Journalists on mobster's death list to "take break" from newspaper

Two of the Karar newspaper writers whose names were included on an apparent death list published on social media by jailed Turkish crime boss and nationalist leader Alaattin Çakıcı have announced they will stop writing for the liberal Islamist newspaper.

Elif Çakır and Etyen Mahçupyan both said that their decision was not influenced by the death threats on Friday, the same day they surfaced, the secularist newspaper BirGün reported.

The text shared by Çakıcı identified the writers at the newspaper, which is noted as a rare conservative critic of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), as “servants of the United States and FETÖ,” using the acronym for the Fethullahist Terrorist Organisation, the Turkish government’s name for the Gülen religious movement blamed for plotting the 2016 coup attempt.

The note called on supporters of Çakıcı, a respected figure among Turkish ultranationalists, to “punish” the newspaper’s owner Mehmet Aydın and six writers including Mahçupyan, also naming Çakır but saying that, as a woman, she should not be harmed.

Çakır has said her departure from the newspaper will be temporary, while Mahçupyan has said he arrived at a mutual agreement with the newspaper not to write “for a period.”

Çakıcı is currently serving time in a maximum-security prison in Tekirdağ, northwest Turkey, for arranging the contract killing of his second wife, Nuriye Uğur Kılıç, the daughter of notorious mob boss Dündar Kılıç.