Feb 21 2018

Turkish ambassador unaware of journalists' life sentence

Turkey’s ambassador to France, İsmail Hakkı Musa, refused to acknowledge in an interview with French radio a Turkish court decision to sentence six defendants, including three prominent journalists, to extended life in prison.

Answering a question on RTL about the sentencing of six journalists to life imprisonment by a Turkish court, the ambassador denied any knowledge of the trial or the convictions. 

"Which journalists are you talking about? I follow the news, but I have not received any such information," Musa said. Later Musa said he could not comment on an ongoing court case.  

Even after the interviewer confirmed the court's decision from another source, the ambassador insisted, "I think that you should re-examine your sources. They are not sentenced to life, to my knowledge." 

Following a months-long trial, three renowned Turkish journalists, Ahmet Altan, his brother Mehmet Altan, and prominent television pundit Nazlı Ilıcak were sentenced to life in prison on charges of involvement in the 2016 coup attempt. 

The court charged the former newspaper editor Ahmet Altan, his brother, columnist and economist Mehmet Altan, and Ilıcak, with terror crimes and for being the media wing of the banned Fethullah Gülen movement that the Turkish government says was behind the 2016 coup attempt to overthrow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.