An Istanbul court on Monday ordered the release of leading Turkish journalist, Kadri Gursel, in the controversial trial of staff from the Cumhuriyet opposition newspaper, but ruled that four other detained suspects must stay in jail.
The judge ruled that Gursel, one of Turkey’s most respected journalists, could go free after 11 months in jail though he remains on trial on charges of links to terror groups, an AFP correspondent said.
The trial of the staff from Cumhuriyet, a paper which has been deeply critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was adjourned until October 31.
Gursel, a journalist for three decades, was released from the Silivri jail outside Istanbul Monday night after formalities were completed, and was greeted by his relatives and colleagues.
Looking exhausted, Gursel said: “There is nothing to celebrate because a number of Cumhuriyet journalists are facing unfair and baseless accusations. Their freedoms have been taken away.”
The veteran journalist said he would continue to write despite the tough media environment.
“Every journalist would like to write as long as the conditions allow them. I will of course continue to write,” Gursel said.
“A journalist should push his limits in order to remain a journalist,” he said.
His wife Nazire said she had a “bittersweet” feeling as there were still journalists in prison.
“I cannot say that justice has been delivered today,” she told reporters.
“Many blast this case as a theatre play but it would be an insult to theatre.”
In a case that has caused an international outcry, 17 Cumhuriyet staff members are charged with supporting through their coverage three groups that Turkey considers terror groups.
These are the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the ultra-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), and the movement of Fethullah Gulen, the US-based preacher whom Ankara accuses of ordering last year’s coup attempt.
The Turkish government calls the movement the Fethullah Terror Group (FETO).