Journalists accused of participating in Turkey coup released, immediately rearrested

At least 150 journalists are thought to be behind bars in Turkey.

21 journalists arrested on charges of membership to Fethullah Gulen’s “terrorist network” were released on Friday but immediately rearrested after prosecutors opened new investigations for 13 of them while objecting to the release of another 8; none of the journalists were released from prison.

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office immediately objected to the release of eight of the journalists by Istanbul’s 25th High Criminal Court of Justice and obtained a decision to rearrest the journalists. Prosecutors opened two new investigations for the other 13 journalists and obtained new decisions to keep them in detention, the journalists are now charged with participating in the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016.

The detained journalists include employers, owners and writers of the daily Millet, Cihan News Agency, the daily Zaman, Meydan daily, Yeni Hayat daily, Bugun daily and Rota News, as well as the website Samanyolu News. The arrest order for the journalists was issued on 30 August 2016.

Ankara accuses US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former ally of President Erdogan, of masterminding the coup. A claim Gulen has rejected.

Several independent reports have said although some Gulenists participated in the coup, there was insufficient evidence to suggest the Islamic movement had orchestrated the military intervention.

At least 150 journalists are thought to be jailed in Turkey on terror charges. Ankara has defended the arrests.