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Sözcü becomes latest target of media crackdown in Turkey

By Leyla Amur

The latest development in a series of media crackdowns came on Friday morning, with warrants issued for the arrest of the owner and three employees at Turkey’s secularist daily Sözcu.

The paper’s four staff members are accused of being affiliated with and committing crimes on behalf of the so-called Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), state-run news agency Anadolu Agency reported on Friday.

According to the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s office that issued the warrant, the move is part of a broader investigation into any media connections with FETO, which the Turkish government has blamed for orchestrating the failed coup attempt last July.

Press reports reveal that Mediha Olgun, who was in charge of the Sözcü’s website, was arrested following the release of the warrants, while owner Burak Akbay could not be taken into custody as he was not in the country.

However, the legality of Olgun’s arrest is being called into question. Sözcü’s lawyer Ismail Yilmaz told Doğan news agency that the prosecutor’s office had released search and seize warrants, not arrest warrants. The prosecutor’s office denied these claims, saying “there are warrants, there are claims.”

No information has been released on whether the other two employees – identified as financial affairs manager Yonca Kaleli and reporter Gökmen Ulu – have been arrested or not.

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