Cumhuriyet journalists stand trial
The trial against two Turkish journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül of Cumhuriyet newspaper will start on Friday. They have been charged for writing a report that claims to show that the Turkish secret service supplied weapons to Syria. The Turkish press for the most part supports the journalists.
Trial will determine future of Turkey
The verdict in the trial against Can Dündar and Erdem Gül is about more than just the two journalist, columnist Güray Öz writes in the oppositional newspaper Cumhuriyet.
“The government is resorting to decrees, contract killers, pressure and brutality to have the two journalists rearrested. … On Friday, the day of the judicial hearing, people will come to the Justice Palace in Istanbul not just to call for Can and Erdem's freedom, but also for their own rights and a functioning judiciary. And this important trial will be followed closely in Turkey and abroad. Indeed, for observers it will not just be the Can-Erdem trial but the trial that defines the future of Turkey.”
Dündar's release scandalous
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Sunday that he will neither respect nor obey the decision by the country's constitutional court which led to the release of the two journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül. The president is right to adopt this course, the pro-government daily Star writes:
“Can Dündar's rehashed report on the secret service's trucks and his behaviour afterwards are a prime example of the deviant journalistic path referred to as activist journalism. Activist journalism is a special type of journalism that pursues its own secret agenda and tries to disseminate that agenda through untrustworthy sources or information filled with lies. … Ever since Gezi Park we have been witnessing a dangerous process in which activist journalism has emerged from the side streets and taken centre stage.”
Turkish judiciary independent after all
Ertuğrul Özkök, columnist for the conservative daily Hürriyet, voices relief that the Constitutional Court has remained firm:
“I'm convinced that the entire AKP is at least as happy as I am with this judgement. Because I'm sure that they also remember that this very court once decided to discontinue the trial against the AKP. Our president and prime minister have the judges of this court - who were appointed before they were - to thank for the fact that they are where they are today. We should all be happy that our country still has judges who act according to the principles of law and justice. The Constitutional Court has saved our country's reputation with this decision.”
All charges against journalists should be dropped
After this verdict the whole case against the two journalists has fallen apart, the conservative daily Milliyet concludes, praising the court as the guardian of freedoms in Turkey:
“The Constitutional Court ruled that the imprisonment of Can Dündars and Erdem Güls violates their rights to personal liberty and security, as well as the freedom of expression and press freedom. … It said that what the accused did was not a punishable terrorist act but simply journalistic activity. Therefore no crime was committed. In addition to their immediate release according to the Constitutional Court all the charges against them must be dropped because the whole core of the proceedings is invalid and the charges incorrect. In recent times the court has saved the judicial system. It has become a refuge that protects the law, a guarantor for personal rights and freedoms. The Constitutional Court has restored the freedom of the press.”