Turkey: Journalists on trial over minister’s hacked emails
ISTANBUL (AP) — Six journalists appeared in a Turkish court on terror charges Tuesday for reporting on a trove of allegedly hacked emails suggesting misconduct by Turkey’s energy minister.
The defendants are accused of disseminating propaganda for terrorist groups and other terror-related offences after their reports on Berat Albayrak, a son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The reports were based on emails reportedly stolen from Albayrak’s personal email account by hackers and made available on WikiLeaks. The government has not confirmed their authenticity.
Speaking outside the Istanbul courthouse, defendant Derya Okatan, managing editor of Etkin News Agency, insisted she and colleagues were acting in the public’s interest and accused the government of trying to hide acts that were “illegitimate, illegal and against the interests of the public.”
Three of the defendants have been in jail for over 10 months. Okatan and two others were released from custody in January pending the outcome of the trial.
More than a hundred journalists have been arrested in Turkey over terror-related charges since last year’s failed coup attempt. Turkey insists the arrests are related to alleged criminal activity and not for journalistic work.
Deniz Yucel, a German journalist for the Die Welt newspaper, was arrested Feb. 14 on terror charges and espionage. This month a Turkish court sentenced a Finnish-Turkish reporter for The Wall Street Journal, Ayla Albayrak, to two years and one month in prison for engaging in propaganda for the outlawed Kurdish rebels.
Both Yucel and Albayrak deny the allegations.