The controversial trial of staff from Turkey’s main opposition newspaper resumed on Monday in a case seen as a test for press freedom under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The case, which opened in Istanbul in July, involves 17 current and former writers, cartoonists and executives from Cumhuriyet (“Republic”) who are being tried on “terror” charges in a move denounced by supporters as absurd.
For government critics, the case is emblematic of the erosion of freedom following last year’s failed coup when Ankara launched a massive crackdown targeting those with alleged links to the putschists as well as opponents.
The secular daily is one of the few voices in the Turkish media to oppose Erdogan, with its embarrassing scoops causing anger in the halls of power.
On July 28, an Istanbul court freed seven of the newspaper’s staff after 271 days, including respected cartoonist Musa Kart and Turhan Gunay, editor of the books supplement.