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Turkish Court Upholds Convictions of Opposition Journalists

A Turkish appeals court on Tuesday upheld jail sentences against opposition journalists in a long-running case targeting the Cumhuriyet newspaper — one of the few remaining dailies to oppose President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Last year, 14 former Cumhuriyet staff including journalists and executives were given multiple sentences for “aiding and abetting terror groups without being a member” but they remained free pending trial.

An appeals court in Istanbul said it unanimously approved the sentences, and the Cumhuriyet reported that six former staff including cartoonist Musa Kart would have to go back to prison.

Veteran journalist Kadri Gursel and lawyer Bulent Utku would remain free given time already served in jail, according to the daily.

But the remaining journalists who were given sentences of more than five years, including investigative reporter Ahmet Sik — who is now an MP with the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party — will have to apply to the Supreme Court of Appeals, Cumhuriyet reported.

The Cumhuriyet case has sparked global outrage over the state of press freedom in Turkey. The prestigious daily is known as the oldest newspaper in the country’s history.

According to the International Press Institute, 155 journalists and media executives are in prison in Turkey, making it the country with the highest number of imprisoned journalists in the world.

After the convictions last year, Cumhuriyet was shaken by the resignation of several journalists in protest at management changes.

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