Turkish journalists face life in jail over Syria report

Two Turkish journalists face life in prison over a story alleging that the Turkish government was arming Islamist militants in Syria, the BBC reports.

Cumhuriyet newspaper’s editor-in-chief Can Dundar and its Ankara representative Erdem Gul have been charged with espionage.

Prosecutors accuse them of working with a US-based cleric to discredit the government.

The harsh punishment being sought has intensified press freedom concerns.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said he was “shocked” at the severity of the sentence sought by prosecutors.

Human Rights Watch said the two “were doing their job as journalists and no more than that”.

In its report last May, Cumhuriyet published video of police finding weapons in trucks that it said were linked to Turkish intelligence.

The Turkish authorities insisted the trucks, which had been intercepted near the Syrian border, were in fact bringing aid to Syria’s Turkmen minority.

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