Exiled Turkish journalist working on new venture from abroad


The exiled former editor-in-chief of Turkish opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet said Tuesday he wants journalists targeted in Turkey's post-coup government crackdown to help him with a new media venture outside the country.

Can Dundar, who fled to Germany earlier this year while appealing against a near six-year jail term for revealing state secrets, has vowed to set up a new Turkish-language media outlet.

Some 35,000 people have been arrested and tens of thousands more have lost their jobs – including military officers, judges, teachers, civil servants and journalists – in a sweeping crackdown in the wake of the failed July bid to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Nine Cumhuriyet journalists, including its current editor-in-chief, were sent behind bars at the weekend pending trial after raids that have added to growing international alarm about media freedoms in Turkey.

Dundar told journalists he was working to set up a new media outlet to keep people in Turkey informed despite the government clampdown.

"We are considering a kind of media outlet outside Turkey but towards Turkey," he said in Strasbourg, where he was attending a press freedom awards ceremony. "There are hundreds of journalists jobless after the recent media crackdown. So together with those colleagues we can do something to show the government that you cannot interrupt the journalists giving news."

Cumhuriyet, set up in 1924, has in recent years taken a strong line against Erdogan's ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Dundar was sentenced by a Turkish court in May to five years and 10 months in prison for a story about a shipment of arms intercepted at the Syrian border, which had prompted a furious Erdogan to warn Dundar he would "pay a heavy price."

Amid mounting fears for Turkish press freedom, on Tuesday the Turkey representative for Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and two other campaigners went on trial charged with making terror propaganda for Kurdish militants.    (AFP)

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