Turkey briefly detains newspaper editor over coup column: newspaper

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish authorities briefly detained the editor of a regional newspaper over a column she wrote criticizing the government for exaggerating the importance of last year’s coup attempt.

People wave Turkey's national flags as they attend a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the attempted coup in front of the Turkish Parliament in Ankara, Turkey July 16, 2017. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Yeliz Koray, editor of the Kocaeli Koz newspaper in the northwestern province of Izmit, was detained at her home late on Saturday, the newspaper said.

Koray said on Twitter on Sunday that she had been released on condition of judicial supervision, meaning she will need to check in regularly with authorities.

In a column entitled “I’ll Eat Your Epic”, Koray criticized the government for what she said was an overemphasis on the events of July 15 last year, saying it paled in significance next to World War I and major battles in Turkish history.

The column also said the government had not done enough to expose what happened on the night, when rogue soldiers commandeered tanks and planes in an attempt to topple Erdogan. Some 250 people were killed, many of them unarmed civilians.

Hundreds of thousands of Turks rallied to mark the anniversary of last year’s failed coup in an outpouring of mass support for President Tayyip Erdogan that lay bare the divisions of a society riven by widespread purges.

In the aftermath of the putsch, some 150,000 people have been sacked or suspended from jobs in the civil service and private sector and more than 50,000 were detained for alleged links to the putsch, including local members of rights groups such as Amnesty International.

The purge, which has led to the detention of many journalists and caused the closure of some 130 media outlets, has alarmed Turkey’s Western allies and rights groups, who say Erdogan is using the coup as a pretext to muzzle dissent.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists calls Turkey the world’s biggest jailer of journalists, with some 160 detained.

The government says the measures are necessary due to the gravity of the threats it faces.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Yesim Dikmen; Editing by David Dolan and Richard Balmforth