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Turkish Court Convicts WSJ Reporter on Terrorist Propaganda Charge

Turkish Court Convicts WSJ Reporter on Terrorist Propaganda Charge
(Michael Nagle/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 10 October 2017 05:06 PM

A reporter for The Wall Street Journal was sentenced Tuesday to two years and a month in prison after convicting her of engaging in terrorist propaganda through one of her news articles.

The journalist, Ayla Albayrak, was accused of supporting a banned Kurdish separatist organization — the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK — in a 2015 report on the conflict in Silopi, Turkey, between Turkish security forces and the PKK, according to the Journal.

"This was an unfounded criminal charge and wildly inappropriate conviction that wrongly singled out a balanced Wall Street Journal report," said Journal Editor-in-Chief Gerard Baker.

"The sole purpose of the article was to provide objective and independent reporting on events in Turkey, and it succeeded."

Albayrak, who has dual citizenship in Turkey and Finland but is currently in New York, planned to appeal the decision.

"Given the current climate in Turkey, this appalling decision shouldn't have come as a surprise to me, but it did," she said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government initiated action against Albayrak after the report appeared on the Journal's website on Aug. 19, 2015.

The story — "Urban Warfare Escalates in Turkey's Kurdish-Majority Southeast" — and video included interviews with the local mayor and residents, a Turkish government official, as well as a representative of what Turkey said was the PKK's youth operation.

Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union all consider the PKK a terrorist organization, according to the report.

Last November, Albayrak received a written order to visit a local police station in Istanbul, where she was notified she was under investigation by Erdogan's government for spreading terrorist propaganda.

Albayrak told authorities that the report accurately reflected the conflict between the PKK and the Turkish government, the Journal reports.

In April 2016, a prosecutor in southeastern Turkey indicted Albayrak, alleging that she had violated antiterrorism laws.

"This ruling against a professional and respected journalist is an affront to all who are committed to furthering a free and robust press," said William Lewis, Dow Jones' CEO and Journal publisher.

"We call on those who share this commitment to make their voices heard.

"The notion that our reporter's commendable and insightful work led to a criminal prosecution that has resulted in this wrongful conviction is intolerable.

"We have stood by Ms. Albayrak's side for nearly two years as we have robustly pursued all available options to defend this baseless prosecution — and we will continue to stand with her as we seek to overturn this conviction."

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A reporter for The Wall Street Journal was sentenced Tuesday to two years and a month in prison after convicting her of engaging in terrorist propaganda through one of her news articles.
turkish court, convicts, wall street journal, reporter, terrorist propaganda, turkey
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2017-06-10
Tuesday, 10 October 2017 05:06 PM
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