Warrants issued for 4 people at critical newspaper in Turkey

The Sozcu newspaper's website manager, Mediha Olgun, was arrested by police following the warrant which was issued as part of a probe into the group's media links, according to the source who spoke to the news agency on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.

Arrest comes after a court in Istanbul issued warrants for four journalists at Sozcu daily newspaper. Meanwhile, Turkish CNN reports that Akbay is presently in London, while Olgun and Ulu have already been detained.

He confirmed Olgun was in custody but said that could be in connection with another investigation. The Turkish government refers to Hizmet, which consists of a network of worldwide charter schools, as the "Fethullah Terrorist Organization" (FETO).

"We have fought against terrorist organisations, FETO".

Since the failed coup, Turkish authorities have shut more than 130 media outlets and a press union says more than 150 journalists have been jailed, raising concerns about media freedom in a country that aspires to join the European Union.

The state-run Anadolu news agency said the charges against the four suspects included planning "the assassination of the president and physical assault" and "armed rebellion against the government of the Turkish Republic".

Its sometimes lurid approach contrasts with the more moderate tone of Cumhuriyet, one of the country's oldest dailies.

The arrests occur on Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day, a national holiday in Turkey to honor the secularist founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Its leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, said the inquiry was "unacceptable", while senior CHP lawmaker Ozgur Ozel said it aimed to silence all dissent.

Sabah, a newspaper friendly to the Erdogan government, reported that the reason for the crackdown on Sozcu is an article by Ulu in which the paper alleged to know Erdogan's secret location during the July coup attempt. "If Sozcu is FETO, everyone in Turkey is FETO!"

Leading columnists at the paper protested the investigation.

The daily issued a statement of defiance on its website: "Let no one have any doubt, Sozcu will not be silent".

"Sozcu is a newspaper everyone reads, a newspaper that does not bow to repression - therefore a newspaper that does not like power". Turkey ranks 155th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Border's 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

  • Leroy Wright