Sep 14 2018

‘How did an informer take over my newspaper?’ - Can Dündar

Can Dündar, a journalist and former editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet newspaper, has said the newspaper was seized by an internal plot on Friday led by an informer in his op-ed published in German weekly newspaper Die Zeit on Thursday.

Dündar was referring to Alev Çoşkun, who was elected on Friday as the new head of Cumhuriyet Foundation, which owns Turkey’s 94-year-old newspaper.

Coşkun was accused of sending anonymous denunciations to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which were used as evidence against the journalists of Cumhuriyet, in a trial over terrorism charges that ended in recent months with long prison sentences. 

According to Dündar, an anonymous denunciation appeared in the court that was sent to Erdogan was saying: "You are our last hope. Please intervene and give us the Cumhuriyet back."

"One of the former chairmen of the foundation criticised the editorial policy of the newspaper in his testimony before the court," Dündar also said pointing to Coşkun who played a role as a state witness in the Cumhuriyet trials.

"The history of authoritarian regimes is not only one of the dictators, secret service agents and torturers, it is also that of collaborators and informers,” Dündar reminded.

Dündar, an award-winning Turkish journalist and documentarist, was the editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet newspaper until August 2016.

He was arrested in November 2015 after his newspaper published footage showing Turkey's National Intelligence Organization (MİT) sending weapons to Syrian Islamist fighters. He is living in exile in Germany, with an arrest warrant against him in Turkey since he was released in June 2016.

Around 30 members of Cumhuriyet’s newspaper’s staff has resigned or has been sacked after a new board was elected to the not-for-profit Cumhuriyet Foundation on Friday following a Turkish court’s ruling in July in favour of an appeal demanding a re-run of previous elections held in 2013.

Among them is also Erdem Gül, the newspaper’s former representative in the Turkish capital of Ankara, who was also prosecuted along with Dündar. The newspaper’s new board sacked Gül via a fax message.