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Turkey releases journalist on trial for revealing state secrets

November 9, 2020 at 7:40 pm

Turkish journalist Muyesser Yildiz [Anadolu Agency]

A Turkish court released a prominent opposition journalist from detention on Monday as her trial continues on accusations that she revealed state secrets in two articles about Ankara’s military involvement in Libya.

Muyesser Yildiz, the Ankara news editor for the OdaTV online news portal, was formally arrested in June. She was initially detained on espionage charges but this was later changed to revealing state secrets.

One article published in December questioned which Turkish commanders met Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the Libyan National Army, which is fighting the internationally recognised Government of National Accord of Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj, backed by Turkey.

The second article, from January, gave details about a military officer who was sent to Libya to oversee Turkey’s involvement there.

The court ordered Yildiz’s release on Monday after ruling she may not have committed the crime she was charged with, state-owned news agency Anadolu said. The court ruled to keep an army sergeant held in the same case in custody, it added.

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Ismail Dukel, Ankara representative of broadcaster TELE1, was also detained along with Yildiz in June. He was released after his questioning.

OdaTV, an online news outlet, has been critical of President Tayyip Erdogan’s government. Turkey ranks among the world’s top jailers of journalists.

Critics say Erdogan has used a failed 2016 military coup as a pretext to clamp down on dissent and strengthen his grip on power, a charge Ankara denies. It says the measures are necessary to safeguard national security.