Turkey Arrests Newspaper Staff Over Suspected Coup Links

A Turkish court ordered the arrest of two staff members at an opposition newspaper late Friday over suspected links to last year’s military coup. The move comes after Turkish authorities issued arrest warrants last week for the owner and three employees of the Sozcu newspaper, claiming the newspaper was in cahoots with U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has blamed Gulen and his supporters for the attempted coup last summer that resulted in nearly 50,000 arrests in an ongoing crackdown. Turkey’s Anadolu newspaper and Sozcu, which is openly critical of the government, identified the two arrested journalists as Mediha Olgun, Sozcu's internet editor, and Gokmen Ulu, a correspondent for the Aegean province of Izmir. The two faces charges including “knowingly aiding and abetting the FETO terrorist organization without being part of its hierarchical structure” and “aiding the assassination attempt of the president.” FETO refers to Gulen’s social movement, which Ankara has classified as a terrorist organization. The arrests come amid a media crackdown that has continued since last summer’s failed military coup and caused alarm in the West. While Erdogan has described ongoing purges as necessary for national security, critics see the crackdown as a pretext to install authoritarian rule and silence opponents. More than 130 media outlets have been shut down in the wake of the failed coup, with a press union warning that more than 150 journalists have been arrested.