SHAFAQNA – A former television presenter was detained by police on Tuesday for posting a tweet suggesting a cover-up in a government corruption scandal, Turkish media reports said, in a new case highlighting deteriorating media freedoms in the country.
Sedef Kabas told the Radikal news website that she was being questioned after telling her Twitter followers not to forget the name of a judge who dropped a corruption and bribery probe earlier this year. She said police had seized her laptop computer, her IPad and telephone. The government didn’t immediately confirm Kabas’ detention, which several private media companies have reported.
The corruption scandal, which broke last year, implicated people close to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and led to the ouster of four ministers. The government — citing an alleged plot to remove it from office by followers of Fethullah Gulen, an influential U.S.-based Muslim cleric — moved to reassign hundreds of police, prosecutors and judges, including those involved in the case.
The case was later dropped, leading to opposition accusations of a cover-up.
In a related development, a judicial body which oversees judges and prosecutors on Tuesday suspended four prosecutors who had initiated the corruption probes from duty, pending the outcome of an investigation into whether they had abused their powers. The prosecutors, whom the government has accused of being close to Gulen, face possible ouster from their profession.
Earlier this month, police raided a newspaper and a TV station close to Gulen’s movement, detaining journalists, producers and even scriptwriters, sparking criticism from the European Union and the United States.
Last week, a teenager was briefly arrested at his school for allegedly insulting Erdogan during a student protest.