May 08 2018

Turkish court files terror charges after pro-government newspaper accusations

A Turkish court filed terrorist propaganda charges against a man pro-government newspapers said had tweeted in favour of the movement accused of being behind the 2016 failed coup while working as head of social media for a nationalist opposition party, but high-ranking officials of the party denied any links.

Two pro-government newspapers, Star and Yeni Şafak, accused Kerim Çoraklık of making propaganda on behalf of the Fethullah Gülen movement on their front pages, apparently on the basis of tweets they said fit in with the group’s agenda. Çoraklık, they said, was working on the Good Party campaign for presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24.

Çoraklık was detained, charged and released pending trial.

The Gülen movement, a religious group based around an exile preacher in the United States, is held by the government, which calls it FETÖ, or the Fethullahist Terrorist Organisation, to have been responsible for the July 2016 failed coup attempt in Turkey.

However, Good Party sources told secularist newspaper Sözcü that despite the media furore, Çoraklık did not work for the party.

The newly formed Good Party is a key part of the opposition Nation Alliance in the June 24 elections.

The pro-government Akşam newspaper said Çoraklık was head of the Good Party social media team, and had “turned out to be a raving FETÖ member”. Tens of thousands of people have been arrested on charges connected with the coup in a wide-ranging crackdown that opposition parties say has been used to stifle dissent from all quarters.