A Turkish criminal court convicted at least seven staffers at the Sozcu newspaper on terrorism-related charges, the latest such ruling targeting journalists critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his policies.
The journalists, including veteran columnist Emin Colasan, were sentenced to jail terms of between two and four years on charges that they aided a secretive religious brotherhood called FETO, state media reported on Friday. The journalists have denied the charges.
The Sozcu reporters join a long list of journalists and academics to face charges of aiding terrorist groups including the followers of U.S.-based imam Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan accuses of masterminding a failed coup attempt in 2016.
The newspaper, known for its secular take on policy issues and critical coverage of the Turkish government, has denied any links with the Gulen network.
Turkey’s main opposition party CHP says the daily paper has become a target only because it refused to become a mouthpiece for the government.
Turkey has put 47 reporters and editors behind bars to become the second largest jailer of journalists in 2019, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.