An operation was started early on Friday morning (May 19) against publisher of Turkey’s opposition newspaper Sözcü, along with three other professionals of the newspaper, over accusations of their ties to FETÖ.
Houses of the media professionals were reported to have been raided and searched, although lawyers of Sözcü stated that they have not been informed about any warrants of arrest.
According to reports of CNN Türk, there are warrants of arrest issued against the publisher Burak Akbay, along with the web editor Mediha Olgun, accounting manager Yonca Kaleli, and reporter Gökmen Ulu.
At late afternoon hours, NTV reported that reporter Gökmen Ulu was taken into custody.
First statement from Sözcü: 'We are not going to be silenced'
As a first statement, Sözcü shared a news piece saying in the headline ‘We are not going to be silenced’. The statement said: “The perception operation launched against Sözcü, which is the voice of the conscience of Turkey, on May 19th - the day marking the start of Turkey’s struggle for independence – has caused public resentment in a great part of the country. Phone lines of Sözcü are locked (due to excessive incoming calls). We are receiving phone calls and e-mail messages of support from thousands of spots across the country from big cities to villages. Nobody shall worry! Sözcü is not going to be silenced; it is going to continue being the voice of conscience. Because, if Sözcü is silenced, Turkey gets silenced!”
Prominent journalist from Turkey, Uğur Dündar, shared a message from his personal twitter account about the operation against Sözcü, saying: “They have taken people into custody from Sözcü in the morning of holiday (19 May Commemoration of Atatürk and Sports and Youth Day). I am going straight to the office of my newspaper Sözcü. If Sözcü is supporter of FETÖ, then, everyone in Turkey is a supporter of FETÖ.”
One of the few remaining opposition news sources in the country, Sözcü is known for its Kemalist approach.
Under the crackdown led by Turkey's current government in response to the failed coup attempt of last summer, over a hundred media institutions have been shot and 165 journalists have been jailed.
(Updated at 18:00 on Friday, May 19th)
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