Turkish journalists Arrested For Story On Intelligence Trucks Bound For Syria

can-dundar Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar and the daily’s Ankara Bureau Chief Erdem Gül were arrested Nov. 26 due to a story about Turkish intelligence trucks bound for Syria in early 2014.

“We are accused of ‘spying.’ The president said [our action is] ‘treason.’ We are not traitors, spy, or heroes; we are journalists. What we have done here was a journalistic activity,” Dündar said before testifying to prosecutors Nov. 26.

“Of course this prosecution will help enlighten how these incidents took place, rather than how we covered this story.”

Dündar and Gül were arrested on charges of espionage and being a member of an armed terrorist organization based on reports in Cumhuriyet regarding Syrian-bound trucks sent by the National Intelligence Agency (MİT).

The armed organization mentioned by the prosecutors refers to Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), a term used by prosecutors to define the followers of Fethullah Gülen, a U.S.-based Islamic scholar.

Footage released by Cumhuriyet on May 29 reportedly showed gendarmerie and police officers opening crates on the back of trucks which contained what the daily described as weapons and ammunition sent to Syria by MİT in January 2014.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan filed an individual criminal complaint against Dündar and Cumhuriyet on June 2, claiming that the story “included some footage and information that are not factual” while saying the person “who wrote the story will pay a heavy price.”