Sedef Kabas, a leading Turkish journalist, has been arrested in another example of the rollback on civil liberties under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As part of his attack on secularism and his introduction of Islamic laws into Turkey’s government, Erdogan has been cracking down critics and journalists over the outcry of the international community. In the case of Kabas, a single tweet on Twitter was enough. The journalist had just sent her five-year-old to school when police came knocking to ask if she authored a tweet about how the government quashed a corruption investigation into his family and close associates of Erdogan. Erdogan previously promised to “eradicate” Twitter in Turkey and he appears to be now doing it one journalist and poster at a time.
The scandal involves Erdogan’s family, four ministers from his ruling Justice and Development Party as well as close associates and businessmen. There are even incriminating phone call recordings where Erdogan appears to instruct his son to hide tens of millions of dollars. Erdogan insists that the recordings were edited.
The government has not tried to maintain a pretense of legality. The original prosecutor for the case was replaced with Salihoğlu as the new chief prosecutor for Istanbul. He then dropped the case 10 months later for lack of evidence. Then the Erdogan government pushed through a controversial vote in the Turkish parliament blocking the four now-former ministers from facing charges.
The tweet by Kabas criticized the termination of the corruption investigation and added “Do not forget the name of the chief-prosecutor who cancelled the investigation, Hadi Salihoglu.” She admitted to being the author and was told that the police would conduct a full search of her home. They were particularly interested in communication devices that would show her associates and messages. They confiscated Kabas’ laptop and cell phone and even her son’s tablet. She was then carted off for interrogation.
Now it is Kabas who faces up to five years in prison and prosecutors say that they will be adding a further indictment, which carries a sentence of five years and four months, for showing “resistance” to the police when they searched her home in December.
It is a good thing that Erdogan has announced that Turkey has the highest level of press freedom in the world.
Source: Fox News