The director and chief editor of Cumhuriyet had published a report on the Turkish government’s arms trafficking with Islamists in Syria. Erdogan had threatened them that they would "pay a high price." More than 30 journalists are still in prison. Turkey one of the worst nations in the world for press freedom.
Istanbul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Two Turkish journalists, jailed months ago for revealing "state secrets", have been released following a ruling by the Constitutional Court.
Can Dundar, the director of the secular newspaper Cumhuriyet (pictured right), and Erdem Gul, Chief Editor of the Ankara bureau (left in photo), were threatened and formally arrested last November because of a report that showed how the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was involved in arming Islamists in Syria.
Because of this they were accused of having obtained and disclosed state secrets "for reasons of espionage", also attempting to “violently" overthrow the Turkish government and helping "armed terrorist organizations”.
Yesterday, however, the Constitutional Court overturned the charges, saying they violate press freedom, and this morning the two journalists were released.
Leaving the prison, Can Dundar highlighted the plight of press freedom in the country: "We got out but more than 30 colleagues are still in prison. I hope that this ruling will pave way for their freedom as well."
The case directly involves the President Erdogan, whose signature appeared among the plaintiffs of the two journalists. Erdogan himself had threatened the two saying they would "pay dearly" for publishing the articles. But their fate and the violations against press freedom had sparked much international criticism of Ankara.
According to Reporters Without Borders, in a list on press freedom in the world, Turkey is at 149th place out of 180 countries.