Turkish journalist briefly detained over 2018 article alleging secret talks between Turkey, IMF

Turkish journalist Ahmet Takan was briefly detained in the capital Ankara on Feb. 8 as part of a trial concerning his 2018-dated column in which he had claimed that Turkey was secretly holding talks with the IMF. The detention came after an Istanbul court issued an arrest warrant for Takan's testimony to be taken.

Journalist Ahmet Takan is seen.

Duvar English

A columnist with Korkusuz newspaper, Ahmet Takan, was detained on Feb. 8 over a 2018 article in which he had claimed that Turkey was secretly holding talks with the IMF.

The detention came after Istanbul's Bakırköy 16th Penal Court of First Instance issued an arrest warrant for authorities to take Takan's testimony, saying that the journalist had failed to attend the last hearing. 

Takan however told ANKA news agency that he had filed a petition last week asking the authorities at the Ankara courthouse to take his testimony but his petition was not processed during this time period.

“I stopped by a post office in Balgat [district] today and when I left there, my car was surrounded by the police. I asked them, 'What are you doing here?' They said, 'You are being sought.'...Although my address is known, I was detained by the police and taken to the courthouse to give my testimony. What kind of a country is this!” Takan told ANKA.

After giving his testimony to the court on duty, Takan was released from police custody. 

"What kind of a justice system is this? I have been saying, 'Take my testimony, let me appear at the hearing in Ankara.' But they are not doing that. Am I a terrorist? Ten police officers surrounded my car and told me about the arrest warrant. I had previously filed a petition indicating that I could not come to Istanbul due to the coronavirus. Would law, judiciary set up a trap to its own people?" Takan told ANKA. 

Turkey's Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) filed a criminal complaint against Takan after the journalist said in a 2018-dated column that Turkey requested $50 billion from the IMF and secretly made an agreement.

Under the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, journalists in Turkey face an oppressive environment. Critics say that the AKP uses the judiciary as a tool against dissent in an attempt to strengthen its grip on power.