Turkey detains veteran journalist, academic as Ankara continues coup probe

September 10, 2016 6:00 pm

Ahmet Altan, a writer and former editor-in-chief of Turkish opposition daily Taraf (L) and his academic brother Mehmet Altan (photo provided by hurriyetdaily)

Turkish police have detained a veteran journalist and his academic brother as investigations continue into the July 15 coup attempt, which blames on US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.
Ahmet Altan, a writer and former editor-in-chief of opposition daily Taraf, and his brother Mehmet were detained early on Saturday.
Turkish media said the brothers were investigated over their comments in a talk show on the Can Erzincan TV channel, which is seen by the authorities as staunchly pro-Gulen, a day before the botched putsch.
The TV channel has since been shut down.
Ahmet Altan was for years a columnist with top dailies like Hurriyet and Milliyet before founding daily Taraf in 2007.He resigned as Taraf editor-in-chief in 2012. He has also written several novels. Mehmet Altan is the author of several books on in .
The Altan brothers are the latest prominent figures to be detained in the Turkish government’s crackdown after the failed coup.
Turkey has detained more than 100 journalists in the wake of the attempted coup, raising accusations from rights groups of a drastic erosion of press freedoms.
At least 246 people were killed and more than 2,100 others sustained injuries when an army faction, using hijacked helicopters and tanks, clashed with government troops and people on the streets of Ankara and Istanbul in an attempt to overthrow the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkish journalists protest against the arrest of colleagues in the capital, Ankara, on June 30, 2016. © AFP

After the coup, over 40,000 people were detained in connection with the abortive coup, of whom 20,355 were formally arrested.
A number of 79,900 people were removed from public duty in the military, police, civil service and judiciary.
Several thousand companies and institutions suspected of having financed Gulen were also closed by the government.
Gulen has condemned the coup attempt and denied any involvement in the violence.
Turkey is seeking Gulen’s extradition from the United States. Washington has said it would only do so if it has firm evidence.
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