Skip to main content

Turkish journalist sentenced to prison over report on Turkey sending weapons to Syria

Can Dundar was tried in absentia. The now Germany-based journalist reported on Turkish support for Syrian rebel groups in 2015, which angered President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
GettyImages-1228920854.jpg

A Turkish journalist who wrote about Turkey sending weapons to Syria was sentenced in absentia to 27½ years in prison on Wednesday.

An Istanbul court found Can Dundar guilty of “obtaining secret documents for espionage” and “aiding a terrorist organization,” The Associated Press reported.

In 2015, Dundar, then editor-in-chief of the Turkish news outlet Cumhuriyet, published a report on Turkish intelligence sending weapons to Syrian Islamist rebel groups. Dundar was arrested but later ordered released by the Constitutional Court in 2016, which angered President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He then fled to Germany, where he remains.

Turkey’s policy in Syria is a sensitive issue. Turkey is allied with several Syrian rebel groups, including hard-line Islamist ones. Turkey’s rebel allies have been accused of numerous human rights abuses by international observers.

Dundar has denied the charges against him throughout the ordeal. He called today’s verdict a “personal decision” by Erdogan to “deter the journalists writing against him,” according to AP. Erdogan has also accused Dundar of being part of the Gulen movement, which the president also blames for the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey.

Journalists in Turkey have been regularly subjected to arrests in Turkey under Erdogan, and the country ranks low in international press freedom.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Free

The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.

Free

What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing
Expert

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to pro.support@al-monitor.com and we'll onboard your team.

What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial