News

Turkey: 27 years prison-sentence for journalist Can Dundar

Turkish journalist Can Dundar was sentenced on December 23 to more than 27 years in prison for allegedly supporting terrorism and "military or political espionage."

A court in Istanbul sentenced Dundar to 18 years and nine months for obtaining state secrets for the purpose of political or military espionage, the verdict said on Wednesday. The court also sentenced him to an additional eight years and nine months for supporting an armed terrorist organization without being a member.

The court based its sentence mainly upon an article published by "Cumhuriyet"-newspaper- whose editor-in-chief Dundar was at that time- about a secret arms-export to Daesh-rebels in Syria, allegedly organized by the Turkish Secret Service.

Living since 2016 in exile in Germany, Dundar -who was Turkey-correspondent for German newspaper "Die Welt"-was tried in absentia.

Speaking with "Deutsche Welle", Dundar said he wasn’t surprised by the verdict: "They wanted to punish me because of this true story and at the same time try to intimidate other journalists in Turkey who dare touch that kind of sensitive issue."

"The judicial system is almost totally under the control of Erdogan’s government, so there’s no hope for the appeal courts," he said. "But we will go to the European Court of Human Rights, and I hope that they will certify that this is not an act of terrorism but an act of journalism."

AEJ-President Otmar Lahodynsky called the judgement "a political farce": "Journalism is not a crime. The judicial system in Turkey is not independent and acts on the orders of Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan."

This was proven recently by the fact that Turkey does not follow judgements of the "European Court of Human Rights" in Strasbourg as it should as member of the Council of Europe. On December 22 this court demanded the immediate release of the Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas. The head of the pro-Kurdish party HDP was imprisoned four years ago.

AEJ-President Lahodynsky called for the complete end for the now only frozen enlargement talks between Turkey and the European Union. "A membership of Turkey in the EU with this government is incompatible with fundamental European values."