May 08 2018

Turkish court files new charges against four Zaman journalists 

A Turkish court filed new charges against four journalists who worked for the Zaman newspaper that the government accuses of being part of a secretive religious group it says carried out the 2016 failed coup, independent news site P24 reported.

The Istanbul court changed the charges against Zaman night editor İbrahim Karayeğen, editor Mehmet Özdemir and columnists Orhan Kemal Cengiz and İhsan Dağı, all of whom were previously accused of membership of a terror organisation and playing a role in the coup. 

Karayeğen and Özdemir, who had previously been accused of  “attempting to destroy the constitutional order”, carrying a prison sentences of up to 15 years, are now charged with  “leading an armed terror group”, which could lead to jail terms of up to 22 years and six months.

The prosecutor in the cases against Cengiz and Dağı changed their charges to “continuous propaganda for a terror organisation”, and requested a 13-year jail sentence for both.

A total of 30 columnists and staff who worked for Zaman, once one of Turkey’s highest circulation newspapers, are now on trial.

Widely regarded as linked to the movement of U.S.-based Islamist preacher Fethullah Gülen, Zaman daily columnists and staff are accused by Turkish authorities of playing a role in a series of attempts to overthrow the government culminating in the failed coup of July 2016.