Journalist released after a call by Erdoğan's nationalist ally

Journalist Mümtazer Türköne has been released from the jail, HalkTV reported on Thursday. 

Türköne was sentenced to nine years prison for “membership of a terrorist organisation” in 2018. Recently, the leader of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the coalition partner of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Devlet Bahçeli has called for release and retrial of the journalist. 

Türköne was writing for Zaman Newspaper, which was known to be a media outlet linked to the Gülen movement, a group that the Turkish government accuses of orchestrating a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. 

He, along with many other journalists, were blamed for foreknowledge or preparing the ground for the coup attempt in trials in Turkey. Fethullah Gülen, the leader of the movement, denies charges. However senior members of the movement were caught in the close proximity of the Akıncı Air base in the early morning of July 16, where the failed coup attempt was headquartered.

The 16th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals ruled after the appeal by Türköne's lawyers and ordered 13th High Criminal Court in Istanbul to release him.

Bahçeli, who has been quite influential with the governing party, tweeted on June 23 to remind that Türköne's brother "was martyred" 41 years ago and he knows Türköne well from his childhood. The journalist's brother was killed by a leftist university student in 1979.

Turkey’s critical press has been under increasing pressure from the government. 95 percent of the Turkish media is believed to be under the government's direct influence.