Europe

Turkish journalists on trial for Syria arms smuggling report

  • Can Dundar, the editor-in-chief of opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, left, and Erdem Gul, the paper's Ankara representative, speak to the media before the start of their trial in Istanbul, Friday, March 25, 2016. A group of writers, including Nobel laureates, are calling on Turkey to drop charges against two prominent journalists who face life imprisonment for their reports, and to end its crackdown on free expression. Dundar and Erdem Gul, go on trial on Friday accused of espionage and other charges for their reports on alleged government arms smuggling to Syrian rebels. (AP Photo)

    Can Dundar, the editor-in-chief of opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, left, and Erdem Gul, the paper's Ankara representative, speak to the media before the start of their trial in Istanbul, Friday, March 25, 2016. A group of writers, including Nobel laureates, are calling on Turkey to drop charges against two prominent journalists who face life imprisonment for their reports, and to end its crackdown on free expression. Dundar and Erdem Gul, go on trial on Friday accused of espionage and other charges for their reports on alleged government arms smuggling to Syrian rebels. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Can Dundar, the editor-in-chief of opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, center, speaks to the media before the start of his trial in Istanbul, Friday, March 25, 2016. A group of writers, including Nobel laureates, are calling on Turkey to drop charges against two prominent journalists who face life imprisonment for their reports, and to end its crackdown on free expression. Dundar and Erdem Gul, paper's Ankara representative, go on trial on Friday accused of espionage and other charges for their reports on alleged government arms smuggling to Syrian rebels. (AP Photo)

    Can Dundar, the editor-in-chief of opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, center, speaks to the media before the start of his trial in Istanbul, Friday, March 25, 2016. A group of writers, including Nobel laureates, are calling on Turkey to drop charges against two prominent journalists who face life imprisonment for their reports, and to end its crackdown on free expression. Dundar and Erdem Gul, paper's Ankara representative, go on trial on Friday accused of espionage and other charges for their reports on alleged government arms smuggling to Syrian rebels. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Erdem Gul, Ankara representative of opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, speaks to the media before the start of his trial in Istanbul, Friday, March 25, 2016. A group of writers, including Nobel laureates, are calling on Turkey to drop charges against two prominent journalists who face life imprisonment for their reports, and to end its crackdown on free expression. Gul, and Can Dundar, the editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet, on trial on Friday accused of espionage and other charges for their reports on alleged government arms smuggling to Syrian rebels. (AP Photo/Dominique Soguel)

    Erdem Gul, Ankara representative of opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, speaks to the media before the start of his trial in Istanbul, Friday, March 25, 2016. A group of writers, including Nobel laureates, are calling on Turkey to drop charges against two prominent journalists who face life imprisonment for their reports, and to end its crackdown on free expression. Gul, and Can Dundar, the editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet, on trial on Friday accused of espionage and other charges for their reports on alleged government arms smuggling to Syrian rebels. (AP Photo/Dominique Soguel)  (The Associated Press)

Two Turkish journalists are standing trial on allegations that they revealed state secrets and helped a terror organization with their reports on alleged government arms smuggling to Syrian rebels.

Cumhuriyet newspaper's chief editor, Can Dundar, and Ankara representative Erdem Gul, face life imprisonment if found guilty of charges of espionage and aiding a moderate Islamic movement led by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, a foe of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The pair are on trial for publishing images that reportedly date back to January 2014 when local authorities searched Syria-bound trucks that led to a standoff with Turkish intelligence officials. Cumhuriyet said the images proved Turkey was smuggling arms.

International media advocacy groups, concerned over media freedoms in the country, are pressing Turkey to drop charges. The trial begins Friday.