Turkey charges journalists with "espionage"
Prominent Turkish journalists Can Dundar and Erdem Gul of the Cumhuriyet daily have been charged with espionage.Source: BBC
The accusation came because the journalists, who deny the accusations, published articles claiming that Turkey's secret services "sent arms to Islamist rebels in Syria," BBC is reporting.
If found guilty, Dundar, the paper's editor-in-chief, and Gul its Ankara bureau chief, could face life in prison.
They reported that "trucks belonging to the Turkish intelligence agency MIT were used to carry weapons to Islamist opposition groups in Syria," said the British broadcaster, adding that "video footage published alongside their report purported to show Turkish police officers intercepting the trucks and discovering crates containing weapons and ammunition."
The government said that "the intelligence trucks were carrying aid to the Turkmen minority in Syria."
BBC reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan personally filed a lawsuit against the newspaper, and said in May: "This paper has engaged in acts of espionage. Whoever wrote this story will pay a heavy price for this."
"They ask us why we published that story. The history of journalism is full of such examples as Watergate or Wikileaks that show states would like to keep some facts secret. But it's for common good to bring them to light," Dundar has been quoted as saying.
BBC noted that the charges have been "heavily criticized by press freedom groups," and that Turkey ranks 149th among the 180 countries in RSF's World Press Freedom Index 2015.