After spending 12 days in detention, journalist and academic Mehmet Altan was arrested by an Istanbul court on Thursday, while his brother, Ahmet Altan, who is also a journalist and author, was released under judicial supervision.
Mehmet Altan faces several charges, including “attempting to overthrow the government of the Republic of Turkey and prevent its functioning” and “membership in a terrorist organization.”
His elder brother, Ahmet Altan, was released under judicial supervision. He faces an international travel ban and will also be required to report to a nearby police station once a week.
Both Mehmet Altan and Ahmet Altan, who were detained on Sept.10, were accused of sending “subliminal” messages regarding a failed coup attempt on July 15 on a TV show a day before the putsch.
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others.
The Altan brothers are prominent journalists who have been unequivocally critical of the regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Ahmet Altan is a novelist and former editor-in-chief of the now-closed-down Taraf newspaper. The daily ran headlines that led to the Ergenekon and Balyoz coup plot investigations, which helped the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government subdue the role of the military in Turkish politics. After quitting Taraf, Altan resumed writing harsh critical columns against the increasingly authoritarian AKP government and President Erdoğan.
Mehmet Altan, an economics professor at İstanbul University, is also a columnist known for his liberal views and criticism of the government amid increasing and unprecedented pressure on the media and dissidents. He was recently targeted by pro-Erdoğan columnist Hilal Kaplan for not being dismissed from his position at the university at a time when hundreds of academics and teachers were being expelled from their posts as part of an investigation into the failed coup attempt.