Turkish journalists' arrests draws protests home and abroad
Several thousand people protested on Friday over the arrest of two prominent journalists on charges of espionage and terrorist propaganda, a case that has revived long-standing criticism of Turkey's record on press freedom under President Tayyip #Erdogan
A court on Thursday ordered the arrest of Can Dundar, editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet newspaper, and senior editor Erdem Gul over the publication of footage purporting to show the state intelligence agency helping send weapons to Syria.
The video footage, released in May, purported to show Turkish police opening crates of weapons and ammunition bound for Syria on the back of trucks said to belong to the MIT National Intelligence Organisation.
Publication of the story at the time prompted Erdogan to vow revenge, saying those behind it endangered security and would "pay a heavy price".
He subsequently filed a criminal complaint against Dundar and Gul.
Dundar rejected the charges in his defense on Thursday.
"It may be the duty of someone working for the state to rescue it from a difficult situation, but a journalist is not a civil servant," he said, according to a transcript printed by Cumhuriyet, one of Turkey's oldest dailies.
In the capital #Ankara
, about 1,000 people including MPs gathered for a protest over the arrests and police fired pepper gas at the crowd as they sought to march. "Shoulder-to-shoulder against fascism," the crowd chanted.
There was also criticism from the Council of #Europe
, with its human rights commissioner Nils Muiznieks describing the arrests in a tweet as "another blow to media freedom in #Turkey
European diplomats are measured in their criticism of media freedom in Turkey and Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian rule, recognizing the West needs Ankara's help on the migrant crisis and as an ally in the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State.
Europe is hoping to finalize a deal with Ankara - a #NATO
member and a candidate for #EU
membership - on the refugee crisis at a summit this weekend.http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/27/us-turkey-media-idUSKBN0TG19K20151127?utm_source=twitter#ZByMr33aWkq9Mjbw.97