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Turkish journalists on trial for espionage

Turkish journalists on trial for espionage

Turkey

Two Turkish journalists on Friday went on trial for allegedly revealing state secrets and in the process aiding a terrorist organization.

Can Dundar, editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet newspaper and Erdem Gul, the Ankara Bureau Chief of the same newspaper face a possible life sentence if found guilty of the charges against them.

They are accused of trying to topple the Turkish government after they published a video purporting to show Turkey’s state intelligence agency helping to truck weapons to Syria two years ago.

We will tell the court that journalism is not a crime. The only words I can say is we didn't commit a crime. We will continue to do journalism

Both journalists have defended their work.

“We know that we are right. We stand by our story. We believe that the real culprits should stand trial. We will go to the court to ask for our acquittal and to say that people cannot be deprived of their right to be informed,” Dundar told Reuters.

Before entering the courthouse, Erdem Gul told colleague journalists that: “Today, in a country where tensions are still rising over basic (human) rights, we will tell the court that journalism is not a crime. We will explain this for you, for me and for all of us. This is a must. The only words I can say is we didn’t commit a crime. We will continue to do journalism.”

The two journalists had spent 92 days in jail before the constitutional court ruled in February that the pre-trial detention was unfounded because the charges were based on their journalism.

President Tayyip Erdogan said he did not honour the ruling after the duo were subsequently released pending trial.

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