Özden Atik - Istanbul, Aug 5 () - Istanbul Chief Prosecutor's Office has prepared an indictment against 18 journalists who are accused of "making propaganda for a terrorist organization," asking the court to jail them for up to 7.5 years.
The journalists, including daily Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Can Dündar, have been charged after the investigation into the publication of photos on April 1, showing Prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz's captivity at the hands of terrorists.
Kiraz was killed on March 31 following an eight-hour standoff that began after Şafak Yayla and Bahtiyar Doğruyol, two members of the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), took him hostage in Istanbul's Çağlayan Courthouse.
The indictment claimed that the journalists tried to portray a terrorist organization "strong and capable enough for any action." Dündar, on the other hand, said his newspaper "intended to portray the dark and ugly face of terrorism; not to legimitize it."
Beside Cumhuriyet, journalists from dailies Millet, Şok, Posta, Yurt, Bugün, Özgür Gündem, Aydınlık and Birgün are described in the indictment as suspects with a note that they pleaded not guilty.
In April 2015, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had accused media organizations over publications on the hostage crisis, accusing them of treason for being the “partners of the terrorists” who were involved in the killing of the late prosecutor.
It was not the first time that journalists, particularly Dündar, drew the ire of Turkish President.
In June 2015, Erdoğan personally filed a criminal complaint against Dündar over another critical news report by Cumhuriyet, asking him to be jailed for life, hours after he said that the journalist would pay a “heavy price."
The investigation into the publication of the hostage crisis, on the other hand, was launched by Istanbul's Prosecutor's Office ex officio.