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Turkey detains top journalist within 24 hours of release

Dozens of journalists have been detained while more than 100 media organs have been closed down since the putsch attempt. Photograph: (Getty)

Ankara, Turkey Sep 23, 2016, 05.26 AM (IST)
Within 24 hours of being released, a prominent Turkish journalist and writer was detained by authorities on Thursday in connection with the July 15 coup bid. 

An arrest warrant was issued against Ahmet Altan, a day after he was released,  news agency Dogan reported. 

Professor Mehmet Altan, Ahmet Altan's brother, was also arrested under the charges of “attempting to remove the government or attempting to obstruct its work" and “being a member of the terrorist organisation”, reported Turkish news agency Anadolu. 

The Altan brothers have contributed to Turkey's most popular dailies and written extensively on Turkish politics. They founded the opposition daily Taraf, a liberal newspaper of Turkey, which was shut down under statutory degree during the emergency imposed after the coup. 

In a talk show on a local TV channel just a day before the coup, the brother duo had passed messages signalling that the putsch was imminent, according to the state media. 

Gulen ties

Altan brothers were first detained on September 10 and were accused of supporting the movement of United States-based cleric Fethullah Gulen whose group is accused of  masterminding the failed coup. 

The broadcaster that aired the brothers' talk show was also seen by authorities as pro-Gulen, according to media reports. 

Gulen, however,  has denied any involvement and has condemened the putsch. 

Condemnation by rights groups

Rights groups condemned the brothers' detention and lashed out at the Turkish authorities for clamping down on freedom of speech, according to international news agency AFP. 

Nobel-winning Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk called the crackdown as being driven by “ferocious hatred” and was among renowned novelists like Salman Rushdie and JM Coetzee to have signed an open letter urging authorities to release the journalists. 

Turkey led a massive crackdown on media after the attempted coup, imprisoning hundreds of journalists and shutting down media outlets. 

(WION with inputs from AFP)
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