An investigation was launched against cumhuriyet.com.tr’s Editor-in-Chief, Oğuz Güven, into the crimes of ‘making propaganda for a terrorist organisation’ and ‘defaming a person’s memory’ in connection with a headline that was soon changed above a report into the death of Denizli Republic Chief Prosecutor Mustafa Alper, who lost his life in an accident he was involved in on 10 May.
Güven was arrested at his home yesterday morning. Güven, who was taken to Police Headquarters in Vatan Street, has had his arrest period extended to seven days. The investigation is being conducted by Yasemin Baba, one of the prosecutors on the operation targeting our newspaper. Cumhuriyet com.tr announced the tragic death of Chief Prosecutor Alper under the headline, ‘A lorry mowed down Chief Prosecutor Alper, who drafted the first Fethullah Gülen Terrorism Organisation indictment.’ The headline was soon changed. However, even though the headline was changed, the pro-regime media vented its ire at the portal. Journalist Nedim Şener, posting the later amended headline on Twitter, wrote, ‘Venerable Orhan Erinç, do not keep the animal who wrote this headline under Cumhuriyet’s roof.’
Prosecutor Yasemin Baba then moved into action and launched a probe into Oğuz Güven and people who commented on the news. Baba, in her investigation notes, while mentioning that the report was headlined ‘A lorry mowed down,’ gave no indication that it was later changed. Baba has stated that the comments beneath the report appear to contain statements that target the deceased Chief Prosecutor and constitute the elements of an offence. It is noted that a decision was taken to launch a probe into the administrator of Cumhuriyet newspaper’s official Twitter account and internet news site along with other Twitter account holders. Istanbul Republic Chief Prosecution Press Office Prosecutor Celal Sarıdere ordered Güven’s arrest. Prosecutor Sarıdere also ordered the specific identity and address particulars to be established of 32 Twitter users who commented on the report. The police went to Güven’s home in the morning. Güven announced on his Twitter account at 7.15 am that he was being arrested. Prosecutor Sarıdere extended his arrest period to seven days once Güven had been taken to police headquarters. Cited in the order extending the arrest period are ‘The evidence and proof against Güven, the nature of the charges against him, the risk of flight and tampering with evidence and the time needed to complete the investigation.’ The prosecutor also gave a reminder that under the state of emergency a written order could be issued extending the arrest period to seven days.
Others are involved
It is noted that further probes have been launched into the crimes of ‘membership of a terrorist organisation’ and ‘making propaganda for a terrorist organisation’ against Emre Uslu and Tuncay Opçin, who made posts that caused great public outrage on their social media accounts following Chief Prosecutor Alper’s demise.
With a probe having been launched following his tweet about Cumhuriyet com.tr, Nedim Şener has been subjected to a barrage of criticism on social media. Şener, who has replied to the retorts at his Twitter address, wrote, ‘Don’t worry, I will also be the first one to oppose Oğuz suffering injustice on account of a headline, in common with other colleagues. The place of the person who posted that ugly posthumous headline about the heroic prosecutor Mustafa Alper is neither a detention cell nor Cumhuriyet newspaper.’