Turkey issues new arrest warrant for journalist for covering intel officer funeral

Istanbul’s chief prosecutor issued an arrest warrant for Birgün journalist Erk Acerer for allegedly revealing the identity of a Turkish intelligence officer who died in Libya, Turkish press reported

Turkish security forces have arrested several journalists for covering the funeral of the National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) officer, with photos of the event. 

In March, news director Barış Terkoğlu, Barış Pehlivan and reporter Hülya Kılınç from OdaTV were imprisoned for publishing the identity of the official. Newspaper Yeni Yaşam’s Ferhat Çelik and Aydın Keser and Yeniçağ columnist Murat Ağirel followed suit in April on the same charge.

Acarer could not be interrogated for his report, because he was living in exile, according to the Turkish press reports. The Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office has issued for his arrest as a result.

Acarer said in several tweets he did not lie nor misreported any news, and that he will not be intimidated by such actions of the Turkish government. 

The MIT officer’s identity had already been revealed by opposition Good Party Istanbul deputy Ümit Özdağ at a televised parliamentary press conference, OdaTV reported earlier.

Turkish parliament in April passed a bill to release almost a third of the country’s 300,000 prisoners on early parole and probation. One criticised article inserted in the draft law on the last day of discussions excluded people charged with offences against the MIT, thereby denying amnesty for the imprisoned journalists who reported on the officer’s death.

Turkey remains the world’s worst jailer of journalists, the International Observatory for Human Rights said in January.

The country ranks 157th out of 180 in the RSF World Press Freedom Index.