Two more journalists part ways with Cumhuriyet

Canan Coşkun, a legal affairs reporter facing years in prison for a report on Turkish judicial officials, and finance editor and reporter Pelin Ünker are the latest in a wave of journalists parting ways with secularist daily Cumhuriyet since it restructured its editorial staff in September.

Coşkun announced her break with Cumhuriyet on Twitter, saying she would remember the newspaper fondly.

The legal affairs reporter was hit with a sentence of 2 years and 3 months for “targeting officials involved in the fight against terrorism” after she reported that a lottery to select homebuyers for a coveted project in Istanbul had been rigged in favour of members of the judiciary.

Ünker has also run into legal trouble for her part in reporting on large transactions in overseas tax havens conducted by former Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s sons, as revealed in the Paradise Papers data leak.

The pair have followed dozens of other renowned journalists who have parted ways with the newspaper after it announced a new editorial board headed by controversial figures including Alev Coşkun, who was alleged to have sent anonymous denunciations to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan which were used as evidence in trials against Cumhuriyet staff.

Fifteen staff members of the newspaper, including former editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu, were given long prison sentences in April for allegedly supporting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a militant Kurdish group, and the Gülen movement, a religious organisation blamed for plotting the July 2016 coup attempt. Both groups are designated as terrorist organisations by Turkey.

Since the management of the newspaper has changed, following journalists have left the paper:

Murat Sabuncu
Bülent Özdoğan
Faruk Eren
Aydın Engin
Çiğdem Toker
Hakan Kara
Musa Kart
Melis Alphan
Ahmet Tulgar
Güray Öz
Tayfun Atay
Erdem Gül
Kemal Can
Bülent Mumay
Ceyda Karan
Mirgün Cabas
Barbaros Şansal
Mahir Ünsal Eriş
Binnaz Saktanber
Zeynep Miraç Özkartal Taner
Ahmet İnsel
Kadri Gürsel
Aslı Aydıntaşbaş
Bağış Erten
Bülent Şık
Müjde Yazıcı Ergin
Kemal Göktaş
Metin Celal
Ayşe Yıldırım
Melis Alphan