Turkish daily Sozcu targeted for coup links

"They want to silence Sozcu" said the Turkish daily's headlines on 2 September 2016.

Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office issued a search and arrest warrant for Burak Akbay, the owner of Turkish daily Sozcu. Arrest warrants have also been issued for the director of the online edition, the finance director of the newspaper as well as one reporter, according to media outlet Evrensel.

Sozcu, an opposition newspaper with a hardline Kemalist stance, had published a report on its online edition on 15 July 2016, the day of the failed coup attempt regarding the whereabouts of President Tayyip Erdogan who was on vacation in an undisclosed location. Two platoons of army and navy special forces had gone to Marmaris, where Erdogan was staying in a hotel, to arrest the president according to the soldiers in question. The soldiers are now accused of attempting to assasinate Erdogan. The prosecutor who ordered today’s arrest warrants, for the owner of Sozcu along with two directors and the reporter who wrote the 15 July article, maintains that they are members of the Fethullah Gulen’s terror network and they were part of the plot to assasinate the president.

The newspaper had announced in a headline (“They want to silence Sozcu”) dated 2 September 2016 that the government was looking for ways to close down the newspaper by linking it to Fethullah Gulen’s terror network.

“I am targeted because I am part of a team whose sole aim is to proclaim the truth and the owner of Turkey’s best-selling newspaper,” said Burak Akbay, the owner of the daily in a written statement published on the newspaper website.

Many opposition news outlets have been shut down in the country following the coup attempt of 15 July and more than 150 journalists are currently in prison.