Veteran journalist Ahmet Altan arrested by Erdogan’s government

Veteran journalist and novelist Ahmet Altan

ISTANBUL – A Turkish court in Istanbul ordered the arrest of author and prominent journalist Ahmet Altan on Sept. 23 as a part of the investigation into the Gülen movement, which was accused of orchestrating the failed coup attempt of July 15, hours after his detainment for the second time as part of the investigation.

The Istanbul First Criminal Court at Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse ruled for the arrest of Altan, the former editor-in-chief of daily Taraf, on charges of “being a member of a terror organization” and “attempting to overthrow the government and obstruct its work.”

According to the ruling, the court ordered his arrest regarding the amount and significance of the penalty for the charges, as well as his possible escape. He was transported to Silivri Prison in Istanbul in the afternoon hours.

Altan and his brother, academic Mehmet Altan, were first detained on Sept. 10 over statements aired on broadcaster Can Erzincan TV on the eve of the coup attempt. On Sept. 21, the court had released Ahmet Altan on probation while ordering the arrest of his brother on the same charges.

“Within the Turkish state, there is possibly another structure that records and observes all these developments [in Turkey] more in the foreign world. It is not certain when it will take its hand out of the bag and how it will take its hand out of the bag,” Mehmet Altan had said on the show.

According to the court, Altan clearly called for a coup with his statements on the show, while he argued they were merely within the context of freedom of speech.

However, the Istanbul First Criminal court of Peace had issued a second detention warrant for Ahmet Altan late on Sept. 22 following an appeal by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s office regarding his release. He was detained again on Sept. 22 in the Şişli district of Istanbul and later brought to police headquarters.