Turkish journalist Can Dundar shot at outside Istanbul courthouse
Gunman shouted, "You're a traitor" before firing two shots
A gunman fired two shots at one of Turkey’s most prominent journalists outside of a courthouse in Istanbul as a court was expected to return a verdict in a controversial case accusing the newsman of revealing state secrets.
Can Dundar, the editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet newspaper who faced an assassination attempt, was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison for revealing state secrets.
His colleague, Erdem Gul, was sentenced to five years in prison. Both faced espionage and coup charges
Dundar, described the conviction and “assassination attempts” as one “armed attempt, the other was a legal one.”
“You’re a traitor,” yelled the attacker before firing two shots outside the Caglayan Justice Palace, Dundar told CNN affiliate CNNTurk just after the attack. Dundar was not harmed, but another journalist there to cover the court case was slightly wounded in the leg.
One video shows Dundar’s wife, Dilek, and an opposition party member of Parliament, Muharrem Erkek, take hold of the attacker with the gun in his hand. A few seconds later, plainclothes officers surround the assailant with Dilek and Erkek still holding him. The assailant drops his gun and lifts his jacket, showing the inside of it to police. He is then made to lie flat on the ground.
Talking to CNNTurk, Erkek said he, Dundar and Dundar’s wife were heading to get coffee during a break in court when the assailant confronted them.
“His wife made the first intervention, then I grabbed him from behind to prevent him from doing anything else,” he said.
The suspect is in custody, according to state news agency Anadolu.
Dundar, who is the editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet newspaper, and colleague Erdem Gul were on trial for obtaining and publishing state secrets. The two reported on trucks belonging to Turkish national intelligence services bound for Syria allegedly carrying weapons hidden under humanitarian aid. The Turkish government said the weapons were bound for Turkmen tribes in Syria to whom many in Turkey feel a kinship with.
Critics argue that the weapons were bound for jihadist groups and even ISIS in Syria. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who petitioned the court as a complainant, vowed revenge on the duo, saying they will “pay the price” in a public speech.
Dundar was sentenced later Friday to five years and 10 months in prison for revealing state secrets. Erdem Gul was sentenced to five years in prison.
The government in Turkey has come under great criticism for silencing critical voices and eroding press freedoms
Media outlets accused of terror propaganda have been seized by court appointed trustees, critical television channels have been removed from satellite and cable, and prosecutors have opened almost 2,000 cases against people on charges of insulting Erdogan.