July 16, 2017 / 2:32 PM / a year ago

Turkey detains newspaper editor over coup column - newspaper

ANKARA, July 16 (Reuters) - Turkish authorities detained the editor of a regional newspaper over a column she wrote criticising the government for exaggerating the importance of last year’s coup attempt, the newspaper said.

Yeliz Koray, editor of the Kocaeli Koz newspaper in the northwestern province of Izmit, was detained at her home late on Saturday, the newspaper said.

“Certain groups were bothered by the piece and made Koray a target. They wanted to lynch Koray for her writing, which is part of the right of freedom of expression,” the newspaper said on its website on Sunday.

In a column entitled “I’ll Eat Your Epic”, Koray criticised the government for what she said was an overemphasis on the events of July 15 last year, saying it paled in significance next to World War I and major battles in Turkish history.

She said the government had not done enough to expose what happened on the night, when rogue soldiers commandeered tanks and planes in an attempt to topple Erdogan. Some 250 people were killed, many of them unarmed civilians.

No one was immediately available for comment at the paper or at the local prosecutor’s office.

Hundreds of thousands of Turks rallied to mark the anniversary of last year’s failed coup in an outpouring of mass support for President Tayyip Erdogan that lay bare the divisions of a society riven by widespread purges.

In the aftermath of the putsch, some 150,000 people have been sacked or suspended from jobs in the civil service and private sector and more than 50,000 were detained for alleged links to the putsch, including local members of rights groups such as Amnesty International.

The purge, which has led to the detention of many journalists and caused the closure of some 130 media outlets, has alarmed Turkey’s Western allies and rights groups, who say Erdogan is using the coup as a pretext to muzzle dissent.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists calls Turkey the world’s biggest jailer of journalists, with some 160 detained.

The government says the measures are necessary due to the gravity of the threats it faces. (Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by David Dolan and Richard Balmforth)

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