ANKARA, Turkey – Turkish authorities briefly detained three journalists at the border with Syria for angering the local governor with questions about possible infiltrators from the Islamic State group, one of the journalists said in comments published Wednesday.
In another incident illustrating the continuing crackdown on media freedoms in Turkey, a newspaper editor received a 21-months suspended sentence for allegedly insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a tweet.
Cumhuriyet newspaper said its reporter, Pinar Ogunc, was questioned on Tuesday at the border town of Akcakale, along with journalists working for the Turkish daily Evrensel and Germany's Die Welt. They were covering the Islamic State group's loss of the Syrian town Tal Abyad to Kurdish forces and had asked Gov. Izettin Kucuk if ISIS militants who may have escaped across the border could pose a threat to Turkey.
Ogunc said four journalists were taken to one side where they were berated by officials and three of them were later taken to a police station, reportedly upon Kucuk's orders.
Kucuk's office denied that he ordered the journalists arrested for asking questions. It said they were submitted to an identity check because of "sensitivities" at the border region.
On Wednesday, opposition newspaper Today's Zaman said a court in Ankara convicted editor Bulent Kenes of insulting Erdogan but later suspended his sentence. He was on trial for a tweet he posted last year in which he said the respected mother of a politician — whom he did not name — would have been ashamed of him.
Kenes is the latest person to be prosecuted for alleged insults to Erdogan.