imprisoned pending trial on the charge of belonging to a “terrorist organisation”.
Thousands of people gathered in the centre of Istanbul on Sunday to protest against the imprisonment of journalists Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener. The reporters were detained as part of an official crackdown over the alleged Ergenekon plot. The demonstration was organised by the Freedom for Journalists platform (GÖP) to highlight the abuse of press freedom in Turkey. They are also campaigning for changes to national laws, in particular the Turkish Criminal Law.