An Istanbul court on Saturday remanded in custody nine staff from the opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper, in an intensifying crackdown a day after the leaders of the country’s main pro-Kurdish party were also jailed.
The arrests added to growing international alarm over the use of a state of emergency implemented in the wake of the failed July 15 coup against critics of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Cumhuriyet executives and writers, including prominent names in Turkish journalism, will now be held in custody ahead of a trial, the date for which has not been set.
Nine MPs from the opposition pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), including its co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, were also detained pending a trial on terror charges expected to begin Friday.
Istanbul police used tear gas, water cannon and plastic bullets to break up a protest by hundreds of people against the arrest of the deputies, AFP correspondents said.
There were also protests outside Turkey, with large pro-Kurd rallies in France and Germany on Saturday.
A total of 13 staff from the Cumhuriyet (Republic) newspaper were detained in raids on Monday in a swoop that amplified concerns about press freedoms in Turkey.
Among the nine to be held ahead of trial were Cumhuriyet’s editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu, celebrated cartoonist Musa Kart and influential anti-Erdogan columnist Kadri Gursel.
However, columnists Hikmet Cetinkaya and Aydin Engin were released on bail on health grounds and because of their age. Two other suspects from the newspaper’s accounting department were released without charge.
The suspects are charged with links to the Kurdish militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the movement of US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, blamed for the failed coup bid. Gulen denies the accusations.