‘Journalism is becoming powerless’: Inside a nervous Turkish newsroom as the government closes in

The Washington Post reports: He was anticipating retirement, after nearly half a century as a journalist. Then Aydin Engin, 76, a columnist for the daily Cumhuriyet newspaper, received a frightening visit from the law.

Eight policemen arrived at his Istanbul house early one morning last fall and took him into custody on terrorism-related charges. Across the city, police officers swept up a dozen of Engin’s colleagues, including the newspaper’s cartoonist, its editor in chief, a staff lawyer and Kadri Gursel, another noted columnist — the beginnings of a sudden and startling assault by the authorities on one of Turkey’s oldest newspapers.

Now, five months later, 11 members of the Cumhuriyet staff remain locked up, their portraits printed each day on the newspaper’s front page and its website in a plaintive protest. Engin and another columnist were released because of their age, but last week they were formally indicted along with their imprisoned ­colleagues on charges that included publishing propaganda for ­various terrorist organizations. Some could be sentenced to decades in prison. [Continue reading…]

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