Turkey detains more journalists in coup round-up: report

August 30, 2016 6:14 AM EDT

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By Asli Kandemir and Edmund Blair

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish authorities detained an editor at the prominent Hurriyet newspaper in the latest round-up of journalists and others accused of links to last month's failed coup, Hurriyet's English-language publication said on Tuesday.

It said Dincer Gokce, a Hurriyet editor, was detained with nine others after the Istanbul prosecutor issued detention warrants for 35 people in a probe into backers of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Turkey says masterminded the putsch.

Gulen has denied involvement and condemned the rebellion on July 15, in which a group of soldiers commandeered tanks and jets to attack government buildings but were stopped by a groundswell of opposition from civilians and loyalist forces.

Hurriyet, one of Turkey's top-selling newspapers, said several of the 35 warrants were for journalists, but did not say how many. At least 18 of those listed were abroad, it added.

One of those detained was Murat Aksoy, a former journalist at the pro-government Yeni Safak newspaper who has also advised the main secularist CHP opposition, Hurriyet said. Broadcaster NTV said a former Istanbul police chief was also detained.

There was no immediate comment from the prosecutor's office.

The authorities have detained more than 40,000 people and formally arrested about half of them in a crackdown on suspected Gulenists since July 15. Some 80,000 people in the police, civil service, judiciary and elsewhere have been sacked or suspended, raising concern among Western allies about a witchhunt.

The coup attempt and its aftermath have fueled tensions in Turkish communities in Europe, notably Germany, between Erdogan supporters and those sympathetic to Gulen.

The French and Belgian editions of Turkish newspaper Zaman, which was affiliated with Gulen's movement, have stopped publishing due to threats, the paper's Dutch edition said.

"Due to the security risk to our editors we believe it would be irresponsible to continue working," it said in a tweet, citing a statement by the French publisher. Its editorial board had received more than 200 death threats, it said.

State administrators seized control of Zaman in Turkey in March in part of a crackdown on companies believed to be funding Gulen's movement.

Turkey has closed more than 130 media outlets and arrested more than 60 journalists since a state of emergency was declared after July 15, according to the Brussels-based European Federation of Journalists.

Erdogan has demanded Gulen's swift extradition, saying he masterminded the attempted coup by rogue soldiers that killed 241 people, mainly loyalist members of the security forces and civilians. An estimated 100 coup plotters were also killed.

U.S. lawyers say any extradition process could take years.

(Additional reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, Anthony Deutsch in Amsterdam; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Raissa Kasolowsky)



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