It's no longer news that Turkey is the world’s biggest jailer of journalists: Airing critical views of the government is a sure pass to court if not prison. Over 170 media workers are currently in jail over a slew of thinly evidenced terror and insult charges. But when Nagehan Alci, a prominent columnist and sycophantic supporter of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was sentenced to 105 days behind bars for calling out a notorious torturer, it came as something of a shock.
The verdict, delivered by a judge in the western city of Izmir, is a chilling sign that the effects of Erdogan’s toxic alliance with far-right nationalists goes beyond the ballot box and are seeping into Turkey’s chronically politicized judiciary. Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) has allied with the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) for the upcoming June 24 elections. Perceived pro-Kurdish and anti-military feelings are once again a red line and nobody, not even Erdogan’s favorites, seems to be immune.