A whistleblower who says he is among President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's inner circle, Avni has claimed that the dozens of journalists will be detained in simultaneous police raids to be conducted in İstanbul, Ankara and Malatya on Friday.
He also stated that famous journalists from the Bugün, Taraf, Zaman and Today's Zaman dailies will be detained on Friday. Among those who will be taken into custody are Zaman Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanlı, Today's Zaman Editor-in-Chief Bülent Keneş, Turkish Review Editor-in-Chief Kerim Balcı, Bugün daily columnists Nuh Gönültaş and Erhan Başyurt, Bugün's Washington representative Adem Yavuz Arslan, Taraf daily journalist Mehmet Baransu, and Today's Zaman and Taraf columnist Emre Uslu, as well as the editors-in-chief of Hizmet-affiliated newspapers like Bugün and Taraf.
In successive Tweets posted on Thursday, Avni said that a total of 400 people, including 147 journalists working at the newspapers close to the faith-based Hizmet movement -- inspired by the teachings of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen -- will be detained as part of the operation. Avni said the operation is an act of revenge for last year's major corruption and bribery scandal that implicated many state officials and pro-government businessmen.
The Twitter user also claimed that “police and media legs of the Hizmet movement” will be targeted as part of the operation.
A corruption scandal went on public on Dec. 17, 2013, and implicated then-prime minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, members of his family and inner circle in addition to businesspeople close to the government. The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government accuses the Hizmet movement of being behind the corruption and bribery scandal.
Published on Today's Zaman, 11 December 2014, Thursday
- Gülen says talk of raid against Zaman aims to intimidate
- Zaman journalists defy threat of arrest with heads held high
- World media covers possible anti-journalist ops; Turkish press silent
- Opposition slams mass detention claims in name of democracy, freedoms
- Hundreds on vigil outside Zaman building to protest possible raid