ISTANBUL Dec 29 Prominent Turkish journalist
Ahmet Sik on Thursday said he was being detained by authorities
over a Twitter statement he made while an opposition lawmaker
who spoke to him said the reporter was being accused of
At least 81 journalists are imprisoned in Turkey, according
to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ),
with more than 130 media outlets shut since a failed coup
attempt in July. Journalists and writers are largely facing
charges of terrorist propaganda.
"I am being detained," Sik said on Twitter. "I am going to
be taken to the prosecutor's office over a tweet."
Baris Yarkadas, a lawmaker for the main opposition
Republican People's Party (CHP), said on Twitter Sik had told
him he was being accused of terror propaganda.
Turkish prosecutors could not be reached for comment but the
state-run news agency Anadolu said Sik was also being accused of
insulting the Turkish state, its judiciary, military and police
through several Twitter posts and his work on the Cumhuriyet
The scale of the media crackdown since July has alarmed
Turkey's Western allies and foreign investors. Human rights
groups and opposition parties say President Tayyip Erdogan, who
traces his political roots to a banned Islamist party, is using
the coup as a pretext to muzzle all dissent in the nation.
Ankara blames the Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former
ally of Erdogan, for orchestrating the failed coup, when rogue
soldiers commandeered tanks and fighter jets and more than 240
people were killed. Gulen, who lives in the United States,
Officials say the media crackdown is justified by the threat
to democracy posed by Gulen's followers.
Sik has long been critical of Gulen. In 2011 he was jailed
for a year over a book on the cleric's life, as part of a series
of court cases that led to the imprisonment of hundreds of
soldiers and journalists who said they were targeted by the
Gulenist judiciary. The convictions were later overturned and
cases were thrown out.
(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by David Dolan; Editing by