Turkish court jails journalists for disclosing state secrets

Two prominent Turkish journalists working for the newspaper Cumhuriyet are given 5 years prison sentences for revealing state secrets.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Can Dundar (R), editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet, accompanied by his Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gul, talk to media as they leave the Justice Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, May 6, 2016.

A high court in Istanbul convicted Turkish journalists Can Dundar and Erdem Gul on Friday night on charges of revealing state secrets, sentencing them to five years and 10 months and five years in prison respectively.

Dundar, the editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet newspaper and Erdem Gul, the paper’s Ankara bureau chief, were put on trial following the publication of images purporting to show arms being transported to Syria in trucks belonging to Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization, also known as the MIT.

The 14th High Criminal Court acquitted the duo of charges of attempting to overthrow the government, while ordering that the charges of "knowingly and willfully" helping the FETO/PDY organisation - the so-called "parallel state" - be separated from the trial.

A few hours before the court announced the guilty verdict, Dundar had escaped a gun attack outside Istanbul's Caglayan courthouse, police said.

He was assaulted by a gunman outside the courthouse. Dundar was not wounded in the attack, but correspondent Yagiz Senkal for Turkish news channel NTV was slightly injured.

Police later arrested the attacker.

The journalists have been convicted in a case linked to searches carried out on MIT trucks on two occasions in January 2014. In May last year, Cumhuriyet ran a story and images claiming to show the discovery of arms in the Syria-bound trucks.

The two defendants were arrested in late November last year and held in prison until Feb. 26, when Turkey's Constitutional Court ruled that their rights had been violated and ordered their release.

TRTWorld, AA