A court in Istanbul has ordered the release of an award-winning Turkish novelist along with two others after more than four months in jail, while a prominent journalist has been arrested in a separate case.
Asli Erdogan, along with linguist Necmiye Alpay and Zana Kaya, editorial director of a pro-Kurdish newspaper, were ordered to be released on Thursday, the first day of their trial on terrorism-related charges.
The three are, however, barred from leaving the country, with the next hearing scheduled to be held on January 2. The detention of one of the defendants was extended.
Alpay and Erdogan both pleaded “not guilty”.
Erdogan and eight others, some of whom face possible life sentences, have been charged with membership in the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey and the US consider a terrorist organisation.
She worked for a pro-Kurdish newspaper, Ozgur Gundem, closed by authorities.
Investigative journalist arrested
In Thursday’s other judicial development, Ahmet Sik of the daily Cumhuriyet newspaper was arrested on suspicion of spreading terrorist propaganda, according to state media and an opposition legislator.
Cumhuriyet is one of the few dailies still critical of the government.
Turkish authorities have dismissed tens of thousands of employees from the government machinery following a July coup attempt.
Prosecutors could not be reached for comment but Sik, himself, said on Twitter that he was being taken to the prosecutor’s office.
The author of several books, Sik spent a spell in jail from 2011-2012.
He has won numerous awards, including the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize in 2014.