Was a Turkish Journalist Arrested for a Link He Provided in a Tweet?


From the BBC:

Police in Istanbul have detained a prominent investigative journalist, Ahmet Sik, in connection with his social media postings.

The arrest of Sik, who has been jailed previously, came shortly before writer Asli Erdogan and linguist Necmiye Alpay appeared in a Turkish court.

Many writers and journalists have been arrested in Turkey since the July coup attempt, in which military rebels tried to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Sik confirmed his arrest in a tweet.

“I am being detained. I will be taken to the prosecutor’s office regarding a tweet,” he tweeted.

Sik has been accused of spreading “terrorist propaganda”, reports say.

While Sik isn’t afraid to be a public advocate in opposition to the Erdogan government, he wasn’t a prolific tweeter. What may well have prompted his arrest this tweet he posted ten hours before his arrest:

Translated into English:

:Russian sources: assassination could not share with us all the information about-

Was Sik arrested for his tweet which implied he had a Russian source which told him that the Turks weren’t being truthful about assassination of the Russian ambassador? Or was it for the article he linked. Written by Russian journalist Maxim A. Suckoff, Ph.D for Washington DC-based Al Monitor, the article Sik linked is unflattering – to say the least –  of the Erdogan governments investigation:

Few share what seems to be the main version Ankara is trying to present — the “mad Gulenist” theory. Speaking on a radio show soon after the assassination, Yevgeny Satanovsky, the head of the Moscow-based Institute for the Middle East, denounced the idea, saying, “Fethullah Gulen doesn’t take to such violent methods in his practices.” Earlier this year, as part of the reconciliation process with Ankara over Russia’s downed jet, Moscow closed about 150 Gulen schools across Russia. There’s little evidence that the Kremlin believed that Gulen was behind the downing, but at the time it was a necessary political move that many Russian politicians thought was in the country’s national interests. This time, however, attempts to sell the same idea would only stain the relationship.

Russian decision-makers who spoke with Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity signaled a concern over whether Turkish officials know more than they are actually telling. They believe that, to a large extent, all of the assassination hypotheses Ankara is presenting reflect the desire of the Turkish leadership to get Moscow onboard in its struggle against its own opponents — the Gulenists and the Kurds — rather than to truly and openly investigate the assassination. Indeed, the killing of Altintas raised all kinds of suspicions. The general feeling now is, even if killing the assassin was a forced measure under those circumstances, trying to shove the narratives, which on all accounts look artificial and don’t hold together under scrutinized examination, casts a dark shadow on the potential involvement of the Turkish security apparatus or someone in the government.

It’s clear that was Sik tweeted was supported in the article, so its fair to speculate that Erdogan’s journalistic control apparatus wanted to keep the work of a particular well-sourced journalists, like Suchov, away from the eyes of their on countrymen. Moreover, Erdogan’s suppressive media blocking needs to keep Al Monitor, which appears to be available in Turkish out as well.

The Erdogan governments efforts to block Twitter clearly aren’t all that. Otherwise Sik’s tweets wouldn’t be available to western eyes and he wouldn’t have been able to announce that he’d been arrested on Twitter. According to his Twitter profile, Sik has 557,000 followers some of which now know what the Russians think about Erdogan’s attempt to cover-up the assassination of the Russian ambassador. Worse, they know that what he’s been saying about Fatullah Gulen and his movement isn’t shared by the Russians either.

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About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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