Targeting the exiled former editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet daily, Can Dündar, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called him a “terrorist” on Saturday while criticizing Germany for protecting him.
“A terrorist, a so-called columnist, flees Turkey, and Germany hosts him. Why did you flee? Could you flee a country that is ruled by a dictator?¨Erdoğan asked.
Dündar had been arrested and jailed for 92 days along with colleague Erdem Gül from Cumhuriyet for publishing a story on Turkish intelligence trucks carrying hidden weapons bound for Syria in early 2014. They were arrested on Nov. 26, 2015, and released on Feb. 26, 2016 following a Constitutional Court decision.
The 14th High Criminal Court acquitted Dündar and Gül of charges of attempting to overthrow the government while ordering that the charges of “knowingly and willfully helping a terrorist organization” be separated from the trial.
Shortly after his release and an armed attack against him, Dündar quit his position as editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet and left Turkey as scores of other journalists under pressure have done.
In Germany Dündar has been hosted by high-level officials including the country’s president. Dündar will reportedly establish a media outlet in Germany to report about Turkey.