Today's Zaman Editor-in-Chief Bülent Keneş was arrested by an İstanbul court on Saturday over tweets allegedly insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.The İstanbul 7th Criminal Court of Peace ruled for Keneş's arrest pending trial.
Keneş was detained in front of the daily's headquarters on Friday night, escorted by colleagues who were chanting “Free media cannot be silenced.” Keneş was held at a detention center of the İstanbul Police Department on Vatan Street for hours after he was taken into custody.
Keneş had been referred to a court for arrest by prosecutor Umut Tepe on Thursday; however, the court decided to release him. The prosecutor objected to the court's decision on Friday and demanded that an arrest warrant be issued.
Keneş, already targeted in several criminal complaints, two lawsuits for damages and six investigations into frivolous defamation launched by Erdoğan, his advisors and associates in the government, was in the newsroom working on the weekend edition of the paper while waiting for the police to take him into custody.
In the run-up to next month's parliamentary elections, the Turkish government's attempts at intimidation of independent and critical journalists by abusing the criminal justice system have increased in intensity and frequency.
Published on Today's Zaman, 10 October 2015, Saturday