Saturday, November 28, 2020

Visually impaired journalist briefly detained over ‘insulting Erdoğan’

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Cüneyt Arat, a visually impaired journalist, was released after being briefly detained in Adana by police on suspicion of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday.

Arat was detained by four police officers early on Wednesday and questioned on suspicion of “insulting” President Erdoğan. He was released immediately after questioning at the Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime Bureau of Adana Police Department.

“They sent four police officers to detain me. Have you not told them I was visually impaired?” Arat asked Erdoğan in a tweet after his detention.

“They told me I was suspected of insulting Erdoğan until they took me to the police station. Once I was there, they told me my crime was making propaganda of the [so-called] FETÖ [Fethullahist Terrorist Organization,” Arat said in another tweet.

A number of civil servants, businessmen, tradesmen and journalists were detained or arrested as part of operations carried out on suspicion of being a member of the so-called the “Fethullahist Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Structure (FETÖ/PDY),” which is used by the government-backed judiciary to frame sympathizers of the Gülen movement.

Since a corruption investigation came to public attention on Dec. 17, 2013, there have been many similar police operations carried out targeting shopkeepers, teachers, members of the judiciary, journalists and police officers who are accused of being affiliated with the Gülen movement, which is also known as the Hizmet movement. The graft probe implicated then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, members of his family and senior Justice and Development Party (AK Party) figures.

Erdoğan accused the Gülen movement of plotting to overthrow his government and said that sympathizers of the movement within the police department had fabricated the graft scandal. Since then, hundreds of police officers have been detained and some arrested for alleged illegal activity in the course of the corruption investigation. Erdoğan said he would carry out a “witch hunt” against anyone with links to the movement. The Gülen movement strongly rejects the allegations brought against it.

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