Turkish journalists face life in prison for Syria weapon story
Jan 27, Ankara: Two Turkish journalists face life in prison over a story alleging that the Turkish government was arming Islamist militants in Syria, media reports said.
Cumhuriyet newspaper's editor-in-chief Can Dundar and its Ankara representative Erdem Gul have been charged with spying. They were accused of working with a US-based cleric to discredit the government. However, Media freedom groups have condemned the charges.
Human Rights Watch said the two "were doing their job as journalists and no more than that".
Both of them were detained in November and they were kept in solitary confinement for 40 days before being allowed to share a cell, BBC news report said.
In its report last May, Cumhuriyet published video of police finding weapons in trucks that it said were linked to Turkish intelligence.
The Turkish authorities insisted the trucks, which had been intercepted near the Syrian border, were in fact bringing aid to Syria's Turkmen minority.
But the report caused uproar and prompted President Reccep Tayyip Erdogan to file a lawsuit against the journalists.
Erdogan said the video footage was a state secret and vowed on TV that the journalists "would pay a heavy price".
The government accuses them of helping the Hizmet movement led by Fethullah Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania.
Turkey ranks 149th amongst the 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders' World Press Freedom Index 2015.
The Oslo Times