Two Turkish Journalists Are Freed, Top Court Ruled Their Rights Were Violated
The arrest of Can Dundar, editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet, and Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gul last November drew international attention. They were detained after the publication of video footage purporting to show the state intelligence agency helping send weapons to Syria. “We think the Constitutional Court’s ruling is a historic one,” Can Dundar told reporters outside the prison, next to their friends .
The Turkish president’s office has noted that the release of daily Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Can Dündar and Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gül does not mark the end of the judicial process, adding that it is “closely following” the case.
“This ruling is not an acquittal. It is a decision for pre-trial release. The case is continuing,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s aide and spokesperson İbrahim Kalın told reporters at a press conference on Feb. 26, hours after Dündar and Gül were released after 92 days behind bars, following the Feb. 25 ruling by the Constitutional Court that their rights had been violated.
Kalın also recalled the cases elsewhere against whistleblowers such as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and Chelsea (born Bradley) Manning.
“We want to underline that cases of espionage and leak of information have been held in other parts of the world too. When the Wikileaks incident took place, we saw in Britain and in America what kinds of measures were taken. Julian Assange has been living in Ecuador’s Embassy in London for around three-and-a-half years. Likewise, Bradley Manning is now in jail and was sentenced to 35 years in prison. We also know that Edward Snowden is hiding somewhere in Russia, but we also know that Snowden will be taken to court and given a heavy penalty,” he said.
“When Western countries take measures in similar cases, these measures are defined as part of the fight against terrorism within the framework of the rule of law, or measures taken for the state’s security. Distortion of the same practice in Turkey cannot be accepted. In cases involving state security, the legal process should continue. The [Dündar and Gül] case will continue and of course we will closely follow it,” Kalın said.