Journalists from daily Sözcü have been sentenced to prison for “willingly aiding the Gülen organization or parallel state structures despite not being part of the hierarchical organization.”
“This was the verdict we expected. Of course this is what comes out of the current state of justice,” said Editor-in-Chief Metin Yılmaz after the hearing.
Columnists Emin Çölaşan and Necati Doğru received three years, six months and fifteen days, editors Mustafa Çetin and Metin Yılmaz received three years and four months, news coordinator Yücel Arı, reporter Gökmen Ulu and accountant Yonca Yücekaleli received two years and one month.
“There are no concrete documents that show I knowingly aided the Gülen organisation. It’s impossible that we would stand with people who trade religion and Allah,” said author Doğru, who received three years, six months and fifteen days in prison.
The daily announced the sentences with the headline “A dark mark on the history of the press!” and called the lawsuit a “perception operation.”
Sözcü is known with its hard-drawn Kemalist stance, a school of thought that supports the founder of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his take on secularism.