Turkish Court Hears Case against Journalists from Cumhuriyet Newspaper

Turkish Court Hears Case against Journalists from Cumhuriyet Newspaper

Turkish court on Monday (September 11) resumed the trial against 17 writers, executives and lawyers from the secularist Cumhuriyet newspaper whom prosecutors want jailed for up to 43 years on accusations of targeting President Tayyip Erdogan through "asymmetric war methods."

The court had previously decided that four prominent members of an opposition newspaper must remain in detention but freed seven others for the duration of the trial.

Security was tight outside the courthouse in Silivri, west of Istanbul, where supporters had gathered.

Prosecutors are seeking up to 43 years in jail for the paper's staff, including some of Turkey's best-known journalists, who are accused of targeting Erdogan.

The indictment alleges Cumhuriyet was effectively taken over by the network of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is blamed for the failed coup last July.

But critics of Erdogan see the case as an attack on free speech, part of a wider post-coup crackdown which has led to calls for Turkey's EU accession talks to be suspended or called off altogether.

The government introduced a nation-wide state of emergency after the failed July 15 coup which gave it broad powers to round up suspects linked to the putsch. More than 110,000 civil servants, soldiers, police, judges and other officials have been suspended or detained, as have journalists.