Turkish prosecutors are seeking a jail term of up to five years for a prominent female journalist arrested over a tweet suggesting a cover-up in a corruption scandal that shook the government, media reported today.
Sedef Kabas, a broadcast journalist and anchorwoman, has been charged with "targeting public servants tasked with fighting against terrorism," the Dogan news agency reported.
"As understood from the content of the tweet, it is clear, without any doubt, that Kabas threatened the plaintiff... and tried to discredit him," Dogan reported, quoting from the indictment.
Police detained Kabas last month after raiding her home in an upscale neighborhood on the Asian side of Istanbul, taking away her laptop, iPad and cellphone.
"Do not forget the name of the prosecutor who dismissed the December 17 case," Kabas had written on Twitter, including the name and the picture of the prosecutor.
She was referring to the corruption probe launched in December 2013 that is blamed by the authorities on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's top foe, exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen.
Prosecutors in October dropped the case against 53 people, including sons of former ministers, due to "lack of evidence".
Erdogan managed to stall the corruption investigation by sacking thousands of police and scores of judges and pushing through laws tightening state control over the judiciary and the Internet including bans of Twitter and YouTube.
The authorities last month launched raids against pro-Gulen media and detained 30 people, in a move sharply criticized by the European Union as marking a new erosion of media freedom in Turkey.
Muhammed Fethullah Gülen is a Turkish preacher, former imam, writer, and Islamic opinion leader. He is the founder of the Gülen movement.
In 1998, Fethullah Gülen left Turkey for the United States, reportedly to receive medical treatment for diabetes. Since his voluntary exile, Gülen has resided on a large, rural estate in eastern Pennsylvania, together with about 100 followers, who guard him and tend to his needs. It is from his U.S. base that Gülen has built his fame and his transnational empire.