Turkish authorities have arrested two journalists for an opposition newspaper and charged them with espionage and aiding a terrorist organization amid a continuing crackdown on government critics after the ruling AKP party won a majority in last month's elections.
Can Dündar, editor-in-chief of the Istanbul-based Cumhuriyet newspaper, and Erdem Gul, the Ankara bureau chief, were questioned for two hours prior to their arrest in Turkey's largest city Nov. 26, according to the Turkish state-run Anadolu press agency.
The arrest comes after Turkish President Recep Tayyep Erdogan filed a criminal complaint against the newspaper in June after it reported Turkey's intelligence agency was linked to arms shipments to the Islamic State in Syria.
The government has denied the report and said a video Cumhuriyet posted on its site with the report shows humanitarian aid that was bound for ethnic Turkmen rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to the New York Times. The video has since been removed from the website by a court order.
Over 1,000 protesters staged a demonstration outside the Istanbul premises of Cumhuriyet Nov. 27, and dozens of protesters also gathered outside the Ankara office of the newspaper, according to Middle East Online. The arrests come after Turkish police raided and closed the offices of opposition media company Koza Ipek Oct. 28. On Nov. 3, two journalists for the magazine Nokta were arrested on charges of inciting an armed uprising against the government for their reporting. On Nov. 13, two reporters for pro-Kurdish news outlets were arrested for social media posts critical of the government, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Dundar and Gul are also accused of being members of an organization linked to the banned U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former Erdogan ally turned critic, according to the Times.