Turkey detains editor, top staff of opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet

The Turkish police has detained an editor and a dozen of senior staff from the main secularist opposition newspaper on Monday, a day after more than 10,000 civil servants were sacked over suspected links to a failed July coup.

Turkey’s crackdown since rogue soldiers tried to seize power on July 15 has alarmed Western allies and rights groups, who fear President Tayyip Erdogan is using the coup attempt to crush dissent. More than 100,000 people have been sacked or suspended and 37,000 arrested over the past three and a half months.

The Istanbul prosecutor’s office said the staffs from the Cumhuriyet daily, one of few media outlets still critical of Erdogan, were suspected of committing crimes on behalf of Kurdish militants and the network of Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based cleric.

Turkey accuses Gulen of orchestrating the coup attempt, in which he denies any involvement.

The prosecutor’s office said the detentions followed an investigation into allegations that the newspaper had published material justifying the events of July 15.

Cumhuriyet said on its website that 12 of its staff had been detained and some had their laptops seized from their homes.

Footage showed one writer, Aydin Engin, 75, being ushered by a police into a hospital for medical checks.

Asked by reporters to comment on his detention, Engin said “I work for Cumhuriyet, isn’t that enough?”

Fifteen more media outlets were ordered closed on Sunday over suspected links to Gulen’s network and militant groups. A court also jailed, pending trial, the co-mayors of the largely Kurdish city of Diyarbakir.

The government says the measures are justified by the threat posted to the state by the coup attempt, in which more than 240 people were killed.

Erdogan says the crackdown is crucial for “cleansing” the state apparatus of Gulenist influence.

Reuters/Omolayo.A